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October 25, 2007 / missknowitall

Learning To Trust and Budget

Dear Little Miss,

I have been with my husband for 4 years. We have problems with money as all couples do. We used to have a joint account but unfortunately we got into big money issues. Ya see, my husband is a reformed alcoholic and drug addict. Fortunately now, he is clean and sober. When we shared an account-he did a lot of stupid things and got us into financial trouble. Well now that he is clean and sober, he has gotten his own account and has gotten a great job. Because of the past (which was not that long ago), I refuse to share an account with him and believe that I should have access to his account. I was raised to believe that the woman should be in control of the finances. I believe that when it’s payday, he should take out his spending money and then give me the rest for the bills. He refuses to do it! He says we should have a joint account for the bills and we should devise a plan for all the household bills and a percentage of his money should go towards bills and such. The problem is he has always been bad with money! He has the worst credit in the world! And when he runs out of money, he asks me for more! Of course, he gives me money for bills and such but if we have anything to save for-it never happens!  And now I am pregnant, we are both very excited about the pregnancy but how are we going to handle finances in the future when the baby is here and we both have to share the financial burden? Please advise me on how to handle money and marriage? I’m at a loss….and we are both getting frustrated every payday!

Money and Marriage

Dear Mrs. Money,

You both deserve a big congratulations on your expected delivery and him being clean and sober!  You are so right when you say that all marriages have to deal with money issues, especially in this day and age when both partners are working and banks have so many ways of letting you manage your money.  I highly recommend that you both go see a financial counselor, or at the very least read some books and check out financial sites online (specifically look for articles that deal with marriage).  While it is good that you are trying to keep your finances in order, not everyone is raised with the woman keeping the books.  And your husband needs to understand that it is going to take time, and a good show on his part, to earn back the trust he lost when he ruined your finances.  It sounds like your husband does better with paying bills than with saving extra money, so my little piece of advice would be that he pay all the bills with his paycheck and what ever is left over he can spend as he likes.  Then you use your paycheck for buying household needs, saving, and your personal spending.  It would go the same when the baby comes.  Your husband would pay all baby related bills and you would buy food, clothes, save for college, etc.  This, however, is a very small step.  You both need to talk about how you spend, how you feel about money, what your parents did with money, what your expectations are, what your future goals are, etc.  Money is always about more than money, so start learning and growing together. 

I am sure that if you can make it through substance abuse, you can make it through budget abuse.

Miss Knowitall

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