Jack works full-time and is married to Diane. Diane has a very small income but contributes $400 per month to the household. They are squeaking by financially.
Diane asks Jack if she can keep the $400 she owes him in October. She says she wants it “for Christmas.” And wants to get her shopping done early.
Jack says okay.
Two weeks later, Jack comes home to find that Diane has spent $600 on a luxury item that is solely for her own use. Jack, upset at the purchase, declares that this means Diane didn’t need the $400 therefore he wants it.
Diane says this is unreasonable since she still has the $400 to spend on Christmas and that she got a bit more money in October than she expected and that was how she could afford the item.
Jack asks if she would have bought the item if she hadn’t kept the $400. She says she would have done so. This infuriates Jack more as it, in his opinion, shows that her priority was to get the item for herself and only then consider spending on Jack for Christmas.
Given that we’re only getting Jack’s side of the story but assuming for the sake of this post that he’s reporting accurately, who is right?
First, I wouldn’t want to be in the situation of having my own income that is considered ‘mine’ while paying a set amount into household expenses. To me, a marriage involves combining incomes and living off of the sum.
That said, Diane seems like a really selfish woman. Is the item something that could reasonably considered a household item that is necessary but that Jack wouldn’t use, like a sewing machine or kitchen appliances? If not, I don’t see how she is justified. If she hadn’t asked for the the waiver of the $400 payment, I would assume that she had been saving up for the item, and was entitled to it. But since she did, it seems that she is putting her wants ahead of something that people in a loving relationship should want to do for their partners.
First, I couldn’t live with such a selfish financial set-up. All funds should be pooled, savings should be joint, and lavish expenses should be discussed, and agreed upon before they are laid out.
That said, she shouldn’t have begged off on her monthly responsibilities and she should buy his Christmas gift before she goes spending big bucks on herself. That is, unless he has deprived her of a special purchase for a long time. If he controls the purse strings to the point where she never gets to treat herself, sometimes a person has to draw the line.
So, he lended her the money only in order that she could spend it on a gift to him? How altruistic and generous!
Anyway, I don’t even get how people living together can have money loan issues, barring total financial irresponsability of one or the other.
Both seem pretty much self-centered to me. Everything described in this OP run against my views. Let’s take the events one by one :
They’re squeaking by financially, have a very low income, and go on spending 600 $ on personnal luxuries or christmas presents???
I already have an issue. They’re contributing (to the extent of their ability) to the household expenses. In my world, she wouldn’t “owes him” money. She would just ask if in his opinion, they can get by without these £ 400 so that she can spend them on something else, or if it would be too much of a burden for him to pay whatever she usually pays for.
In a couple, still in my view of what a couple is all about, she wouldn’t need to give explanation about what intend to do with the money. Except of course if said money is dearly needed, in which case both should rather have good reasons to spend it on unecesary expenses. But that aplies just as much to Jack’s money as to Diane’s money.
So, apparently, this money wasn’t really needed in Jack’s opinion. My issue there is that he’s considering it as a loan. I would just have said : “yes you can keep your money” and then forgot about it.
Obviously, she didn’t need it, since she intended to spend it on Christmas presents, not on some necesserary expense. What Jack seems to be upset about is that she spend the money on her rather than on him. Once again how generous of him to lend her money so that she can buy some luxury item for him.
Apart from that, it seems that she felt the need to lie to him about what she intended to do with the money. There seem to be a lot of trust and sincerity in this couple.
Honestly, it sounds like an argument about technicalities in a court of law. What are they? Business partners?
That might be true. And since he’s infuriated, it seems his priority was that she spend the money on him and only then consider spending it on her. Both seem equally egoistical.
My general opinion, based only on what I just read is that this couple is made of two self centered people who don’t love nor trust each other, and perceive their couple as some sort of business agreement where each one must defend fiercely his benefits against the mischiefs of the associate.
I just hate money issues (added in case it wouldn’t be obvious).
Yup; what the others said; joint account all the way for me; if the missus wants something big, we’ll have a look to see if we can afford it - and I get the same deal if it’s me that wants to do a big spend. The only money that will really be set aside for separate use is that received as a gift specifically for one or the other of us.
Anything else is (IMO)a recipe for all kinds of bollox including the sort of conflict Jack and Diane are experiencing, however, the joint account model does require a modicum of discipline and self-restraint.
I’m not going to criticise another couple’s financial arrangements if that’s what works for them. The hubby and I pool our money, but we’re both responsible, and, to be honest, we’re both cheap as hell, so that works out fine for us. We look at people who keep separate bank accounts, or give each other “allowances” and think, man, we’d never even think of running our marriage that way. But, that’s our marriage, not yours; do what works for you.
