How Do You Manage Your Income in Your Family?

Updated on October 10, 2011
M.A. asks from Put in Bay, OH
14 answers

Hi ladies, you've been such a great support and I would like to thank you very much for your answers to my previous questions. I will keep you updated on how things go in my family.
Money is another big issue in my marriage. Yes, I am a SAHM but I receive a monthly percentage of my wage for raising my child. Yes, my husband earns more ( not so much more:))).
I really want to know how you deal with financial matters in your families. How do you manage your income?
We have car credit, house credit to pay and of course all the other expenses. There seems to be no more money left until the following month. Which is very odd because even with all the credits and all the expenses we should have some money left monthly. I really do not know where the money go to. My husband is a sports bet fan. I know for sure that he loses more often that he gains, but he just doesn't want to admit that. When he receives his wage he does not bring all the money home he always leaves money on his credit card. I think he does this because he doesn't want me to keep tracking his money. When I receive my wage I have to take out ALL the money from the card (he knows exactly how much I gain because he has seen my wage note/flyer, I haven't seen his neither have asked him to show it to me). When I have to go to the dentist or to the doctor or I buy the cheapest lipstick he gets mad. I have to tell him how I spend every PENNY. So, I as you have probably guessed I don't get to buy anything for myself. I only have one singe pair of blue jeans!!!!!! I am very honest with you because I need you to understand how things go in my marriage in order to give me an advice.
I though of telling him to split all the expenses, but how this works in a family? How can I tell him: "Don't drink that milk, it is MY milk, I paid for it!" it is just silly. So, what can I do to?? What solution do you suggest? It will be a great help if you just tell me from your experience. Thank you again!!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

This is not so much a money issue as it is a trust issue. You're concerned that your husband is hooked on gambling. I'd be concerned, too. This is one for a counselor.

There's so much more to money-in-marriage than who pays for what.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We have been married 28 years. My husband brings home his paycheck and I put it in the bank. If he needs money to "run on" he lets me know what he needs and I keep it out. If we are going to be spending any large amount of money on something, we discuss it first, other wise we simply try to live within our means.
I think you have a trust issue. When you marry you are supposed to function as a unit. Keeping a certain amount of funds back from the family is selfish and unfair. I would speak with your husband and tell him if he gets xx amount to blow each week, then you should have an equal amount to spend as you wish.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

all the money goes in one pot, you both sit down together & write out the bill payments....& you figure out how to allocate the remainder. Until you do this as a'll continue living under his thumb.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

My husband and I have very different spending habits. We knew this going into our marriage and decided to make it a "non-issue" as much as possible. Why fight over something we already know we don't have the same thought processes on? So we have 3 checking accounts. One is mine. One is his and one is a joint account. We both put the same amount of money in the joint account each month. The money is the joint account pays our house payment, utilities, property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Then I am responsible for my own car payment, car insurance, student loans and any credit card debt I may accumulate. He is responsible for his own similar expenses. I pay for all childcare expenses and he pays for all food/entertainment expenses. Whatever money is leftover in the joint account at the end of the year, we use for christmas or towards a family outing. Whatever money each of us has leftover we can do whatever we want with.

I am the frugal one in our relationship and we have not fought over money a single time in our 7 year marriage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My husband used to be in charge of the finances until I got sick of wasting hundreds of dollars every month in late charges, finance charges and just misplaced money. At some point, before we were married and before we had kids but we were still living together I blew up at him and told him I couldn't live like this and if he wanted to make a life with me, he had to give up control of the family finances to me.

For the longest time we had separate bank accounts and my checks would direct deposit into my account and his would deposit into his account. He would then write me over a check with the lion share of his pay, saving a predetermined amount for himself as "fun money". It was a very small amount. We each got the same amount of "fun money" to spend. Every month I would pay all the bills and give him a rundown of where all the money went and how much was left over. Any leftovers would go directly into savings.

It was working ok for a while but soon he was overdrafting his checking account because he just didn't pay attention to his stupid balance. I knew to the penny how much was in my account so I was never afraid to use my card. I carried my ledger with me in my purse everywhere and he only had his card stuffed in his wallet with no record except some mental idea of how much he had, and he was never right. He was still costing us a few hundred bucks every other month or so because he was making mistakes with his own checking account.

I'd finally had it. I had about six credit cards in my name only and they all had no balance on them. One was used for purchases every month, to pay for bills etc but then the balance was paid off at the end of every month. I did it this way to get cash back on the purchases from the rewards points on the card. I added my guy to the credit account so he could have a card of his own. It had a very high limit so I didn't have to worry about him working on such a thin margin with his checking account. He told his work to direct deposit his check into my account fully and he only paid for stuff with cash or on that credit card.

