Am I being a princess?
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?
Am I being unreasonable?AIBU
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billy1966 · 31/03/2022 13:29
I can well understand your disappointment.
You are not the least bit princessy.
7 years of saving.
7 long bloody years and a one night treat is too much for him to stomach.
I think what it represents is a huge part of your disappointment.
Don't dream of buying it as a surprise.
I think you need to articulate VERY clearly how deeply disappointed you are in his attitude.
How mean and joyless it has come across as.
Tell him you feel disconnected from him. His attitude to you spending time together doing what would have been a special treat, has confirmed the disconnect.
You have spent years focusing on house, children, being practical, and he couldn't see the value on one special evening to reward yourselves for all the sacrifice.
I would tell him that with his attitude the next 20 years looks fairly miserable.
That all that has been achieved and sacrificed for, rings really hollow, if he has turned into a joyless tight old man....at only 40.
Men can get a bit joyless and miserable as they get older, hence the grumpy old man parody, but it is real and women get allergic to it.
Don't let this go.
He needs it spelt out to him.
Life with a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing is not fun.
tillytoodles1 · 31/03/2022 13:29
Who cooks at home? I used to do all the cooking as my husband didn't have a clue. He thought eating out was a waste, but I loved it.
Fairyflaps · 31/03/2022 13:32
We spent several years (more than 7 looking back at it!) having to be careful with our money when the children were young, for similar reasons to you - costs of childcare, things that needed doing on the house. The worry about having money left at the end of each month or for any emergencies that came up.
We are now better off, but being careful has become a habit. And although we could afford £300 on a night out, we would find it hard to justify it to ourselves. So I can see where your DH is coming from. Dh and I are on a similar wavelength to each other, which makes it easier.
Now our youngest is in his late teens, and we no longer need babysitters, we do go out together quite often. And we are lucky that where we live there are a lot of places we go out to which are very good and which come to under £100 for both of us.
Honeyroar · 31/03/2022 13:33
If you had gone out for lower key meals somewhere to celebrate your 40th, the wedding anniversary and his 40th you’d probably have spent more than that anyway. I’m a bit of a scrimper/meanie, but every now and again I book something as a treat for a special occasion (theatre and meal etc). I wouldn’t go into debt for it, but you’ve got to have some fun now and again!
moreshitandnofuckingredemption · 31/03/2022 13:40
This is a good point
Underfrighter · 31/03/2022 13:42
Wanting to spend some money that you can afford on something that you will both enjoy for a special occasion does not make you a princess!
I agree with PP saying once you've got into the habit of pinching every penny it does feel a bit uncomfortable spending on something that isnt 'good value'. So he might just need to get used to the idea.
If you're saving a few hundred a month and don't need to dip into savings though he is being OTT.
I wouldn't surprise him, most people would be mad at being surprised with something they had said they didnt want to do.
But you do need to talk to him. You were ok the same page when times were tough and its hardly like you're going overboard now and spending beyond your means. Finances are a joint decision so there needs to be some compromise and he shouldn't be able to veto something that in the grand scheme of things makes no difference to your family finances. It's not going to affect whether you can pay for a car or boiler if one breaks, what education your kids her or when you retire. It's one meal.
You both have spending money that you should be able to agree to spend on personal things without sign off from the other person. I dont think I would use this to take him though, he shouldn't get to say your choice is ridiculous and then benefit from it whilst feeling all virtuous for saving 'his' money. So maybe in this instance going with a friend would be a good compromise as half the cost of the meal and no babysitters. I would then try and talk to him about reconnecting eg have a no phone or th night, put on some music and have a nice home cooked meal to try and spend some quality time
RosiePosieDozy · 31/03/2022 13:43
Maybe he was just shocked at the price and like you said can't fathom spending this much on a meal for two.
If I was you, I would talk to him about how you thought it would be nice to celebrate the recent occasions and finally get to have some quality time and indulge together. You could find a place that doesn't cost quite as much.
You're not being a princess but I don't think he is being tight either. It's a lot of money to spend and we all have different ideas about what's expensive and what's not.
Underfrighter · 31/03/2022 13:43
What I'm trying to say is the money is half yours so you can spend your share of fun money on what you choose within reason
diddl · 31/03/2022 13:44
It doesn't seem that much to celebrate 2 birthdays & an anniversary!
cookiemonster2468 · 31/03/2022 13:44
Food/ eating out is a funny one, because some people really value and appreciate a fancy meal even though it's gone in an hour or two, others see it as 'just food' and really wouldn't appreciate the experience.