What I question here is whether this arrangement is actually working. Sounds like she asked him to relax their mutally agreed-upon rules for a specific (fairly reasonable, IMHO) reason, and but the real reason turned out to be “I wanted to spend $600 dollars on a present for myself instead of spending it on Christmas presents.”
Also, his demanding the $400 now seems kind of silly. Horses out of the barn, and all that. If he takes that money, then, she’s already spent the $600; she doesn’t have it to spend again (unless she returns the item, if that’s even possible) and she won’t have money for Christmas presents, right?
Seems like something is really broken in their system. Either she’s not being completely honest with her husband (this is deeply bad, IMHO) or the two of them don’t have a clear understanding of what each person’s financial responsiblities are. (This is also somewhat bad, but easier to fix.) Do they give gifts as a couple? Is she responsible for coming up with money for the presents she wants to give on her own? Was Jack expecting the $400 to be spent on him alone or was this for budgeted gifts for family and friends?
I certainly don’t think that her paying him money for household expenses is pathological in and of itself, but I think it’s important that they clarify what other expenses they are expected to cover with their own money, and under what conditions they are willing to relax their agreed-upon rules.
Different strokes for different folks. Mr. UrbanChic and I keep our funds separate. We both contribute to our kids’ 529s and we pool our funds for investements but we still maintain our own checking and saving accounts.
Neither one of us has to check with the other for purchases unless it is major and we’re both going to use the item(s) (furniture, car, big TV, etc.). We’ve decided who’s responsible for what utitlity bill and they get paid on time and in full. He’s free to spend his money on video games and dvds and I on clothes, handbags and shoes.
As to the OP, she doesn’t sound fiscally responsible. If you loan an adult money, however, I don’t think it’s wise to dictate how they spend it. If she says she still has the $400 to spend for xmas presents, he’s going to have to trust her. If her xmas presents don’t total anywhere near $400 he should just consider it a lesson learned and say no the next time she asks to borrow money.
I also don’t get the concept of borrowing money from one’s spouse. That seems very foreign to me.
Yeah, that’s what I don’t get. How do you go about loaning money to your spouse? That’s just so strange to me.
I, for example, rarely have cash on me. El hubbo deals almost exclusively in cash. If we’re out together and I want something from a cash-only operation OR if I’ve left my card in my other coat pocket (it happens more times than I care to admit) he’ll give me the cash or buy it for me. Also, since my office is attached to a mall, when I’m shopping for myself, I’ll often pickup stuff for him --shirts, pants, ties, shoes, etc. There’s no expectation for reimbursement at all.
I started a thread a looong time ago about loaning/borrowing money from your SO. I don’t recall the consensus, though.
There are reasons to keep money seperate. My SO is a big spender who gets all his money from his parents, and I am a stingy saver that works hard for my money. I don’t want to spend my hard-earned cash supporting his lavish lifestyle and he can’t afford to pay for me to live the life he leads. It can be hard, but it works out and I can’t picture changing things down the line.
That said, I’ve been dead broke for ages, and sometimes I can’t pull my fair share. But when I do end up with some money, I treat myself a bit. You can go insane in America with no purchasing power. This is especially true if your SO doesn’t have the kind of money problems you do. I can see this situation happening in my own household, and while it’s unfortunate I think it is just one of the many unavoidable problems that happens in a relationship with money problems.
Okay, now the question is, what was wrong with the old monitor? Was it old? Was it flickery (I assume it’s a CRT monitor, not flat panel). What kind of work does Diane do on her computer (graphics, or just dinking around on Word)?
If the old monitor was weirding out and making her eyes hurt, and if she works a lot with graphics (like Photoshop) and she perhaps earns money from her computer work, then I personally might not consider the monitor a “luxury item.” But if she just wanted a new monitor 'cause she wanted it, and the old one is perfectly fine–then, well, that sounds like a luxury item.
But still, if she scrimped and saved up for it, then I can understand her wanting to get it.
As for the rest of their arrangement, I don’t know what to say. It sounds kind of skin-flinty to me, but if it works for them (well, it doesn’t sound like it is) . . .
So she’s willing to risk her marriage for a 2-inch-bigger output size… And who said, “Size doesn’t matter”? Clearly it does.
Can I pry more? You say he has a job, she has a small “income”. Are we talking low-paying job, part-time job, trust fund and no job, or what? Is it not within her power to earn more money if she chooses?
Computer games, no income production as far as I know. She offered the old monitor to Jack for use with his computer.
Trust fund and no job would be closest, I think. I honestly don’t know the answer to the second part. I know there are health issues.
Just to clarify, I don’t think the situation between Jack and Diane is legitimately a “loan.” I don’t think Jack expected to be repaid the money when he agreed to waive it. I think he just thought Diane had something special planned for Christmas.