Who Controls Your Finances?

Updated on April 22, 2009
K.K. asks from Erie, PA
10 answers

Just curious, I was wondering how people handle their money.
Does hubby play the bills and give wife an allotment
Does wife control money and give hubby lunch and gas allowances
do you actually sit down and do it together??
Do you have another way of doing it?
HAve you had to change your budget due to the economy?

I'm just finding now that i am a SAHM that I have more time and reasons to spend money but less money available. I don't like having to ASK for it all the time.
I know situations will vary, but i'm wondering how much a typical SAHM with two preschoolers would spend a month on playdates, fastfood lunches, amusement admissions, for the kids and then anything for herself????? I guess in other words what is a good amount for me the mommy to have as spending money??
My kids were each invited to two separate mcDonalds playdate this week (spring break), it's rainy and cold here so there aren't many free places to meet and play. For the three of us to have lunch and then play free in the play area -Twice this week-, was about $20. We don't often do this and i suppose i could have fed the kids before hand, made them share a meal and forgo the happy meal, or i could have skipped lunch, but our other friends don't even bat at eye at this, and hubby thinks nothing of buying himself lunch everyday as opposed to brown bagging it,-- so i'm wondering if i should not be so cheap or what???.
Anyone willing to talk a little bit about money??

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

So What Happened?

Some Really intelligent advice, hearing how other people do it helps me to see what would work for us and what wouldn't.
It really is harder for me to ask for money, i think hubby enjoys being the white knight to dispense Cash for my every wish. Seeing that helps me not resent him.
I had asked him before to go over fiances with him, since we both realize i would be in big trouble if anythign ever happened to him. But instead of showing me that we are spending 50% of our money on car and house payments and 10% on eating out etc he starts with this huge figure of what he proposes he will bring in during the year (self-employed) and starts showing me that we have this much in this account and this much in that but the money in this one isn't really our money it's to cover taxes so we can count it in our total but not count it in what we have available etc etc etc.Adn that is just the stuff he's said that halfway makes any sense to me. It is very confusing and overwhelming to me the way he is presenting it. I just need to know that for this last month we saved this much, paid this much and wasted this much. I'll try asking again.
And something else i've learned from your posts is that. I am worth a meal out everynow and then, I'm not being extravagant by spending $10 on myself. Infact i've leaned too far in the other direction. I actually need to learn how to say, "YES".
I think if i could write down all the things i want to do with in a week or a month and note the cost and show it to him he would be surprised. and it would give us a realistic starting point to work from. I very much want to save for things in our future so by no means will i match his spending, but I am worth a bit more.
Thank you ladies

Featured Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

My hubby handles the bank stuff and bills. I spend money as I need but I never have to ask for money. I would talk to hubby and brown bagging it, you guys would save a lot of money. That would free up 20.00 for you and the kids to go out.

More Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi K.

