It’s All About The Money!

I met my husband when I was just shy of 20.  I’m almost 40.

That’s half my life people.

When we met we were both in college.  I had a job, he didn’t.  He was in the army so while he was in (public) school, he got his tuition paid and received a monthly stipend for expenses.

On our first date, I insisted on paying my part of the bill.  No man was going to try and “buy me” with a dinner.  As we continued dating, I paid, he paid, and we split paying for things.  The money, though not plentiful, just worked out.

Once he went to a private college, his tuition was NOT paid for.  I continued to work and would pitch in when he needed stuff.  I remember going to the grocery store with my nightly earnings (wow that makes me sound like I worked the pole) and buying him food.

Fast forward a few years and we were moving in together.  We decided the only way we were going to be able to make it work was pooling our money together.   He put my credit card debt on his credit card (he had a better interest rate) and I contributed my meager savings with his.  We were doing this.  Together.  Teamwork Mothereffers.

Wow, that year sucked.  We were dirt poor.  I remember our rent being $545 for a 2 bedroom place.  I worked in a restaurant and he tutored.  Some months when my tips were lower or he had many cancellations, we would have to put groceries on a credit card.   But together, we did it.

(Insert years of getting better jobs, a new cockroach free apartment, paying for our own wedding and finally buying a house together)

When I became pregnant, there was no plan.  Besides the obvious.  We KNEW there was going to be a baby in 9 months but preparing for it?  We did none.  I guess we both assumed that I would go back to work.  We never once even talked about what would happen with the baby while I was at work.  We didn’t once even look into options or costs.  Denial River was wide.

And then he was born.

I enjoyed being home with my new baby.  I was breastfeeding and didn’t realize how that might affect me going back to work.

I guess I’ll go back once he weans, I thought.

And then my husband started traveling more for work.

I guess I’ll go back once my husband’s schedule isn’t so all over the country, I thought.

And NINE years and another child later?  I’m still here.

Um, people?   What the hell happened?

I’ve been home for 9 years not making a damn cent and I have the social security statements laughing at me to prove it.

But do I feel guilty?  Hell no.

Does this extra responsibility on my husband cause stress?  Well.  Yes.

In our house, we’ve always HAD to have our money together.  I’ve helped him out, or he’s helped me out.  But it was US supporting each other.

Ok. But none of that is my point really.   So stay with me for a moment.

I was at a school fundraiser event last night and struck up a conversation with a woman (A) who also happens to be a stay at home mom.   At some point she mentioned how since her husband makes the money she would feel guilty spending it on X or Y.

My mind?  Blown.

Now, on the other hand, I have friends (B) who work, are married with families, and who keep separate accounts.  They have the bills divided between them.

Again, WOW.

I am NOT judging what might work for family A or B.

But here’s my thing.

Woman A feels guilty because she stays home and doesn’t make the money of the household.  She may really debate buying something because it’s not her money.  She may also NOT buy things because of this guilt too.

Does woman B feel that way?  Do working moms ever have the guilt of spending money even though they work?  Do they feel MORE justified to spend money because they DO work?

Just because I’m home with children doesn’t give me free reign to spend OUR on anything I want.  But am I going to debate whether or not I buy that 6 foot skeleton for Halloween?


::Grabs 2::

I don’t know.  I honestly can’t relate to either.   My husband works.  I don’t.  Do I view it as HIS money?  No.  I view it as money that he works for that supports HIS, OUR family.


Here’s the deal.  I don’t like to stir any pots of SAHM vs. working moms and I swear to all the baby, teenager, and elderly Jesus’s that I will delete any comments that are negative.  I’m looking for respectful conversation on the matter.

63 thoughts on “It’s All About The Money!

  1. The SAHM vs working mom is a tough thing. Damned if you do and damned if you don't and really, every family figures it out.Like you, we've always just pooled our resources both time & money :)

  2. The husband and I have always pooled our money – even when we had none. I have never had an issue spending money on him or the girl, whether I was working or not. Spending on me? ALWAYS an issue, whether I'm working or not. I think it's less about who brings it in than it is having been raised with the idea that you just don't spend money on yourself.

    Which is bullshit and I'm trying to get rid of that thought.

