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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you resolve differences of opinion on budgets with DP?

DP and I (recently married) are coming at things from a very different place. Last year I made a little less than 4x his salary.

I'm used to doing little weekend getaways to visit friends, eating at good restaurants, having my hair cut at a nice salon, getting the better quality makeup, etc. All of that was pretty invisible to him while we were dating. Its no longer invisible now that he can see all my spending.

I'm still reasonable (saved about 30% of my gross income last year and have no debt) but don't feel the need to live hand to mouth when our income doesn't require it.

It doesn't seem like he thinks we aren't saving enough. Rather its the amount spent on any particular item that throws him -- like $250 airline tickets for a weekend away, or $30 for a compact.

I'm feeling like - we're saving at a good rate, we have a nice nest egg, we have no debt, what's the point in earning a good living if you don't enjoy any of the benefits?
 

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Do you have 6-8 months EF?
A mortgage that could be paid down?

I thinkif you have no debt, a sound EF, and a reasonable mortgage, then yes you should be able to spend some of your earnings. Why does he want you to save more than 30%? Is he dsaving any of his income? Are there goals you two have discussed accomplishing?
 

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It is always a good idea to discuss your goals together with money.

It's also possible that he finds that it seems weird that so much is spent on luxuries. Maybe you could also include charitable giving in your financial plan, based on a percentage or something. (If you aren't already.) I find it is really better to plan it than just give on an ad hoc basis - I either end up giving too little or too much.
 

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Maybe you two should have a discussion about expectations around money. Also, maybe talk about your views on money and what it means to both of you.

I'm probably coming from the side your Dh is from. I've never had opportunities to spend money like you describe so its hard for me to wrap my head around it. I'm not saying thats good or bad, just that I can't fathom the possibility. Maybe thats where he's coming from?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ellp View Post
Maybe you two should have a discussion about expectations around money. Also, maybe talk about your views on money and what it means to both of you.

I'm probably coming from the side your Dh is from. I've never had opportunities to spend money like you describe so its hard for me to wrap my head around it. I'm not saying thats good or bad, just that I can't fathom the possibility. Maybe thats where he's coming from?
I'm with Ellp on this one. If your (the op's) DH is sortof like me, I couldn't immagine spending $$ for a plane ticket for a weekend getaway, especially not on a frequent basis.

For me a "weekend getaway" means going to Target or Lowes and walking the aisles dreaming about what I would get if I had the money to spend. The $30 compact (makeup I assume?) seems more reasonable, I spent $30 on a dog harness last payday, but the difference that your DH might be looking at is that the compact is "consumable" while my dog harness should last my dog's lifetime. Also he may not be willing to relate to strictly female purchases, like makeup. Men (in general) just don't realize how expensive that stuff is, especially the nicer stuff.

It may just be that he can't fathom spending that much as "blow money"

I do agree with you Jane91 on the statement you made along the lines of -what's the point of making money if you can't spend it? I do agree. I've just never had that kind of luxury.

I think you should ask your DH about his goals. What does he want to do with the money?
I know what my DH wants to do first (pay off a certain bill) so we have a goal to work towards. After that I think he wants a flat screen/wall mounted TV, but it's not a high priority. He wants to be debt free eventually, it's important to him.
It's important to me to rebuild our EF first. He understands the need for that, so there's no conflict.

Also do you keep your earings separate? I suggest you combine them, and then divvy up the combined total instead of "his and hers" that way each of you contributes to each bill. Just feels better to work together, IMO and might help you out.
 

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LOL I second the Target Getaway!


If he's making 4x as much as you and saving more than you (it would seem since he thinks your spending is crazy), and you STILL have that much money to spend, than it seems like you guys would have plenty of savings and lots of wiggle room. Soooo, although like everyone else, I can't IMAGINE blowing that much money, to you, it's not blowing it, you have the money, so live a little! I'm all for your logic. HOWEVER, it's important to keep the peace between you and DH
So talk to him. And please consider upping your charitable giving since you seem to have a lot of money. There are so many people in need.

Oh and I agree with previous poster about combining incomes. It's just hit me the other day that married couples often keep there incomes separate and the thought is so strange to me. You got married, let your money get married too. I think the unity will strengthen you.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lovebeingamomma View Post
If he's making 4x as much as you and saving more than you (it would seem since he thinks your spending is crazy),
I read that as her making 4 times MORE than him. (which I think might be part of the issue here)

Have you two sat down and had a frank, calm discussion about your joint financial goals? Do you own a home, or are you planning to buy one in the near future? Do you have kids -are you saving for their college expenses? I think if you have the discussion and are able to come up with joint goals for your money, and you're meeting those goals with the money you both earn, then anything left is certainly okay to spend on the things you've mentioned. But I'm wondering if perhaps there's something he's concerned about financially, and complaining about the "extra" money you spend is his way of (poorly) voicing that concern.
 

