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to ask how SAHMs buy gifts for their DP and keep it a surprise

(78 Posts)
pizzaqueen Wed 20-Feb-13 21:34:20

This is something that I've always wondered but more so now that many of my friends are SAHMs. If your partner is the sole earner how can you buy him gifts or surprise treats for birthday/Xmas/fathers day without him knowing a) how much you've spent and b) where you bought it as it will surely appear on his bank statement so he'll know what it's likely to be. Then isn't it just like he buys his own gifts so isn't really being 'treated' by you at all as he paid for it?

This isn't meant to be a dig at SAHMs at all - good on you for being able to make it work. Financially I don't have any option but to go to work but I'm fortunate its only 3 days a week and I mostly enjoy my job, although I'd love to have more time at home with DS.

DP and I both put an equal amount of money in a joint account every month to cover mortgage, bills, food etc and anything we have left over is our own to pay for our own cars, phones and general spending money (I'm left with about £50 a month). So if I want to treat him or DS or buy gift for my mum I can do this without him knowing and it'll be a total surprise, surely not like this if you're completely reliant on his finances?

I enjoy having some financial independence and if it was all in one pot I think it would cause friction e.g. I like to buy clothes, go out for lunch which he thinks is unnecessary and he likes the odd flutter at the bookies which I think is wasteful. But it's our own money to do with what we SAHMS need to ask their partner about every purchase and spending decision?

So tell me if I'm being unreasonable and you have some kind of logical solution to this part of sharing finances that I can't get my head around.

badguider Wed 20-Feb-13 21:47:39

oh, and if you only have one bank account then surely it's the same for the earning partner - how can they buy a present without the non-earner seeing it on the bank statement?

stopgap Wed 20-Feb-13 21:47:47

We have a savings account and a checking account. We view both as "family money", shared in every conceivable way, and I don't ask my husband's permission re: spending money. That seems quite patronising and outmoded to me.

In any case, I tend to buy framed photos of our son/family, books, etc as my husband, despite earning a very high wage, much prefers thoughtful, small gestures.

HollyBerryBush Wed 20-Feb-13 21:48:09

Being truely independent, I made sure I had enough money behind me for the 5 years I did the SAHP thing.... as my mother always said, never lose your financial independence. Mind you we have always had joint accounts, I just never liked not being an equal contributor. I have always controlled the accounts though - you can't have two sets of hands in the pot.

BlatantLies Wed 20-Feb-13 21:48:13

I just use 'our' money from 'our' account. What else would I do confused

pizzaqueen Wed 20-Feb-13 21:48:37

Thanks everyone for replying.

FrancesHouseman I guess you are right it's really a question for any couples that completely share finances not just SAHMs.

And I guess it would only really be an issue for couples who had to carefully watch all of their spending (like me and DP).

Mutley77 I think the allowance thing sounds like a really sensible way to work it. I'm working but I don't pay into a pension as I can't afford it ATM but hopefully I will when our child are bill decreases.

ShatnersBassoon Wed 20-Feb-13 21:49:08

It's not an issue at all. Cash purchases, refusal to say what's in the Amazon package, not pestering to find out what was bought in x,y or z.

ladyintheradiator Wed 20-Feb-13 21:49:09

Why on earth would being a SAHM mean that all money comes from the working partners' account?

I'm - as you put it - completely reliant on his finances and he hasn't any bloody idea what I spend, or on what. Whether I buy him a gift, or something for my mum, the DC, flowers for a friend... it's my business.

Is that such an outrageous concept?

fromparistoberlin Wed 20-Feb-13 21:49:14

i give my SAHP so much money he shiould be buying me diamonds every month grin

Dolallytats Wed 20-Feb-13 21:49:26

All money goes into my account. DH is, by his own admission, useless with money. He would only see what the balance was without thinking about what might be coming out.

If he was in charge of the finances, we would be in a whole heap of debt. When it comes to birthday/Christmas he tells me how much he would like to spend and, if we have it, it is withdrawn.

This might not work for others, but has worked for us for the last 20 years!!

cakebar Wed 20-Feb-13 21:50:16

Money goes into joint account, £100 for each person goes into their personal account. So I have my own money.

In practice I run the joint account and he takes no interest and would never look at statements etc.

Bogeyface Wed 20-Feb-13 21:51:58

Because he doesnt come with me and stand over me when I buy things? What an odd Q!

oldraver Wed 20-Feb-13 21:52:10

No us SAHM's save for surprise presents from the house keeping money we get every week but only if we budget carefully and dont overspend on fripperies grin

Viviennemary Wed 20-Feb-13 21:52:47

I agree that it's not about whether you are an SAHM or not. It depends if you have a joint bank account or separate ones. We just have a joint account and always have had. So most things come out of that.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 20-Feb-13 21:53:07

do SAHMS need to ask their partner about every purchase and spending decision?

