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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?

margaritathatcher Sat 20-Apr-13 20:07:22

Crikey, I wish someone would cook dinner for me every night!

Money aside, I would just stop bothering to cook for him and tell him to sort himself out when he gets in. He's being really disrespectful and I wouldn't have the energy or the patience to put up with it. He might start to appreciate what you do for him a few weeks down the line when he has to get home from work every night and work out what to eat/cook.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 20-Apr-13 20:10:42

I haven't read all of this but DH's mum had a tight food budget. His dad was a chief engineer and she was a deputy head. All extra money went into the building society. DH and his sister's all remember being hungry, all remember a cake for four being shared around five, all remember food being counted. DH's sisters grew up with issues around food and greed and an inability to know when they had had enough because when given the opportunithy to help themselves made little pigs of themselves.

MIL could have afforded better food and more food. Personally I think it was disgusting that she was too mean to buy it and it had a marked inflence on all her children and their general enjoyment of food, enjoyment of life and also their basic good manners at the table.

If you can afford good food then I'm afraid you should buy it. It is one thing being on a very tight budger and quite another to be mean and tight with food which should be one of life's social pleasures.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 20-Apr-13 20:13:32

Perhaps, the food budget should be reduced to £70-80 for the week and the surplus given to DH to buy nice food and treats BUT for everybody in the family? If he wants it, he can have it, but so can everybody else.

mercibucket Sat 20-Apr-13 20:22:21

I have re-read your op, and I have to say that I kind of side with your dh. A fry up with no sausages? And why not 'tesco finest' instead of horrible cheap ones? Unless you are quite hard up, it sounds like you both have issues around food. You say you hate waste and freeze leftover veg for soup, he seems to go to the opposite extreme. In my family, we wouldn't raise an eyebrow at the other doing this. If dh wants to make his own meal, that is fine by me, and next time I might not prepare anything for him. Equally, sometimes I don't fancy what is on offer and make my own. Noone is offended.
Is the money an issue, in that you are short every month?

MooMooSkit Sat 20-Apr-13 20:30:52

I don't think YABU but could you not reduce the food budget to make extra for his little demands? I'm shocked at how much people spend at supermarkets :O Is it not worth checking out local butchers to make savings? I was spending TONS on meat alone and found my local butchers do a deal where i get 500grams of beef mince, 500grams diced beef, five chicken breasts, 500grams diced chicken, 5 pork chops, 10 eggs and 5 rump steaks and it lasts us ages and cut down my food budget, also i find fruit is a lot cheaper in markets rather than supermarkets. I only tend to ever use supermarkets like tesco expresses for quick top up slike bread and milk in the week otherwise they are so dear!

wonderingagain Sat 20-Apr-13 20:33:01

Now I love being cooked for - but to have someone else prepare my meals every night I would actually find claustrophobic. It may be that your DP needs a lot more autonomy when it comes to food but can't get that to work within the family unit. I think it might help if you hand him complete responsibility to cook a meal once or twice a week including doing the shopping for it. It may make him feel as though he has more control.

It took me 5 years to get DP to cook meals on his own without asking me 'where's the salt' etc, or sabotaging it by not starting to cook until 7.30. Now he gets it, finally, and enjoys buying and cooking the food the way he likes to. It's difficult when they don't have the same ethics as you, some people throw everything away if it's not eaten on the day, others don't. It's largely cultural I think. Mine does spend more than I would, and he won't do the Free Range thing that I do but at least he saves me an hour or so of grief a week.

Loveiswhereitfalls Sat 20-Apr-13 21:56:54

£120 is being tight !!!shock
Im having steak tonight and Torbay sole tomorrow married, on a "tight" budget of £120 a week.
The issues are not the budget - which sounds reasonable but the lack of a team approach. I find the fact her DH wont involve himself in the shopping choices and then undermining the OP irritating.
I mealplan,do a general " what do you all fancy" and also buy things I know my family like but Im not keen on and dont consider myself controlling. The menu is generally something we all agree on .
Is your relationship happy generally OP? - for a partner in a relationship to express disgust at carefully planned meals would have alarm bells ringing for me .

maddening Sat 20-Apr-13 22:06:55

Does he see and agree that you need to budget? Could you suggest he takes his portion of the budget and caters for himself without breaching that budget?

Then your budget and cooking is just for you and dc?

If he doesn't agree to budget I don't see how you can work it as you are pulling in different directions.

FredFredGeorge Sun 21-Apr-13 13:58:51

OP you've avoided every question about how the budget was decided. So I'm going to say YABU based on the idea that he seemingly never bought into it in the first place and you don't actually need to budget.

comingintomyown Sun 21-Apr-13 14:37:26

XH was like this drove me mad even though we had plenty of money , in fact eating as I please without trying to accomodate him remains a daily blessing

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