I wasn't a stay at home Mom until I had my third baby. Working FT wasn't working out for my kids. My husband tends to pay the bills, but all of our account info is online and we can each see what it going on.
I don't have an "allowance". If I need money for something that isn't a necessity I make sure we have enough and then either spend it or do without for the moment. Since I have been staying at home there is less McDonald's and fast food but we do have it for lunch when we're busy, I'm tired or I need a bribe :) So, don't feel guilty if you aren't bankrupting your finances, everyone needs to have some fun sometimes, even the kiddies! Just be aware of what you need for the bills and groceries so you don't spend money that isn't there. I could go on and on for hours on this topic I think, I work harder at home than I do at my PT (very part time) job so I don't feel I need permission to take the kids to the zoo or anywhere else for that matter as long as we can manage it. BTW, we have had sloppy joes for dinner so that I could fit a trip in. I don't think either party should control the finances, you should both know how much money there is and where it is going. And if hubby doesn't think it's worth the dough for a few hours out, tell him to start packing his lunch everyday or even better take care of and entertain the kids for a week. He couldn't hack it! Ok. I'm done. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi K.,
Here's how we do it in our house. My husband pays all of the monthly bills out of his pay (gas, electric, cable, phone, internet, water, sewage, car insurance, etc.) The money I make with my job (PT) is for groceries, gas for my car, and anything I need to pick up for the house or clothes for myself and our son. When I was working FT and making much more, I paid the mortgage. I have since liquidated some assets to allow me to pay off our house so hubby budgets money each month for the taxes. If an unexpected large bill comes up, the O. with the available funds covers it.
This is a good idea that worked for US: When I was making less, we instituted a little envelope fund, kept in the house, that I could dip into when I needed some cash for lunch, outings, etc. This is nice b/c it eliminates the need for me to "ask" for money (very hard for me after working full time for YEARS and always having my own money!) and it allows him to throw in whatever he can manage that month.
We keep our checking accts separate mainly b/c he is a compulsive "balancer" and I never bother! We have joint savings & investments.
I am lucky enough to have a husband who is a good provider and is generous as well.
We don't spend lavishly and both try to be good stewards of our money. I think that the best thing to do is to come up with a budget, say $50 per week or whatever is comfortable for YOUR family, and try to stick to it. I doubt your husband would expect you to skip your lunch at a play date! Sometimes I think that asking a husband for money is more traumatic for women than forking it over is for men!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Our church offers a financial class called Crown Financial. It is great!!! You can google to find out more about it. Also, I am a SAHM and have been the financial planner for all of our years together (17). We collaborate on savings, investments, and big purchases. I don't have an "allowance", but basically, there isn't a magical number but rather a magical equation. There are financial guidelines that help determine what percentage of your expenses should go for various areas. Just communicate with your husband the activities that you would like to engage your children in. If you two can agree on the activities list, add it up... then together decide if that figure is acceptable. Communication is key. But getting an allowance is, hmmm... not a healthy situation ... unless of course you need to have an allowance do to irresponsible spending habits.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, personally I think that we are living in the 21st century now, and for one spouse to give the other an "allowance" is ridiculous. Marriage should be an equal partnership in my opinion, and both partners need to make the major financial decisions together, which includes jointly settling on an approach to handling day-to-day expenses. Just because you are not currently working for pay doesn't mean that you are not entitled to an equal voice in the household finances. You are doing work that is essential to the functioning of your household, and if you weren't doing it, you and your husband would have to pay for daycare. You should absolutely NOT have to ask for money for every little thing that you want or need to do in your daily life!

I would suggest that you and your husband sit down together, make a budget of your typical monthly income and fixed expenses such as mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, groceries, etc., and figure out how much you have left that you can afford to spend on discretionary expenses like lunches out. Then decide on a general guideline for how much is reasonable for BOTH of you to spend in a typical week, with the mutual understanding that it's OK to spend a little more now and then as the situation calls for (on a playdate, for example) without asking the other for permission, but that you will consult with each other any time that either of you is considering a MAJOR expenditure which is not included in your agreed-upon regular budget.

You should also decide together who will be responsible for such tasks as physically paying your monthly household bills and balancing the checkbook (this can be whoever is willing to do it; in our house it's me, just because I am the more organized and detail-oriented one. It doesn't really matter, as long as you are making the overall financial decisions for your household jointly.)

Just my two (or ten?) cents...



answers from Harrisburg on

Hi K. K,

I handle the finances in my house. My husband uses his debit card when he needs gas etc. The only time he really asks about purchasing things is if its over $50 or so (which doesn't happen too often). In the same note, I also ask him if I am wanting to purchase something over $50(even though I handle things). That way neither of us have "total" control over it.

Like the last poster said...if your husband can buy lunch every day, then you should be entitled to also spend money on play dates at McDonald's here and there. If money is an issue, he should change to brown bagging it.

There is lots of ways to not spend as much money so you can have some "play" or "mommy" money. You could buy some of your groceries cheaper at dollar stores (Aldi's, DG, Deals, etc.). There's an Amish store not too far from me that offers things a lot cheaper. You could buy store brand for most things. You could buy things in bulk (like at Sam's club or BJ's. Don't eat out for supper too much and when you do, find the restaurants that have "your child eats free". This is just a few ideas.