No of course not. Is that what your dp would make you do then? Poor you.

Bogeyface Wed 20-Feb-13 21:53:18

Oh, and the fact that he doesnt know from one month to the next what is in our joint account because he knows I check it daily so he doesnt have to. He is far less likely to keep a secret from me than the other way around.

Morloth Wed 20-Feb-13 21:53:24

We have always only had a joint account for everything.

We do both keep an eye on it to make sure there aren't any incorrect charges so have both come across presents.

But it is no biggy.

oopslateagain Wed 20-Feb-13 21:54:59

I have my own account, DH transfers money into it every week. But he does all the online banking, keeping track of all the accounts including mine, so if I buy something for him I just tell him not to check my account until the event is over.

bramblina Wed 20-Feb-13 21:55:15

I think this is a funny situation.

I am a SAHM though dh and I are self employed, he works away 4 days a week and I do the book work, paperwork etc in my evenings. So we both "work" but he does the physical work it appears that he is the only one working and the only breadwinner. I draw an equal wage from the business for us both which goes in to our joint account. This account has all the direct debits, mortgage payment etc.

Money comes in, money goes out, bills need to be paid, period. If we need/want extras- clothes, nights out, treats etc, we just prioritise them equally- if there's money there for them we have them, if there's not, we don't.

Our whole family (3 dcs too) is a partnership- it's irrelevant to us who "works" more, dh works long hours but I never stop with the 3 dcs (6,4 and baby)- we don't work out who is owed what- we just live.

Ihave friends who keep their money separate, split the supermarket shopping, and "borrow" and "owe" each other money, I just don't get it.

Does my situation make sense?

And, regarding the gifts etc, it doesn't matter to me how much they cost, it's how much effort and thought that has gone in to the gift that bothers me.

I'm not a SAHM any more, but all money is considered joint, we both still have our pre-existing current accounts that we get paid into and a houshold one that covers all the joint stuff. DH never so much as looks at a bank statement, so he wouldn't have the faintest idea what i was spending. I don't look at his, so no idea what he spends. The only place we do have a problem is Amazon, he has Prime, so I use his account all the time, so we can't hide on there. But to be honest neither of is really into surprise presents.

BlatantLies Wed 20-Feb-13 21:56:57

My DH and I never question each other about how we spend 'our' money.
Occasionally, if I make a big purchase I will ask him what he thinks and check we havn't got any big bills coming in.
We have never ever argued about money or felt resentment about what the other spends.

grin Although, I would like to know just how much he spent on his FIFA world cup final tickets in 1994. He paid cash to the concierge of a fancy hotel in LA. Apparently, he is never, ever going to tell me? hmm

willesden Wed 20-Feb-13 21:57:04

I am a bit shock that couples still have joint accounts. What happens when it all goes wrong? Lesson learnt here. Never again.

pizzaqueen Wed 20-Feb-13 21:57:44

Donderandblitzen no I don't think it's what my DP would make me do but I'll never know that because we'll never be in a position where I don't need to work. Although ATM we earn pretty much the same I've got far more earning potential than my DP in the long term.

You've all answered my question so thanks. I just wondered how couples who completely shared finances worked things practically and buy gifts was one thing that struck me might cause difficulties but most people have pointed out it doesn't.

signorapacino Wed 20-Feb-13 21:58:56

Withdraw cash and use that then he wouldn't know where present had been bought.

LapsusLinguae Wed 20-Feb-13 22:01:09

OP you say you put equal money into the joint account. Do you earn equal money? If not then this sounds very unfair.

If you have £50/ month spare how much does DP have?

Does he have a pension?

You say you don't have enough left after childcare for a pension. Childcare is a joint expense.

I am wondering if you would be able to pay into a pension if you shared childcare and had equal spends.

fathergoose Wed 20-Feb-13 22:02:24

I take some out of the small amount he gives me weekly for housekeeping.

And every time he gives me a tenner to "Buy myself something nice, dear" I put it to one side.


In all seriousness (and this is something I have often wrestled with during my 2 years as a SAHM), I see us as a team. We are married and a unit. That unit needs to earn an income, to look after our family, to contribute to charity etc etc. It doesn't matter how those roles are 'split' and for us, at this point in time, it makes sense for DH to be doing all the earning and me be doing the 'looking after family' part. This split entails sacrifices for the both of us: DH would love to have more time at home, and I worry about the effect of this time out on my career.

This means that any money in the account is 'our' money. Not DH's, simply because the pay cheque was in his name. I therefore has just as much say in how it is spent as he does. We trust each other implicitly (I'm much more frugal than DH anyway, so he trusts me to spend the appropriate amount on food/clothes etc) and any big purchases (holidays etc) are always joint decisions anyway.

Practically, when I want to get him a surprise I just buy it. It's only the shop's name which comes up on the statement so it's not like he knows what the actual thing is.

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