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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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givethatbabyaname · 31/03/2022 14:15

OP - I haven’t known the type of budgeting you’re talking about, so my opinion comes from a different place. But I think the real point you’re making stands, regardless of circumstances.

£300 on dinner for two is, objectively, a lot. That’s a lot of family grocery shopping; a few kid-friendly meals out; gig tickets; a car servicing bill etc. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it once in a while (once in 7 years, to celebrate big birthdays and an anniversary is once in a while), but you can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a lot of money. It’s undeniably NOT good value for money.

Also, your DH has expressed his opinion now. It would be difficult to freely enjoy the evening if there’s a suspicion he’s thinking about costs.

That said, no you can’t live without fun for the rest of your life, and THIS is what you need to talk about with your DH. You’re not spending money for the sake of it - you want to have a nice time. For once. Just, push the boat out, enjoy some time with just him, as a couple.

For £300 you could have a room at a hotel or boutique b&b for a night. Can you leave the children with family for a Saturday - Sunday? Spend £200 on a hotel room, £100 on a couple of meals out (nothing amazing, but not the local pizza place either). Bottle of wine. Go do things together, just the two of you. Walks, museum, bike rides, loll around in bed with no calls on your time - spend TIME together, with the money being incidental. You can find a room with a gorgeous bed and roll top bath tub, a cosy fire etc. Your £300 could go a lot farther and last a lot longer.

But mostly you need a proper conversation about what money means to the two of you. Communicate. Always, communicate. Don’t get hung up on specific things, think about what’s really going on. Try to see each other’s points. Neither of you are wrong here, I think you’re just at different points in your heads about financial security and what money means to you both.

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Swayingpalmtrees · 31/03/2022 14:15

He sounds selfish, and your life sounds really miserable. I would work on a plan to have much more fun with or without him.

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user1471457751 · 31/03/2022 14:16

@TheHoptimist spoons is more like £6. Would rather have a cocktail myself

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Rosehugger · 31/03/2022 14:17

Or have an unexpected expense but you’ve spent the money on a night out

But they have £800 spare a month for that.

I'd go with a friend or my mum.

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spuddy56 · 31/03/2022 14:19

Would it be worth perhaps setting aside some fun money each month? So you discuss say putting £100 a month into a treats pot which can either accumulate for something bigger or be spent on cake and coffee or whatever. That way he still feels in control of the spending and like he's not being frivolous and there is a clear marker im the sand for what can be spent with no unexpected surprises?

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BigSkies22 · 31/03/2022 14:21

As a further thought, I don't know where the word 'princess' has crept in, whether your husband has used it of you, or you have used it yourself, but please, just stop. It seems such a misogynist putdown (I may be projecting here!) designed to shame women out of perfectly reasonable wishes for a life that is more than scraping along.

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Googlecanthelpme · 31/03/2022 14:21

Literally spent 35 quid on a casual meal out with friends last night.
70£ pp for a special occasion is totally reasonable.

You do have the money because you’ve said you’ve got around 600-800 spare a month.

I understand why he’s still being cautious but also, he doesn’t get to control your portion of the disposable income. So I’d go with a friend if he doesn’t wish to go.

You’ve been on economy drive for 8 years! One special event for a couple hundred isn’t being a princess

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Fuckityfucksake · 31/03/2022 14:22

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.
I agree and I'm in the latter camp. I like nice food but not the expensive faff and decoration etc...
BUT
If my Dh wanted to do this for a special occasion then I'd put aside my opinion and go and enjoy it for him.

OP you deserve something special for all that you've scrimped and saved on for so long and for the occasions that you've missed so I hope after a talk with him he can see that you both deserve a now affordable one off treat.
You are definitely not being a princess.

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NeedleNoodle3 · 31/03/2022 14:25

You aren’t being a princess , a special meal that would probably cost £250 in total to celebrate three occasions with money you can afford sounds fine to me.

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RJnomore1 · 31/03/2022 14:26

He’s getting a £5k bonus sbd he won’t even take you for a nice meal?

I don’t care what his thoughts are he’s a tight prick and no way would I be paying for it out of that plum pocket savings in this case. He’d be paying the lot.

