Monday, July 20, 2009

Money: Is it a taboo subject in your house?

This week is all about Finances here in The Real World. Men, women and money; it can be a tricky subject to negotiate. The leading causes of disagreements in marriage are money and sex (sex will be next weeks topic). So there's a good chance money has at one time or another been an issue in your relationship.

For my marriage once my son was six months old I left my job in accounting to stay home and turned all the finances over to my husband. I figured since he's the one making the money he would be the best person to know what needs to be saved and what needs to be spent. I didn't mind not being in charge of money for a change.

But like in any situation when you turn over total control of something you tend to not see what's going on day to day. For us this led to some tougher times when we miscalculated how much we were really spending. There were some pasta dinners that repeated several times a week for awhile because it was filling and cheap. Our biggest fights have been about money and not having enough in the bank. The way we were raised means I was always a saver and he was always a spender. We had to find a way to mesh our two ways in order to make our marriage a better one.

I'm more easy going about spending and he's more careful about saving.

We are in a good financial position now but I still plan to be careful with money. I'm taking charge of our finances here in the US until my husband moves from Germany sometime in the next six months. I haven't done this in a long time - balancing a checkbook, writing checks and being in charge of making sure I don't spend more than I should. I'll be bargain hunting and checking ads to make sure I do everything I can to save my family money.

Do you have any financial stress in your relationship? Who pays the bills in your house? What sort of tools do you use to make sure you meet your financial obligations? Do you fight about money?

Venus and Mars


G in Berlin said...

When I left my job in accounting to stay home with the kids here in Germany, my husband would have had a heart attack if I expected him to handle the money. Every now and then I try to explain to him what he could look at, but the most I have been able to do is give him a list of passwords so that if I drop dead he can access our finances.
He did have to find a German bank account that had some translation though.
We occasionally stress over money, but we don't fight over it. I run our finances through the internet, obviously. I wire money here from the States (what a pain- but we are paid there), I pay bills out of bank accounts and uberweisung bills here. Our income is direct deposited and deposited in the US as well.
I fax reimbursement claims and I run spreadsheets on expenses, etc. I enjoy it (except for dealing with healthcare reimbursements).

SciFi Dad said...

I monitor the finances on a regular basis (I update our accounts - bank and credit cards - a few times a week usually) and my wife checks in at month end. Our arrangement is similar to yours in that since I'm bringing in the paycheque, it's on me to make sure the money's there.

We haven't had specific fights per se, although it does get stressful when I have to email her the most recent update with questions like, "Why did we spend so much on groceries this month?" or "We need to take it easy next month because I had to dip into savings instead of put money into it this month."

Tisra said...

I stay home, we share all accounts, and he does all the banking (just 'cause he's the one with the most desire to graph it all out and do it on the computer- I'm a paper girl). That said, we're usually quite conservative and live well beneath our means to be comfortable and not stressed about money. Nothing like a $30,000 adoption to shake things up a bit, though! These past three years of our adoption have made us understand why people have money stress and arguments. We've had a decent amount of misunderstandings about spending, and felt the sting of unexpected things breaking or medical bills gouging into our adoption savings. Ready to have our girl home and to put all this behind us!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I take care of all the finances and I HATE IT!

I hate being solely responsible for them. If things are going right, I'm a genius... if things are taking a down turn I'm to blame

To be quite honest, i don't think it's fair... but I've been doing it for so long that it would be a CHANGE and he's not to adaptable to stuff like that.

And lately, I've been HORRIBLE with money... I feel like I need a support group or something!

I'm definitely the spender and he's the saver... yet I can save if I need to and pay off bills... but sometimes borrowing from the savings is my solution... and then he gets mad... which is completely understandable???

Anyway... I can't wait to see what other people have to say! :)

valerie said...

We haven't really fought over money in a long time. I did however have a hard time when I stopped working and we both decided that staying home with the kids to raise them was the best for our family. At first it was awkward that he made all the money and I didn't. Checks drive him crazy when things didn't balance right in the book or statement so we just always use cash. At first it was ok but then I would hate asking for some money just so I could shopping or whatever. Before my money was mine to spend pretty much how I wanted and he took care of the rest. HE never made me feel like he was Mr. Powerful or anything with all the money but inside I just felt weird, I guess that I didn't have my own. Now though, I have no problem spending his hard earned cash! lol

Missty said...

Matt makes all the money, I spend it. I pay all the bills. It is automatically put into the checking account each week. And I pay all of our bills online. I can pretty much see several weeks out how much "extra" there will be at any given week.

I usually get out a certain amount of pocket cash each Friday. To give to Matt, me and the boys. Then if Matt needs more for what ever, and he usually does (business lunches). lol It will go on the credit card. I have the debit card, credit card and gas card as well. That I use as needed.

I have never asked for permission to spend money, even though he makes it.

We have had some disagreements about money, but that was many years ago.

As far as tools. I don't do spreadsheets, or anything. Very simple here, check book register and online banking... and a calculator!

Ashley said...

I just found your blog from my friend Merrianne's. Your blog is really fun to read, I like it!!!
I think money is stressful in every relationship. My husband handles all the bills and we try to keep it as stress-free as we can, but it's always tough!! And I always spend too much, of course.
Come by my blog to enter some fun giveaways! Not many people have entered yet, so your chances of winning are really good!

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I definitely don't ask permission to spend money (up to a certain point, like over $100 on a single item) we discuss any big purchases like his new racing bike and my new computer and we save for those items.

The biggest place I spend money is on my kids for clothes or an occasional toy. I usually buy them something before myself.

Shirley said...

I'm with Missty. My husband makes the money and I am free to spend whatever is in the checkbook. I pay all bills. He takes care of investments. I can't remember ever fighting over money. That doesn't mean I haven't been frustrated at times. When we had three kids in college/on missions, things were very tight, but my husband never saw that. If he spent extra money on golf one month, I had to do some creative squeezing somewhere else. I really think he lives in a 1970's time warp as far as money goes. He just doesn't have a clue what things cost. Now that he's semi-retired, he's a little more interested that he used to be. That might cause some arguments down the road if he butts in too much. : )

Youngblood4ever said...

WOW! This is a HOT topic in my house. I am going to be posting this week because this is something that causes stress in my life while Hubby remains oblivious to exactly how bad it really is. I love what has been said so far and am going to be talking to Hubby about renegotiating our current jobs.