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Financial abuse or luxury?

(187 Posts)
hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:17:31

N/c as some posters know my RL identity.

Before we had DC, DH and I both had well paid professional jobs, at about the same level. However, I have now been a sahm for many years whilst DH has significantly progressed his career. My earning power is currently negligible relative to his.

Fast forward to now: DH likes to know what I spend, so I pay for everything on a credit card for which DH has the password so he can view the transactions. He keeps a real time spreadsheet of my expenditure split into categories which he looks at most days. There is no way for me to spend without it appearing on the spreadsheet (other than cash, and DH doesn't like me to get out cash).

My credit card bill consists mainly of family expenditure: food, insurance, car costs, DC clothes, holidays, vet bills etc The annual total is in the tens of thousands but it is well within our budget, and has still enabled us to make significant savings for retirement. I generally feel too guilty to spend money directly on myself but that is probably my own perception rather than imposed by DH who often buys me generous presents - he likes to choose my clothes and my jewellery.

DH also has a credit card, the monthly spend coming out of the joint account. I have no way of telling how much of that is business expenditure and how much is personal - it could be 100% business or it could be 100% personal. It does not appear on the spreadsheet. I feel it is up to him what he does with the money he has earned so that doesn't bother me.

Anyway, should I feel uncomfortable that DH has such a close monitoring of my spend, which I find a little infantalising, or is it reasonable of him to want to know where the money is going?

In short, I have no financial privacy, but I'm not sure why I want it.

A friend of mine tells me this is financial abuse .... even though DH has NEVER criticised me for overspending, or attempted to limit the amount.

BTW my DH works such long hours that I hardly see him and we live pretty separate lives so I do feel like a paid housekeeper sometimes and maybe that is the heart of my problem....... (the spreadsheet makes me feel like an employee providing receipts tbh).

Sorry about the long post; to refocus, my question is whether I should be insisting on financial privacy or not? Is this accountability reasonable and normal, or is it a strange way to live? Or am I simply jolly lucky?

ohbuggerhelp Wed 08-May-13 13:19:56


Controlling at best, abusive at worst.

And the line that he likes to choose your clothes made me wince.

eminemmerdale Wed 08-May-13 13:22:05

I think it's controlling too sad It must be lovely to have enough money to not worry and get bought lovely things but I'd feel really uncomforatble myself. How would he react if you said you wanted things to change?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:22:52

That sounds horrendous.

I'm a SAHM, with a relatively high earning DH. All our money is joint, DH couldn't care less what I spend and on what provided that I don't bankrupt us.

I do think you are experiencing financial abuse, because your DH's habit of checking so closely has got you tiptoeing about how much you spend without him having to actually say 'do not spend XYZ'. He likes to choose your clothes for you? WTF??

What would happen if you went and spent £1000 on clothes that he didn't like?

CockyFox Wed 08-May-13 13:23:04

I think it is reasonable for him to want to know where the money is going but I don't think its reasonable fir hin to not want you to have cash. It seems to controlling for me, the only way for a one income family to work is with complete transparency and equal access to all the money.

EarthtoMajorTom Wed 08-May-13 13:23:11

I think you know... Your penultimate paragraph is very telling.
Why doesn't he want you to get out cash?
And what would happen if you asked for financial privacy?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 13:23:15

Can I just say that my toes curled when you said he likes to choose your clothes and jewellery... you're a grown women & not a doll to be dressed up and decorated... hmm

I'm not sure if it's financial abuse but it's certainly not equal. If CC receipts are going to be logged on a spreadsheet then they must ALL be logged. Full disclosure for EVERYONE. Then it becomes a family budgeting exercise rather than him checking up on you and you alone which is positively creepy. If he doesn't disclose his expenditure, neither should you.

WillieWaggledagger Wed 08-May-13 13:26:12

what would he say if you suggested keeping a spreadsheet on (or at least access to the details of) his spending?

it does sound very controlling and very much like he sees it as his money that you are spending, rather than family finances

annh Wed 08-May-13 13:29:20

He looks at the spreadsheet most days?! Why? If you were a family on a very tight budget, there might be justification for seeing if you had enough money to pay a large bill or get to the end of the month or something but from your post, it sounds as if even if you made an unexpected purchase of a couple of hundred pounds this would make no difference to your finances. So wtf is the obsessive checking of the spreadsheet about????

And you don't like to buy your own clothes? Does your husband realise that you are a grown-up and your marriage is a partnership or does he think that he married some brainless ball of fluff who couldn't possibly be taxed with managing grown-up stuff like money?

detoxlatte Wed 08-May-13 13:32:03

I think it is very sensible for a household to know where money is being spent, and a spreadsheet sounds like an excellent idea.

However, this should apply as much to him as to you (household expenditure, not wife's expenditure), and it should make no difference whether you spend cash or credit for these purposes (you just tell him where the cash went, or input it yourself).

My Mum has kept a record of every single penny she has spent in her 40+ years of marriage. Never ever has my Dad passed a comment on what she has spent or how she has spent it, other than at the beginning of the year to say stuff like "did you know that we spent £[shocking number] at the butcher last year".

Nor has he ever decided what clothes or jewelry my Mum wears sad .

worsestershiresauce Wed 08-May-13 13:32:32

I'm in a similar position in that I gave up my career and largely use a credit card for expenditure, and DH has a card that covers work and personal. Difference is I do the household admin so see both sets of credit card statements, and he queries nothing (unless the bill is huge and wipes out his account... e.g. when I paid for the new carpet by card). The other difference is he has no rules on cash use. I tend not to use cash much out of personal preference, not because I'm told not to.

