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To think fair is not always equitable?

(44 Posts)
BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 20:22:32

I've been reading quite a few threads about how couples manage their budgets with interest. We're always had what I'd guess is one of the two mumsnet 'ideals' (the other being completely pooled finances). Essentially we have the same 'spends' left each month after bills and joint savings.

I've now been thinking that I'm actually not doing particularly well out of this arrangement as DP clearly has more cash left than me. Reason being, he works in an industry where casual clothing is the norm, has hardly any commuting costs and does his own hair.

I work in an industry where good quality suits are the norm, dry cleaning bills are a fact of life and hair cuts and make-up are expected. I also do more miles in the car, buy more petrol etc. I totted up my extra expenses and reckon I'm down by at least £100 a month, probably closer to £150.

To avoid drip feed, the catalyst for this was an essential personal expense that came up unexpectedly (potentially totalled car through no fault of my own). DP was adamant this was my responsibility in totality and I was hmm as he has been able to source cars at knock down prices due to family (this isn't open to me at this point in time).

AIBU to think that if he's going to be so rigid about things being 'equitable' then I ought to budget every last bit of my additional expenses and agree that it either comes out of the joint account or that my 'allowance' is bigger to take my costs into account?

To be honest I can't believe I'm even asking this question, because I'm not exactly on the fucking breadline, but surely a bit of give and take is normal even if there is 'equity' in personal money?

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Wed 05-Feb-14 20:25:58

Perhaps change what you consider personal spends?

allocate a clothing budget from family funds?
vehicles are family funds?
spends are personal luxury things only?

TheCraicDealer Wed 05-Feb-14 20:29:40

I think it's somewhere in between. You having quality suits and getting your hair done are nice, but they're not essential. I know I could go into primark and get stuff for work at a quarter of the price, but I choose not to do that because I want to feel good when I'm working. It's not critical, that's how I choose to spend my disposable income.

Replacing a car though is IMHO a household expense, especially when you need one for your commute in order to earn money. He needs to get a grip on that one, and he's completely out of order if you need the car to run about after the kids or do things which benefit you as a family.

Preciousbane Wed 05-Feb-14 20:30:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Wed 05-Feb-14 20:30:33

What would he say if he had done this? I bet it would suddenly be the family car then!

I would say that any essential work related expense should come under "bills", so you need an extra £100 a month. It isnt like you are blowing it on beer and fags, although I am a bit surprised that you could spend £150 a month on hair, make up and dry cleaning. Or do you buy a new suit every month?

Joysmum Wed 05-Feb-14 20:31:10

Clothing is an essential and doesn't come out of our personal allowances.

mynewpassion Wed 05-Feb-14 20:37:39

Maybe he is not spending it on nice clothes but other stuff.

Do you not have insurance on the car? Would it be in both of your names? Are you married?

If not I wonder if he's balking at the idea of going halves on a car that is just yours and if you break up you just takes it and he gets no compensation

WooWooOwl Wed 05-Feb-14 20:38:05

YANBU to think there should be give and take when it comes to major things like unavoidable car expenses, but I think YABU if you think that your hair and make up should come out of joint expenses.

Suits for work are not something you need to buy every month, and I think if you want your DP to have to pay half towards your clothes and hoar and make up then you should expect him to have a say in what hairdresser you use, what brands of make up you wear and how much, and how many suits you have.

If you'd be happy to have your DP dictate your life to that extent, then your plan might work.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 20:42:55

Bogeyface It's not all hair make-up and dry-cleaning or I'd look like a Kardashian grin I did a quick sum and my actual grooming costs are more like £27 per month + any make up replacement. Parking & petrol are much larger at £90. I tend to do 2-3 big clothes shops a year and everything else is replacement.

ISeeYou I think that's a good idea as it's what's happened in practice with his car, just not mine it would seem hmm

TheCraicDealer It's a tricky one. As I say we're not on the breadline by any stretch, but he has one wardrobe. I need suits, evening wear and casual. He needs predominently casual. And to be fair, he's not in Primark while I'm in Harvey Nichols. He's more Thomas Pink casual than Tesco Value, so it not like like he's choosing to be frugal and I'm not.

mynewpassion Wed 05-Feb-14 20:45:37

I can understand parking and petrol coming out of the family budget but not clothing, make up or hair cuts.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 20:47:33

mynewpassion He has nice clothes. He chooses to buy random gadgets to be frank.

Of course I have insurance, but my car is far from new, so it will take more than its value to replace it with something that we would both agree was safe, reliable and value for money.

