Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Should a wife who earns more than her husband be willing to pay some of the bills. My wife says that because I'm the man, I'm solely responsible for paying the bills. I earn about 40% of our family income, but I pay about 90% of our expenses. Am I reasonable to expect more from her?
Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still think everything should be put into one pot and shared, the bills and income no matter how much that may be. I earn about 7.00 dollars per hour more than my husband and it never concerns me, pay the bills and share whatever is left. I have heard of couples who add up all the household bills and than each pays the same percentage rather than splitting them in half which could end up being unfair to the spouse earning much less. On the other hand what's the point of even being married if you can't share everything.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Should a wife who earns more than her husband be willing to pay some of the bills? My wife says that because I'm the man, I'm solely responsible for paying the bills. I earn about 40% of our family income, but I pay about 90% of our expenses. Am I reasonable to expect more from her?
Noah from GA
Who is doing the housework and child care? Who takes care of sick relatives? Who takes care of the pets? Whose name is the house in? Consider all those things. Women often "pay" in many ways that do not involve money. (01/23/2009)
Hmm, reading this, I thought, there is a much deeper issue here. Why would a married couple be working as separate entities on this matter? Shouldn't "the blessings and the burdens" be shared equally?
Currently, my husband, works 40 hrs. a week and earns about what I earn in a 24 hr. work week, in the past it has been just the opposite. We have always simply put all the money in the pot, so to speak, paid "our" bills and what we have left is ours, and we decide how it is spent. Call me old-fashioned or naive, but, I think married couples are to function as one, then again, I do believe in, "for better or for worse." *smile*
If for some reason you and your wife aren't willing to just "work together" on this, then why not split the living expenses (mortgage, electric, insurance, etc.) evenly, then each pay for their own "extras", ie. club memberships, dept. store accounts, credit cards, car notes (unless you share one ride), hobbies, etc?
That's about as fair as it can get if you are going to be married, but act individually on the subject.
Just curious; how do the remaining duties get divided up? (kids, housework, shopping, yard, etc.?) If you are each splitting these in a fair manner how come you can't do the same with the money? If you are not, then, again, I"d say there are other issues at work here and y'all need to talk.
All the above is, of course, just my thoughts on the matter and the only qualification I can offer is the 22 year and going strong marriage I'm an active partner in. *smile*
Good luck and God bless. (01/23/2009)
I'm sure that I'm not the only one who is old school, but when I became a wife, it became a team effort (with everything) and any money from my husband and myself became "ours."
I feel sorry for your situation.
I think your wife should pay more because she earns more. It should be based on the proportion of your income. Whatever the amount, it should be placed in a household account and all of the bills to run the house should be paid out of this household account. Or, in my brother's house, his wife pays all of the household bills and his income pays into his and his wife's retirement accounts and investments.
I agree with the poster who suggested counseling.
If you and your wife keep your money separate, the amount each should contribute is the least of your problems. (01/26/2009)
By Mary T
As the mother of seven and a married woman, I can tell you that our household has tried many different ways to pay expenses. When my husband was in college and as a U.S. Marine, I paid all the bills. When I decided to be a stay at home mom for a few years, he paid all the bills. We often disagreed on how money was spent. He wastes money on fast food and I have a problem with shoes. So, we decided that we would open a household account. Each week, we both put equal amounts into it to cover our household expenses. The house payment, water, electric, sewer, phone, taxes, insurances, groceries, and internet. What is left of our checks is our own personal money. I pay for Christmas presents, he pays for vacations. He uses his extra money to play the stock market. I use mine on various different things. This system works very well for us. Plus, the kids quickly realized, that if I said no Dad could say yes, and use his own money to give them for whatever that they just have to have that week or vice versa. I can not say a word about his money and he can not say a word about mine. We rarely argue over money issues now. This system works very well for us.
It is okay to have yours, mine, and ours. As a woman, my husband would describe as you have your wife. I am controlling, often forget to say please, and I never admit fault. He fell in love with me anyway. He learned how to make me compromise without ever letting me give up my issues. He asks what I suggest we do? He constantly thanks me for all that I do. He makes me want to improve myself. He lets me think that most things are my idea. He kills me with kindness. He has also mastered the key to kiddingly offering me tit for tat. He will rub my back, if I get the car tagged. He will take the kids to school if I will write out the checks for the bills.
You married her for your reasons and she said yes for hers. Can you remember that time before you became man and wife? Rekindle that flame. Chances are, she is not seeing what you say as a compromise, but as an ultimatum. Unfortunately, you can not start again, but you can decide to go down a different path together. Hopefully, you will do it with joined hands.