Your DH sounds very controlling and a bit off putting to be honest. I'm sure there isn't anything sinister about it but it would really put my back up.

unebagpipe Wed 08-May-13 13:33:32

Controlling. I think you should have a look at how much you usually spend on yourself and your dc and take it out as cash instead so you are not being 'tracked'.

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:37:50

I suppose we both feel that it is indeed HIS money as he is the one that goes out and earns it.....whether or not I might have achieved the same high flying career had I not become a SAHM, I guess I will never know.

If I go out and spend money on clothes (I have done this before) then he tells me that they didn't suit me/ made me look frumpy/ were cheap looking. He doesn't make me take them back but he does make me not want to wear them. To be fair, he buys me much more expensive clothes than I would buy myself. He says he has more taste than I do. He probably does.

If I asked to see his CC bill I think he would be very cross indeed - he would say it was his work card (it is) but I know he puts personal expenditure on it too as he uses it when we go for meals out. Whenever I have accidentally come across his receipts, they are always for meals out and drinks. His job (unusually for his profession) involves business entertaining on a fairly regular basis. I can hardly complain as he is very successful so must be doing something right.

I guess I am conflicted after all this time as to what is "family" money and what is his money. In our early years together we both earned the same so I felt more independent. It's too late to go back to that now so I am stuck with being a dependent.

The other thing that worries me is that he keeps the passwords to our savings accounts online which makes me nervous that we could lose our life savings. I have asked him not to do that but he says I am being neurotic. He has the passwords to accounts that are in my sole name which I know he is not supposed to have but he looks at me like I am mad when I tell him that I could be in trouble for telling him the passwords (and him then noting them all down).

I just can't tell still whether his position is completely rational - he does just want transparency.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 13:39:34

It sounds a little weird. Does he ever comment on what you buy?
Personally, if I was a SAHM, I would want my own bank account and a certain amount paid in each month for me to spend as I wanted.

unebagpipe Wed 08-May-13 13:42:40

Your money should be treated as joint money. Otherwise you are unpaid and unrewarded for a very important role at home. How rude about your clothes. Why do you believe him? I'd tell my DH to wind his neck in. You sound lacking in confidence and self-belief. Would you like a part time job?

WhereDoAllTheCalculatorsGo Wed 08-May-13 13:42:43

I think you should ask him to stop putting your expenditure onto his spreadsheet and then decide if he is being abusive and controlling when he has responded to your request.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:43:25

His job involves entertaining which is unusual for his profession?

Are you certain he isn't having an affair? It would explain the secrecy and the fact that he treats you like an employee.

I think he sounds like a controlling wanker. He knows better than you what you should wear? hmm

WillieWaggledagger Wed 08-May-13 13:44:18

yes but the transparency is only working one way, and it's not just the financial transparency either is it? he wants to control other aspects too

i keep spreadsheets of my personal and our joint spending and check receipts against credit card bills etc, i think it's sensible, but this sounds different

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:45:29

annh you are right: even an unexpected purchase of a few thousand pounds would make no difference. That is why I should consider myself lucky.

I started thinking about this because I have been trying to reduce the food bill (which is very large from Waitrose) so that I can justify buying myself a computer of my own but then thought how ridiculous when DH earns nearly 7 figures....I should just ask him for a computer.....atm the DC have a computer each, DH has a work one but I only have the "family" one so have nothing private (I Mumsnet on incognito mode and hope that the auto back up doesn't capture it).

But why do I feel the need for secrets? And how entitled must I be to want a computer "of my own". Maybe this is a middle aged crisis.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 13:45:51

x-posted and it all got a bit weirder.
Answer this, if he walked out tomorrow, what access to cash would you have? Not saying he will, but seriously, you are in a very vulnerable financial position. You don't even have the password to your own accounts? This needs sorting and you need a more financial independence.
Oh and ignore the comments about clothes and you are not stuck with being a dependent, you can always change the situation.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:47:46

You should not just ask him for a computer, you should just go and buy one.

It isn't his money, it is your joint money.

What would happen if you changed the passwords on your accounts to ones that he doesn't know?

maras2 Wed 08-May-13 13:49:05

Holy God ! Why does he choose your clothes and jewelry < weirdo > Him not you ...... although ....

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:50:44

parabelle Technically, all the savings accounts are in my name (for tax) but if DH walked out, I expect he would first use the passwords to transfer out all the money. I don't expect him to do that, by the way!

bagpipe Yes, I would love a part time job but don't feel I can justify the disruption to the household for the earning of some pin money that would make no difference to our standard of living whereas me being on call is a valuable service. It would cost more to replace me at home than I could earn, I reckon.

alibaba an affair has crossed my mind but then I think I must be a nasty person as I think really he is working his socks off.

ohbuggerhelp Wed 08-May-13 13:51:27

No amount of money in the world would make me want to live like you are.
It's making me shudder to read it and reminds of the Julia Roberts film, Sleeping with the Enemy, if I'm honest.

And yes to him having an affair.

Whowhowhoswho Wed 08-May-13 13:51:47

I am in a similar situation to you.

I am Sahm. Although children are no longer dependant. My husband makes me put everything I spend on credit card which he pays off. I don't have cash. We don't have joint accounts. All groceries, petrol etc all go on the card. He goes through the statement every month. It always causes an argument.

He always has lots of cash in his wallet also has his own business credit card that I don't see. Same as your oh. He is very flashy outside the house.

He buys me expensive shoes (jimmy choo his favourite) then tells his mates what an expensive girl I am. Which is just rubbish

When I told my mum she was mortified. She says its the worst kind of abuse there is. He is very controlling. Been together 23 years.

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