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We can't seem to talk about money, I have no idea what's going on with our money, and he just can't talk abut it

(63 Posts)
wheresmyslippers Mon 29-Oct-12 16:50:47

Hi, I post now and then and I'm going to try and not give out too much detail so I don't out myself.

I seem to be having some money troubles in my marrage. Sorry this is long!

Myself and my husband both worked full time untill we had a baby. I then took maternity leave, and then left my job after doing the three months needed to keep my maternity money. We did this as we both agreed we didn't want to use childcare. He remains in full time work. We have a joint account that we pay all the bills etc from. Anything left was then our own money, and this joint account remains.

While raising our child I have also worked from home running my own busness. I saved up some money before I went in leave so I could continue to pay into the bills account and pay my way while on maternity, and once I left work.

I still pay into the bills account, it's not much but it's something, and I also pay myself a small allowance from the money I make from my small business. I don't take any money from my husband for myself. I have just managed to cover this from my business, I don't make any extra money or save any money.

My husband pays everything else, including all the bills and the mortgage. Any money left from his wage is then for him to pay for work related expenses such as lunch and petrol, and of course his own monthly allowance. Without going into facts and figures he gets around 3 x as much money as me to spend on himself, once he has paid for work related expenses.

My husband also has a sideline business which he uses to pay into the joint account too. This money is what mostly covers what I don't pay in anymore. I don't have any sight of this account, but I understand that we only take half the profit from this account every month to cover what I don't earn anymore. It also covers the difference in our mortgage when we moved house after I had left work, but we did agree this is where the extra money would come from.

Recently my husband has been worried about money, and he finds it hard to talk about it though. He sometimes tells me that he can't keep taking money from his sideline business to cover what I don't pay, and asks when I will make enough money to pay what I should be into the joint account again. I have explained how hard it is to work and raise a child, and that I need our child to be in school before I can earn proper money again.

He has also said that he has been taking extra money for himself from the sideline business, and he can't keep doing this anymore. He says this is to pay for things that the house needs, that I want. But I don't ask for anything, I even buy all our child's clothes and pay for his pre school fees.

Recently we were given some money by his family, and I made a spreadsheet to manage what we spent it on. This is what we have actually used for house things, and when I tot it up we have spent a third of the money. But he has told me that there is only a tenth of it left. He refuses to help me go through the spreahsheet and workout where it has gone, says he feels anxious about it and its like I am accusing him of wasting money.

I don't know how to get a handle on things. I am super carefull with my money and spend very little, my husband does buy himself nice things, but he always seems to need them for work or something.

I only have sight of my own account and the joint. I can't see his, or the sideline business account.

He makes me feel worried about bringing up money with him, to the extent that when the tumble drier recently broke I was very worried about telling him and his reaction.

He also makes me feel bad for not working a full time job anymore, and that it's my fault we can't eat out as much as we used to or have everything we want. It makes me feel a bit worthless really. I think this is made worse when he buys himself something nice and fancy, and has nice lunches out, and I'm living on very little (although we have a lovely home with nice things like a new kitchen, so that makes it hard to feel hard done by). He seems to have more of a go at me for not earning much when I manage to save enough of my allowance to go out for dinner with my friends, which is rare, like I shouldn't have enough for these things as I don't earn as much as him, or that if I can afford things like that then I should pay more into the joint account so he can keep more in his sideline business, or have more spare money himself.

What can I do? Is our setup normal? How do other married couples with kids balance the books together? It's all starting to get me down and I feel we need to get it sorted. I'm just looking for some sympathy and good advice please.

Reading that back that's a massive post, so thanks for reading!

raskolnikov Mon 29-Oct-12 17:06:48

It sounds to me as if he's feeling guilty about taking too much money out of the 'pot' and doesn't want to admit he's not managing the finances very well.

I gave up a city job when XH and I had kids but always worked one way or another and managed to get a business going, so we always managed. I do think the responsibility weighs heavily on the H when the W gives up work - they are expected to maintain a reasonable standard of living on one salary instead of two (altho I realise you're contributing too).

Why not sit him down and explain that you're getting concerned about your finances - you realise that he's got a lot of expenditure to cover now and that you're doing what you can, but you think it would help you both if you looked at it together to find out how you can both manage it and find a solution - I'm sure he'd rather share the problem as long as it doesn't look as if he's failed to cope. Of course there's always the possibility that he's used some of the money for things you don't know about - the more relaxed you can be about discussing it, the better, I'd say.

wheresmyslippers Mon 29-Oct-12 17:21:02

I think he is feeling guilty, and I'm wondering if I just say we will draw a line on past spending, and then sort it out from here that would help? I just want to get a hold of things and I have no idea what's going on. Or does that just mean I'm being a right doormat?