    • I hope you can. You deserve something now and then too. It doesn't have to be expensive, just make you smile.


    It is funny because when I was on maternity leave, for about 11 seconds I had that guilt, that "well it isn't MY money" and then I got over you. You know why? It's OUR money. We have had joint accounts for a long time. We each get our own "spend it on video games or mascara but don't bitch when it's gone" accounts that money goes into when we get paid, the bills come out of the joint. We've had times where I made less than half the amount of money, and we've had times I made way more. It doesn't matter. Since we've lived together we've split the income and outcome. We view it as a HOUSEHOLD income, not as 2 individual incomes. My sister does the "this is yours, that's mine, I pay the bills so you owe me X every month" and it works for them, but not me.

    The hubs was laid off an entire year after my mat leave. Did he think twice about spending? Of course, but not because the money was "mine" just because there was less of it so we had to be more cognizant of where it went.

    We live together, we are married, we raise a family. In my opinion and for US, it's a divide and conquer scenario. We discuss large purchases but if I want to buy a pair of shoes and I know we have the funds, I do and I don't feel an ounce of guilt. If you're home with the kids and your husband is working, you're just not being paid for your contributions but, half of that income should be attributed to you – you're the one running the house so he CAN work and support you. I don't personally see it as a dollar in dollar out scenario. Income potential isn't just about the dollars.

  4. It is funny because when I was on maternity leave, for about 11 seconds I had that guilt, that "well it isn't MY money" and then I got over you. You know why? It's OUR money. We have had joint accounts for a long time. We each get our own "spend it on video games or mascara but don't bitch when it's gone" accounts that money goes into when we get paid, the bills come out of the joint. We've had times where I made less than half the amount of money, and we've had times I made way more. It doesn't matter. Since we've lived together we've split the income and outcome. We view it as a HOUSEHOLD income, not as 2 individual incomes. My sister does the "this is yours, that's mine, I pay the bills so you owe me X every month" and it works for them, but not me.

  5. I'm a WOHM, with a SAHD for a husband. Who also has his own art & illustration career. I bring in 75% of our income (depending on the year). Money is tight, but not so much that we can't buy pizza every weekend.
    And yet, I feel guilty every time I spend money on myself, with few exceptions. My husband doesn't give me crap, but I know we have debt and money is tight and the kid is going through a growth spurt so he's gonna need new shoes soon. Nevermind that I have 3 pairs of shoes total that I wear. Or that I have a total of 3 pairs of work pants. I still feel guilty about spending on ME versus spending on the family.
    But that's more about me, and my issues, than about our money. Because it's OUR money. What comes in goes out, and we both know where the finances stand at any moment. We have the same financial goals. Neither of us spend more than about $50 without asking the other person. And even though sometimes I want to stomp my foot and say "I should totally be allowed to buy this $100 worth of clothes because I make the most money, dagnabit," in the end, it's my responsibility to my family that keeps me from doing it, not any feelings about it being MY money or HIS money.
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  6. I work outside the home as done my husband. We do a hybrid. We pool most of our money into joint checking and savings accounts, but we each keep small personal accounts. This helps us because our recreational spending is quite different. He tends to buy fewer, more expensive things (i.e. electronics). I tend to buy things on sale but buy a lot of them (i.e. shoes and clothes). By keeping our "fun" funds separate we can't judge each others spending even though I know both of us often view the other's purchases as silly. It's what works for us.

