You Spent How Much On What?!

The past couple of months have been interesting financially. Hubby finally got his severance package, we got our deposit back, and we got our income tax. Although moving costs money (storage, last month’s rent, and movers, along with the other crazy things that happened), we had a decent cushion even after paying bills. Before we moved, I was cleaning the house when I found a receipt on our table. My husband had went shopping, something he very rarely does, and he showed me the things he got. It was basically one outfit: a shirt, a hat, and some jeans. Being a 3rd generation bargain shopper, I assumed he took the same route. I looked at that receipt and if I was drinking something, I surely would have choked. His outfit cost almost $300.

I found a similar receipt later for another trip he took and was upset again. He’s been saying “oh, I’m going to get this” or “I gotta buy that” and I’ve kept my mouth closed for the most part. I did bring up the first receipt, and he mentioned he “needed” the clothes (I’ll admit he did need new clothes, since his weight has fluctuated, nothing fits him) but he really couldn’t justify the price. For that amount of money, I could’ve gotten him several outfits, but I digress.

When hubby gets money, he also likes to splurge on his family. His sister’s birthday party is this evening and she has done so much for him. To show his gratification, he bought her several presents. He then sought out things to get for his parents and for himself. I was wondering “so…do I get anything?” Sure enough the next day I got Shari’s Berries delivered right to the front door.  He told me how much he spent and it seemed like a good value, but my concerns about money kept me from enjoying them to their fullest.

Yesterday, I used the money I had been saving to buy a bike. I recently became really serious about my fitness, setting goals to lose weight, become a runner, and eventually participate in a triathlon. The bike wasn’t cheap but wasn’t nearly as expensive as some of the ones I’ve seen. When we got in the car after I purchased my bike, I asked why he looked irritated. He said I could’ve found a better bargain for my bike. Well I’ll be damned. I told him I got the bike I wanted, didn’t have to assemble it, supported a small business, and will make sure I ride it literally until the wheels fall off.

So when I saw him splurging on his family members, I half-jokingly-half-seriously asked him “so what are you going to get me?” He said “you got your bike, didn’t you?” I was livid! I not so quietly flipped out. I told him “you had nothing to do with me getting my bike. I bought it, not you.” He said “well didn’t you use the tax refund money?” I said “no, I used my money that I earned. I used tax return money for paying my bills. And even with that, you didn’t give me tax refund money. The government did.”

The complicated thing is our money system. We have our individual accounts and our joint account to pay joint bills. Well, now that we’re living in separate households, we don’t really have joint bills anymore. Just our phone bill. We usually don’t confront or discuss our independent bills and finances, but I thought he was spending recklessly, and I’m sure he did too. However, my purchase, that I’ve been waiting on and researched thoroughly, didn’t touch the amount of money he’s been spending.

I’m now thinking that this money system is not good, because it could spark arguments like these. “Why did you spend that much money? This is my money.” This can easily cause a divide in our marriage. I’m considering talking to him about joining our finances, but not sure how that could work with us being in separate households.

How do you and your spouse handle money? What do you think about my husband’s purchases? What’s your opinion on my argument about my bike?

10 Responses to You Spent How Much On What?!

  1. I agree that $300 is too much for a shirt, hat and jeans.  My fiance and I are planning to have a joint account for household/family expenses with individual accounts for fun money.  I think the key to making this work is to be very clear about which expenses are to be paid from which account.  And if your husband has $300 in his fun account and wants to buy an outfit, you can’t say anything about it.  And if you want to use your money to buy a bike, he can’t get mad about it.  You still probably won’t agree with how the fun money was spent, but it’s your money, and as long as you’ve both worked to earn it and the bills are getting paid (and you have some joint savings), that’s how it is.

  2. Whoa. You two are not ready to combine finances. It would have been ideal if you two already knew each others spending habits before marriage, but, oh well. You’re married…forever…at this point.

    I’m confused. If your finances are seperated, then why would you get upset at his outfit purchase? Did it affect the amount of money that goes into a joint account? Why are you upset with his splurges on his family? Does this affect the amount of money that goes into a joint account?

    Ideally, I think finances should be combined, but like you alluded to, it may bring more trouble into the marriage than you want. What if you earn four times as much as he when your blog takes off? Then what? What if both of you want a $500,000 home, for whatever reason, but he only earners $40K a year while you earn $300K? Finances in marriages are totally complicated…always.

    There is no magic answer. You two have to sit down and come up what’s best for the marriage. What works for one couple may not work for you.

    By the way, your justification for a bike was no better than his justification to waste money on clothes. And, you didn’t play fair in your post because you neglected to tell us how much you paid for your bike. :-)  

  3. Me and my Hubby are newly married and still trying to figure this out :-/ It’s far from easy. I appreciate your honesty about situations such as these cause it brings up much needed discussion for married couples!

  4. I don’t think combining your finances will help you at this point. In fact, it might hurt you. He spends his money on an expensive outfit, you’re a little miffed, but if he spends your joint money (and therefore YOUR money) on his family for presents, then you’re going to go through the roof (and vice versa, it appears).

  5. I don’t think combining your finances will help you at this point. In fact, it might hurt you. He spends his money on an expensive outfit, you’re a little miffed, but if he spends your joint money (and therefore YOUR money) on his family for presents, then you’re going to go through the roof (and vice versa, it appears).

  6. My husband and I have combined finances pretty much from the start. However I will say, we knew about all debt that was coming into the marriage, and we designated an individual to handle all the bill-pay, personal allowances, and a limit to what we could spend without consulting the other person. We had a LOT of communication before we got married. It’s been good because there have been times where either of us were un- or under-employed or ill, but we always looked at it as we share everything together and work through everything together. We’ve been very lucky.

  7. We have a combination of accounts like you, both joint and individual. Basically most of the money goes into joint checking and savings. All the bills are paid from those and all of our savings are put into there as well. 

    Our individual accounts for allocated for eating out, gasoline, and gifts. How and what is spent from the individual account we don’t stress over. My husband saves for a bit in his and then buys gadgets and stuff. I tend to spend it on gifts for family and friends. 
    It took a bit for us to find a system that worked for us. Best wishes on working this out. 

  8. Did he buy the outfit with household money? Why do you live in separate households? Why does it bother you if he buys gifts for his family? If all bills are paid with joint money and you each have your own personal money, I’m confused as to what the issue is? Also how come you are not filing joint returns if your married? I ask a lot of questions because a lot seems to be missing from this post.

  9. Sounds like you two are in one of those tough periods of life.  Everyone has them, some worse than others.  I’m not an expert or a counselor or anything, but have been married for 40 years and we’ve done ok.  I think it helps if you each try to understand each others (and your own even) money history and personality – so that you can maybe know why you or he is acting or reacting a certain way.  One thing you could consider, if you both want to, is to work through questions to figure this out and then try talking through things.  I found this resource by just goggling ‘money personality’ 
    Good luck!

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