Buying Birthday Gifts with His Money

Updated on December 30, 2010
N.S. asks from Buffalo Grove, IL
10 answers

We are a one-income family because I lost my job and my husband agreed to take over making the money and I agreed to stay home with the child.

How do you work birthday gifts for him when it's HIS money? I don't have any money of my own, I spend all my time caring for the home. My husband says he might as well go out and buy his own gift since it's "his" money. I think it's "our" money since I don't get paid to clean the house and cook dinners. I used to be the breadwinner and he was the stay-at-home dad which he hated. I love being a SAHM, but that comes without a paycheck. He worked part-time and we bought each other gifts from our own earnings.

I feel awkward asking him for money to buy his own gift now. I feel awkward asking him for money for anything since I was always financially independent. I'm thinking that working out some kind of weekly spending allowance for each of us would help, but how do I buy a gift from that? We budgeted an amount we'd spend on Xmas and birthday, but now it's all strange.

What do you do, SAHMs?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Detroit on

I am a SAHM and am also in charge of finances. First off you should not be awkward about spending the money. Second he should not even at the slightest hint or refer to the monies as "his". If he insists in those terms them maybe he can pay you for the things you around the house. He would not want that as he will probably owe you more than he can pay you.

In this situation, maybe a weekly allowance would be best. I do put a certain $$ amount in my DH account every payday. It goes automatically. He has his debit card to use without me hounding on him and it gives him a sense of independence without going overboard on spending.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

I am a SAHM too and my husband works outside of the home. But just because the paycheck is in his name doesn't mean it's just his money. It's our money. We're in this together. A couple of times I have told him about the guilt I sometimes feel about not going to work (I've always been financially independent too) and he put it to me like this: we both have jobs- his job is outside the home and my job is inside the home. We both work to provide for our family. He does it by earning money, I do it by running our house (cleaning, cooking, bill paying, etc).
I don't feel bad about using the money he brings home to buy things for him for that reason- it's our money.
I'm not sure what your arrangement is but my opinion is both partners should have equal access to the family's income. Neither should have to ask for money. Not to say their shouldn't be a budget or either shouldn't tell the other how the money is spent though. The way my husband and I worked it out when I stopped working is this: if we are going to spend over $20 on something other then necessities then we tell the other before we buy it. Except for things like gifts for each other (unless it's really big ticket item- then we tell each other). But I do the book keeping so if he writes a check or uses the debit card he has to tell me so I can keep things in balance.
Anyway, buy him a gift and don't feel guilty. And the next time he says a bonehead thing like it's his money then tell him you can go back to work and he can budget 'his' money for a maid and a babysitter and a cook and an errand person and someone to do everything else you do on a daily basis to take care of your family.
Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You need to make a budget and in the budget should be some discrestionary money for you to use for whatever you want to use it for. My husband has always worked and his paycheck has always been our money. You might want to get a part time job if this is an issue for the two of you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

As you said, it's both of yours money. He works and provides money. You work and provide house upkeep and child care. I suggest that you work out a budget that includes spending money for each of you. You shouldn't have to ask him for money.

I don't know what you mean when you say "it's all strange," after budgeting for Christmas and birthday. Is it a total amount and not divided between the two of you and therefore you don't know how much you can spend? Do you literally not have access to money?

My daughter and her husband decided together how much each would spend on the other for Christmas. They're both working but yet they're saving so that she can be off work when their baby is born. They discuss how they're going to spend their money even tho they earn it individually. Even when only one is working there will need to be agreement over how to spend the money with both having equal say.