CogitoEerilySpooky Mon 29-Oct-12 17:28:01

Definitely say you want to set up a 'meeting' where you can go through all the family finances, all the accounts, all the credit cards, the savings and so on. That's pretty basic if you're a family. It isn't right that you are made to feel as though you aren't contributing. Your DC is your joint responsibility, it was a joint decision for you to stay at home and you should not be treated as a freeloader.

Personal cash should be equal IMHO. You shouldn't be scraping along while he gets to buy fancy goods etc. Your allowance is therefore too low or his is too high - you need to work out which.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Oct-12 17:43:07

No, this set up wouldn't be normal for me. We never had 'his' and 'hers' money. I recognised that childcare is a job and everything I earned while DH stayed home went into a joint current account and/or a joint savings account.

I'm afraid I'd have serious problems living with someone who treated me like your husband or like some kind of poor relation who wasn't earning her keep.

I would not have agreed to such an arrangement before TTC with my spouse and if my spouse tried to pull such an arrangement on me after the fact and was inflexible, then I'd prefer to live on my own and earn on my own.

wheresmyslippers Mon 29-Oct-12 17:45:32

Expat, what you have said kinda confirms what I was worried people would say, that its not normal, and we have a bit of a problem. Maybe one that's bigger than just the money.

I think it's that worry that's getting me down, rather than the money thing itself perhaps.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Oct-12 17:49:30

I think you should work out for yourself what you feel would be an acceptable arrangement, then schedule a meeting with him.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Oct-12 17:50:19

Oh, and I was the one who went to work while DH stayed home. I considered that a vital job, not one in which he was sponging off me or not earning his keep or any other warped thing like that.

wheresmyslippers Mon 29-Oct-12 18:00:21

Blergh, I need a glass of wine and a big think, I think things may have got warped.

Portofino Mon 29-Oct-12 18:05:08

Totally agree with Expat. Your money should be family money. To me the only fair way to do it, is stick it ALL in the pot, work out how much is needed for bills, how much you want/can afford to save long/short term - then divide the rest equally as spending money.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Oct-12 18:05:59

Spend some time having a hard think about what feel is acceptable, and then tell him you need to schedule a meeting to discuss finances.

If he refuses, I'd see a counsellor on my own about how to deal, because refusing to speak to your spouse or partner about something so serious is a BIG problem.

Portofino Mon 29-Oct-12 18:06:14

I would also include an amount for the dcs so that their costs don't come from YOUR portion.

BettyandDon Mon 29-Oct-12 18:25:32

I'm a SAHM too and we split what is left equally, with a pot allocated for kids before this.

What I have found is that it is much easier for me to get by on a relatively small amount of money than him because of work related expenses, by this I mean work lunches, work clothes etc. He has to avoid going to the pub at lunch when all his colleagues are because he can't afford to buy a round and it looks odd for him not to offer for example. He can't attend leaving drinks either for the same reason. I wonder if this is playing a part for your DH ?

It sounds like you are finding it easier to cut back than him. There could be all sorts of reasons for this.

If there is genuinely not enough money coming into the house then you need to discuss it. Could he get a promotion / new job / negotiate a rise in Jan ? Or could you come to a free childcare arrangment with a friend or relative to allow you to work more ?

I would try to be constructive about the future rather than blame him for what's going on now.

ToothbrushThief Mon 29-Oct-12 18:33:36

Any chance he's either gambling or hiding debts?

Money in a relationship is a major issue for me. I cannot contemplate the system that many promote of sharing everything... I did once and lived like you...scrimping and scraping whilst unable to control finances. Once he'd gone I found out I could manage all bills on my own and had money left over. (Not sure how we had had his wage and were worse off..... hmm )

Cahoots Mon 29-Oct-12 18:40:44

This situation certainly wouldn't be normal for our family. Our money has always been ours regardless of whether I was working or not. There is no secrecy about who spends what and neither of us has to ask permission to spend money for any reaon.
I think, as other posters have suggested, you need a proper 'meeting' with him to address your finances. You both need see all accounts/statements/bills etc. If he refuses I would question his motives, and I would start billing him for providing childcare and looking after the home.
You are his wife not a buisness partner and you deserve his respect. If he is not forthcoming it may be time to book a marriage guidance counsellor.
Good luck. I hope you get this sorted.