It sounds like you and your husband just have different views on it as an experience and he can't understand why you would want to spend all that money.
I'd try to encourage him to think about things he spends money on and values, and how that's different for different people, and this is something that you would really enjoy and value.
If he can't see that then it's just a breakdown of communication and empathy isn't it? If he's not willing to try and see your perspective and accept it's different to his then he doesn't sound particularly caring.
whenwilliwillibefamous · 31/03/2022 13:44
OP, regardless of this, it's certainly a good idea to sit down together to work out how the finances stand and work through various emergency scenarios. What if one (or both) of you gets sick, loses their job, one of the kids becomes ill and someone has to quit their job to look after them, what if the boiler goes, does the house insurance cover it if one of the kids floods the house,....
You can insure quite a few of these eventualities btw.
Then talk about your retirement plans. How are they doing?
Then shorter term stuff - holidays, replacement cars, and later, uni costs for the kids.
After all that you should both have a much clearer, firmer idea of how much you feel you can spare. Though you may still have different ideas about that, because essentially, the more you save the earlier you can retire; this may be more important to one of you.
And then say to him, is it that you never want to have a nice splash out, or .... Just not now? Would a couple of years' time be better? Is it that it just seems too extravagant and he'd be happy to spend the same on a day or two away?
I do get how you feel OP. As ever the answer is good communication - simple but not easy!
M0rT · 31/03/2022 13:45
I wouldn't book it as a surprise but try to talk to him about his instant reaction to a night out with his wife being to think it's a ridiculous waste of money.
He might surprise you and be really looking forward to spending time with you now you can afford babysitting but have been thinking of different ways to spend the money, more often on cheaper dates for example.
I have history of extrapolating disastrous scenarios from one throw away comment so I understand, but you need to talk to him and find out where he's coming from before you decide you've a lifetime of misery ahead of you.
Gonnagetgoing · 31/03/2022 13:46
I personally think 7 years of nothing - like no holiday/presents (even token ones) would really piss me off after a while.
You can do cheaper holidays and some sort of presents etc which don't need to cost a lot if anything.
Most of my previous partners have been of the 'extravagant' kind or even if it's not within a budget finding a budget to spend money on.
A very close friend of mine (who lives abroad) her DH has always been known for being miserly. Her holidays have been to where his DP's live or to her DP's/relatives or she won them for selling (a bit like MLM but she did sell well).
The one time they planned a holiday was about 5 years ago to Paris with their teenage DD's. They asked me to join them and I found a nice small cheaper hotel as their hotel was booked up. Their hotel was paid for via points as the DH travelled a lot for his work (in USA) and gained transferrable points to pay for hotels. They're very keen on culture and both DP's like art etc a lot - so we spent a lot of time going to Victor Hugo Museum, Louvre, Opera House (not to see an opera) etc. But the DP's seemed to want their DC to be out all day and then he'd want to make them walk (rather than use the Metro) home a long way. He also liked to get the cheaper options (so pizza restaurant) rather than a nice filling meal. I noticed then that during the day he'd rarely allow stop offs for coffee/ice cream or to clothes shop/browse. If I ever wanted to do that I had to go myself or take the kids with me (and DP's were there or nearby) and treat them myself. I paid for a couple of meals out for us all, which I could afford, but I was a single person at the time with the salary to match.
What ended up happening was after a week of very long days and meals out at night and early starts was their youngest DD who was 14 and already had some ongoing ear issues, got sick, they had to get the doctor and she then wound up in bed for 2 days and I luckily saw her before I returned to UK. The DM I recall was angry (but couldn't really say in front of me) with the DF due to the conditions (it was like it is now in UK re weather, cold) and I remember thinking, I couldn't be with someone like that who was so stingy and into long days/nights that it made my kid sick!
When I used to visit them in USA the DM used to say to me sometimes 'Oh DH is like this, he's stingy, he likes to save money etc' - every little expense was a big thing for him.
They had DC (adopted and with minor health issues but ADHD was one) and the DM was a SAHM (but worked on the side) but the DH knew this, took it on board and the DM didn't and doesn't like fancy jewellery, lots of presents etc. If I ever said something about this, she'd justify this as 'it's for our pensions'. The DH funnily enough liked good food, wine (from Australia, France, Italy etc) and he also likes to travel interstate for his hobby). They've been married for years and are happy but I really couldn't live with scrooge!