I know it's difficult to adjust to not being a wage earner and it sounds like your husband doesn't understand your need to have some spending money of your own. If discussing a budget and allowing you to have your own spending money is difficult, I suggest that you see a counselor who can help you have a discussion and make decisions. Money is often something that needs help to discuss. It's one of the top reasons for fights in a marriage. It might seem best to avoid discussing the subject but doing so and coming up with a plan that is satisfactory to both is absolutely necessary. Otherwise the one staying home begins to feel like an unpaid servant and that's even more damaging to a relationship.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I'm a SAHM but I take care of the finances. My husband actually has to tell me when he is going to get cash out to buy me something (just to make sure I deduct it, not getting permission). Our money has always went into the same account (I worked up until last year). It's always been OUR money, not his or her money. I actually think that's pretty crappy of your husband to act like that when you two made the decision together for you to stay home. I would talk to him about what he said and let him know you work to, you just don't get paid for your 24/7 job. You should be given some type of an allowance each pay. Just work it out together in your budget.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Money stress is such a bummer. Perhaps the gift of TIME would work? Does he have something that he's wanted to do but hasn't had time? You could give him a gift certificate for the time to do that. Or work with friends to have a surprise birthday party - potluck so the financial burden wouldn't be on anyone. Or if someone can watch your kiddo for the night, or even a few hours - wrap yourself in a bow ; )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm a SAHM and my husband would NEVER NEVER NEVER say the income is HIS money. We have always said "he makes us money and I save us money" and it's a team effort to have money and use it wisely.

I manage our finances so it is easy for me to buy gifts for him and not give away the surprise. My husband took cash this year to buy my Christmas gifts and keep the surprise. I think next year we might purchase Visa giftcards and use those to purchase Christmas gifts for each other - that way we stick to our budget also.

For birthdays we have changed things around recently and purchase a small gift that is from the children to give as a group gift. Then, instead of buying each other gifts we will be spending that money on a nice date instead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

It seems someone has to change his ways of thinking or if I were you I would go back to work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I do work part-time, but we've budgeted spending money for me since my pay isn't that much. Bi-weekly, I take my designated amount out of the bank to spend how I please. I buy gifts for my husband from that money and if I have to "save up" for something big, I do (I have my own bank account). He's never said that he might as well buy his own gifts.

I think you can work something out. Everyone deserves their own money to spend how they please. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My situation is the same, but reversed. My husband lost his job 3 years ago, just before DD was born. He was able to collect for a quite a while but that's now run out. Problem is, he still has to pay child support for his 2 kids from his first marriage. My job earns enough that I can pay the bills, plus give him money every month, from which he pays his child support and has some spending money. His staying home means DD has not had to be in day care. Problem is, he tends to slap everything on his credit card, and when the statement comes in, it's like, how did it get to be that high? Well, he needed some things from Home Depot, had to put gas in the car, bought Christmas gifts, got himself some beer, picked up things for dinner from the store, etc. OK, fine. But it totally goes over his budget. I've told him before about not just putting every little thing on the credit card, it makes it way too easy to overspend, but he doesn't seem to get it. My latest solution is to take his credit card statement and break it down into essential and non-essential items. Anything essential, like gas for the car, gets covered by me. Anything non-essential, like beer, will need to be covered by him with the money that is part of his monthly allowance. If he is still carrying a balance, well, at least we know who and what to blame. It's not perfect, I am not always happy, I am trying to remain flexible and open-minded, looking for better solutions, recognizing it (and marriage in general) is a work in progress.

But I digress...

Work out a budget with your husband that includes spending money/allowance for you - separate from groceries, gas, etc. Think of it as money you are being paid to stay home and keep house, take care of the kids, etc. Otherwise you would be paying a day care and a housecleaning service for the things you are doing. It is therefore your money to do as you please - you have earned it. From that, you can set some aside to save up to get him gifts for birthday, Christmas, etc.. Yes, technically it is his money, but it goes first to you, and it's money that you have chosen not to spend on yourself (for like, shoes and coffee, for instance). Get him something that maybe he would enjoy and appreciate but normally would not spend the money on for himself.

The other option would be to look into a work-from-home opportunity that could allow you to earn your own money apart from what he gives you and still decide to do with it what you will. Or perhaps something part-time with hours that you could work while he is home with your child without him being the full-time stay-at-home parent.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions