Money Management - Who "Where's the Pants", Mom or Dad?

Updated on August 21, 2010
A.P. asks from Waunakee, WI
36 answers


Who in your household manages the money? Do you do it together or is there one of you that takes the lead?

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answers from Cincinnati on

my husband makes the money (I am a SAHM) and I manage it. For one simple reason. I am better at it. When we met my husband was already $40,000 in debt I was $6,500 in debt but the majority of that was a car loan that I was paying on to build up my credit. he will ask me what bills we are paying this week but that is about it as far as his involvement. I also want to add, we don't have any extra money we struggle just to buy my sons diapers so its not like there is money that can be spent on anything besides bills. when I "buy something for me" its always shampoo or tampons or something very unfun like that, and the stuff I buy for him is the same way.

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answers from Omaha on

We have joint accounts and neither of us spends money without both of us approving. We make the decisions together, but I am the one who does the paperwork/bill paying/balance tracking...yada yada yada.



answers from Honolulu on

We do it together. Or at least talk about it if one or the other wants to spend $ on something for him/herself.
But we are autonomous too...

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I handle everything. My husband probably doesn't even know what company our utilities, insurance or mortgage are even with. He chooses to be clueless and likes me to handle the finances and it suits me just fine. I would be willing to share the info with him (if he ever asked or wanted to know) but I could never let him be in control of the finances or paying the bills. Just wouldn't happen! ;-0 I make the purchasing decisions on pretty much everything.

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answers from Davenport on

When we first got together we had both been out of college and lived alone or with roomates independantly form our parents, and both made pretty good money for our age and location, so when we moved in together as an engaged couple, and then as a 2 income maried couple without kids, we worked it out kind of like roomates, he paid mortgage and car payments, I paid utilities and grocery bills - basically worked it out according to the percentage of the total income we made we paid that percentage of the expenses. Then after I got laid off for 4 months, he paid for everything except my gas and student loans - which I padi with my unemployment, and then when I got a good paying job again, we went back to "going dutch" so to speak.

Then, when we bought our second home, I got pregnant shortly thereafter, and got put on bedrest at 6 months, then everything went to him, and it has stayed that way, as I have become a say at home mom of 2. I do have a part time job making minimum wage at the local library, but that money goes all to me for just buying things for myself, the kids, and usually all our Christmas and Birthdya gifts for the whole family. He pays and writes out all the bills, although we do sit and talk about and go over the budget every few months, and any bigger exenses, we always talk to each other beforehand, like anything over $100 or so, that is not essential.

Good luck! This is a very important part of a marriage to agree one and work out a system for - my parents never sis work together on money, and it put alot of stress on my mom as she was the main bread winner and saver, and Dad was a big spender, without OKing it with her, they got divorced after 28 years cause they still hadn't figured it out or compromised.


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answers from Denver on

I handle the whole enchilada. He just wants his weekly spending money or as we jokingly refer to it 'hubby allowance'. He's not interested in the details of it. If he wants to purchase anything more than gas, lunch, etc. he will discuss it with me (I don't ask him to, he just always has). He doesn't really care if I make large purchase decisions such as appliances, furniture, etc. He says he knows I wouldn't buy it if we couldn't afford it, which is true. About the only thing money we discuss is house purchase or car purchase.

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answers from San Francisco on

Well my husband says I dont need him, bc I run the finances. I run everything and get everything done. I just want things to be done and he forgets. We both work and take care of our daughters, but I pay the bills. I make sure things are done on time. I am the one who plans and I am the one who makes sure things are taken care of. I do need him just FYI but he feels like I can take care of everything and dont need him!

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answers from Chicago on

My husband is the bread winner at the moment because I stay home with kids at this point in our lives. However, we have all our assets in joint accounts with both of us having access to all the funds. I used to work full time, part time or just stay at home during our marriage but money management remained the same through the years.
DH is the one looking out for investment opportunities and then we make a decision together (mostly he already did all the thinking and I just agree with him but he still discusses all the major transactions with me). I always know where the money is at any time and what our liabilities are. We believe that if something happened to one of us the other partner should be able to have access/know how to manage funds/go on living and take care of kids without a problem.
I am "responsible" for paying mortgages, utilities, credit cards just because I like doing that and I spend the most time in the house, set the thermostate, know how we use water, electricity, deal with repair people, etc. I deal with home insurance, neighbor disputes, things like that.
My DH almost always sends me reminders that some account is due (which I know anyway) but we double check each other to make sure there are no loose ends. Somehow he also ended up taking care of everything that concearns our cars: repairs, insurance, license plates, other stuff. He reminds me to it if he has no time, so I can take over some responsibility once a while, but he does it consistently.
Grocery shopping is all mine - he has no idea how the food travels from the store through the kitchen and on a table in front of him. I am the one coupon clipping, looking for deals, choosing cheaper stores, budgeting, making meal plans, running after everybody with questions "what do you like for dinner/lunch for tomorrow?" In this area I found that meal plan helps a lot to cut down expences.
I am the one paying for children activities, camps (we discuss in advance which ones if some of them quite pricy but if the child likes/needs the activity - no problem). My spose can see all the transactions anyway, he jokes that we should buy the stock of "that ice rink" or "art place" because we pay a lot of fees for coaches and art teachers. If a child wants a new sport or wants to quit the old sport or needs a special equipment that is expensive - we have a family talk to deside the course of action.
This system just evolved over the years and it works for us because each of us is doing the part he/she is good at. We look periodicaly at our money management tool (we use MS Money program where we input all the transactions) to know how we are doing.
Overall, I think my husband is more in controll over the finances, but I am OK with that.