  7. Two parent working household.
    Since we were engaged, we have had joint everything. There are no secrets in our financial life at least I hope not. He is macro and I am micro. My husband and I both make by most measures a good amount of money so I think part of why I have never thought about it is because money is not a stress month to month. I think if finances were tight, then I would feel a bit more guilty spending period.
    I do most of the spending in our house. In part because I pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, take the kids to the pediatrician etc… But never once have I ever stopped and thought that I shouldn't buy something at the grocery store that only I will eat because my husband makes more. Never once have I not bought a new pair of shoes I want because he makes more. Have I stopped because I think I am spending too much an outfit for a 7 month old? Maybe. But, it has never crossed my mind that I shouldn't spend any or as much because I make less.
    We pay out $2500 a month in nanny/preschool costs and I do catch myself thinking about if I stayed home that we wouldn't pay that. But monthly, I make a lot more than that and I carry our health insurance which is a fortune which for me factors in to us being equal in some ways.
    I think money comes down to respect. Respect for what each person is doing and bringing to the marriage. Not what you spend.
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  8. I always worked and supported myself, so when I stopped working outside of the home when our daughter was born, there was a definite period of "well, I'm not *making* any money, so I probably shouldn't be spending any either". For me, being completely financially dependent on another person for the first time since I left home was weird. I didn't feel like it wasn't my money too, I just felt strange spending money on myself when I wasn't contributing to the household financially, and what money I did spend could be better used elsewhere. I'm working now (from home), and I still have weirdness about spending on myself or for things that aren't kid or home related.
    My recent post Sigh.

  9. I was the primary breadwinner from the time we met until this past October. I’ll tell you: I always felt guilty spending money on me and not saving it. Always,

    But then I was like that when I was single too.

    Not being the primary will add to that guilt, I’m sure.

  10. We both work, but my husband makes twice what I do. We each spend money here and there. We discuss big purchases (over $50). I’d expect it to be the same if one of us stayed at home. We very much embrace the “it’s our money” concept. It would be weird to us any other way, I think.

    The one caveat is that he doesn’t ask what I do with my Etsy money and I don’t ask what he does with his tip money. More often than not, though, that gets pitched in for fun family stuff.

  11. Peter works and I stay home. I would have went back to work if I had more earning potential, but Peter makes FAR more money than I would have. For a while I had my own business that I tried to make work (in a depressed economy with an infant at home), but I couldn't so I dropped the stress.

    That said, I work my ass off at home. My kids are well fed and well taken care of. There was some toying with the idea of me going back to work before I got pregnant with our second….but Peter and I discussed it and realized that we were financially able to stay with the current situation, and our daughter was thriving so it made sense to stick with what was working. Then #2 made an appearance and the decision was solidified.

    We both have separate accounts that we came into the relationship with, but we also have a joint account. Both of our names are on our mortgage and car payments and as many bills that allow 2 account holders. We're in this together for sure. He may bring home the paycheck but we both earn it. Him with his cut and clear work in the office and me at home as a support person. I pay all the bills, plan all the meals, take care of the family, etc. I shop when I want (because I do so within reason) as does he. We generally pay for our own things out of our personal accounts and household bills out of the joint (though I "pay myself" out of the joint).
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  13. Rob & I have a financial history/present similar to your family’s. We combined by necessity and continued to do so because it worked. Now it’s just him making money, but the funds are still for us both.

    Situations A and B blow my mind as well – not because I think they’re wrong but because I don’t think we could make either peacefully work for us. Interesting!

  14. I guess I fall somewhere in between A & B. I'm a working mom, but we have joint everything accounts. It's all "our money". It's always been that way. I manage our bank account, schedule bills to be paid, etc. but he knows how much money we have…it's not like I hide it from him or anything. We talk a lot about how much is in our accounts, how I set up automatic transfers for our savings, etc. We have this unwritten/unspoken (though it has come up when we talk about how other couples spend money) rule that pretty much any purchase near $50 we don't make unless we've talked about it…pretty much no matter what the purchase is, I guess aside from household stuff like groceries, toilet paper, soap etc.

  15. Keep in mind that your husband can go out and be successful and make money to support his family because he has the piece of mind of knowing that you are home taking care of the kids. He can travel if he needs to and doesn't need to worry about leaving work to pick up the kids, etc. I've been home with the kids for eight years and my wife tells me all the time that she can do what she does because I'm home. After I stopped working my wife made up my salary within 2 years. It's definitely a team effort. Great blog!

  16. I make the money at my house but it's OUR money. But, because we really do NEED 2 incomes and the money is always tight then we each have to really work hard to justify frivolous expenses. To the point where he'll give me a rash of crap if I overspend on, say, Easter basket stuffers or birthday party stuff. The constantly being tight financially sucks big ole monkey balls and causes resentment to the point that if I splurge and, gasp, by myself a movie or something then he feels entitled to do the same thing. It's exhausting. Occasionally I want to pout and say "But it's MY money. I earned it. I should be able to get a damn pedicure every month!" But then I have to pay for soccer, baseball, scouts, groceries, cell phones, or my effing car payment and I'm humbled again. But, yes, I do feel guilt when I spend money on myself but more because we don't have a lot to go around rather than it being his or my money, and I think he feels the same way.

