Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lucy, I'm Home!


The other morning my girlfriend, Nicki, phoned... she had just come from a breakfast with some of the women in her MOMS Club...

Imagine her surprise when not one, but two of the women present began discussing their allowances.

Allowance.

From their husbands.

Allowance.

Like what my kids get every Friday.

One woman gets $300 a week. This is her money for all household items, including the market and baby supplies, and any non-essentials she may want...

She was on her way to have her passport renewed (about $100) and, yes, the money was coming out of her allowance.

The other woman didn't say how much she received on a weekly basis, but she did mention that on the weeks she works as a substitute teacher, her husband gives her nothing...

Neither woman has a credit card, ATM or access to the checkbooks.

Nicki said she sat there, her mouth practically hanging open, in total shock.

Which is the same look I had on my face as she told me the story.

In our home, money is money. "X" goes into the checking account and "Y" into savings and "Z" into investments/long term planning.

Hugh will occasionally ask me, "What is this charge?" and I will glance over and say, "Shoes."

I will occasionally ask Hugh, "What is this charge?" and he will glance over and say, "For the boat."

And that is the sum total of our double checking.

I trust him not to bankrupt us.

He trusts me not to bankrupt us.

But, here are these women...

Educated, funny and kind women...

Who, along with their husbands, made the decision to give up jobs and stay home and raise their children.

Jobs where they made more than $300 a week.

It's 2007.

And so many of us are still undervaluing our worth.

I am curious, how does your family handle finances?

49 comments:

Petite Mom Blogger said...

Let's just say there are no allowances in this home. NO WAY! It's a joint checkings account and we are grownups. We can handle it together.

Michelle said...

First off, let me say that I love that this post's labels is "fools". Ha! We handle finances almost exactly the way you guys do. Sometimes I'll go a little overboard and my hubby will mention that we're a little tight this month and I get the hint and try to take it easy a little. (I said try). I can't imagine what it would be like to not have access to the ATM card. That's just weird.

Jessica said...

Wow. Thats hard to believe!

Although, a college friend of mine has a "clothing" allowance every month....her husband gives her a certain amount she can spend on clothes. But, I think they do the rest of their finances like we do- we both earn money, we have our budget, and we spend within that budget (most months, anyway).

I wonder if the husbands HAD to resort to that b/c the women couldn't handle it themselves??

mollymcmo said...

i love the label for this post, fools for sure!
we do the same thing as you and hugh. we both work and our money goes into one account. all fiancial decisions are made together. we're partners, neither one is the boss, well sometimes i am but not in fiancial matters! LOL!

m

Los said...

That's just plain sad - allowances, ugh! I feel so ripped off, though - my parents only gave me like $2.00 a week allowance when I was growing up.

Stephanie said...

NO WAY, NO WAY, NO WAY! I can't believe it! Sounds like you and your husband have the same type of trust that I have with mine. I just can't believe this - how humiliating!

This post should get some good comments.

Stephanie
www.forksandchopsticks.wordpress.com

Mrs Figby said...

I'm so gobsmacked by this, it's forcing me to delurk. Holy crap, batman. I'm a SAHM, so not bringing in any cash, but in our house the money is handled the same way you describe yours. It's all just money for either of us to use as we need. We talk about really big purchases, but more to make sure we can swing them than as a permission kind of thing. And it goes both ways.

Yikes. An allowance. I just can't imagine.

Maggie said...

Well, I'm single so all the money in this house is made by me. (And spent by me.) But can I just say "eww?"

A few years ago I was essentially engaged and we were planning how we would handle finances. He was a spender and saved nothing and had some old debt to take care of and I made almost double what he did. The difference in how we handled money was worrisome to me. So, we decided to have a joint checking and savings for all our mutual bills and saving for our future, and we would each deposit the same percentage of our salaries into those accounts. (Obviously the amounts would be greatly different, but the percentage of our salary would be the same.) Then we'd each have our own personal accounts with the remainder of our income to do whatever we wanted with. Save it, spend it, whatever. Maybe it wouldn't have worked -- but it sounded logical in theory. And there were no allowances!

Jill said...

No limitations, no budget. I actually crave a budget, but I can't get husband to agree to it. Therefore, the spending continues willy-nilly.