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answers from Omaha on

I don't necessarily wear the pants in the family, but I do manage our money. My husband makes 95% of our income though. We've tried twice in 16 yrs of marriage to have him take over the finances as I didn't want that job, but it's just too stressful for him.

I don't make any big financial decisions without him. I pay all the bills and I try to keep him up to date on what is going on in our budget. If we have some extra expenses coming up then I tell him how much more money we will need so he can work overtime and I will put in some hours too. Otherwise, my husband pretty much prefers me to manage our money. I do all our shopping and have a better idea of our necessary expenses.

His employerer takes out his retirement money automatically and medically savings plan, insurance, etc... so I don't have to worry about that kind of stuff.

Personally, I hate managing money, but it's a necessary evil - in my opinion!
Good Luck!


answers from Dallas on

I'm in charge of all money matters. He even signs his paycheck and I put it in the bank. When he needs money, I give him some (but he has a bugeted limit). His name is on our account, but I am the only one with the debit card. And that is because he wastes money on stupid things we'd never need in a million years (think those commercials that sell things mostly for 19.99, and always give you the free item. lol)



answers from San Francisco on

My husband and I share the finances. He rakes care of making the money and properly investing and saving for us. I do the bills and appropriate transfers, pay for kids school and activities, household items, etc. It's our partnership. He's CEO, i'm CFO. Big ticket items (like our new play area) is decided on together. Running a home is like running a business.

And I hate the term "wearing the pants." it takes on the meaning of one person being in charge or the superior. I sure didn't get married to be in charge of anyone, or inferior to anyone. I'm part of a team. With out my husband my marriage would be weak, and with out me my husband would have no cheering section.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Before I had our son, we both worked full-time jobs. Then I got pregnant and looked for a way to stay home, then 1 month before my son was born I quit my job to begin working from home. Now my husband is earning the big chunk of the check. But the goal is to bring my husband home at somepoint on my home buisness income. Then we'll both be working the buisness. It just seems to change all the time. :)



answers from Appleton on

Very early in our marriage, I did all things financial (besides spend the money, which we both did). Neither of us knew where our money was going, and we were living paycheck to paycheck. Then my husband found The Dave Ramsey Show on the radio, and we started watching him on Fox Business (the darn network cancelled his show, which is a bummer!). Since then, we've been on Dave's plan--The Total Money Makeover--and both of us do our monthly budget, talk over future purchases, and save money from each check.

We each take the lead, but in different ways. My husband likes to project what our finances will look like for the rest of the year, so he's made a spreadsheet that we do our budget on. I'm more particular about the day-to-day finances. I take care of paying the bills (mostly online) and writing the few checks. While he adds to the checkbook register (mainly when he gets gas for the car), I do most of the checkbook balancing.



answers from Minneapolis on

it should be a team single so i handle all my affairs-but if i was married again-it would be both of us.



answers from Kansas City on

He may be the breadwinner but there is no doubt that I am the head of the household. I manage the kids, the house and the money. I make sure the bills get paid up front ( in the checkbook at least so that I always know that the number left is true spending money), I budget the groceries and even a percentage of what's left to our allowances (60-100 per pay period). I am in Dave Ramsey mode all by myself so at least this way I know I am paying down the debt that my husband was irresponsible enough to rack up before (and even after) we got married ($4000 for a home theatre system??? Really?????) I'm good at numbers and have a plan that he just doesn't see. I was raised without credit, his parents raised him with credit and with the attitude of what good is money when your dead?


answers from San Diego on

I do the actual balancing of the checkbook and paying of the bills. We both do all the deciding where the money's spent and such.



answers from Appleton on

It should be done together at least occassionally so the other knows what to do in case the other can't do it. However the one who is better at math should take the lead. I do ours but had my husband do it for about six months and he royally messed up our finances. I took it back and now have most of our bills current.



answers from Detroit on

we do ours together, that way there is no hiding anything from each other. Honestly, we sit down and do our monthly budget per Dave Ramsey. We love this method.


answers from Los Angeles on

I handle the bills in our household, but I don't act like I'm in "control" of our finances, if you know what I mean. My husband did it in the beginning, and he forgot to pay a couple bills. After that, I handled it. I'm way more anal and conscientious about things like that. It works for us.


