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SMP - changing financial balance with DP

(25 Posts)
Chester1980 Sat 23-Jun-18 11:09:01


I’d be interested to see how other couples worked this out. I know I’m in a decent position financially, so please don’t think I am thinking I’m hard done by - I’m just after advice.

I currently do well with my salary, and I’m in the process of reviewing my finances in light of moving onto SMP around next Feb (due in Nov). I don’t have savings and I’m paying off credit card debt for the baby’s arrival and still live in my overdraft. I should have wised up about that kind of thing a while ago.

Me and my husband keep our finances separate, which we’ve always been happy with. Household costs are split evenly in terms of which bills we pay for etc. It’s always worked for us. We are comfortable, but that will obviously change for me soon.

Anyway, I’d like to hear how others got on with moving from being financially independent to relying on DPs. I don’t want to feel like I need to ask for money or that I am charity. I’m a bit stubborn with this, but I’ll feel so small taking money from my DP - partly as I have worked so hard to get this decent salary.....even though I know we’re both in this together. It’ll feel like the old “alright sweetheart, go buy yourself something” type of situation to me.

mussie Sat 23-Jun-18 11:27:59

If you have no savings, you have credit card debt and live in your overdraft, you're not comfortable. Is your DH in a similar situation too?

You need to recognise that you'll be making a significant contribution by staying home to care for your baby - if you weren't there, you both would have to be paying extortionate childcare costs. You can either agree a certain amount per month paid to you from him as your 'salary' for being a SAHM, or just move all funds and bills to a joint account, and agree on an amount of spending money to be diverted to personal accounts. You should absolutely not end up financially struggling on SMP while your DH merrily spends his own money on other things. It's his child too.

Myself and DH just have everything in a joint account, and all money is family money. We find that much easier!

Chester1980 Sat 23-Jun-18 11:54:40

When I say I’m comfortable, I mean that I will be able to pay that off soon and I have a stable job - I’ve just never reviewed my finances enough though to stop spending money on luxuries. This is the wake up call I’ve needed. Cutting them out now and I should be in a good position in time for the birth. Comfortable to me has also meant I have been able to buy food I’ve been in a position in the past when I couldn’t afford basics.

My husband isn’t in the same position. Much better with money. Savings, bonds etc. I guess I’m just being a bit too proud and worried about losing that independence (albeit with the use of a credit card). It does sound simple when you put it that way to be honest.....I know it does. It’s just I need to get over my issue of feeling like I am relying on a 1950s housewife 😀

loopdeelou Sat 23-Jun-18 12:16:13

@Chester1980 I totally understand where you are coming from. I have been bought up in a household with a stay at home Mum who relied on my dad. They have very old fashioned values and this has passed on to my brother who works extremely hard and his wife works part time and shops for England! My family think I should be at home whilst DH works which I'm strongly opposed to.
I have always been so against this and have worked bloody hard to get to where I am and mine and DH's salaries have been fairy equal until recently so we have kept our own accounts and put 50:50 into a joint account for bills.
The idea of having to ask for money is awful. DH says I'm being ridiculous and it's OUR baby and OUR family so we should just put all our money together in one account. We haven't done this yet through my shere stubbornness. I don't want to feel bad if I want to buy something for myself and feel its his money!
Tbh it is pride and not wanting to feel like a housewife so I get where you're coming from but I know I am going to have to admit defeat and put all of our money into one account. Better that than him give me pocket money!

Havetothink Sat 23-Jun-18 13:13:56

I went back to work part time (2 days, would have preferred 3 but didn't have the choice) and I still pay half the bills (as I used to) but with the exception of child care, which I simply couldn't afford so DH very helpfully pays for that. I have to be careful what I spend each week and have occasionally had to ask DH for money towards car insurance or food shopping but he's very understanding and knows how much I hate asking for money so he's never complained. We have always kept our finances entirely separate but we're flexible when the other needs some help, it works for us.

mussie Sat 23-Jun-18 13:17:17

@loopdeelou @Chester1980 the key is developing a strong sense of entitlement to your share of his money! and just regarding yourselves as one person instead of two. You support him to go to work and earn money by providing childcare, and he supports you to stay at home with a baby by earning the money, so it's not unfair at all, and it's entirely your right to your share of the money. As a family, you bring in x amount of money, and then as a family you spend it.

I had to get used to it very early on in our marriage - I was a student for the first few years, bringing in very little, while he had a healthy salary. He shared all his money with me and I was able to live very comfortably. And I wasn't even doing anything so noble as caring for children, I was studying just because I wanted to change careers! So you have to believe you deserve it, and also be ready to do the same for him if he ever wants to take a break from work to be a SAHP or study.

Battleax Sat 23-Jun-18 13:26:55

It’s just I need to get over my issue of feeling like I am relying on a 1950s housewife

1950s housewives worked damned hard and more than pulled their weight. The problem with the post-war system of widespress housewifery was that it bored a lot of women senseless and wasted a lot of human potential.