For various reasons it would be extremely unreasonable for him to quibble on the £1000 I asked for towards deposit. I didn't actually ask him to go halves, although I'm wondering to be honest if I should have and also made his car a joint expense going forward.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 05-Feb-14 20:48:15

This issue is so difficult - financially I'm better off by having my own account as opposed to us having a set up of "sharing what's left over at the end of the month".

We have a joint account for mortgage, bills, food etc where we put an equal amount into each month - the rest of our monthly pay is our own. My husband has a lot more expenditure than me and so should be paying for it out of his 'remaining money' - I don't see why I should suffer financially to fund his lifestyle choices by just having 50% of what's left after everything has been paid for (I.e his stuff). He can fund his own choices grin

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 20:51:34

Okay I can see hair and make-up might be pushing it (I was mightily pissed after car conversation grin). I'm not sure I agree about clothes. I genuinely do need super smart, smart casual & evening for my work. He needs casual only.

Incidentally he does want 50% input into what car I get and also to test drive it and veto any he doesn't like. This is not because he knows a lot about cars...

CaterpillarCara Wed 05-Feb-14 20:51:36

We always take into account the cost of working when we look at individual spending. So when I was in the City, then I had an "allowance" for tights, haircuts, make-up, travel, unavoidable lunches (you can't take a packed lunch if a client asks to meet at the pub!), etc.

Car costs (including petrol and parking) come out before our "personal spends" for us. We only have one car, I walk to work so the vast majority of these costs "belong" to DH.

On the flip side - DH works from home, wearing casual clothes and a few logo'd tops. I work in a professional role where looking smart is important. So I have an additional clothing budget which is separate to our spends.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 20:56:45

I guess it depends writer on what you class as a choice and also how big the income disparity is.

Most people could probably live with a hundred pounds or so I'm sure (unless low income), but what if you had £1000 and he had £100? Or vice versa?

I do not make on this deal by a long long way, but I went into it wanting to future proof our relationship (and we're more than a decade so it's been a while) and avoid any feast for one / famine for the other scenarios I've seen in relationships where everyone is utterly independent. That's me though & I know it doesn't work for everyone.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 21:00:29

Caterpillar & Statistically that's the sort of arrangement I'm talking about. DP could have more if his more expensive car breaks down and I could have a bit more to fund my work essentials. I currently rotate 2 suits in the winter and a couple of dress and jacket combos so am no clothes horse. Tights to me feel like a tax on being a woman grin

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 05-Feb-14 21:32:39

If you are not married and have no children, then funding bills should be split equally. Anything personal like a car, clothing etc should be financed personally. Little unfair to expect a boyfriend to subsidise your car purchase as well as his own.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 22:22:00

HappyMummy Hardly a boyfriend. Our relationship has outlived many a marriage hmm

We're engaged to be married and have been together for over a decade. We're fully committed and our contributions to house equity were not equal and we live as though married. The only reason we're not married is because we're had issues with our latest house and wanted to ensure that was all sorted before spending money on 'a day'.

We have as you say, no kids, so that makes marriage a less immediate priority, but I would resent the suggestion that a decade-plus committed cohabiting relationship is a 'boyfriend / girlfriend' set up just because we haven't had children at this moment in time hmm. We are as committed as any other long term couple.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 22:26:50

I'd also add that kids might spur many a conversation, but for those of us who are undecided they are not what makes us a family. We are a family because we choose to live as one, in just the same way as those who have children, who have lost children, who are undecided, who can't have children or who choose not to have children. We live as family and always have since we took the decision to buy property together way back when.

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 22:28:56

Happy Would also add, that as the higher wage earner by a country mile, I am currently subsidising him, in technical terms. So if you prefer, it's a re-distribution of my money, although I don't think about it in that way...

Notmadeofrib Wed 05-Feb-14 22:34:40

You don't have pooled finances really, you have pooled expenses. Your job has a higher 'price' attached to it therefore you have less money.
To me it looks like you're unhappy that you have less disposable income than him. I'm not sure of the rights and wrongs, but I get the feeling your partner isn't keen on having less!

Notmadeofrib Wed 05-Feb-14 22:35:50

So hang on scrub that, you pay a higher % of the joint bills?

Notmadeofrib Wed 05-Feb-14 22:37:27

I'd push back on that and redistribute!

BuggersMuddle Wed 05-Feb-14 22:37:58

I think you're right notmade but I guess he views it as pooled finances and at one point that was true, but as I've gained seniority and oddly, his job has changed to a more casual scenario, our work expenses (once pretty equal) are different. I'm genuinely trying to save on mine (packed lunches etc.)

I'm trying to process how much of this I genuinely give a shit about vs how much I'm just pissed off after the (still raw) car discussion.

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