I agree, go with a friend if you’re using your money and let him stew. If you don’t have the money don’t run up debt but there’s no moral superiority in living miserably when you do. Urgh. This has irrationally annoyed me sorry op, I like some generosity of spirit in the people around me and he doesn’t sound like he has it. After years of austerity he should WANT to be spoiling you a wee bit. It’s not like you suggested anything particularly extravagant either.

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theprincessofliechtenstein · 31/03/2022 14:27

If it were me I'd feel a little bit gazumped to be told the restaurant was all booked and paid for when I'd already expressed a worry that it was too expensive.

Could you sit down with your husband and say all the things you've said here about occasional nice, 'extravagant' experiences being an important part of a meaningful life to you?

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Blondeshavemorefun · 31/03/2022 14:28

So you are £600/800 better off every month

Yet he won’t spend maybe £250 fir one month to celebrate your anniversary

Wow

I get you have been saving and scrimping but deserve something nice as a treat

Talk to him again

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gannett · 31/03/2022 14:30

That's a fairly standard price for a fancy restaurant tasting menu. If you've both been talking about this restaurant for a while I'm surprised that he's surprised at what it costs.

If you've been scrimping and saving for a while it can be very hard to get out of that mindset, and some people take longer than others. I've been broke, and I actively want to retain some of the frugality I learned when I was broke rather than just splashing cash because I have it now. I don't think that's a bad thing and it doesn't warrant being called stingy or a tightwad by the section of MN who only see men as walking wallets.

But I don't think you're being princessy at all. I think the restaurant sounds lovely and a tasting menu is the kind of thing I'd definitely splash out for. Have you broached the subject with him again? I've reacted with horror when learning how much certain things cost but when I go away and think about it, get used to the idea, remind myself that we have the money now, I come round quite easily. I suspect he had a kneejerk reaction and will be more amenable when he has a think. If not, I definitely suggest going through your finances in a practical and logical way to show him that it's affordable for you now.

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MaudieandMe · 31/03/2022 14:32

Since the lockdowns, many of us have reassessed our lives and spending habits, especially now another recession is on the way.

Although I voted YANBU.
Neither is he.
People change.

Years ago, I’d think nothing of spending spare cash on frivolous items like expensive shoes or weekends away but now I don’t feel the same way.

I honestly wouldn’t enjoy spending £140 on a meal out just for the two of us as it would feel wasteful to me as there’s no lasting benefit to it.

You don’t have to always want the same things and if your DH has a similar mindset, then you’ll need to explain more clearly how YOU FEEL about it. I’d definitely do something I wasn’t keen on if it was important to my DH.

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 14:34

I've maybe given the impression that we have been surviving on water and gruel for the past 7 years - it hasn't been THAT bad. But a treat has been very modest. A dinner with the kids in the local pub once every few months, a nice bottle of wine or some supermarket flowers on birthdays. It's been fine, but just a bit routine and boring.

Without giving too much away, the meal is at a restaurant where the chef has appeared on the Great British Menu a few times. We always watch that together and enjoy it. The chef is now doing a great British Menu themed night where they'll cook some of their dishes from the show. So it is right up our street, a one-off opportunity to do something a bit special and give us a real talking point. I think if we just went to a nice but predictable place nearby we wouldn't get anywhere near the same sense of occasion. I could nearly tell you what he would order, and I'm sure he could tell you what I would. Although it sounds a bit over dramatic, it's more than just money for me, it is a chance to do something that we would have enjoyed pre-kids, and maybe get a bit of ourselves back if that makes sense.

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RobertsRadio · 31/03/2022 14:36

I agree that you need to talk to him and state your case for the restaurant meal. Remind him that if he wants the marriage to last he shouldn't let the romance die and that you are not just parents and partners, you are husband and wife and he needs to start remembering that. After all your efforts and to celebrate three big occasions you both deserve that meal and it's plain you can afford it, so you should both go, but if he still refuses, go with someone else.

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CaMePlaitPas · 31/03/2022 14:40

So £140 for a meal, plus a couple of bottles of wine? £200? £250? I'll come with you OP, let the grump stay at home and count his pennies by candle light.