  17. Working mama here. Hubs and I pull about the same salary and have no debt but a mortgage. We have joint everything. We don’t nit pick each other’s spending. I go to Target and buy stupid shit and he buys gadgets. We know our account balance and never spend more than we have. Big purchases are discussed (iPad, new furniture, etc). I think a lot is how well your marriage works. If there is no resentment on your financial situation, you are probably good. If someone feels entitled or inadequate, you are brewing problems. So everyone can have different marriages but it is the state of their communication that is key. Or some shit like that. hope that helps

  18. Cort and I are just like you guys. I mean, our situations are vastly different, but all money that comes into this house are OUR money.

    We do give ourselves allowances out of our weekly budget though. But even when Cort was unemployed, that amount stayed even and the same. That way if he wants to go golfing or I want to get starbucks every day of my life or buy out etsy, neither of us have to run it by the other or justify anything come bill pay day. But everything else comes out of the tiny pool of money that we call ours.
    My recent post Getting Schooled

  19. I was so like women A when our marriage was young. We had a baby right away. I have never had a full-time job. We got married while I was in college and had a baby. But I finished school. And had another baby. And so felt like I had brought a lot of debt into the family (my college, day care costs, etc) and then didn't even go get a job after.
    But then along came baby number 3 and the realization that staying home and doing laundry and cleaning and cooking is a freaking job. So I buy myself things. Not a lot of things. Not very extravagant (mostly. But f I do – or he does – we talk about it first!) And I consider that my "pay" for doing what I do. And since he's not keeping track? Why the heck should I?
    But in general, I think too often society makes stay-at-home moms feel less than. And so too often SAHM take that in and feel less than. So therefore, how could they feel good about a lot of things. I actually had (recently) another SAHM say to me "Well, I don't wnat my kids to graduate from this district because all the people know didn't do anything after graduation. They just had babies and stay home and do nothing." Um. That is not doing nothing at all. And I was even more sad to hear that from another SAHM. But it is clear to me she thinks being a SAHM is nothing to be proud of. So sad. We should support mothers (and fathers) whether they work out of the house, work from home, or parent full time.
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  20. I have wondered how I will respond when the tables are turned. For so long I have been the breadwinner while he went to school, etc. He hasnt spent discretionary income mainly because it havent been there (being in our not rich single income 20s/college years). Now he is working on a temporary contract and I am undergoing whiplash because he is spending money. Not huge amounts but yes several hundred a month. I dont want to micro manage his spending mainly because I dont want him to do the same when I am in my SAHM years, but I see a finances talk coming up real soon. The only way I can prevent guilt is for everyone to know exactly how much fun money we have, and dont have. He has largely voluntarily opted out of managing our finances. I think we both need to be 100% involved in that management.

    Thank you for sharing. This too has been on my mind this last week.

  21. Here's a kicker. We don''t have children and we both work, but I make the majority of the money. My husband's work is sporadic. I feel guilty spending any money, in case I can't cover us through the times when he's out of work. I feel like I'm the provider and he has no problems spending money on anything (within reason).

  22. I work part-time. My husband works full-time. However for many yrs I supported him. I do sometimes feel guilty spending money but not because I feel like its “his.”. It just feels like there is always something more important to buy or save for.

  23. I struggle with money issue. My husband doesn't make me feel like it's his money, but I feel guilty because I'm not contributing to the pot with money. Things were tight for quite a few years, so I did feel guilty if I needed something or the grocery bill was higher that week. NOw things are better, and I still feel guilty. I think our society puts a lot of emphasis on making money and obtaining things. Being a SAHM does not do either one of those things.

    Over the years, I do realize that I put in a hell of a lot of work into this family, even if it doesn't have tangible dollars attached to it. I am working my way through not feeling guilty about spending money because even if I wasn't in the office earning it, I have been working my ass off at home.

