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Am I being a princess?

205 replies

namechange165 · 31/03/2022 11:02

DH and I both earn decent salaries but have had a tight few years financially, with a couple of kids in full time childcare, a bit of debt to pay off, taking on a higher mortgage and a house that needs some work, etc. So although we have managed, we've been on an economy drive with no spare cash for fun things - no holiday since 2014, only the very occasional dinner out (maybe once every 3 months) to cheap places with the kids so we don't have to pay for a babysitter, no birthday/christmas presents for each other. Finally, the youngest child is now at preschool, we've paid off the debts, remortgaged at a better rate and finished doing the most expensive jobs in the house. We now have an extra £600-£800 per month, and will have even more come September when the youngest starts school. DH will also receive a 4 figure bonus at the end of April.

We both turned 40 during lockdown and had our 10 year wedding anniversary, but didn't do anything to celebrate. Now that we can afford it, I suggested going out to a fancy restaurant that we have both talked about going to for ages. It's not cheap, £70pp for 6 courses, but given it is to mark a total of 3 special occasions I thought we could push the boat this once. But he has reacted as though I have suggested blowing £50k on a faberge egg or something.

Apparently we absolutely cannot afford to do something so extravagant and it is a ridiculous suggestion to waste so much money on just one meal. I now feel like an unreasonable, spoilt princess for even suggesting it. But I also feel really deflated. What is the point in working so hard to have this spare cash if we can't enjoy at least a bit of it? We don't spend any real time together between the kids, work, housework and aside from the treat of going out for dinner I thought it would be lovely to reconnect a bit. AIBU?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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50DaysAF · 31/03/2022 12:27

I wouldn’t book behind his back, because surely that would take the excitement out of looking forward to it?

We were in a similar position with no one to babysit DC, a night out with taxi etc was a bit too much.

We got a small win on premium bonds and both agreed to go to a steakhouse we had been wanting to try as a treat. It was such a fun night. Felt free for the first time in a long time. We both did.

I’d talk to him again. You need something other then the daily drudge of life.

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 12:28

@Ipadflowers we have about £4k at the moment, aiming to save around £400 per month. His bonus will be in the region of £5k so that will bump it up a good bit. I also have around £500 put away separately saving towards a 2023 holiday. Going out will still allow us to do all this. We definitely need to build up a bigger savings pot but at the moment between extra disposable income and the money we have to put away, we can definitely afford the meal.

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longwayoff · 31/03/2022 12:28

Sounds like a bit of a bargain tell him you're going to snap it up now as it will cost a lot more in a couple of months. But don't do it as a surprise, imagine wasting the money if he sulks throughout the meal.

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RandomQuest · 31/03/2022 12:30

I think he’s made it very clear he doesn’t want to do it so I would not book it as a surprise but I would get a babysitter and go somewhere more low key. You don’t need to spend £100s to reconnect. There’s loads of options in between pizza express with the kids and Michelin tasting menu and it’s spending the time together, without the children, that matters. Baby steps to get out of that rut Smile

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anotherotherone · 31/03/2022 12:31

£70 for six courses is a bargain! Blimey, people spend more than that on takeaways or Starbucks in a week. You sound like you can easily afford it. What is wrong with him?

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Futuroute · 31/03/2022 12:34

@anotherotherone

£70 for six courses is a bargain! Blimey, people spend more than that on takeaways or Starbucks in a week. You sound like you can easily afford it. What is wrong with him?

I struggle to see how a single meal could be worth £70, however well-prepared it was. It's food - you'll eat it, hopefully enjoy it, and then it will be gone.

FWIW I think it would be an equal waste to spend £70 per week on takeaways, however, at least the takeaways would feed you over several days rather than a single night.
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araiwa · 31/03/2022 12:34

@nearlyspringyay

£79 for six courses isn't expensive.

I'd go with a friend. There has to be a balance between sensible and living an enjoyable life.

You would go out with a friend to celebrate your wedding anniversary? Confused
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Horriblewoman · 31/03/2022 12:37

Given your update on your savings I think he's being miserly.

But then again I am someone who is lucky enough to consider £70 a person for a 6 course dinner really good value and I'm spending a small part of my bonus taking my husband to a fancy hotel because I want to use it to create lovely memories. The rest is firmly being locked away in savings.

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Ginandvomits · 31/03/2022 12:40

I feel your pain OP having been through something similar, both on good salaries but even bigger outgoings with childcare and multiple renovations across several house sales, purchases etc with strict budgets and penny pinching to enable us to achieve our goals.

My take on this, is you get used to counting pennies everyday and it's difficult to break the habit without feeling guilty. Start small with a takeaway here and there, or alternatively just book it and surprise him and hope he reacts well.
You have to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour as you can't take it with you.

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MrsSkylerWhite · 31/03/2022 12:40

anotherotherone

£70 for six courses is a bargain! Blimey, people spend more than that on takeaways or Starbucks in a week.”

Do they 😳

Which people? That’s staggering.

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spuddy56 · 31/03/2022 12:41

OP i think I've probably got in the habit of being like your husband. I used to be the more frivolous one but after years of saving for a deposit and all the covid financial insecurity (and now inflation and energy bills) I've become terrified about spending money despite being better off than I ever have been. (Still not rich of course!). My previous slightly stingy partner is now trying to get me to enjoy our earnings a bit more. Not sure what the way out is, just wanted to let you know that he maybe feels the same way and his feelings aren't necessarily based on logic.