Hope this helps!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

Me and hubby both work full time. We have a joint account and I handle all the house bills. We make joint decisions for all purchases. We food shop together. My hubby always beleived that I was spending more money then necessary for food, clothes, and house items. I allowed him to do the shopping for one week of food and household things. There is 4 of us, I spend about $80.00 a week. He spent $125.00 and couldn't beleive the cost of things. I also allowed him to buy clothes for my son and I did for our daughter. He spent $110.00 more then me for summer clothes. He now understands and we work together.

Me and hubby decided for playdates and outings we would montior it for a month and make decisions. We decided to buy a zoo membership for $100.00. This allows us to get in, plus 2 friends. We go once sometimes twice a month. Since we have the pass the person coming brings lunch.

The internet is a great place, we found buy one get one free to the Please Touch Museum. We use our parks and library. Also we visit the book stores they have small play areas and we choose a new book and read to one another. The Franklin Institute pass is $100.00 a year and gives you access to a couple hundred other musuems for free.

Find a balance that works for you and hubby, enjoy your kids!



answers from Pittsburgh on

When my husband and I got married and started a joint acct we started getting funny about how much each other was spending and what it was being spent on. So we alloted ourselves $75 each for a 2-week pay period that we could spend as we wished. We typically spent it on lunches, ebay/auction items, hobbies, etc. We also agreed that purchases outside of that money and over $100 had to be discussed first.

Now we have one salary since I am a SAHM to our 2 children. I run into the same concerns you do. However, I feel that since my husband eats out everyday I am entitled to some spending money of my own. I don't have a certain amount that I limit myself to, so I can't give you an accurate number. I will say the kids and I usually go out to lunch once a week for about $11.00. We do a lot of free library programs, visit neighborhood parks, play at home.

My husband may earn the money right now but I work hard to try to spend it wisely. I spend a lot of time shopping for bargains - clearance sales, consignment stores, coupons, etc. We also gladly accept hand-me-downs. I feel those efforts also give me a little more spending power when someone suggests a playdate or when I see something reasonable that I would really like.

I pay the bills and update my husband on our status. I would like to say we make joint decisions on investing, deciding to pay off loans, etc, but we don't see eye-to-eye there. I tend to defer to him on those decisions as long as I don't feel he is making a decision I can't live with. We've already agreed that when I go back to work (when the kids are in school full time in 3 years) we should have more income and I can pursue my own ideas. BTW, we still have discussions regarding purchases over $100.

I would say that you should discuss this with your husband. Be reasonable. You don't want to put yourself in a fanancially stressed situation just to keep up with your husband. Even if he spends $100 a week on lunch do you really want to spend that much on playdates, treats, etc? Find a number that fits your budget and give you some enjoyment. If you want some ideas about how to have fun without spending a ton of money, send me a message and I'll share some of my strategies. Good luck to you.



answers from Allentown on

you both need to agree on who pays the bills and set up a budget.

Honestly 20 for Mcdonald's for you and 2 toddlers way too much. I only bought happy meals on their birthday or special occasion. I'd be poor or not have gone out with 5 kids. I order myself a meal and get a sandwich off the dollar menu. Kids were thrilled when nuggets where on sale and they appreciated it. It does get a bit harder if your with others, but don't let that get to you. I also buy gift cards, that way 1% of goes to college fund from Upromise, no minimum purchase. I also buy the trick/treat and valentine little coupons, 12 free items for $1 drink, fries, burger and cone. I'll buy a cheap bag of pretzels and then hit drivethru for about 12-13 and feeds the 5 kids and myself, they have water bottles in car.


answers from Allentown on

Hi K.,

Ask your husband to sit down with you to discuss and make a household budget. Tell him about your concerns that is why you want to determine the income and expenses for the household.

Since we are a Capitalist society, we let money be our God.

Learning a new life style will be difficult because you must choose which way you want to live, keeping up with society or keeping up what is really important in life, relationships with those we love and cherish.

You will need to learn how to say NO and still feel good about yourself.

Good luck. D.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions