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How can I stop money being a sore subject in our relationship?(33 Posts)
I love my wife. She never complains about anything. We have 3 children fast growing up (12, 10 and 6) and life should be good. I earn well enough that we should be happily on 2 holidays a year - we are very lucky. But.... I pay my wife the equivalent of more than the average family income per year. We have people to stay occasionally, and I pay for all bills and holidays and days or mails out. She does not appear to spend lavishly on anything, except quality ingredients for our family food. Yet she is constantly out of money. If I bring it up she gets defensive, angry, and lashes out. This is really unlike her. She wants a joint account but I don't because I am afraid all our cash will disappear each month. I want to know how I can approach this positively. Can anyone give me advice? I will try to respond fast if you do com back to me but please be patient, I am travelling on business. Huge thank you.
You pay her ..???
Of course you should have a joint account
If you had a joint account you could both see what money is being spent on.
You pay your wife? Seriously? Do you also do performance reviews?
You have a couple of options - a joint account for joint expenses with individual accounts for personal spending. All money goes into the joint account and you each get an identical amount each month for personal spending. Or a pure joint account, or some other hybrid.
Where does money for kids' clothes, kids' activities, pocket money etc come from?
I think you need to reevaluate your attitude. She isn't an employee, she's your partner and I assume she gave up work to raise the children. The money isn't just yours, it's family money and by controlling it you are showing her you don't trust her and you want to control her behaviour.
Finances can be transparent without being in a joint account. I'm not sure I'd want a joint account with someone who i felt was ploughing through money. You both need to sit down and compare notes on spending. Get a spreadsheet together. Perhaps she needs more money to live on than you're giving her (I'm ignoring your terminology). Or perhaps she could earn her own money and learn to live within her means. It's very hard to tell from here.
If I was paying an SAHP a certain amount of money every month and it was running out very quickly with little to show for it, I'd think either I wasn't paying enough, or we needed to review the spending.
I don't think it's unreasonable to want to get a clearer picture of where the money is going.
Personally, I'd consider a joint account on the basis that you can see where the money is going. I'd talk to her about your concerns and see if you can work out together where the money is going so you can identify any areas which might need a bit extra/changing. Don't make it an interrogation, think of it as something you're both solving.
To be fair to the OP, I'm not sure he meant 'paying her' quite in the way it's been interpreted.
MN double standards strike again.
OK, 'pay' was an unfortunate word to use but I'm sure we can all understand what he actually means.
If this were a woman saying her husband ploughed through his substantial share of the family budget with seemingly very little to show for it and wanted a joint account she'd be told to run for the hills.
if you did go down the joint account route ,OP, at least you'd have usability of what she was spending and could discuss any problems.
Budget together, allowing amounts for savings (long-term and short-term for e.g. holidays), pension, individual spending money.
If you can both agree on what is needed for these things, but it turns out impossible to stick to, then something has to give, and you can decide together what that is.
I'd have problems sharing a joint account with someone whose spending I questioned.
Can she just have a credit card for household stuff that you pay off monthly? Then agree a sum for cash spends for each of you?
We have a relatively small amount of cash because most stuff goes on the household account but we have our own accounts to save arguments over frittering cash on what the other would deem pointless (clothes, beer etc)
A joint account for expenses where you are more able to see what the money is being spent on might be useful.
However, she's clearly spending it on something. I'd be more inclined to say you aren't entirely aware of the costs involved in having 3 children (clothes, clubs, school trips, weekend classes etc) than she is spending ludicrously.
She could be spending £15 a day on lattes and having £100 haircuts every fortnight.
Equally, she could be lashing out because she sees your questioning of her expenditure could come across as a bit of controlling?
You don't give any indication where the money you feel is more than enough is going???? Do you think she is gambling or secreting away money or having too many lunches out?
Or is it possible she is living normally with 3 kids and you aren't giving her enough??
We would need to know what you give her at least to judge that. But ideally see a rough breakdown of her spending.
I think ‘pay’ was an unfortunate choice of word.
When i was a SAHM my DH transferred an agreed amount from the joint account which his wages went into and main bills were paid from, into a different joint account which i used to pay for groceries, kids activities, clothes, toiletries etc as i needed. Every so often we reviewed this amount. It worked really well and meant i didn’t need to justify all my spending. If I needed more money for anything we just discussed it to see if it was affordable.
One thing we did which was great was every so often to do a spreadsheet of a months spending for both of us. It was a real eyeopener to see where money was being wasted and could be reined in.
Note that a joint account isn't necessarily going to reveal how money is spent. Is money spent at Tesco all food, or time in the coffee shop / booze / clothes / snacks / toys etc?