That method has worked for us ever since, though now we have a joint checking account so he has the ability to access the funds in an emergency but even though he has a debit card attached to our joint funds he never uses it unless he tells me about it first and gives me the receipt as soon as he comes home so I can deduct it from the ledger. So every month I go over the credit card statement and pay it from the checking account and sometimes I have to remind him not to eat out so often but other than that things have been great. We haven't suffered any mysterious loss of funds, no more late charges or fees for little debit card "boo boos". If we're short some month we can just go over the credit card records to see what went wrong that month because nearly everything we spend money on is purchased with the rewards card. Most of the time it's nothing that either of us have done wrong, like an unexpected car expense or a payment for a repair on the house. Those are the months that used to feel tight.

Though things have been much different this last year and a half because he got laid off and I've been a SAHM for the last five years, so we got squeezed pretty darn tight since we had just bought the house and sunk almost all of our savings into it, first for the down payment then the rest got swallowed up after we moved in and the furnace died and the upstairs toilet sprung a leak where we couldn't see it that created a big water damage mess that was costly to repair. But that's life eh?

So my solution may not work for you because I don't know the personality of either you or your husband but I cried my frustration and then ranted and railed about the stupidity of our situation then finally ended with an ultimatum about how we were going to deal with the family finances before I would move a step further with him. He got on board with me. I don't know if every guy would. I ask him often if he resents me or feels in any way deprived because of the way we do things and he always says nope. He said he's come to terms with the fact that he's a big derp when it comes to money and was happy to give up control over the finances.

Though, I always worry because I take care of everything in terms of running the household, what would happen to him if I died tomorrow. So I wrote up a letter detailing all our accounts and how to access them, what bills are due when and how to pay them etc. Hopefully he never has to use it.

Also put the skids on gambling. That's like putting a wad of cash in a bucket and lighting it on fire. Very dumb. If he refuses, seperate your accounts and don't let him have access to your pay. You can't force him to give you control of his paychecks but you can sure as hell be accountable for your own. Tell him if he's going to be a douche-bag and waste the family money, you're going to keep yours to make sure the family HAS some money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi M., I have a distant relative who does the same thing to his wife as your husband. Get rid of all the credit cards. You should only keep two with the same accounts. That way you can keep track of everything you both spend. If he's not willing to do this, then he's definitely hiding something. Gambling is not safe. You can lose your house by falling prey to it. He needs to back away from it. Tell him to start showing his pay money to you just as well as you will do the same. Everything needs to go to the bank, for childrens future education, or medical bills. If he's not willing to do this than maybe you should consider parting ways until he shapes up. He can't be immature about taking care of his family. Point it out to him that you need him to take part in family expenses and other responsibilities. You need to get tight with him. Don't back down. Make him present what he's done. Unfortunately some guys have to be taken by the hand.
Share with us the outcome.



answers from Houston on

Your husband sounds like he has a spending problem. He is keeping money from you and being dishonest about it. He is being unreasonable about you spending money on anything. People don't act like that unless they know they are doing something wrong Do you realize it isn't normal for a husband to spend hard earned money on gambling?

I don't think right now its a matter of figuring out how to manage yoru income and budget b/c your husband will keep wasting money. It looks like your husband will spend whatever he wants anyway, no matter if you figure out how to manage your family's income or not.

I suggest to find a way to start saving money in a hidden account, even if its a dollar one day and $.50 the next. I'm concerned for your welfare and your children's welfare, esp if there is an emergency.


answers from St. Louis on

Sit down with him and tell him that you would like to get your finances in order. You can do it together or you (or he) can do it alone. My hubby is okay with me doing it but if I ever need to run something by him (as far as where to put extra money, etc), then I can talk with him. Starting today, write down everything you spend money on. Each time you pay for something (gas, food, lipstick, etc) write it down. Have hubby use a debit or credit card so you can keep track of his spending too. Tell him you are really wanting to see where the money is going each month.

I have all of our 'usual' expenses for each month in an excel spreadsheet. Since hubby gets paid weekly (I get paid 2x a month) I break out finances out weekly. Week 1 I pay X bills, allow X amount for gas and groceries (I realize sometimes this changes) and then I see how much I have leftover until we get paid again. Then I can incorporate other things into it (new clothes, a doctor visit, etc). If I have things planned for that week (bday party, movies with the hubby, etc) I subtract that. At the end of the month, I see how much is leftover and we put all that into savings. So essentially on the 1st of each month, we have zero dollars in our account because whatever didn't spend the previous month goes into savings.

It's amazing how great keeping track can be!! I can look back months ago and tell you exactly what I spent on something for any given week. Hubby and I also get 'splurge' money each week. No questions asked - we just each get our own money and can choose to use it or save it. That has been great!



answers from Buffalo on

This isn't fair to you and he's definitely being selfish & hiding something. A marriage should be a team and he seems to be handling his finances like he's a single guy with no responsibility. I'd sit him down and try to actually talk about it. You said you've never actually asked to see his paycheck - maybe just try open communication with him about it. He might fight it, i don't know your husband, but I'd try to get him to see how this is a family and he's not being very loving or fair to you.