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I second what other PPs said.

I was in your shoes before having kids.
I have always made significant more than DH and getting married later in life I was used to spending my money on the luxuries like vacations, nice restaurants and make-up. It never occured to my that he may be thinking differently. I was so used to my lifestyle. We continued to do the nice dinners and vacations for a while but I could tell something was bothering him. Not saying he wasn't enjoying this new found freedom to enjoy but he did think it was too much.
So, we had a conversation about what we wanted to do and where we came from financially. I grew up upper middle class (in Europe so slightly different than here) While my parents budgeted and I knew everything about money we never had to go without anything. If Dad wanted a new TV he usually got it. He might have had to wait a month or 2 but he got it. DH however grew up lower middle class and sometimes poor. I get the impression that they went without. He is so not a spender and thinks it is better to save save save. He doesn't necessarily have anything he wants to do with the money. It is just in case.
Sounds like you guys may be coming to the table with different ideas. Definitely have a conversation and see if you can find out what is driving him and what he sees you do with the money together. Honestly, if he has never been used to that sort of excess it is really hard to understand the spending habits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi all -- I appreciate all the responses!

I think Pernillep hit the nail on the head with:

"He is so not a spender and thinks it is better to save save save. He doesn't necessarily have anything he wants to do with the money. It is just in case."

And the "just in case" aspect is what I find so frustrating. Saving extra for no particular purpose (when you have good reserves) and skimping on your current life seems short-sighted to me. We're only going to have our first child once, for example, and if there's a few extra adorable outfits that cost a little more, so be it.

We're in our mid-30s and neither of us have ever owned a home. When I moved to where we live now I was sure we were in a bubble and refused to buy. Now we are looking, and our price ranges are very different. I KNOW that whatever we get we will probably be stuck with for a long time due to the market. So I want to love it and want it to be big enough to grow with our family and be in a great school district. He can't seem to get over the $200,000 price point with any comfort even though that is less than our joint annual salary for a year. I would like to be looking in the $300,000 range (which is still a very conservative price point at less than 1.5 x our joint income, without taking into account my annual bonus).

We basically end up talking in circles -- he's uncomfortable with the amount, but I think he knows that logically his discomfort isn't rational. It's really hard to have a discussion around "a feeling" when you're talking dollars and sense...
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jane91 View Post
We basically end up talking in circles -- he's uncomfortable with the amount, but I think he knows that logically his discomfort isn't rational. It's really hard to have a discussion around "a feeling" when you're talking dollars and sense...
Maybe you need a third party intervention.

A financial adviser to give an evaluation of your financial stability (assurance to him that you are not frittering away your retirement) and/or a marital counselor to help work through his issues with your spending.

It's not as if you came into an unexpected inheritance. You are the same financially responsible person with the same spending habits you had before the marriage. Being married is going to involve some compromise, but he shouldn't expect you to do a 180.

As for the house, maybe he would be more comfortable if you put down a larger down payment and bought a point or two.
 

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I think you'd both be happier saving and giving if you knew what it was for. Talk about your goals together, maybe there's something you'd like to do when you retire, or a huge vacation you want to take someday, or maybe will want to build your dream house someday or something, as well as several months of expenses in case of emergencies or major home repairs or whatever. Maybe you can even put the money for small vacations into a short term savings and draw from that when you go, that might make him feel better too. Talk about whether there are causes you'd both like to support too, and budget how much you want to give to those. If there's more than enough for everything going into savings he should be happy about it right?
 

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I would also ask DP if there is an amount that would make him feel "safe."

For some people, they feel totally safe with 1 month of EF, for others they won't feel comfortable until it is more like 18-24 months. If DP can think about it and decide what would really make him feel like you guys were set with savings, you might be able to meet that goal and then he would feel more comfortable. I remember reading a financial advice book that said if one partner *needs* to have what seems like a crazy amount of savings, it really helps if the other partner can try to accomidate that.
 

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I haven't read all the replies, but could he be feeling a little less of a person because you make so much more $ than he does and also, if you have say $300 a month for spending $, does he have the same, or do you each have what's left after you each split the bills evenly? That could be part of it also. I have always believed that it should be everyone's $, not his and hers when 2 people are married although I know that is not the case in many situations and it doesn't make sense to me.
In the situations where people have his and hers accounts, I also believe that if they choose to do it that way, they should each contribute an equal percentage based on income towards expenses, therefore if I earned 4x what my DP earned, then I would be responsible for 4 parts of the expenses and he would be responsible for 1 part of the expenses.

Just my $0.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey all --

Well, things came to a bit of a head a couple weeks ago. We were visiting his family (out of town), and through a series of coincidences (which I won't get in to), we get invited to a high school friend's kid's 2nd birthday party at the very last minute.

