Dad spends more

By Stew

Okay, I will admit it, Mrs. Stew is more frugal than I.

She is poor at paying bills on time and keeping track of the amount of money available in our account. I take care of that stuff because, well, numbers do not really mean anything to her. But she definitely spends less than me. Mrs. Stew leaves on a trip tomorrow and I will be home with our three young ‘uns for four days. I think that this scenario provides the most apt demonstration of my point.

When Mrs. Stew is home, I expect her to use coupons and grocery shop in order to make frugal, healthy meals for our family. I frown if she takes the kids to a restaurant or buys herself a Starbucks. If she spends money to entertain the kids by taking them swimming or by driving several miles to see a friend, I ask how much it cost or how much gasoline she used. I expect her to care for and entertain our children in the cheapest way possible.

I must say that I am not as consistent when the shoe is on the other foot. I will have the children, ages 7, 6 and 3 for four days. Four days, people! Do you think we are just going to sit around the house while I cook and vacuum? I say not. We will probably take in a movie or two . . . buy anything I want from the grocery store . . . maybe go out to eat a couple of times . . .

Okay, I am really going to try to keep spending low, but I sure am tempted to do all kinds of fun, exciting, but expensive things. The kids would want mommy to leave every weekend. No, I am going to try to prepare food on my own and we will probably go to the public library. Maybe one movie at the discount $1 theater would be appropriate.

One thing is certain, if I were a stay-at-home dad, we would have a lot more trouble staying within our budget than my wife does.

Article by Stew

Photo by tibchris

8 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Dad spends more”

  1. Josh Says:

    Love the honesty! This is true of myself also…

  2. dramon Says:

    While at the library, look to see if they have ‘activities’ you can check out. For example, ours has a limited number of admission to local museums. This way you can do a fun activity for next to nothing (if you can avoid the gift shop at the end).
    I never thought of getting this from the libray before ( and not sure how many libraries offer this).

  3. Gina Says:

    I appeciate the honesty … although it makes me think that you have ‘trust’ problems when you ask so many ‘why’ questions about her spending. I mean she is home w/3 kids all day – do you know what that does to your sanity? Even moms have bad days – she has 3 bosses (at least they might think so). I guess you will find out – hahaha! – at least for a few days. But I understand that is how some people hold each other accountable and if she is not complaining then it works for you.

    I found myself falling into a “I can spend more because I make more” trap, which lead to a lot of my credit card debt. I soon realized that is not a healthy attitude to have when you have a spouse or sigificant other. Or anytime really.

    You can check out DVD movies from the library too! They also offer lots and lots of books on tape if you have a long commute or road trip.

  4. Damsel Says:

    I appreciate your honesty on this article, too… but I’m kind of siding with Gina a bit. I’ll admit that I’m the numbers-oriented one in our family, so my husband has never picked at me like you describe yourself in this article. If he did, however, we’d have a knock-down, drag-out “discussion”. If Mrs. Stew isn’t arguing, then I suppose it’s working for you, but I can’t imagine that anyone would appreciate being treated that way. Maybe your wife needs some “household blow money” that she can use to save her sanity, even if it’s just for a rainy day?

  5. courtney Says:

    Hmmm…I’m getting the sense of a double-standard here. You admit that you are going to be frazzled by being the primary caregiver for your 3 children for four days, and that having that responsibility might lead you to spend. However, you’re then saying that when your wife has that role, you “question” her spending money on a coffee for herself or another relatively small luxury. That seems very controlling. Your wife is expected to budget shop, cook for the family, and be the primary caregiver for 3 young children. Letting her have a latte once in a while seems entirely reasonable. Giving her the third degree on how much gas she may have spent in having a visit with friends shows that you are not trusting your wife. You are questioning her decision making in the very realm that you have put expectations on her to maintain – the home and household functions.

  6. Meaghan Says:

    This post actually has left me quite offended. As the main breadwinner in my family, I cannot imagine this scenario ever working out with my husband (or visa-versa). It also seems contrary to your other posts about being a team when it comes to finances.

  7. Kristia Says:

    After reading this post, I totally understand the previous comments.In our family, I’m in charge of the finances do to the nature of my husbands job and potential level of stress. We have two teenage daughters and between the four of us, sometimes (most of the time) it seems that I’m the only one concerned about our spending habits. At the same time, I’m expected to make budget every month. It gets very frustrating at times. I’m considered a teamplayer when I give in; but no fun when I don’t. Daddy on the other hand, is always the fun one.

  8. Iaian Filippini Says:

    I really agree with you. But there is something called financial planning.
    I know its not possible for you to go for outing every weekend but once in month or once a half-yearly is quite possible and also it allows you save money in advance. when we know we have to go for outing once in a while we are more satisfied and save money accordingly. I call it “Frugally satisfied”.