To be annoyed that DH cannot/will not stick to our food budget.

(110 Posts)
WatchingToyStoryAgain Sat 20-Apr-13 15:45:39

We are a family of 5; DH and I, a 12 year old, a 6 year old and a 4 year old. We budget £100 - £120 per week for food, which I think is a generous budget. DH works full time, I work part time, so whilst we both earn money (just in case anyone says he earns the money he can spend it as he sees fit), I am obviously at home more and I do all the meal planning, food shopping/ordering, and 95% of the cooking. DH never wants any input into the food ordering, or into what we are having for dinner that night. If I ask for suggestions for meals he just shrugs and says he has no idea.

So, what I'm finding at the moment is quite often now, despite not wanting to have any input into what we're having for tea each night, I'll be cooking and DH will turn his nose up at whatever is on offer that night, disappear to the local shop, and spend more money on something he does fancy, such as a ready meal. I know we all have nights where we fancy something different, but surely if you are living on a budget there are some nights you have to compromise. I'd love steak, and nice ready meals each night, but I often end up having something I don't fancy, because the kids have requested it, or I know it's something they'll eat. It's just par for the course in a family.

Also, on any nights that he's planning on cooking, he'll again disappear to the shop and maybe spend an extra £20 - £30 on things for a meal. He can never use things already in the fridge/cupboard/freezer. And also he can never have 'just' what is on offer at a meal. If I do a fry up (eggs, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, hash browns) he will again go to the shop and get a pack of Tesco finest sausages to have with it. If I make homemade soup for lunch with rolls, he'll start digging out other things to have with his, that I've put in the meal plan to use at another meal. He also won't take packed lunches to work and so spends £5+ each lunchtime on nice goodies.

I know some will say he's entitled to eat what he wants etc, but I feel I am a good cook, our budget is generous, and I try to cook nice, balanced, healthy meals for us all. We have treats, we have a takeaway once a week or fortnight.

In theory we can afford to spend the extra but it seems like a terrible waste, when the money could be used elsewhere (ie saved for a holiday, or used to enable the kids to do extra activities), and also seems grossly unfair when I'm making, planning and preparing family meals to suit us all and he's waltzing off all the time, eating what he likes, spending extra money, and generally making sure he is better catered for than we are!

AIBU to be annoyed and frustrated?

Startail Sat 20-Apr-13 17:05:40

Not eatting what you've cooked, even if it is 'kids food' is down right rude.
If he doesn't like what's in offer he has to help meal plan.

If he wants to behave like a toddler he gets treated like one. ie he eats what's on offer or gets plastic ham sandwiches and yoghurt!

I would go ballistic at going out to spend money at the shop.

My DH is a bit inclined to add biscuits and donuts to shopping lists, but he wouldn't think of not eatting what was provided. If he's still hungry there's toast, cheese and jam.

Your DP is using being an adult able to make his own choices as a excuse for being very disrespectful. I don't think that's fair.

quesadilla Sat 20-Apr-13 17:06:15

I do get what you are saying OP I can see how it must be irritating, I just can't really see how you can enforce it if he wants to spend that money - a significant of which he earns. If its really bugging you I think you need to sit him down and have a proper chat about it. Have you suggested that he might try the budgeting and meal planning for a couple of weeks?

MrsMacFarlane Sat 20-Apr-13 17:09:00

He's acting like a selfish, immature dick and I'm not surprised you're pissed off about it. We have a food budget and I meal plan every week. There are 4 of us and occasionally somebody has to suck it up and eat something that only the other 3 like. If they really can't face it, there's always scrambled egg/cheese on toast.

You need to tell him how much money he's wasting and how disrespectful you find his attitude towards your cooking and planning. GET HIM TOLD.

specialsubject Sat 20-Apr-13 17:11:57

wow, another one married to a child.

the ultimatum is: you have input to what you want to eat and you stop wasting money on extras. Otherwise you stop cooking and shopping for him, give him a quarter of the food budget and he self-caters.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 20-Apr-13 17:15:43

Quesadilla - but surely a couple share money and share decision-making? Or do you really believe a man is allowed to act unilaterally if he earns more than his wife?