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 12:41

I get the point about doing something cheaper as a compromise, but I would much rather do one really nice meal that feels like a proper treat rather than 3 or 4 mediocre meals adding up to the same cost. He loves good food and the whole restaurant experience, I think it has just been so long since we did anything beyond the local pizza place with the kids that he has just kind of forgotten how much he likes it. Main problem is that we live in a small village so to go anywhere except the couple of local places near us, we will need taxis there and back which will cost around £40. And even locally we will need to pay for a babysitter. So the main cost difference would be the extra cost of the food compared to what we would pay somewhere cheaper. Think we'd probably end up paying £40pp for food at a standard place, so fancy place will likely be around £60 more expensive in total - so a definitely a difference, but in my opinion worth paying for something really special that I know he would enjoy one he lets himself!

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Ponoka7 · 31/03/2022 12:41

You going there, is the equivalent of going to weather spoons, or a carvery for people close to minimum wage. I'm with you on what's the point of earning it if you can't enjoy it. He now needs to revaluate based on your disposable income.

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Futuroute · 31/03/2022 12:43

in my opinion worth paying for something really special that I know he would enjoy one he lets himself

Can he not be trusted to decide for himself what he would enjoy? If someone took this attitude towards my doing something I'd expressed reluctance about, I'd find it presumptuous.

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Baffy · 31/03/2022 12:43

I genuinely think he's just got too used to being careful with money and as you say, needs to be reminded that it's nice to treat yourselves once in a while.

I worry slightly that the 'surprise' idea could backfire if he doesn't take it well on the night. But maybe a bit of middle ground - where you book as your treat and print him a little invite/card type thing to say 'in honour of your 40th, his 40th, your 10 year anniversary, paying off the mortgage etc etc...' you are going out for a special treat on xx date at xx time.

That way it reminds him just what this is all for, and possibly gives you a few weeks if he doesn't take it well and needs to get his head around it!

You definitely sound like you both deserve it!

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FiddlefigOnTheRoof · 31/03/2022 12:44

I’m really surprised you haven’t done anything for 7 years - not even a £2 present like a secondhand book or bunch of daffodils, or something handmade like a home made cake? The reason I ask is that people get into habits. Spending effort and time (and you may money if available) into making the other person feel special and getting a smile on their face - it’s a habit or routine, and possibly he just doesn’t expect to have to do it and isn’t used to it if he’s made zero sacrifice for a while. We all behave up to expectations and if I were you I’d recalibrate his expectations immediately with a long and loving chat about your needs.

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Knittingchamp · 31/03/2022 12:44

OP tell him fair enough, but you want to be treated like a princess so can he please make that happen at home with I don't know, beautiful cooked meal he makes, petals on the bed, hot bath with your favourite bath products Netflix n chill, whatever. Doesn't have to be pricey and also what's wrong in acting like a princess when you more than deserve to be spoilt?

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Sally872 · 31/03/2022 12:44

It's probably because you have been restricted for so long he can't justify that money on a meal. I expect it isn't the actual total cash value that is a problem just spending that on a dinner.

I agree with you that as it is affordable and an occasional treat you absolutely should go all out. But if he will sit there feeling ill at the cost I would just dial it back a bit. Somewhere nice but not quite so expensive that you will both enjoy.

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 12:45

@spuddy56 how do you think you would feel if your husband surprised you with a meal like this? Do you think you would be able to accept it is a special occasion, the money is taken care of and enjoy it? Or do you think you would be analysing every bite trying to work out how much it is costing you?!

Oh and we most definitely do NOT spend £70 per week on takeaways!!!

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Gowithme · 31/03/2022 12:45

Yeah I think having worked so hard to save money - well done both of you!! - you deserve to have a treat. But he might be uncomfortable to go from saving so crazily to £70 a head (although for 6 courses I think that's very good) plus drinks of course. So I think your idea of paying for it yourself as 'a treat' and reminding him that eating out somewhere nice is a lovely thing to do is a great idea.

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FiddlefigOnTheRoof · 31/03/2022 12:46

I’d also look at the point you made about not spending real time together - that would be a major priority for me, once you had babysitting money.

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MollyRover · 31/03/2022 12:46

He could be a bit traumatized (for want of a better word) from the financial rut you've all been stuck in though. I can definitely understand that, I was a bit miserly myself for a while after being taken to the cleaners a few years ago. It took me a long time to do anything for myself and I still tend to agonize over very trivial purchases sometimes.

If I were you I would let him know that you would really like to celebrate somehow, that you both deserve it, and ask what we he suggest doing as a compromise?

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merryhouse · 31/03/2022 12:46

(First, to get it out of the way: yes, £70 a head counts as a fancy restaurant, but it's hardly The Fat Duck...)

The unexpanded "debts" you were paying off: what were they?

Were they more from his spending or yours?

Were they from frittery thoughtless things, like going out to expensive restaurants?

He may have started to think that if you're not careful you're going to slip into the spending habits you had before. (NB "you" intended as plural in both instances there)

You need to discuss a Frittery Annual Budget, and that without having something in mind to spend it on.

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Fritilleries · 31/03/2022 12:48

It's gonna be a long marriage if he's so mean. 70 on 6 courses is an absolute steal. Go for it.

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Fundays12 · 31/03/2022 12:49

I don’t think you are being a princess but equally I think £70 pp is a huge amount on a meal but I am more of a cheaper dinner then theatre show type of person.

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