    Great post!! Thanks for sharing! This very thing has been on my mind a lot lately.
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  24. There has been much stress in our relationship over money. We are better now, not great but better. However I am like Woman A. My husband makes the majority of the money and always has. I feel guilty and unsure if I can spend without discussing with him. Even though I do work part time (20 hours per week) for money that is needed. I don't like it but I can't seem to stop feeling that way. He on the other hand feels no such guilt over making purchases without discussion :P

  25. I completely agree that when your married the money is all together both of yours. We both make about the same but there have been many times I made more or he did and it was still equal. We do usually get our little allowances at the beginning of the month for fast food/whatever we want to spend it on each. And other than that we talk about all purchases before spending but that’s really only because we’re still young and the money is tight so I can’t just take off to Old Navy and spend money without making sure it won’t affect our bills.

  26. This is such an interesting topic!

    We started out similarly, both working/ supporting each other as needed. And have (for now) ended up similarly, I'm at home, he's at work.

    But I still see it as our money to make decisions about and it has neverever occurred to me that that's not how it works for everyone.

    (Can I get in on one of those wows?)

    Fabulous discussion, girl.
    My recent post Raising Kick Ass Girls

  27. I’m a working mom and I still feel guilty about spending money sometimes. But honestly, I don’t have a single clue how much any of our bills are or how much is ever in our checking or savings account. Which is all my fault. Maybe if I wasn’t ao lazy about finding out about our finances I wouldn’t feel so guilty.

  28. Yes! I couldn’t have said this better myself! This is exactly how it works in our house! Actually I’m bringing in financial aide and get student loans too but still! It’s OUR money and OUR debt! When we got married we became one and everything became OURS!

  29. Ever since we've been married, my husband and I have only had joint accounts. Any money either of us has made has been pooled, and we both spend from the accounts without ever asking "permission", though we often discuss larger purchases to make sure we're on the same page. We both are currently bringing home paychecks, but in a few weeks when our first baby is born I'll be staying home. Even when I'm no longer making money I'll still feel free to spend from our joint account as I see fit. I feel that's part and parcel of marriage. It's no longer yours and mine, but ours.

    Whenever I've talked to women who feel a strong need to keep finances separate, it often stems from having parents who divorced and watching their own mothers struggle with money in the aftermath.

    In my own family growing up, my dad worked, and my mom stayed home (and managed the finances). When she remarried after his death, she and my step-dad mostly keep separate finances (though they have a joint account from which they pay for household expenses), but the reason for this is to make the separation of estates easier for inheritance purposes when they die. That way I'm only fighting with my brothers over who gets what, instead of with my step-siblings, too. ;o)

  30. Great topic, Jen. 

    I’ve been both a SAHM and employed outside the home. When my now ex-husband and I decided to have a baby, the topic of me returning to work afterward was discussed. A lot. It was important to us both that one of us stayed home with our daughter and since I hated my job at the time I was the logical choice. All was relatively well for a while. Somehow we managed to do without my income as he was doing quite well as his job at the time. (Prior to marriage and the baby we both worked and pooled our money from the very start.)

    What happened? He welched on our agreement. This was the beginning of the end of our 18 year marriage, people. (My opinion, of course; he may hold a different one.) His job “restructured” so he wanted to be self-employed. Against my better judgment I agreed. 

    Long story short? Although extremely talented, he lacked any business acumen and I had to return to work much earlier than planned, leaving our 3 year old with my best friend. The seeds of resentment were planted. And boy did they take root. 

    By the way? Even though I was a SAHM I DID in fact work outside the home at my massage therapy practice during that time. And I worked as a massage therapist while being otherwise employed full-time for many other years.)

    I’ll spare you the gory details of the demise of our marriage, but the self-employment thing never panned out. Ever. Through the years it was always OUR money for OUR family, no matter who technically earned it at a job away from home. Whatever works for everyone else — separate accounts, splitting bills — is great, just not for me. In my opinion he was my spouse, not my roommate. (That happened later.) 