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Bubblesandsqueak1 · 31/03/2022 14:43

Nah not a hope in hell would i want to fork out over 300 quid for a meal out after scrimping for years for 300 quid you could have a nice weekend away instead

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WingingIt101 · 31/03/2022 14:43

To me it sounds like he has just become very used to economising and now feels that almost £200 by the time babysitters and cabs are factored in is a bit crazy on dinner. It’ll be habit for him now to save and he may feel selfish or guilty spending that much on something even as a one off treat.

My husband experienced growing up with no money at all, and once he got his first job and started earning enough to buy himself things he just wanted he would be wrought with guilt. Often refusing to buy the item for a long time because “I don’t need it, I can’t justify the money”

This certainly doesn’t mean you are being a princess, it sounds like a lovely and well deserved treat after such brilliant efforts to save and rid yourself of debts. Perhaps you could try a different angle and say to him you would really like to do something to celebrate the three events and does he have ideas of what that could be? He might feel a bit more up for it if he’s had a role in choosing it? Then if he suggests the local chippy on a Friday night with a film you already own you can work him up to something a bit more special 😂

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 14:54

@CaMePlaitPas it's a deal. DH can babysit - that'll save a bit of cash lol!

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godmum56 · 31/03/2022 14:55

@namechange165

I've maybe given the impression that we have been surviving on water and gruel for the past 7 years - it hasn't been THAT bad. But a treat has been very modest. A dinner with the kids in the local pub once every few months, a nice bottle of wine or some supermarket flowers on birthdays. It's been fine, but just a bit routine and boring.

Without giving too much away, the meal is at a restaurant where the chef has appeared on the Great British Menu a few times. We always watch that together and enjoy it. The chef is now doing a great British Menu themed night where they'll cook some of their dishes from the show. So it is right up our street, a one-off opportunity to do something a bit special and give us a real talking point. I think if we just went to a nice but predictable place nearby we wouldn't get anywhere near the same sense of occasion. I could nearly tell you what he would order, and I'm sure he could tell you what I would. Although it sounds a bit over dramatic, it's more than just money for me, it is a chance to do something that we would have enjoyed pre-kids, and maybe get a bit of ourselves back if that makes sense.

have you said that last bit to him?
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loves2plan · 31/03/2022 14:55

@namechange165

I've maybe given the impression that we have been surviving on water and gruel for the past 7 years - it hasn't been THAT bad. But a treat has been very modest. A dinner with the kids in the local pub once every few months, a nice bottle of wine or some supermarket flowers on birthdays. It's been fine, but just a bit routine and boring.

Without giving too much away, the meal is at a restaurant where the chef has appeared on the Great British Menu a few times. We always watch that together and enjoy it. The chef is now doing a great British Menu themed night where they'll cook some of their dishes from the show. So it is right up our street, a one-off opportunity to do something a bit special and give us a real talking point. I think if we just went to a nice but predictable place nearby we wouldn't get anywhere near the same sense of occasion. I could nearly tell you what he would order, and I'm sure he could tell you what I would. Although it sounds a bit over dramatic, it's more than just money for me, it is a chance to do something that we would have enjoyed pre-kids, and maybe get a bit of ourselves back if that makes sense.

I think this sounds like a lovely celebration for your birthdays and anniversary. But I don't think £70 is much to spend on a meal either (especially not Great British Menu standard and 6 courses, I'd go so far as to say that it's a bargain to be honest 😂). I hope you do manage to convince your OH to go, sounds like a great treat for you both.
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BarbaraofSeville · 31/03/2022 14:56

@Bubblesandsqueak1

Nah not a hope in hell would i want to fork out over 300 quid for a meal out after scrimping for years for 300 quid you could have a nice weekend away instead

But the OP wants the meal. Why is a weekend break a better use of the money just because it takes more time?

By going on a weekend break she's still spent £300 but she's not been out for the posh meal she wants.

They could have the meal, perhaps send DC to grandparents, have a lie in then go round for Sunday lunch and retrieve DC.

They've spent the same money and had quality time together either way, but importantly had the nice meal she wants.
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dipdye · 31/03/2022 15:03

I spent around £500 for a weekend for my 40th and thought I was excessive!

Spend the money!

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namechange165 · 31/03/2022 15:07

@godmum56 probably not explicitly enough. I definitely need to tonight. Strangely worried about the way the conversation is going to go though.

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