There was nothing about the role itself that deserved derision.

You’re much luckier, your in a partnership and you don’t need to sacrifice your career. But pooling of resources is still a fundamental feature of living as a family, even if you keep separate bank accounts.

The other aspect is that maybe you (or he?) won’t value babycare and parenting at its full worth until you try it, it’s bloody hard. You certainly won’t be dissing on his dime.

Do any of those thoughts help you shift your perspective?

Battleax Sat 23-Jun-18 13:27:20

DOSSING on his dime^ smile

SharpLily Sat 23-Jun-18 13:28:15

@Havetothink with the exception of child care, which I simply couldn't afford so DH very helpfully pays for that.

I don't mean to be rude but are you fucking kidding me? Your husband contributing towards the care of the child who he is 50% responsible for is very helpful? Every parent should be contributing at least 50% in one way or another - emotionally, practically, financially, however you choose to share it out. Do you also consider he's being helpful if he changes a nappy or takes your child out for an hour to give you a break? I realise I'm coming down very hard on you @Havetothink and I don't know enough about your situation to comment on how you and your husband organise your lives, but try and read your post from an outside point of view and maybe you'll see why I'm so horrified.

EmmaJR1 Sat 23-Jun-18 13:34:02

@Chester1980 I'm on mat leave now and won't be returning to work at the end of it. We gave worked this out by having 2 joint account- 1 for all our bills both joint and personal. 1 for all other money which covers good petrol and equal pocket money. We have a savings account for what ever is left. My dh puts all the money in. BUT it's ours.

The only additional thing my dh has is a gym membership but once I'm recovered from baby body I'll find a hobby too.

It took me a VERY long time to feel comfortable with this and you gave to practice not feeling guilty about spending.

Bumpitybumper Sat 23-Jun-18 13:54:38

I am reading this thread like shock

How have women been hoodwinked into propping men up to this extent in some misguided bid to be "independent women"? Once children come along the equation of who has contributed what to a relationship becomes a whole lot more complicated as there is so much work involved that isn't financially renumerated but will benefit your family immensely. Being on maternity leave may mean you can only contribute the money from your SMP financially, however the biggest thing you are obviously contributing is the time and energy you are devoting to look after and care for the baby. The value of this can't be quantified and quite frankly I would say that it is many ways priceless. Does your DP feel bad that you are contributing this to the family and he isn't because he's busy at work? I'm guessing not so then why do you feel bad sharing the money he gets from going to work whilst you are busy doing your important role at home? I can hazard a guess that it's because you have been conditioned to think that the only contribution that really counts is money.

Havetothink Sat 23-Jun-18 14:17:27

SharpLily I understand what your saying and perhaps I didn't phrase it well. He does pay the entire amount of childcare, which is a big chunk of his salary and I don't see the harm in being grateful that he was happy to pay it without argument. We sat down together before I went back to work and calculated what we could afford individually and as a couple. I know other people where the financial change caused by having a baby has caused much more stress because the husband simply hadn't considered he would have to contribute more than his partner if she returns to work part time. My husband did more than his fair share of nappies without being asked, cooks dinner most nights and is a generally a considerate person. I guess I used the words 'very helpfully' because I don't like to assume or dictate how he spends his money, I want it to be his decision (as long as he makes the right one). In the past DH wasn't very good with money/saving and I have worked to encourage him to have good habits with money, but I do treat it as his money, not mine. I hope that makes sense?

Battleax Sat 23-Jun-18 14:34:29

because I don't like to assume or dictate how he spends his money, I want it to be his decision (as long as he makes the right one). I

Now you’ve swerved from sounding subservient to sounding sinister 😂

Havetothink Sat 23-Jun-18 14:39:26

Lol, can't win smile

Battleax Sat 23-Jun-18 15:04:44


Mhcb Sat 23-Jun-18 15:05:42

Every couple have there own way of doing things. Personally my partner pays mortgage, council tax and I pay the food and gas/electric. I pay much less than him but the extra I have been putting away to help when I am on maternity.

We both know what the other earns just I am better money wise so he likes to pay the majority so I can save for our family.

Havetothink Sat 23-Jun-18 15:15:35

Defiantly not subservient though. Husband knew what he was getting when he married me and it's anything but subservient. We're both strong willed individuals, so important decisions are always discussed/decided between us, it wouldn't work any other way. Together 13 years so far, so something must be working smile

Di11y Sat 23-Jun-18 15:43:31

Could you suggest a joint account which you both contribute to? And a regular personal spends account each?

You contribute what you can, so full salary (and debt payment comes from personal spends account) for now and child tax payment when smp runs dry.

There's going to be lots of child related costs and you need to have an easy way to sort these.

grasspigeons Sat 23-Jun-18 16:16:51

if you asked him I don't think he'd see it as a handout, I think he'd see it as a fair contribution and I'd be a bit concerned at a father that couldn't see all the stuff his partner was going through and think i'll just quietly pay the mortgage this month, she's just done 24 hours in labour, her nipples are bleeding and she cant sit down without an icepack.