I think the first step needs to be an argument-free chat about where the money is going. Looking at both your bank statements together, maybe?We don't know whether she's irresponsible with money, not paid enough, struggling to budget, or whatever else.
Also, as PP said, how much are you transferring her per month? I understood I pay my wife the equivalent of more than the average family income per year to mean £20,000+, but some context would be helpful.
It does seem strange she gets so defensive. Like pp said, a joint account would at least show you where the money is going.
The concept of paying her is wrong. You are equals and should have equal access to money and equal spending money regardless of who is earning. If she has spending issues and is getting into debt then this needs addressing but as a base line you should both have the same and equal spending money once all bills are paid.
Dh and I have three joint bank accounts. All money goes into one and all bills come out and then we use one of the remaining joint accounts each and transfer a set amount of equal spending money to each to spend as we wish.
What does she have to cover from her 'pay' apart from groceries? How is she spending it if not on groceries?
Draw up a budget spreadsheet, include everything, salary (after tax and pension), child benefit, debt payments, all bills, commitments (gym / sky whatever). Don't forget cash flow (i.e. when money comes in and goes out). Break all things down into annual / monthly / weekly equivalents to have a comparison idea. There will be arguments about what should be on the list, but at least it is factual.
Stand back and hate how much some stuff costs you!
Set up things to be clear and fair. Salary into your account (contentious - but if you have a spender as a DP then look after yourself and the essentials).
Then either run all the essentials out of your account (mortgage, council tax, utilities, car etc). OR set up a standing order ('pay') into the joint account with the essentials coming out ASAP after the payment has gone in.
Note - Watch out for end of month bank holidays where days can slip - allow 4 days for payment in before arranging payments out - this applies to salary in and payment across, and direct debits out.
Set up a separate saving account (joint or sole - ownership is fairly irrelevant if married, access to it is the issue) to put monthly amounts across to cover large annual bills. Handy if with the same bank so transfers are instant to the paying account.
Perhaps set up another account for actual savings. If a sole account then get printed statements so both can see the contents.
Have a couple of non essentials, or predicable bills in DP's name to keep the credit rating up (telephone, water perhaps). Ensure that they get paid out of the joint account though so it is clear that they are actually being paid.
Now to day to day spending. If your partner uses the debit card then there is a pretty good idea about what the spending is going on from the statement.
Watch out for cash withdrawls, and transfers to personal / friends accounts (agree a personal spend that is appropriate though and set up a standing order to partners account for this)
Review the original budget after a couple of months. Point out that the grocery shop was twice the original estimate. Have a bit of a row, and decide that the Tesco/sainsburies/waitrose local/little/metro is the devils spawn.
Marvel at the stuff that wasn't included. (parking, birthday cards and presents, TV licence). Try to work on those to get the cost down, or your acceptance of the real world costs up. Adjust budget as necessary.
Ask your DP to do the annual money supermarket dance for insurance and utilities, perhaps even the mortgage. Beware complete delegation if they are not particularly good with money though as there are gotchas via those sites.
Some will say this is all control freaky. I believe joint spend should be clear and open to both, and both should work at minimizing costs. If one partner is poor at controlling money then the wellbeing of the family needs to be protected by the other. Unfortunately they could go off and rack up all sorts of debt via credit cards etc under their sole name which married couples are jointly liable for.
The money you give her each month is housekeeping? Is this for food and clothing and household bits and pieces. is the average income around 24k pre tax so about 15/1600 a month? If out of this she is paying petrol, after school clubs, uniforms, days out then I can see how it would disappear. All the kids are now at school, will she be going back to work (if she doesn't already) and will you then have a joint account?
You have given scant information so its hard to say, but don't talk about paying her.
How much money are you actually transferring to her each month? What expenditure apart from the family food (and presumably most toiletries and alcohol too) comes out of it?
Which account pays for petrol, running the car, DCs' clothes, things and activities, pocket money, gifts for friends and family etc?
Yes you're going to need to give is the breakdown of what amount of money you give her, what needs to come out of that (eg bills? Mortgage? Just food and DC's activities?) and how much your bills are before we can help you.
DH and I have our own personal accounts. We also have a joint account. We each pay into the joint account. We each have online access ot it. We use it for mortgage and all household expenditure whether regular or not, e.g. electricity direct debit, DC haircuts, DC clubs, school uniforms, school trips, supermarket shopping, insurances. It is easy to see what we spend.
Our own accounts are our own. We don't look at each other's. Mine shows a scary discretionary spend on coffee every day with the occasional splurge on clothes, makeup and hair. I can review my own spend on myself easily and adjust without getting confused with family expenses. Him too.
The joint means we both see where all the damn money goes. It is amazing how many essential expenses there are on top of "bills".
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