    Did I feel guilty spending money he earned while I was at home with our child? Um, no. Never.  That was the arrangement. But any medium to large purchases were always discussed.  I have a friend who stays at home with her kids, works two jobs from home, does all the housework and wears socks with giant holes. Why? Because she feels guilty she “doesn’t work.” Huh?? (Oh and their house was paid off years ago.)  My ex, unfortunately, didn’t feel guilty about spending the money either. He didn’t understand that using OUR money to go out and buy whatever expensive toy HE wanted wasn’t cool. I’m not talking a frappachino here; I’m talking stereo equipment, salt water fish tanks, etc. 

    Bottom line:  do what works for your family. Discuss it up front, negotiate and make a plan. Reassess, make necessary changes. Then have integrity and honor that plan. Communicate. 

  31. I work. My husband works too, but I make quite a bit more…close to twice as much. I don't feel entitled to spend more because i make more. it's all "our" money. I'm very careful not to rub it in his face that i make more, because i think it would hurt his pride a little if he thought about it too much. He has made sacrifices for our family, including switching to the night shift so that he could be home to take care of our baby during the day when i was at work. But, i do feel guilty spending money, and he doesn't. weird, huh? I feel guilty because money is still tight for us, even with both of us working, and we just don't have much extra to spend. i think i feel more guilty about it than my husband because i'm the one who handles the finances, so i see more clearly how tight things are. if we had more disposable income, i'm sure i'd feel less guilty spending it. every family is different though. Most of my SAHM friends have more money to spend on things for themselves than I do.

  32. David and I started pooling our money long before we ever got married. I was totally a sugar momma when I first met him; he had just graduated from college and I was 6 years out of college. I was paying my mortgage and bills, AND buying his groceries and many of our meals out, but I made almost double what he did then so it seemed the right thing to do. It never occurred to me NOT to do that. But I was raised by a sometimes SAHM and a dad who worked like crazy so my mom only had to work when she wanted to. They had a joint account and no one kept score, so I guess that just seemed the natural order to me. Not everyone grew up that way, so I wonder how much of that comes from what you are used to.

    When my now husband first moved into my condo, we had separate accounts and tried splitting things and keeping track, and you know what? We fought about money, and it just felt bad to me, unnatural even. Once we let go of the "I contribute more and this is MINE" mentality those fights stopped. I considered it an investment, much like that condo/love nest I had purchased long before we were a thing, that he now has equal ownership of legally, and that we are now under water on.

    I have friends that have "their own" money as well. One spouse will buy all kinds of gadgets and expensive items whenever they want, while the other, who works just as hard for less money, goes without and scrimps to buy even little things. It sometimes infuriates me, but I try to look at it as the same way i do cultural differences. I can't judge it as good or bad, it's just different, and they seem to be OK with it so who am I to say they should change.

  33. I’m in a similar situation: I worked, he worked, we both worked. Now I’m home for the duration unless something drastic happens and I don’t feel guilty at all about spending money (although we discuss big purchases). I figure he contributes the money I contribute the cleaning, cooking, and our child’s education, that’s what makes this a partnership.

  34. Here is a wrench in the debate. My husband and I got married in our 40's. It was the first marriage for both of us. No kids. I lived by myself and supported myself for many years. He makes about twice the money I make. When we got married and bought our house we combined our bank accounts. It is our money. It has been an adjustment as we were both used to spending our individual money as we wanted and not having to give another person's opinon a thought. I do now have to think twice if I should buy that piece of clothing that I don't really need but want but that is my guilt. He has never made me feel like I shouldn't spend the money and I think combining our money works best for us.

  35. It was never really our plan that I would be a SAHM, and then of course the kid with the disabilities was born and made it necessary. Sometimes, during our marriage, I have worked, and usually I have not, and sometimes money has come from other sources (child support, inheritances, etc.) and no matter how much money we have, or what the source has been, all the money is OUR money.
    My recent post The Big Reveal

  36. Oh hell no. It's OUR money. Always has been. We both earn money by me staying home to care for the kids and house (though it's a disaster) while he is able to further his career. The idea of us both working mediocre jobs just so that I can say that I "earn" money is laughable to me. I am grateful that he is able to earn more because I am home. Plus, I rake in tons of cash from blogging perks, dontchaknow. *

    *insert maniacal laughter… NOW.
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  37. I don't have children and I also don't have a traditional job. My husband works in corporate america, makes a decent salary, gets us health ins, and supports me as I try my hand at running my own business/blogging.