In the longer term there are so many ways of doing finances - we added our salaries together and worked out he earns 60% of our income. So he pays 60% of the cost of joint account stuff (mortgage, council tax, food shopping, tv licence, gas, water, electric etc) We each keeps what's left over as our own money.

Its not perfect but its one system. I think if I'd had my time over I'd have everything paid into one account which all the bills came from and then what ever was left at the end of the month, split equally between us and sent into a private account which we could do whatever we wanted with - a month in arrears.

Brown76 Sat 23-Jun-18 16:19:55

We pay a share of bills based on what % of income we each earn of our joint total. So before kids, earning the same, each paid 50% if joint bills. Post kids, me on May leave, he earned 80 of our joint income so paid 80% of bills (this still left him with lots more disposable income than me, I reclassified kids activities, clothing, transport as joint essentials). Now I'm at work part time it's about 60/40 split.

SharpLily Sat 23-Jun-18 17:22:32

I know other people where the financial change caused by having a baby has caused much more stress because the husband simply hadn't considered he would have to contribute more than his partner if she returns to work part time.

I didn't mean to make a personal attack on you, *@Havetothink*, but I keep coming across this sort of idea on Mumsnet and I just cannot understand these men who can't see that making another human being changes the equation completely, that it will never again simply be a case of 50/50.

I keep reading about men who are annoyed that having popped out a baby which (presumably in most cases) they had an equal part in creating and also wanted, the mother is not able to continue seamlessly with the same financial contribution, and who apparently also consider that they are the ones who go to work all day and so when they come home in the evening they shouldn't have to do anything. Meanwhile the wife is being vomited, pissed and shat upon all day while trying to run a house on sleepless nights and get to grips with what motherhood has done to her body, her career, her social life and her personality - but apparently that's not real work! Gah!

I know I'm having a bit of a rant band fortunately I don't know too many of these arseholes in real life but I do repeatedly read about them here and I cannot get over how oblivious they are to what is happening to their wife, their household and how they cannot comprehend the new status of 'family'.

Any man who carries on working without a blip but expects his wife to carry on with unchanged financial arrangements while she has to stop work to care for HIS child is a fucking moron.

I don't mean to cast aspersions on your husband, *@Havetothink*, I'm sure he's lovely! grin

Imchlibob Sat 23-Jun-18 17:23:49

It seems more weird and unacceptable to me that your DP should suffer no particular impact to his wallet while you are, for the same of the family unit taking a blow to your earnings that could (if you end up reducing your hours, choosing only jobs with family friendly hours or even not going back to work at all for a while) seriously cripple your earning power permanently. For me the only sensible solution was to make all assets and income jointly owned. You will both be working very hard, with some work being done for the benefit of an external organisation (his employer) who pays money, and some being done for the family unit which is unpaid. Therefore clearly all the money should be pooled.

If you really want to keep finances separate then obviously he should be paying some of his salary to you as if the childcare and household labour was being equally split you would both have to have 50%FTE part time jobs with mirror hours. If you are swapping that egalitarian model for something where he specialises in working out of the house and you are at home - even if just temporarily during maternity leave - then he owes you recompense for relieving him of his fair responsibilities.

Imchlibob Sat 23-Jun-18 17:28:18

Typo above sorry same=sake

Changenameday Sat 23-Jun-18 17:39:32

I could’ve written most of these posts, up until now I earnt slightly more than my DH but I had to get a car on finance so we still split everything down the middle, we recently relocated for his job and being 28 weeks I haven’t been able to get another job.

We are very fortunate to be in a position where we can live off just his salary but I’m struggling to depend on him for my phone payment when I’ve always had my own money. Hopefully will feel better once I’m actually contributing in terms of actually having the baby to look after and maternity allowance!

Loulabelle25 Sat 23-Jun-18 18:27:22

I completely understand the anxiety around being financially dependent on your husband. My parents were separated so I grew up predominately in household run on my mother’s income. My dad paid maintenance but it was tough for my mum and seeing that struggle, I think, has drummed into me a fierce need to be finiancially idependent. I know for example, that should worst happen, I can manage the mortgage and bills on just my income currently on my full time income without children. Although this will change, when we have our son and I do find that tough. I’ve also worked bloody hard to build a successful career! We currently split all bills about 60/40 - as husband earns more than I do anyway and we have a joint savings account which add to each month for our substantial house renovations.

When I go maternity leave, my husband is going to pay all of the bills. I’ve been saving additional money to cover me on SMP and the weeks I go down to nothing as I plan on taking the full year. I’ve saved as I can’t bear the though of asking my husband for money. That, however, is my issue. He very much views his money as ours - always has - it’s me being stubborn! Whilst I know, I’ll find being more finically reliant on my husband tough, my rational brain knows that I’ll be taken on other burdens that will more the even out the balance over all.

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