answers from Seattle on

My husband makes the bulk of the money, but I manage it!
He brings home the paycheck (I do too...just not as much!) and hands it all over to me. I pay all the bills. I buy all the groceries. I put gas in the cars. I pay for sporting events. I have the money, or know if we have enough money for going out to eat or the movies, I pay for extracurricular activities. I PHYSICALLY pay and do all those things bacause he knows that I keep better track of the money and where it goes and that I NEVER frivlously spend money on myself, or the kids for that matter.
Sometimes he is a little tricky though and makes money on sidework that he doesn't tell me about, and then when I tell the boys that we can't go do something until next payday he will whip out some money and become "super dad" which is a bit annoying, but I think it makes him proud to be able to do that. I think there always needs to be someone who takes the lead, usually the more anal of the two involved, so that overspending and frivolous spending doesn't happen!



answers from New York on

I pay all of the bills. But we both have equal say in how our money is spent.



answers from Hartford on

We both work, although he makes much much more then me. I am in charge of the finances. I pay the bills, decide if we can "afford" something, and deal with the stress when we are running a little short. With that being said, it is a thankless job and I am always the bad guy when I have to set the $ limits :( However, our bills are always paid on time and our credit is now Golden (It use to be really bad) In fact the last time we got our credit scores, his was even higher then mine. I told him he wasn't allowed to gloat because it was all my doing.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We do it together. Everyone's spending is out in the open and we both know where we're at with our finances.


answers from Dallas on

My husband blows money like a crazy person with no regard to budget or even making it through until next payday! I have had to step up and take the lead. He used to give me $ and I would use it to pay bills, but that was an unfair load on me. I had to do ALL the budgeting. He would end up coming to me for $ so it was more like I was his atm machine. So, now I have given him certain bills to pay. He is responsible for budgeting his $ to be sure his part is taken care of. I take care of the rest. He feels like he is in charge of his $ rather than giving it to me and having to ask for $ when he wants to buy something. I'm still doing the heavy lifting, but at least we're working together.


answers from Cleveland on

For my house it's both of us.
Well when it comes to talking about how money is spent and etc

Only thing that is kinda one sided is that all the money is in his bank account.
Now the reason for this is we aren't married. Been together for 4yrs but have been friends for almost 10 & have our 2nd baby on the way.
With that said, yes the money is in HIS account but he gives me the debit card while he's at work. So it's not like i have no access to money.
We discuss what can be spent, saved etc



answers from Chicago on

My husband makes the money but he had no idea how much our mortgage paymnt is, car payment, overall any of our bills or i got fed up when he wanted a very expensive car & he thought he should get it cause he makes good i talked him into taking a Dave Ramsey class & now he is much more involved with knowing the monthly outgo, although I still handle all the finances......he never got the car because he realized what a waste of money it is!


answers from Dallas on

We both are very involved because we are numbers people. I do all the bill paying, etc and keep hubby informed of what is going on, etc.

I also manage the money in our company and it iw intertwined because we take monthly payments (payroll and distributions) from the company to run the household.

Hubby maintains the control on all the investments and keep me updated on those.

We don't have a "budget" per say. Before any big ticket items are purchased, we do run it by each other. There is no hiding of any spending, we are both on top of what goes on. I am managing the company and personal banking online and I reconcile almost daily. I also reconcile the company credit card because we will not run a balance on any credit card for any reason. That is paid in full each month. We don't carry debt except for the remaining mortgage.



answers from Washington DC on

Even before my husband and I were married I took over the finances. I will ALWAYS be in charge of the money. It is my sanity, and my stress. Right now things are ugly because he has been out of work for 4 months, but I have been keeping us afloat. I know how to shift things around and make anything work. So it is 100% me. My husband almost fell out of his chair when he saw my budget spreadsheet. I live and die by that thing for finances. Even if I get an extra windfall, it goes into the spreadsheet. I'm not even sure he knows what bills need paid every month!!


answers from Myrtle Beach on

I am TERRIBLE with money, I pay the utilities, and my husband pays the major bills....



answers from Sacramento on

My husband pays all the bills, since he works lots of hours and has few other household duties. However, I'm the one who restricts spending the most. If he had his way, our office would be decked out in ridiculous, unnecessary audio equipment. I tend to be the one who calls the shots with spending.



answers from Minneapolis on

My husband takes the lead. I'm fine with that!



answers from Houston on

I am a SAHM, my husband works full time. I WEAR the budget pants in this family. He gets a small allowance once a week.
Because he, admittingly, is TERRIBLE at it!!!! he thanks me all the time!!! ;)




answers from Erie on

He does it because he is the anal one, and i don't have a good head for numbers. I'm curious about how the spouses of the ones that have responded would agree or not with how the situtations were discribed. hmmmm.



answers from Chicago on

I am a SAHM and run the house mostly. Which means I pay the bills, deposit checks, etc. But the investment side of it is mostly his job. Any big purchases we decide together, i.e. swingset, computer, etc. I would say that we are pretty equal in our decisions but I definitely am willing to spend more than he is :)



answers from Boise on

My husband and I have separate checking accounts/credit cards, etc. We split the household costs and decide together on spending for big ticket stuff.



answers from Minneapolis on

I manage the money, My husband actually call to confirm if he can make any purchase over $10. And I am always keeping him up to date on Money and talk with him if I need to make any family purchase over $100...Amongst other things.

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