So -- we're getting ready for church and realize we need a present. Since its Sunday and we have extremely limited shopping time, I just suggest stopping by a CVS and picking up a small stuffed animal and a kid's book or two. His Mom mentions that she has a great book that we can use that she got for her grandkids. So she pulls him aside and they take care of the present while I finish getting ready. I'm not worried because I figure the whole thing has been vetted by another woman and the gift will be appropriate...

...until we're walking into the party and I take a peek in the gift-bag. And its clearly a "used" Little Golden Book. So we're arriving at this party (with a bunch of his high school friends that I have never met before) with a used $3 book as a gift. My major goal for the rest of the party becomes for us to depart before they open the gifts.

We're both from college-educated, middle class, Midwestern families, very similar in all the check the box sort of ways. But its just hit home how really different their attitudes are towards money. Evidently, per his side of the family, its okay to give kids used presents.

As a result of our huge fight on the way home:

(1) I have claimed a gift veto right. I don't think that we should give gifts (as a couple) that either of us find actually embarrassing.

(2) We've met with a planner to discuss and set *appropriate* savings levels for retirement at 60 and for other needs. We've also set up automatic draws for our savings each month.

(3) I've also made it so our discretionary spending has become much more invisible to each other -- if he wants to save $500 bucks of his monthly "allowance" each month he can go to it and if I want to spend $500 of my monthly "allowance" I can go to it and we don't need to know what the other is doing.

We'll see how it rides...thanks to all for advice.
 

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Ouch on the little Golden Book. That is tough. It does illustrate that you are coming from very different backgrounds. I'll say it...who give a used $3 book for a present? (eta, sorry if this sounds snobby! I did just send a used book as a gift myself, but the situation was different)

My first thought, other than the book, is that there is a very good reason for you to practice living at your dh's income. If you think that there is even the remotest possibility that you'd like to be a sahm, then it would be really wise to live at your dh's income for a while and sock yours away. It is tough to lower your standard of living, but there's no greater reward than to have the option of staying home with your kids.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
As for the house, maybe he would be more comfortable if you put down a larger down payment and bought a point or two.
Good idea, how about aiming for a $200,000 mortgage and put the rest down?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
Good idea, how about aiming for a $200,000 mortgage and put the rest down?
I agree with this, especially after just talking with my neighbors. Similar situation, wife earned (past tense) 4X her husband, she lost her job and they are really stressed about the mortgage. I think it is wise to imagine how to pay a mortgage based on the lower income.
 

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From what I'm reading, I'm not seeing how you are in such good shape that you can blow that kind of money. You don't own a home, I haven't heard anything about how big your emergency fund is, I'm not getting the idea that you have a huge retirement fund. I could be wrong but the way I read it is that you have a HUGE salary, and you put some of it away in the savings account and blow most of it. If you continue to earn this huge salary for the rest of your life, you'll probably be ok - but where will you be if you are suddenly laid off or your industry changes significantly?

I'm reading high income but low wealth here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"Good idea, how about aiming for a $200,000 mortgage and put the rest down?"

Putting $100,000 versus $60,000 could work, though it makes me a little nervous to drain our non-retirement funds that much. It's an idea to discuss -- thanks!

"could be wrong but the way I read it is that you have a HUGE salary, and you put some of it away in the savings account and blow most of it. If you continue to earn this huge salary for the rest of your life, you'll probably be ok - but where will you be if you are suddenly laid off or your industry changes significantly? I'm reading high income but low wealth here."

Well -- last year on my gross salary (this is the last year prior to my marriage), I saved 34%, taxes were 30% and I lived on the remainder. My income did make a jump over the past 3 years (though I would not call it HUGE), so I have not historically been able to save at this level. However, at age 35 I have about $425,000 in savings (from prior to the marriage) and no debt. My DH has about $110,000 in savings (from prior to the marriage) and no debt. The advisor we met with seems to think we're on track and could continue saving at even a reduced rate (20% for retirement), but maybe not? What percentage of income do most save?

I do expect on-going savings to go down as we add to our family (ie more expenses). Additionally my ability to obtain a bonus (from extra hours, etc.) may also reduce. Our on-going budgeting does exclude my bonus (25% of last year's total compensation), so to the extent I earn it, it will be bonus for savings plus a little mad money for a vacation or something.

As for "You don't own a home" -- I'm not sure that's really an economic advantage anymore...
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
From what I'm reading, I'm not seeing how you are in such good shape that you can blow that kind of money. You don't own a home, I haven't heard anything about how big your emergency fund is, I'm not getting the idea that you have a huge retirement fund. I could be wrong but the way I read it is that you have a HUGE salary, and you put some of it away in the savings account and blow most of it. If you continue to earn this huge salary for the rest of your life, you'll probably be ok - but where will you be if you are suddenly laid off or your industry changes significantly?

I'm reading high income but low wealth here.
Agreed.

OP, you mentioned you want to have a child/children. Do you have a college fund set up?
 
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