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Giving Your Wife An “Allowance”

March 25, 2012

I have met a surprising number of women who tell me their husbands give them an “allowance”.  This really rubs me the wrong way and ranks right up there with husbands “babysitting” their children.

To me an allowance is something you give your children as you teach them to be responsible with money, not something you give your wife.  To hear a woman say she can’t do x because her husband hasn’t given her her allowance yet gives the impression that she doesn’t have access to their account.  How is that an equal partnership?

I think it makes perfect sense that one spouse does the bills and balances the checkbook based on their strengths and weaknesses, but that shouldn’t mean that they have total control over the money.  In my marriage, I do the bills and keep track of how much we’re spending.  It’s easier than having separate accounts and my husband was more than happy to let me have the responsibility because he would accidentally reverse numbers.  At times he will spend more than he should and a friend asked why don’t I just give him cash and cut up his debit card.

Because he is not a child and I am not his mother!  If he were a compulsive spender and driving us into bankruptcy, then maybe that would be in order, but this is a matter of him not realizing how the little things add up quite quickly.  We are able to get on the same page and I don’t want to feel like a control freak.  We made an agreement to look over our budget together once a week so neither of us is in the dark.  If he oversleeps, I don’t wake him up either because once again, I am not his mother.  The same friend said I should be more bossy with him.  I didn’t get married so I could dominate someone.  I expect him to be responsible for himself and yes, I will leave for church whether he’s ready or not.  I did that last week and this morning he decided to get up on his own because he felt bad about it.  I have no interest in being a nag.

We have a discussion about it and our financial goals.  If we want to save x amount of money, then neither of us can eat out more than x amount of times per month.  I think each of us having a set amount of cash for fun is a great idea to help us budget, but I am against anything that creates a double standard and makes either one of us the child.

It really shocked me to hear a friend say, “I’ll have to pay you later because my husband hasn’t given me my allowance yet and I don’t have the checkbook.”  It could be she is very forgetful and doesn’t trust herself to keep track of what she’s spending, but please, don’t use the word “allowance”!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 1:19 pm

    I love your rants :)

    My husband and I both get an “allowance” from our income. But, WE give it to OURSELVES – it isn’t him giving me an allowance or me giving him an allowance – and we call it “slush/discretionary” money rather than “allowance” – but it is basically the same thing.

    I told my husband the other day that I was annoyed that he calls me to find out how much money is in our “allowance” account so that he can know if he can buy something. I really don’t mind checking the account for him, but only if he promises not to make it sound like I gave him “permission” to spend the money… it bothers me that either one of us would have to “ask permission” – going over the budget and asking the question (together) of “do we have money for this” rather than “Mother may I spend money on this” is so much better for a marriage.

  2. March 26, 2012 9:07 pm

    Love it, Becca! :-D Sounds like you have a great marriage.

  3. March 27, 2012 2:36 pm

    My wife has a finance degree, and I’m not good with money. So she sends me an “allowance” to my paypal pre-paid credit card, and then proceeds to take care of paying the bills, tithing, buying food, and what not.

    This was done at my request. We came upon the idea while I was deployed in Iraq. For some strange reason the banks really don’t like when there is money being spent in two different geographic locations. The pre-paid credit card worked out so well for us, that we just kept it up after I came home.

    This way I don’t have to worry about messing up her plans by overspending, and she doesn’t cut into my allowance by being a bit more aggressive with the bills than she intended to be. It may not work for everyone, but it sure does work for us.

    • March 27, 2012 2:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Eron, and thank you for serving our country! Sounds like you guys have an arrangement that works well. :-D

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