Interesting comments on my post about budgeting below, and I wanted to follow up with some thoughts.
First, as far as I'm concerned, if your husband has tithed on the income, and then he gives you some, you don't have to tithe. That's not your "income". That's simply money that he's put in one of his "jars"--in this case, the jar marked "Wife". So it's not new income.
But I want to get back to this idea of allowances. I actually talk about this in To Love, Honor and Vacuum in a whole chapter, but I have to agree with the commenter below who said that allowances for wives made her nervous. They make me a little nervous, too.
Let me explain. In my philosophy about marriage, and I think this is biblical, once you are married you are one. Everything is shared. There is no "his" and "hers", and there's no concept that he made the money so it's his and he can decide how to spend it. The money is yours together. He may have earned it, but you're working in other ways, and the money is for the family, not for him.
If together you both decide a budget on how much you will spend on household expenses a week, since you're the one who does the grocery shopping, etc., that's a smart thing to do. There's nothing wrong with that. But what gets me nervous is this concept that it's him handing over the money, because frequently that means that he has access to the bank accounts and she does not.
That is not a safe situation to be in. What if you need money for an emergency? Or, more importantly, what if something happened to your husband? If your name is not on the bank accounts, and he is in an accident, you cannot get access to it without a lot of legal wrangling. Even if your name is on the account but you have no bank card or no credit card it's not easy to get to in a pinch.
And do you know anything about your family finances? Do you know if you have savings, or debt? Do you know what your retirement fund is invested in? Do you know if you have disability insurance (which everybody should, especially when you have young children)? If he wants to be the one to primarily look after the money, and you don't mind, that's okay. But you still need to be familiar with all of it and you need to be able to get your hands on it if you need it. It's just common sense, and it's protecting you and the children.
Philosophically, though, I do think that the husband having control over the money and doling it out to his wife as the husband sees fit is not a picture of oneness in marriage. Decisions about money should be made together. I have a sister-in-law who, as of Saturday, is no longer my sister-in-law. She married my brother-in-law, they divorced, and on Saturday she remarried.
But money was one of the big issues in their marriage. He felt that since he made it it was his. He would give her money for groceries, but he would monitor what she spent. If she spent too much on herself he'd get upset, but he could play all the golf he wanted. It wasn't an equitable relationship.
If your husband is unwilling to give up control of the money then getting an allowance is probably the best you can do. Make it as high as possible so that you can take some of it and save it for things that you know you and the children will need in the future.
On the whole, though, I think both partners should have access to the money, and both partners should decide how much you both will spend on things. It's fine to give you an allowance for household items if that's what you've decided on and if you still are firmly in the financial decision making loop. But does he have an allowance for his spending, too? Or is it only you who has to control herself?
Even if he doesn't budget for himself, of course, that doesn't remove the obligation for you to be responsible with money, and budgeting is always a good idea whether or not he does it. But if he doesn't do it, and he's asking you to, then it means that there is a mistaken idea fundamentally about the nature or marriage. Both of you need to come to the realization that what you have is shared completely. That's the way that God intended.
All of that being said, I know another woman whose husband recently took away her bank card and credit card and put her in a strict allowance. But she needed it. She had issues with spending too much and she was endangering the family's well-being. She laughs about it, and feels that he was right. And it has changed her habits. Last week when her son had to be do a project for school, she would have normally gone out and bought a project board. Instead she rummaged around the basement for an old one, took all the stuff off of it, and voila!
So I am not saying that allowances are always bad ideas. I am just saying that such decisions need to be reached mutually, and that the wife should always be knowledgeable about the financial situation with the family and have access to all the finances.
What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Not harsh enough? How do you divide the money? I'd love to know!
Subscribe to my feed by clicking above!
Labels: marriage, saving, spending, To Love Honor and Vacuum