    I think if it as our money. And so does he. I don't understand the separate money thing, but everyone does it different. Different things work for different people…
    My recent post The internet lately….

  38. This is a hard one for me since I see all sides. My husband has always made a lot more than I have. He is well respected in his industry so I get it. He's always made it very clear that he works for "our" family. I never have to "ask" to buy something or feel guilty doing it. I'll be honest, I get it now that I'm a SAHM. I've have that crapy feeling once in a while that it's "his" money. Before I was a SAHM, my job was a piece of cake. He reminds me that I'm working harder now than ever before and it's my issue that I have to get over.
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    • I think that's great that he's supportive of wanting you to believe that it's a team thing. I think as long as you act responsibly about spending money, there should be no guilt. Thank you for sharing.

  39. THANK YOU! This isn't about SAH vs working mom at all in my opinion. It's about money not being an "ours" and instead being a "mine" for so many. I stay at home. My husband works. I work. I just work differently. My husband has almost zero responsibilities unless he WANTS to do something (like take the kids out) or the occasional favor I ask of him (like bathing the babies). Occasionally, he will do the garbage when he's home, or manual labor like fixing the lawn mower or weed eater. But I do everything else, and things I DON'T want to do (like yardwork) we hire neighborhood boys because my husband isn't home enough to do them. Do I have a job? No, I have responsibilities. But do I work? Hell, yes I do and I work hard. So if I decide to go to the store and buy $30 worth of candy, you damn better believe I won't feel one single ounce of guilt. I feel sorry for women who stay at home and have no access to money (I know many women like this) at all unless they ASK their working husband for cash or women who feel guilt over buying something they want or need. You wouldn't catch me dead doing that.

    • "Asking for money" Ouch. That hurts to think that happens and yet, I know it must. I do the majority of household stuff inside and outside as well. Of course, I love to garden, so that's my choice. But even if there's curtains to hang or a room to paint, I'm the one who gets it done. I may not make a paycheck but when I paint a room? I figure it just saved us $500.

  40. My husband and I operate the same way you and yours do – everything is pooled and, also like you, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

    Not to slight those that do it differently, to each their own. This is what works for us.

    And while I may not earn a paycheque, I do work – roughly 90% of what happens in this house and family is done by me. I run this house! (Bish!) I also handle all the money my husband earns and I've never felt guilty for spending it. Course I don't spend it irresponsibly and any major purchases (anything over $100 generally, which really isn't MAJOR, but ya know…) are discussed. But it's more of a "I'm going to buy this. Heads up!" sort of way.

    Honestly I couldn't imagine asking for permission to buy something. The thought of doing so makes me laugh, actually.

    In fact, if I really think about, I have more of a say in how "his money" is spent than he does. Ha!
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    • The asking permission thing would NOT work for me. We are the same. Anything BIG purchased is usually cleared by both of us. For the most part, for me to stay home, we HAVE to be somewhat frugal. I cut and color my own hair, cut my kids hair, don't have designer clothes, shoes, etc. It's our choice and it works for us.

  41. I work. I am the support for my family. Her responsibilities have revolved around the home, the children and our extended families. That's just the way it's been. Has she worked in the past? Yes. Did we maintain separate accounts? No. For us, whatever money comes in is for the family – then and now. So, more or less, I make it and she spends it – but only because she has more time to spend it than I do. Are we wealthy? No. Will we ever be? Not unless we win the lottery. But if we became wealthy, I'm not sure it would really change anything. It would still be family money – of, by and for the family.
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    • Thank you. It's great to see a male side to this as well. Though, I don't think all think like you do, but thanks for YOU thinking like this.

    • That's sweet. I'm usually the one who needs a nudging to actually splurge on something. He's great like that.

  42. Ive never understood the “my money” mentality either. Simply bc I’m not working outside the hone doesn’t mean I’m not contributing to the family. By staying at home with the kids, I saved us THOUSANDS in daycare expenses.