Can you quietly for a week or so match his "extra" food spending and put it in a jar? Showing him a pile of cash at the end might be a useful shocker.

I expect he keeps saying to himself "ah, it's only a fiver" each time without actually working out what it adds up to - in this case a pretty snazzy holiday.

mrspaddy Sat 20-Apr-13 17:19:41

I think YANBU at all!! I am quite strict with food bill but we eat really nice dinners. I shop at butchers/markets, bake my own bread and crumbles. I really go to a big effort to homecook, watch out for offers and eat healthily. We do buy dearer toiletries etc. My DH is really grateful and I didn't even know he loves honey until I bought a jar as a cold remedy the other day. Everything I cook he eats and gives me a kiss for. I can totally understand where you are coming from. I think it would build up a lot of resentment.
Honestly I would stop cooking for him for a little while. I just wouldn't see the point to cook and him turn his nose up at it. I wouldn't mind he lunch thing- everyone needs a treat. I often go for a nice coffee shop treat and DH eats out at lunchtime but we are very careful otherwise. Good luck.

givemeaclue Sat 20-Apr-13 17:24:30

Yanbu this is very very annoying indeed.

quesadilla Sat 20-Apr-13 17:30:12

Swish no, of course couples should share financial decisions and I can see its annoying. But I do think in certain cases the OP is right and in others is being a tad OTT. I can't see why he should have to take a packed lunch for example when he can clearly afford to buy lunch out.

YANBU - Stop cooking for him is a great idea. He wants to make his own choices and he is going to the shop anyway, save yourself the hassle and expense and let him get on with it. Don't bother buying anything for him at all.

The other thing you could do, if you want to save up money is to have a standing order going straight out of the bank account on pay day or after all the big bills like the mortgage have gone out, so there is no spare money sitting in the account. He'll soon run out of cash and have to think about what he is doing with the added bonus that you'll still get a holiday.

Can I ask, is he overweight? He ought to be with all this extra and/or luxury food. I wonder if his relationship with food is the problem here? He doesn't sound like he has a very healthy attitude to food tbh.

ivykaty44 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:42:16

cloudsandtrees - but its ok for the dh to veto a holiday? He gets to say no to spending money on a holiday but op can't get to veto his spending on food - how come it is only him that is allowed to say no to spending?

FredFredGeorge Sat 20-Apr-13 17:43:19

How did "we budget" come about?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 20-Apr-13 17:49:04

OP can you set up a direct debit from the joint account for £70 a week into an account for a holiday - that, surely, should come ahead of frittering money away?
£120 is hardly a pittance, although I admit that we do spend slightly more than that and there are 4 of us.

mum2jakie Sat 20-Apr-13 17:51:01

My other half is very similar in his attitude to food. We don't have a set budget and I'm not very good at meal planning which is actually just as well because my OH will often turn his nose up at something and go to Morrisons to buy something to 'go with it.' (Ends up spending £20+ on bits!)

To be fair to mine, he does cook some of the kids' meals (we have three kids too) when I'm at work but always goes to the supermarket, daily, to buy stuff for the kids' tea (we eat separately) and will never think to look in the fridge/freezer/cupboard to try and use stuff up or check dates etc so we end up throwing loads of things away!

OP, YANBU but I'm not sure how you would tackle it without seeming that you are!

redskyatnight Sat 20-Apr-13 17:53:50

I see elements of my DH in here. I would say
- has you and your DH mutually agreed your family budget? It sounds like you do have the money, just that you think it should be spent somewhere else. Maybe your DH doesn't?

