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Husbands and Money

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz: When I got married, I had no idea how it would affect my finances. I had always had control of my money and spent it like I pleased. Suddenly, my husband saw what I was buying for myself and my baby -- and he was not happy.

woman with money
A girlfriend told me that her mom set her up with a $5,000 bank account when she got married, for the "purchases she didn't want to have to explain to her husband." My friend squirrels away money she finds here and there and adds it to her account. She spends it on her kid -- but on things her husband would think were ridiculous. Another friend told me that every time she goes to the grocery store, she buys a Starbucks or Old Navy gift card. Her husband never notices, because he thinks it's part of the grocery bill.

These women are brilliant and savvy. (Why hadn't I thought of these tricks?) Many of them have a secret credit card that they've never told their spouses about, and they've charged away, buying things like a Marc Jacobs diaper bag he would never understand, or toys he would veto. One friend was allowed to spend whatever she wanted on the baby (her husband's little princess), but only $200 a month on herself -- which went fast. So she resorted to having her mom charge things for her, after which she'd pay her mom back in cash.

Many moms I talked to told me that, over time, they had racked up secret mommy debt. According to research, one in three wives hides debt from her husband. The problem? These one-off purchases add up, and soon you're a mommy with debt!

But there is a solution -- and it's fun. It's called Payoff.com. It not only helps you pay off that designer diaper bag, it simultaneously helps you save for a fun family vacation. It's a game that teaches you financial responsibility -- and you might even win some money along the way.


next: Second Baby Shower: OK or No Way?
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michelle December 27, 2010, 10:37 PM

Is this what being a stay-at-home mom requires? Relinquishing control over finances to a man! Pathetic.

Sasha December 28, 2010, 6:32 AM

Michelle, that’s what I thought, too, as I started reading the article but by the time I was finished, I realized that I’m the exact same way. Even right this minute I have debt that I’m hiding from my husband…nothing huge, just little purchases that added up.

Mommyof4 December 28, 2010, 2:04 PM

I usually don’t comment but after reading this I had to! I am happily married to a wonderful husband and father and we have 4 beautiful children and I am a SAHM! I have never had to ask my husbands permission to buy anything…let alone have to hide money from him…I don’t understand that women have to have secret accounts or hide money from your husband….from the first day we were together he told me that my money was mine and his money was ours and I could spend how i pleased…he let me take over the finances cause I take care of the kids and the house, so I pay the bills, the credit cards etc. I even worked on bringing his credit up and got him some new credit cards and there are in my wallet, he says he works so that we can be happy and have things that we want or need and he trusts me with every dime that he makes! I will never understand how anyone could be afraid to spend money on something for themselves cause their husband will get mad! or having an allowance??? I am sorry that there are husbands out there like that, a real marriage is all about trust and honesty…and that even includes finances!

Rhona Berens (Parent Alliance December 28, 2010, 2:35 PM

Whatever our financial quirks or secrets, I think the bigger issue—one that isn’t really discussed openly very much—is that money is a major stress in a lot of marriages and it often gets more gnarly as an issue after we have kids. Here’s an interesting bit of research: people with CONTRASTING money styles often marry each other, because initially we find those contrasts appealing. Once we’re married—and have inherited financial responsibility with each other and, sometimes, debt—those contrasts can easily (and often do) turn into conflict. Secret credit cards, hidden stashes of cash, etc are, I suspect pretty common, and can be a stop-gap measure to avoid conflict-in-the-moment, but what they don’t address is the erosion of trust that happens in a relationship over time when we hide things from our spouses, or the discomfort we feel when a spouse tries to control our spending. This is a REALLY important topic and I’m grateful for this post. For anyone who wants to read more about this issue, I’ve also blogged on it at www.parentalliance.com. Here’s the link: http://wp.me/pZuta-4R.

MR. X December 28, 2010, 3:27 PM

Stupid broads!

Kristen December 29, 2010, 3:37 AM

I think this is INSANE. Wow, I think all Americans can do is spend, spend, spend. Good grief, hiding purchases from your husband……My husband and I sit down EVERY 2 weeks and do the bills together(unless he is deployed), we invest together, we decide together any purchases over $100(other than grocery’s). Hiding money from each other is very bad on a marriage. I think couples need to sit down and start talking long term goals, short term goals and what EACH OTHER feels is ok in terms of spending, of course their will be differences so this is the point where communication and understanding comes in.

Anonymous December 29, 2010, 11:14 AM

Mr. X. is spot on. When I got married, we didn’t even talk about money. My money is mine, his money is his. When we have children there will be a joint bank account for domestic affairs that we will both pay into on a monthly basis. As for ‘hiding’ purchases, what are you all, twelve? You’re grown-ups and you’re ‘asking permission’ or getting mom to buy you stuff, seriously? That’s insane. Do you have a curfew as well? Do you get a gold star for good behavior?

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 12:27 PM

Interesting info. Nice and fun reading. There is one thing to submit about funny t-shirts.


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