Does he have the option of direct deposit? Every family is different, but in mine we both directly deposit our ENTIRE paychecks into one account and that account is used to pay the bills... and then if there's left over we get it as spending money.
Or if he's not willing to give up the control of "his" money, maybe this would work better for your family: I have many friends who split up expenses - one is responsible for mortgage, insurance, etc and the other does the utilities, groceries, daycare, etc... they don't go as detailed as "my milk/your milk", it's all "theirs", but they are each responsible for certain things. They just make sure the balance of what they pay for matches their incomes - the one who makes less, pays for a bit less too. That's only fair. maybe he would respond better to that?

Sounds like there might not be an easy fix to your question though, he's been hiding something and he may not be willing to talk & work with you on what's best for the family. Good luck!!



answers from Washington DC on

My hubby wanted to "be in charge" when we were first married. He would freak out every month and try to pay all bills completely which would mean other things would not get paid. Like my life unsurance.
At first I let him have his little control. Then he went on vacation with my father and our son.
I found out he hadn't paid my life insurance or my magazine subscription. So I went off the deep end. We had been married less than a year. I literally told him if he didn't let me do the bills this marriage was over and how dare he not pay MY bills.
We were either going to be a married couple and share everything or he was going to be a single man. We have been married 18 years. For most of that i have been a SAHM.
I take care of every penny that leaves our bank account.
He kinda has a clue what the bills are, and I would show him if he wanted to know but he really doesn't . I also take care of our investments and college funds.
He does make the paycheck, but I control the purse strings. Neither one of us makes any large purchase without talking to the other.
He has a debit card for his deployment account that I put money into every month. It's his allowance.

In18 years we've had one fight over money, when I took over.

My gut tells me your husband is hiding something, is a control freak, is trying to make you be so dependent on him you can't go anywhere.
I don't understand " I receive a monthly percentage of my wage for raising my child"
Do you get a paycheck from a job or does he give you an allowance?
I would get my own checking account.
I would start putting away money every month, even of it's just $10.
I would insist he quit gambling. But you have to have a plan for when he says no.
He has to know that at any moment you can and will leave becasue of his mismanagement of money. It needs to make an impression on him, because if what you do is continue to suffer and make amends so he can do what he wants, it doesn't hurt him, he will continue.


answers from Chicago on

DH and I both work full time. He makes more than I do.

My income pays for childcare (nanny), and whatever expenses I had. Gas, stuff for myself, food at work. I also buy the clothes for the kids and their incidentals (diapers, etc...).

DH pays for everything else. Mortgage, vacations, all bills.

So our money is really separate. I'm TERRIBLE with managing money and accidnetally put us in a hole when we had it together a few years ago. So we separated everything. We have a joint checking account that I have access to, and I know where all of the major expenditures go.

We're also fortunate enough to have plenty of spending money between us, and neither of us wants to bve in the position you have, where we're questioning what the other buys.

So total separation works for us. But again...I work full time and make pretty good money.

Not sure what to suggest for you.



answers from Chico on

My husband is financially irresponsible. He's a great guy but isn't good with money. Soooo, he is responsible for one big bill - the day care bill. He's also responsible for putting gas in his car and buying some groceries. I take care of everything else - investments, insurance, car payment, utilities. I also buy groceries and put gas in my car. I buy my own clothes and likewise for him. It works, the bills are paid, and I don't feel like I have to micromanage him. Good luck with your situation, doesn't sound like fun.



answers from Albuquerque on

I'm a sahm too but hubbys check goes straight into the bank (sometimes he'll keep a little extra cash but we usually spend it when we're out). I handle all the bill payments, he mentioned the other day that I need to show him how to pay what bill because most I pay online, some over the phone, and the mortgage is mailed. After the bills are paid I let him know how much is in the account and he needs to tell me (preferably give me a reciept) for gas or whatever he spends. As far as shopping, we do most of the grocery shopping together. The food in the house is everybodys food. If we need new clothes for the girls or if I need some clothes items we go to the thrift store. It helps to look at it as a team effort. He's working but you're home taking care of the kids, meals, house etc. Therefore, all the income is earned by both of you, that's how I look at it.



answers from Cincinnati on

We don't have joint accounts. Hubby pays for House payment and car insurance, he splits the cost of sitter with me and he makes his own credit card and car payment.
I pay for utilities, food, car payment, credit card and then half of the sitters expense.
Hubby makes way more than me which is why he has the bigger expenses. You have to take care of yourself so its important for you to get to the doctors and dentist. I say let your husband get mad, its not like hes the only one earning money. If gets to bet on sporting events then you deserve a new lipstick once in awhile. If he takes care of all the finances then he should know what your spending just so that you all don't overdraw your acct.

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