- DH won't meal plan either. I asked him why and he said it was too restrictive and he just wanted to get home, decide what he wanted and then go out and get it if the right food wasn't in the house. I pointed out that this was expensive and not compatible with our family life (where we often have about 50 minutes to cook eat and get out the door with DC to an evening activity). He agreed with both points but said that's what he felt. So we have compromised. I do a meal plan, I wave it round everyone and get everyone to agree it. And we have one day (sometimes 2) where DH is in charge and he can do whatever random thing he wants.

(I guess both points fundamentally come down to - have you talked properly to your DH about this?)

holidaysarenice Sat 20-Apr-13 17:56:27

Everytime he spends extra tot it up, keep a jar and put equivalent in, or one a month remove it from the bank.

The amount will really shock him. When he asks what it is, explain (as though you are explaining to a five year old) that it is your treat money. That he had his on nice food etc and you are having yours on something for yourself.

I guarantee he'll wriggle like a baby.

whiteflame Sat 20-Apr-13 17:56:47

I would keep a list for a week OP, with a heading for every week day. Something like:

Monday:
Cooked pork chops, chips and vegetables for dinner. DH went and bought a cheesecake for x pounds. He also bought lunch.

Tuesday:
etc

Then when he says you're over-reacting and he doesn't do it that much you can shove it under his nose!

scarredpierced Sat 20-Apr-13 17:57:21

This sounds like more than just selfish-ness to me. Its the kind of traits someone would display if they had been withheld food as a child.
How long has he been like this?

Does he actually know what he spending on himself.

I would go through both bank account and credit card statement and highlight and total every one of his 'extra' trips for food and show him the total. And yes make the point about paying for a family holiday. If he doesn't want to change his attitude then yes start taking the same amount out yourself. Save it for a holiday abroad for you and your children and leave him at home.

Fairylea Sat 20-Apr-13 18:04:07

Can you not buy food shopping out of a joint household account and if he wants extras he has to buy it out of his own spending money (of which you should have equal amounts)?

This is what we do. We have a joint household account. All wages and everything goes in. All bills come out. We set a budget for food from this per week. We have worked out how much spending money we should each have and transfer this to our joint spending account (in your case as he is useless sharing money equally you could transfer an equal amount to two sole accounts, one in your name one in his). He then has to buy things from his own money if he wants extras. Don't give him a household card if he's going to dib into it or withdraw the money as cash for shopping.

If he sees how much it's impacting he might stop doing it.

AmberLeaf Sat 20-Apr-13 18:21:11

wow, another one married to a child

I'm seeing it more like another one being treated like a child.

I would hate having what I eat dictated to me.

If he doesn't like/want what you are serving up, if he was an arse he'd be expecting you to get him something else. He isn't, hes sorting himself out with no bother to you, except its annoying you, but you may be annoying him by telling him what and when to eat and getting narked about it if he doesn't want to.

My Mum was always a meal planner, Made sense at the time I suppose with a largeish family to feed on a budget, but it is not something I have ever done and I have shopped on a budget for lots of years.

I get staples/basics and I juggle depending on what we fancy on any given day.

So its a YABU from me.

MortifiedAdams Sat 20-Apr-13 18:22:03

Every week, for a whole year, put the equivalent of his lunch money in a jar. Build up that £3500 over the year.

At the end of it, produce this jar and tell him that this is what he has spent on his own lunches over the year, and with what you have saved you and the kids are going abroad. Without him. If he doesnt act shamefaced, add "and dont be here when I get back" on the end.

Euphemia Sat 20-Apr-13 18:26:21

£3.5k. Jeez! That's Florida for you and the kids.

wonderingagain Sat 20-Apr-13 18:30:17

Does he undermine you in other ways?

Does he have a history of food issues?

mercibucket Sat 20-Apr-13 18:30:55

Just looking at your examples of adding some bread rolls or veg to a meal, or buying a tesco finest cheesecake, I do this all the time. I also buy lunch at work. We can afford it. I'd be a bit sad if dh started making a fuss about it, tbh.

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