I was raised in a neighborhood and in a family where the man went to work and paid the bills and the woman stayed home and took care of her family. When I worked I didn't pay any of the bills. I did offer, but my husband also grew up in the same area I did and his values are the same. The woman stays home, takes care of her family while the man goes to work and pays the bills.
Our 10th anniversary is next month and I have worked 8 out of the 10 yrs we've been married. My husband and I both earned approximately the same amt. He paid the bills, payed for twice yearly vacations, car upkeep and repairs, and entertainment. I bought the groceries. When we first got married I use to pay the trash and water bill which were the two lowest bills and were in my name because he owed them money. He did get them paid off, put them in his name and he started paying them, all without consulting me. He just did it and then announced to me one day he was going to be paying the bills from now on and if I wanted to quit working I could. I continued working until I injured my back in 2006.
People insist that now days it takes 2 incomes to make it in this world. That is not true. If you live within your means there is no reason why the man (or the person with higher income) can't fully take care of everything on their own.
We have no credit cards, no revolving accounts, no debt other than current bills. My husband earns $12.00 an hour and we do just fine.
Sooo....do I think you're being unreasonable in expecting her to pay more because she earns more? Yes, I do think you are being unreasonable. I also think she is being selfish and should be willing to help more than what she is, especially since you have asked her to. (01/27/2009)
I guess it depends on whether or not this is your first marriage. For a first marriage, it would be unusual imho for married people to keep their money separate. It should be pooled and bills paid from the pooled money account. In a marriage, there is no "yours" and "mine." Its "ours."
That said I must amend my reply to include people who have been previously married to another person. I believe that as we mature we tend to want to think of keeping money for our descendants. And if you've been married previously and come into the marriage with money from another relationship, this may make a difference as well. In this case, I might say payment of bills should be done on a percentage basis. You pay half and she pays half of the bills.
Having her to continue in thinking as she does is abusive to you. It's wrong in today's world. It is very old fashioned. She needs to get her head screwed on better. Maybe if she has to pay at least half the bills she will be better at how she spends money. I believe people need to have consequences for their actions. For her, there are no consequences to her overspending. You are there to save her every time. But this is only a supposition on my part.
Put your foot down and let her know who wears the pants in the family. (smile)
Warm regards. (01/27/2009)
By Carol in PA
You should put the money all together, pay everything, and split what is left so you both have a bit of spending money of your own. (01/27/2009)
Good heavens! What does she spend it all on? Of course you're reasonable. I earn half what my husband does, we pool our resources and pay the bills out of our joint account. Whoever earns it, it is ours, not his or mine. (01/27/2009)
Sadly, this sounds like a power struggle to me :-( A true marriage is 'joint' and not acting spoiled or the world owes me attitudes :-( It's supposed to be 'we' not 'us and them' :-( What if you were laid off or, God forbid, injured? Who would she expect to pay the bills then? And that would go for you, too, if something happened to her!
It shouldn't matter who makes more money at all. Living expenses are living expenses and as long as you both are working then both should be at least splitting those expenses right down the middle including shared food and toiletries. If she wants other things to be separate then fine, but that would also include both of you paying your own car payment, gasoline, insurance, clothing, etc.
I agree with other posters that you should both get some marriage counseling and right away!
Sorry you're having troubles :-( Sorry for both of you :-( (01/27/2009)
Looks like you have a lot of good advice here. May I suggest you print it off and share it with her? Tell her you love her and that you wish this could be worked through. See what she says. (01/27/2009)
Is this a joke? Don't take marriage advice from strangers online. If you need financial and marriage advice, go to a counselor you know and trust. We don't know you or your wife and you don't know us. (01/30/2009)
This is a sore subject with couples everywhere not just here. My SIL and husband have separate checking accounts and pay different bills. They say it works for them and they don't fight anymore. Money issues was all they argued about so I guess it works for some. But I am married 40 yrs and we pool all the finances. My hubby gets $50 a week for gas, etc. (he works close) and he even manages to save some.
I keep no allowance for myself. We get groceries at Walmart and Sav A Lot I get gas when needed, but we don't smoke or drink so not a lot
of extra is needed. We make one trip a week to grocery shop and if we need more then we keep out for groceries we write a check to cover it.
I also have a side job and that money goes in the pool as well. There's no fussing at all. My hubby's weekly allowance he manages to treat us to Burger King sometimes. In order to make it work we have to "want" it to work I guess. It's all common sense to me. Good luck. (01/30/2009)