sillymummy11 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:00:27

ooh err wheresmyslippers your situation sounds a bit like mine was. .. I would suggest you share your information- lay all your cards on the table so that it is clear how much you have got in accounts etc. If your DH won't agree to this it may be he's hiding something.

wheresmyslippers Mon 29-Oct-12 19:33:17

Thanks for all the replies, I'm gonna have to cook dinner now, but will check in tomorrow am for any more advice. Looks like I'm going to have to have a meeting to sort this out, he's not gonna like it.

Sparkletastic Mon 29-Oct-12 19:43:56

I immediately thought of a hidden gambling habit or investments that have gone wrong. Whether its this, anxiety or him being controlling I think you have a major issue. DH and I completely pooled our finances as soon as we started living together. Ours - not yours and mine. If your DH's attitude persists you need to consider taking control of finances yourself or going back to work FT. Get it sorted before you consider having any more kids as it will be a horrendous pressure on your marriage.

wheresmyslippers Tue 30-Oct-12 07:10:38

Morning, thanks for replies on this. I'm going to suggest a meeting as you have all said and go from there. I kinda expect it to be refused though. I'm just gonna have tone brave and tell him it has to be done.

We are not having any more kids, our marriage was very rocky after the birth of our first kiddy, and he didn't cope very well with a baby in the house. So I won't be going through that experience again sparkletastic.

wheresmyslippers Tue 30-Oct-12 08:27:52

So after a chat, he has agreed to keep a track of his spending this month on a spreadsheet. But this is so he can prove to me that he doesn't have the money I think he does in his personal account.

This is because I told him how much money he should have once a portion of his wage has gone into the joint account. Which i calculated using the complex maths of "his wage - money that goes into joint account = money he has left"

I'm not sure how the spreadsheet will show me he has less money than I think.

We still need a proper meeting but as he got all arsy about it I didn't get that far.

Maybe the spreadsheet will at least mean he is making a note of his spending.

Portofino Tue 30-Oct-12 08:37:30

No - I don't beleive he needs to account for every penny he spends. What he needs to show you is HOW much he has in the bank, how much he earns on a monthly basis, and what proportion of that he is allocating towards bills/joint account vs keeping for himself. He knows you are on to him - hence arsiness.

wheresmyslippers Tue 30-Oct-12 08:42:01

I know portofino, I didn't ask him to make this spreadsheet, I asked that we sort out where the money is going and work out together where we can stop the overspending and get back on track.

I think its just smoke and mirrors. I know exactly what he earns, and how much of that goes in the joint. So I know exactly how much he has left over at the start of the month to pay for his spending (including work related spending).

For some reason he keeps saying that I am wrong, that he has nothing like that amount of money.

I feel like i'm going mental sometimes. How can my maths be wrong? its really simple.

Longdistance Tue 30-Oct-12 08:48:59

Good luck.

I hope it isn't anything like me finding out my dh has about £10,000 worth of shares tucked away in HIS name angry

It makes me soo mad that he thought it was ok to, ineffectively, gamble with our money. I now open all his post, and I really don't care, as he cannot be trusted.

He was wailing poverty at me, that we had no money. I know how much he earns, so was physically impossible to say to me we had no money greedy bastard he was squirreling the money away. If I find him doing it again, he'll be off.

He tried too wrote a spread sheet. He should be showing you bank statements. I've yet to see any myself from my h. Apparently we had $700 spare per month. Erm, no HE had $700 spare per month as it was in his bank account. The mind boggles.

DorisIsWaiting Tue 30-Oct-12 08:51:11

Surely he doesn't need to show you a spreadsheet. He has his bank statement.

I am a SAHM (just starting retraining after 3 DC) We have always put everything into the joint account then taken a (small) amount each month for personal use. If DH needs new work clothes etc then we discuss it, in fact we discuss most things. DH doesn't fuss much about the money I mostly manage it but he knows what is happening. All our bank statements are stored together in the same folder open and above board.

wheresmyslippers Tue 30-Oct-12 08:52:09

Longdistance, my hsusband would love to play the shares game, but I have always indicated that this wold be something done with 'spare' money. As we dont have any of this at the mo I really hope that's not what he is doing with it!

Im not sure if i have any chance of seeing his bank account, he doesnt want me to see.

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