    Growing up, my dad would often comment about my mom’s “small paycheck” as if bc he earned more, it gave him more entitlements. I it would bother me even then bc I saw how hard my mom worked both at home and her job.

    Isn’t the point of marriage to join together?

    • Yes. At least I hope so. It hurts to think that a woman who does not have a paycheck job feels bad and guilty about it. It was a choice by both right? I mean, in my case it sort of worked out that way. But, if for a moment I thought my husband would "hold his paycheck above my head" that would NOT have worked for me or us.

  43. I was like Mom A when I first stayed home. I never went back after my son was born, and for the first 5-6 months I didn’t spend a cent except on groceries or gas. If I wanted something I asked my husband if I could get it.

    I was trying to wrap my head around the whole “I’m not making money, but it is still our money” idea.

    One day when I was debating buying a skirt from Target my husband just looked at me and said, “I really don’t care. Just freaking buy it.” It led to a discussion about my worry that I shouldn’t spend anything.

    He rolled his eyes, told me to knock it off, and reminded me that he was working out of the home so I could work in it.

    That moment was pivotal. I’m still a little more frugal than I was pre-kids, but that isn’t a bad thing. Mama doesn’t need $200 shoes any more.

    • That's exactly what I'm talking about. So in the beginning you felt stifled due to your own thoughts. Not something that he put upon you. I think it was great that you had that open communication with him and now have an understanding that though you're not going to go crazytown on shopping, a skirt now and then is OK!

  44. When I was first married, I worked outside the home, then I had a baby and stayed home for about a year. Back to work, 2nd baby, stayed home 12 years. Went back to work, got laid off after five years. Now, I'm a SAHM again and yes, I do feel guilty about spending money on things for me, or outside of normal household needs. I know that my being home has had huge benefits for our children, but there is that feeling of guilt for not contributing to the family income. It also feels weird buying gifts for my husband since I am actually using 'his' money. He does nothing to make me feel this way, it's a 'me' thing.
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    • Then I have to ask. Do you NOT buy stuff for yourself? Like if you want a new pair of shoes. Can you afford them and NOT buy them because you feel guilty? Do you buy yourself the most basic of needs and nothing more? This fascinates me. Thank you for your openness.

  45. D and I pool our monies, and we both work. I have a baby that my mom babysits during the day.

    I like having everything shared. Everything is "ours." Success, debt, bills, vacations, everything. I feel like it's part of the experience of being together. (That said, we never, ever, ever think of money when we think about and talk about our relationship.)

    I don't understand couples that want the commitment of getting married, but want to have everything separate. I realize that doesn't really touch on SAHM vs working mom, but I guess I pull back and have a more general view.

    That's my two cents. :)

    • I remember paying for our first vacation. Of course, he pays for them all now, but I paid for the first. . :)

  46. That's interesting. I know when our first baby arrives in October, my husband is okay with working while I stay home. And I probably won't feel guilty about spending money on baby stuff…or mommy stuff. Because, like you, I see it as OUR money, not just his. The only way I'd feel guilty is if a made a frivolously expensive purchase that resulted in us not being able to pay all of our bills.

    I do remember my mom working when I was younger – she had to stop when I was in middle school and had a bazillion after-school activities that I needed to be taken to – and I know it was because she wanted her own money. It wasn't like she needed to work, because my dad had a job that more than covered our expenses. I think she wanted just something that was specifically hers.
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    • We do have sort of an unwritten agreement that neither of us make a big purchase without the other person knowing. That's just being respectful, I think.

  47. No kids here but my husband and I both work. He is in school right now and I'm making more money than him because of that. When we do have kids, I would love to stay home, but I'm not sure our finances will cover that. We share an account and never would I feel guilty for spending nor should he. We do get into it from time to time since I maintain the account/bills; sometimes I have to be the one to say "hey we don't have any extra money for that" but for the most part it works for us. I think that if the family can afford for the mother to stay home (or the dad) then that is a mutual decision that should not result in one person for feeling guilty for staying home. Same as if they decide to both work and have separate accounts. Marriage is hard enough without feeling guilty about money. It is supposed to be about teamwork and whatever works for your team should be mutually decided upon and not result in any negative feelings.
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