I wonder if the husbands in those scenarios also have allowances. If so, the whole thing would be much easier to swallow.

Dan said...

I am curious, how does your family handle finances?

Finances? Whaddat?

Ms. Porter said...

I agree these women are fools if their husbands aren't also given these so called allowances. I am a stay at home mom so I don't bring home a pay cheque, but I feel completely entitled to OUR money. I sometimes think I might need to be given an allowance because I often spend more than I would if I was on one.

mamatulip said...

Honestly, whatever works for each family is cool, but I cringed when I read about those women not having "access" to the chequebooks or ATM cards. I mean, if allowances work for couples, awesome. But if it's sort of more like a father/daughter thing rather than a husband/wife thing, then that's just weird.

With us, we have a joint account and what's in there is ours. I mean, clearly I'm not the one making the main money here, but I've never thought twice about spending it. LOL! That sounds worse than it should -- I tell Dave what I spend the money on, and I don't go out on wild shopping sprees, but if I need something, I buy it, and vice versa.

Oh, The Joys said...

I.. I... I...


I just can't get right with it.

C.J. said...

I am still scanning for a place to hurl over the word 'allowance'...or, more likely, the concept of it.

Single and with continual reinforcement to stay that way. No.Way.Could.I.Take.That.Allowance.Crap.

Jenny said...

No allowances here but we both have to ask each other before we buy anything big.

Joint account all the way.

Gracencameronsmomy said...

I pretty much do all the bills. Scott will ask me how we are doing this month, or let me know if he will be spending more than a couple hiundred dollars and I do the same...I would not be down with an allowance!!

s@bd said...

not THAT way. that's for damned sure.

wzgirl said...

whoa.

Not too sure what to say about this one. I worry from time to time about eventually going part time and how I will eventually trip on that. I have a very good friend that I went to grad school with that is a full-time Mom. She refers to herself as a "kept woman".

Just can't relate.

Michelle said...

Oh dear god, I can't believe that. My husband and I work like you, everything goes into one account. How sad that other people don't handle their money situations in the same way.

Mrs. Chicky said...

We have the same arrangement as you do, but my husband and I do set aside some money for "play". If I want to splurge on shoes it comes out of my play money (and, let's face it, occasionally out of our joint checking if the shoes are really hot).

A three hundred dollar allowance? That ought to be illegal.

Slackermommy said...

Wow, I spend $300 just at Target. I wouldn't last in that marriage. I handle all the finances in our house except some investments. My hubby doesn't even open credit card statements. He asks me for money. Just like it should be!

pinklady1031 said...

I'm delurking to comment here.:o) I seem to be in the minority here because I do get an allowance. Sort of. My hubby gives me $300 but we call it grocery money. Anything money that's left over after I buy food is mine to do whatever I want with.

I do have my own ATM card and my name is on the checking account so I can use them if I need them. But hubby pays all the bills so he knows how much money we have at any given time. And if I want something... a new mp3, for example, I just say "honey, I want this" and he'll figure it into the budget.

This system totally works for us because I suck at dealing with money. I've tried taking over paying the bills (and when I did it he had the allowance) but I just can't be trusted with all our money. Mainly because I've gone on a couple of bipolar shopping sprees. So for us, my "allowance" is necessary.

Kristin said...

Pinklady-

I am sure many households work like yours... within a weekly budget to run the house and incidentals being extra.

What bothered me most about this story is that the women had no access to the familly money and, to mean, that is a most demeaning lifestyle... it's telling her, quite clearly, that she is not to be trusted.

waitingformaddie said...

I am amazed! There was this woman that worked for me once upon a time. She was given 200.00 a week for food and then 10.00 a week for play money. 10 dollars???? She wanted to buy a 15.00 mascara and had to borrow 5 dollars.
I asked her if her husand also had a 10.00 a week play money (I thought with a kid in college $ may be really tight) she said no. He keeps his tips from his server job as his money and deposits his server paycheck into their acct.

WHAAAAATTTTT? Servers make all their $ in tips. What could I say, they had been married 25 years.

I did not understand.

Christina_the_wench said...

I get it all.

End of finance talk.