NeedAHoliday2021 · 31/03/2022 13:52
We had little money when dc were little - I worked minimal hours freelance as 3dc in childcare was more than I earned and the amount dh earned just about covered bills. Once dc were in nursery age 3 with funding support I got a regular part time job, then they went to school and I increased my hours. Once in juniors I got promoted and went full time. I’ve always done the banking so dh really struggled to accept we had money. When we moved house he really didn’t believe we could afford it until I laid it all out for him. You do adjust to your financial situation so I would say you need to both sit down and discuss. You feel you’ve sacrificed things for the house but can now do things you want to do, your dh doesn’t see those things as a priority so you can’t assume he’ll understand unless you explain it’s important to you (you don’t have to justify it, just let him know that nice meals out marking special occasions is something you prioritise).
Samanabanana · 31/03/2022 13:56
There is no point working hard in life if you can't enjoy some of the spoils!
girlmom21 · 31/03/2022 13:56
Tell him you're booking it, for all the reasons you've said here.
Tell him you can afford it now and that you're not going to start throwing money down the drain but that it's been a long hard slog the last couple of years and you both need a night off.
Don't 'surprise' him in a few months.
Bintymcbintface · 31/03/2022 13:59
YANBU with an extra 600-800 a month left over after bills using maybe a third of that on a special meal out to mark anniversary and milestone birthdays is entirely reasonable
HundredMilesAnHour · 31/03/2022 14:00
I have to laugh at the idea of being unwilling to spend £140 on a meal for two being 'tight'.
Seriously??!! The OP and her DH haven't done anything vaguely nice for 8 years despite a 10 year wedding anniversary and 2 big birthdays. You're begrudging them a special treat that works out at less than £10/head per year that they've been scrimping away in what sounds like a miserable existence?!
diddl · 31/03/2022 14:03
I think eating out can be a difficult one.
I always think that I'm not a fussy eater but often when I look at a menu there's not that much that I really fancy!
I don't live in UK so for me when I'm back scampi or fish & chips is a treat!
With mushy peas of course!
namechange165 · 31/03/2022 14:04
Re the cooking at home. He works away from home quite a bit but then has longer periods of time at home without having to work, so when he is home he does most of the cooking. On the point about us having different things we like to spend money on - a good meal out is exactly what he previously would have enjoyed and I know he has wanted to go for a while. So it isn't that he just doesn't want to do this one particular thing - it feels as though he just doesn't want to do anything at all. The more I think about it, the more I think money is just one part of it. I think he has also just become a bit lazy about putting effort into our relationship, and a bit set in his ways. Someone mentioned grumpy old man....that does ring true a bit unfortunately!
I do need to talk to him. I've been completely on board with the choices we've made over the past 7 years and am also on board with the plan to build a savings pot, but there has to be a bit more focus on our relationship otherwise what are we doing it all for?
jackieh1987 · 31/03/2022 14:06
Not a princess at all.
£70 per head is not that expensive as restaurants go, especially for a six-course meal...
CharSiu · 31/03/2022 14:08
As you can afford it now it does seem a shame however some people just don’t enjoy what others do.
When we go on holiday DH goes off to science museums and I go off to art galleries. It’s just our preference. So whilst he may be just being over cautious, miserly or whatever has he ever enjoyed meals out?
irregularegular · 31/03/2022 14:10
I don't think you are being unreasonable. On the other hand, I can see why it feels like a bit jump for him to go from hardly spending any money on going out at all, to a very expensive dinner (and it is expensive for an evening out, whatever other people say). I think perhaps you need to agree on a budget each for personal, fun money, then it's up to you to spend it how you like, no quibbling.
BigSkies22 · 31/03/2022 14:14
Blimey, you're just out of an 8 year economy drive, you've paid off debts, done the most expensive renovations and put three kids through the most expensive years (in terms of childcare - wait for the teens, and university, my friend!). You have extra money each month and DH has earned a nice bonus. You have savings and secure jobs. If you can't spend a couple of hundred quid celebrating all this plus big birthdays and a wedding anniversary, when can you?
Talk to your DH. Lay out all that you've achieved together, the facts of your finances and remind him that you value him as a partner in all the serious stuff but you also want to get dressed up, go out, have a bit of fun and conversation with him doing something you both used to love. Because you love him and your lives together.
Also, I"d make sure you insist that a small percentage of that extra money each month is spent on fun, whether that's a family outing or a date night for you both.
Blossomtoes · 31/03/2022 14:14
£70 pp on a really nice dinner for a special occasion doesn't sound hugely expensive seeing as our casual two courses, a pint and a jug of tap water type dinners out have suddenly started costing £60 for the two of us post covid
This. We went out for a pub dinner last week. We had a main each, shared a pudding, one glass of wine and a carafe of tap water - £65 plus service.
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