Learning to Let Go of “My” Money

I once went shopping with my older cousin when I was about 16 years old. After we finished shopping we headed back to her house. I started to gather my shopping bags and head to the door, and I was surprised to see my cousin gather her shopping, but instead of heading to the door she walked to the back of the car and stuck the bags in the trunk. When I asked her why she did that, she told me that her husband would get upset if he found out she went shopping so she would hide the bags into her trunk and sneak them in when her husband wasn’t home. ”This is what married life is like,” I thought. In that instant, I decided that I would never let anyone tell me what I could do with my money.

After Mr. Gondola and I became engaged we settled down to talk about how we were going to do our finances as a married couple. Mr. G’s family is Japanese and his father, like many people his age, hands his paycheck over to his wife (who doesn’t work) and she controls all of the finances. I come from a family where the incomes are combined. I wanted something different from both of these styles, and I suggested that Mr. G and I keep our finances separate and split everything down the middle. Mr. G said he was fine with that and that had been our plan—until we went to premarital counseling.

During our talk with our counselor the subject of finances came up and our counselor brought up a very good point: “What will you do when you stop working to have kids?” The thought had never crossed my mind and I was a bit dumbfounded. I, unfortunately, work for a company that does not provide maternity leave. Our only source of income will be Mr. G’s paycheck, which means splitting things down the middle during that time will be impossible.

During our talk and even now, it is still difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I will have to depend on someone for money, and that I will have to discuss any big purchase as it will no longer be my money, but our money. Mr. G is fine with sharing his paycheck down the middle as he has grown up in a house that does that. In addition, like his parents, I will budget and handle the finances as I am better with money and actually like to make budgets.

There is one thing that I am afraid of. All my life, I have been afraid of my husband being the one who is critical of the purchases I make with our money, but I also realized that I could be just as critical as well. I am going to have to learn to let go of my 50/50 mindset and learn to open myself to the “what’s mine is yours” mindset.

gondola

My smile may be sweet, but I am kind of a control freak!

Anyone else out there worried about sharing finances? How do you open yourself up to sharing everything?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Gondola

Location:
Kyoto
Wedding Date:
October and November 2013
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comments

  1. Member
    soon2bd-cbee 5050 posts, Bee Keeper @ 9:55 pm

    Really well written, thanks Miss G. That’s given me a lot to mull over. Mr D-C and I have been living together for 2 years now and we already consider everything financial as “our money”. I really want to combine finances officially once we’re married as it is what I’m used to my family doing. However, Mr D-C’s m&d don’t combine finances, so this is new to him. I’m sure we’ll work it out.

  2. Member
    sciencegeekgirl 24 posts, Newbee @ 12:15 am

    We’re not married yet but we share finances. Relationships in general should be a give and take. You’re a team. It’a not about lies and hiding things. The only time I lie and hide something is if it’s a surprise for my SO. Otherwise finances should be a team effort. It’s wise just in case there’s an emergency some day.

  3. Guest
    js, Guest @ 6:46 am

    I’m not going to tell you how to handle your finances as a couple. My husband and I have a system that works for us. I personally struggle with being dependent on someone else financially as a woman, so I know where you’re coming from. But I do want to say, you’re looking at it wrong. Presumably, you’ll want to buy a house someday. You will both work to save money for this, working towards this goal together, deciding what house to buy together. It won’t be “yours” or “his”, but ours. Just like future family vacations, cars, etc. My advice is budget everything! Use online banking and bill pay features. Don’t “ask” for permission because you’re a wife, but as a courtesy to your partner. Keep a personal credit card where you spend an agreed upon amount every month, say $200, and spent it on whatever the heck you want as long as its within your budgeted amount. If I want to spend $80 on a pair of shoes, I don’t have to ask my husband. We have $100 to spend on clothes every month and the budget would be updated to reflect my purchase. That’s it. Talk, talk, talk about money because the problems don’t go away if you ignore them and unless you’re a millionaire, to be financially stable, you have to communicate about what you’re spending. Good luck to you, you’re not alone!

  4. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:11 am

    Girl, we are on the same page! It’s terrifying to me to think that I may have to depend on someone else for money and be held accountable and potentially criticized for my purchases! We got a shared savings account when we were house-hunting to put our down-payment money into, and linked it to both of our checking accounts for easy transfers. We pay our mortgaged based on an equal percentage of monthly income (so he pays a higher dollar amount than I do, but it’s “fair”), and then split bills – I pay electric, he pays gas, the amounts are never the same, but we don’t compare those. Then we take turns buying groceries, so nothing is exactly fair as far as what we pay every month. This is leading me to think that, now that we are engaged, we should get a joint checking account as well, and just put all of our “bill” money into that account and I can pay all of the bills (I’m better with finances than he is) out of that account rather than running to him for a check.

    At the same time, we still plan to keep our own checking accounts for our personal things, because I don’t want him to criticize me if I want to splurge on new clothes, and vice versa. We’re both kind of shopaholics, and like our privacy. I think it’ll work, but we will definitely need to cut down on the “personal” amounts so that we are still making good financial progress towards our joint future!

  5. Member
    BigJohno 36 posts, Newbee @ 9:24 pm

    Very interesting post, Miss Gondola.

  6. Member
    Mrs. Gondola 951 posts, Busy bee @ 5:36 pm

    Wow everyone, I got so much good advice: Set aside fun money, budget, and communicate. I hope everything works out well for us. I’m also going to get Dave Ramsey’s book. I’ve heard so many good things about it!
    @UKBride: He didn’t assume, I had let him know beforehand. If he had just assumed I would have been upset too.

  7. Member
    Mrs. Otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:43 am

    We combined finances when we moved in together, a while before we were married, so this wasn’t ever really an issue for us. We don’t have rules or anything, we just discuss big purchases with each other. So if I’m going to go get some nail polish or a new dress, cool, no big deal. If, however, I decide I just HAVE TO HAVE new running shoes that are $100, then I’ll check in and make sure it’s good. Same way from him to me. We’ve had no issues!

  8. Guest
    39bride, Guest @ 1:01 pm

    One more tip I forgot: We have a rule that all major financial discussions (big purchases, budget analysis/adjustment, etc), must happen while cuddling. :D We’re bigtime cuddlers, and we found that tough discussions go better while cuddling. For other couples, I imagine there are other stress reduction techniques that would work like that…

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