Those chicks are nuts. What if they decide to divorce or HE decides to divorce? They got NOTHING to fall back on of their own. DUMB.

Lisa said...

No way? Seriously? I mean, really? No, really? Wow.

We handle our stuff the same way you and your honey do. Actually I handle the bills, finances. If the hubby needs money? He's got an ATM card. Neither one of us are extravagant people so it seems to work out...

If the chick gets an allowance, the guy should too. And yes, I do think the chick should have access too at least a debit or credit card for emergency purposes... SAHM's might not pull in an income but they are making a contribution.

jennie said...

Our house operates much like yours... we talk about any big purchases before we make them, otherwise everyone just does what they need to.

I'm really curious about the trip that the passport-renewing woman is taking. If she has to take the renewal fees out of her allowance, how is the trip financed?

Woman with kids said...

I have to laugh, only because this is how my exhusband and his wife run things. He's not responsible enough to handle access to the checking account or credit cards, they learned through experience. (so did I) So an allowance it is.

It works for them. Since we're divorced, I obviously wasn't up for being the parent in the relationship. At least, not the only one.

Recovering Wino said...

I don't care if the family has finance issues...you work together to find a solution, and allowance isn't one of them.

I have heard of a lot of men doing that. It's called CONTROL issues.

Kristin said...

Jen-

Yes, CONTROL is at the heart of this issue... married couples need to be able to sit down and map out a reasonable fiancial plan... one that includes both necessities and extras!

InterstellarLass said...

I manage the money. Everything goes into buckets, and we have a budget that we try to stick to. If someone wants to spend more than a certain amount, we discuss it and what it's for and make the decision together.

Anonymous said...

I am on an allowance. I don't want to be, but my husband won't budge the rules. His first wife was real bad with money and put them in serious debt and since then he doesn't trust anyone but himself to manage the money.
He is generous and if I want something all I have to do is ask and usually I get the extra money.

Lena said...

Oh, you can of worms opener.

Chris makes (most of) the money and ignores it. I spend more than we have no matter how much that is.

Oh, and? I give HIM an allowance. So that I can spend the rest on shoes.

dodo said...

this is a great question for me today because today is the first day I'm at home since losing my job. I've been earning my own living, including rent, food, everything, since I was 15. After the end of this month I will not have an income. Since S and I first started living together we've kept our own current (checking) accounts and our own modest savings accounts, but added a joint account into which we each contribute monthly for mortgage, bills etc and a joint saving account.
I went back to work part time after having P, but luckily was able to maintain my earnings at the same level as S.
As of today? We haven't even discussed it yet.

I feel weird.

Glinda said...

Permission my ass.

Control issues, anyone?

Where's their self-worth. Could you please ask them if they know who Gloria Steinem is?

**Glinda shaking her head in disbelief**

Sandra said...

I attended a training session once about the forms of violence against women. If you asked my trainer they'd say this was financial abuse.

I am the "Banker" in our relationship and we trust each other. We share our house, our child, our car and our bank account.

Kevin Charnas said...

which is the same look I have on my face...

holy, holy, shit.

Anonymous said...

Must delurk to respond. When I was a SAHM I was not on an allowance, in fact, since we married 10 years ago I have always been the one to do the finances. The joke is that I could leave my husband and he'd be up the creek, he doesn't know much about our accounts. The only time we had an allowance (notice I said *we*) was when we were post grad art students, newly married, living in a studio apartment in a not so savory part of town trying to eke out a living.

We basically pool our income together and pay off present bills and try to put what's left in savings each month. But what I haven't read here or seen mentioned (I could be wrong) is that EVERY married/partnered woman should have her own account if she has a joint account with a partner. My husband knows that I have a separate account (he does not have one and isn't interested in having one) and I think it's important because while I don't anticipate getting divorced or anything, you just don't know and it's the principle of it all, women need to empower themselves wherever they can.

Perrin said...

Wow, hard to believe is right. I can't even imagine. Where is the trust? I guess what they say about money being power is right. He makes it right now I manage it right now. Seems to work for us. Someday when I go back to work (that pays in more than kisses) maybe he will want to work the check book. Maybe not. Allowances are for 10 year olds. Take some control, women.

Wes said...

Wow. Lucy and Ricky look out! I'm with you, but I must admit that we have a shared allowance. Once its gone, the banks won't give us any more money until payday. God bless the rat race...

M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Good gawd. Allowances. Sigh... Oh hey, can I just say that the label "fools" on this one made me grin like one. Love it!!!

We have a "your money is my money" policy in our house that goes both ways. Oh, and there's an unofficial "petty cash" limit too, where if you want to buy something that's more than the petty cash limit, it's courteous to check with the other one first. This doesn't apply to items that are gifts for each other, surprises, something you really think the other one could use too, or something you REALLY need. In other words, there are a lot of loopholes built in there for ME. ;-)

Kayce said...

OUCH!! I couldn't live with no allowance! My kids don't even get allowances! We share our finances and spend on what we need not what we want. I always keep in mind when I WANT that cute pair of shoes or dress that I'm going to China and I can get 10 pairs of shoes and 100 dresses!!!!

I also don't use paper anymore...it's alllll plastic, much easier. My husband gets pissey sometimes, but he get over it quick.

I'm wondering what these womens husbands would do if they got a BJ for more money. HEHEHE

Anonymous said...

That is crazy! Why would grown women stand to be treated like that? Do they even get cell phones? Isn't it a hassle to fill up gas without a credit card? I don't understand and get mad thinking about it! Wait a moment, just thought maybe these women are from another culture or are powerless, like maybe a mail order bride who doesn't have a green card yet or something?
Lin

LindaJ said...

300.00 a week? really? where is that going to get you?

I would have to do some serious money management to make this house run on 300.00 a week. Just one of son's eye therepy appoint ments is 95.00

In our house money is money. Same like you, I trust him not to BK us and vice versa....

The price for...Is designer handbags & boat/classic car stuff.

To me it shows lack of trust and I couln't live in a marriage knowing my husband didn't trust me with the $$.

I get "the speach" you know, hey we need to cool it or we have alot going out right now, don't you think we should wait...Things like that. But by no means would I want to be kept in the dark about how much money there was/wasn't....how do these wives know the hubby isn't supporting a hussy on the side? all goes back to trust issues.

Jodi said...

Okay, i will be the tempst in the teapot here. I could live like a queen on $300 a week if all I had to pay for was groceries and other household stuff. And I would LOVE it if I got a allowance because it would so much less stressful for me.

That being said, we don't do it that way. His money is my money and visa versa, although in our house it's more like lack of money. His debt is my debt and visa versa...hahahahha. Hummm. anyway. I can undestand why it would seem very demeaning to some. I can see that. But, I still would love it. whatever works for a family is fine by me. If your friend feels like a little kid and like she's not being respected, then by all means it shouldn't be okay!

Throw rotten fruit at my blog if you need to. :)

Mrs. T said...

We have often lived on very meager incomes and it would not have made sense for us to have it separate. WE have money, our family has money. I never think of it as his money/my money.
We have the agreement that if we are going to spend more than $200, we let the other person know, so we don't end up in the hole.
I can't imagine getting an "allowance". F*** that.

Kristin said...

Jodi-

You're right...$300 a week isn't chump change, and if they set that, as a couple, as their family budget that makes perfect sense... it's the fact that she doesn't have ANY access to the bank accounts or a credit card that is shocking.

Hell, maybe she is a compulsive gambler or something! ;-)

Jenn said...

We both work, and make close to the same (him a little more than me). It all goes directly deposited into the account. We pay bills with it, and save the rest.

We both have access to everything, as it should be.

The only thing that will change when I'm no longer working (if that ever happens) is that we will both have to be a bit tighter. But I'm not expecting to reliquish ANY control of anything.

scribbit said...

What??? My jaw's on the floor, I thought those kinds of things disappeared with slavery and prohibition. I'm in charge of all household accounts, checkbooks, paying bills, whatever and he tackles long term investments. It's the divide and conquer method that works great for us. I couldn't live in a marriage that treated me with such suspicion and distrust. Or is it just that these women are idiots with a checkbook? My MIL and FIL divorced and she told me he controlled her just like that but then I know my MIL and she's as disorganized and messy as they come. So in that case I can see why he felt the need to control everything--she had no self-control so he compensated. But still . . .