Money Issues

tml861February 17, 2011


Here is my situation: I have three children from a first marriage and one child from this marriage. I receive $500/month child support from my ex for the 3 children we had together. My current husband thinks that I should pay more than 1/2 for the utilities and groceries for our home per month because I have 3 kids from my previous marriage and because I get child support. I am wondering if there is anyone else in my situation and how you have come to agreement on household expenses and groceries for the month. It is causing a lot of problems for us right now b/c I certainly don't want him to feel that I am taking advantage of him or need his money but I also want things to be fair for me as well. How we have it set right now is that he gives me approx $100/month for groceries and household supplies and we split utilities evenly. We do have separate checking accounts and keep our bills from b/f our marriage separate and we are each responsible for those bills.

Any help or guidance will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you

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I'll ask since you did not say: Do you have other income besides the $500 a month CS? Do you work? Or is this all the 'income' that you personally have a month on your own?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:27AM
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I do work..I do daycare out of our home and I have a part- time job that I work 2 nights a week to help make ends meet.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:29AM
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I should also mention that our average grocery/household supply expenses are $525.00/month.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Hello, tml. My situation is the opposite; I'm SM and my DH has custody, so maybe I can give you the opposite perspective. In his mind, he may be viewing it as "fair" that he pay for himself and half of the child you have together, and that you pay for yourself, half of joint child, and all of the three that are yours and your ex's. I can understand this POV; his step-kids are increasing the utility and grocery costs, and, in an ideal world, he really should not have to contribute towards the costs of raising them unless he chooses to do so.

In the real world in which we all live, however, it doesn't usually work that way. Is it fair that he spend his hard-earned money, and have less for extras for himself and his child, to subsidize someone else's kids? Not really. Is it fair that you are constantly broke at the end of the month while he has a bit of extra spending money left? Well, it may be "fair" - but certainly not good for your marriage.

The way that DH and I currently have it is that he does pay a slightly higher share of the "fixed" bills - utilities, groceries, etc. This, of course, means that he has less money for any extras, for himself or SS - which then I often tend to pick up the slack for. So it ends up evening out, except that I don't feel as obligated; if for some reason it's a bad month with additional expenses it is now under my control to decide whether taking a hit for some non-critical expenditure is going to work or whether it's better to wait another month.

I'm assuming that your DH is a decent guy who is not really going to want to see you or his sKids going without while he has extra pocket money - but the difference is that then it's his choice to spend his money, something he gets to feel generous about, and not an obligation or a requirement. To me, it made a huge difference to feel that I was not being forced into paying for SS but rather that it was something I was choosing to do, even though the end result still leaves me with the same amount of money! It might be something to consider talking to him about.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Thank you for your response!

Yes, he is a decent guy and does try to help out when he can but unlike your situation I am the one that usually picks up the tab on anything extra we all do..whether that be a movie or dinner. And normally I pay for my share, my kids, our child together and his expense of doing the "fun" things. This is normally b/c he has no money for extra things. Yet he has recently purchased a new computer ($800) and a motorcycle. I guess maybe I am just jealous that I don't have money laying around to spend on high dollar items because all of my money does go towards us living on a monthly basis. And when we do want to do something fun together as a family it is my responsibility to pay for it.

We have talked about this in the past and normally we end up at the same conclusion where I feel bad that I need his help and that he feels that he pays too much for us as a family.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:19PM
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If he feels he pays too much for "us as a family" he should not have married a woman with children.

Marry me, marry my children.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I don't get people that marry and don't share their money. I know people do it but when I married DH he married me and my child and he promised to provide and protect us together as a whole family. He would jump through hoops to make sure MY daughter had whatever she needed before he would ever buy something for himself.

When you marry -- you become one. When you meet someone and they have kids and then you decide to get married, you marry their children, not just 1/2 of them...

I am not condeming you for how you do your finances but geez wouldn't it be easier to put it all in the same bowl and and share what is left over?
When I get child support it goes into the same account. It might not ALL go to DD directly her clothes or her daycare but some of DHs money probably paid for her daycare and then maybe some of the support went to us going to the movies. Who knows? Who cares? It's the same bucket. I would not have married my DH if he expected me to pay for MY child and 1/2 of our child while he makes 3 times what I make. I would have laughed and moved on.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 8:56PM
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I just thought of something else.

DH gets a yearly bonus and surprisingly he got it yesterday. About $2000.

He called and was excited -- he said maybe I should go get tires on my truck since it's way past time. I said yes! Do that. It needs to be done. It won't be that much and it's your bonus, you worked hard for that.

He called me back and said -- I'm going to get the tires but I want to take the kids and get them some new clothes. It's been awhile and spring is coming. Isn't there something you were needing? I said No.. YOU were wanting new shoes... He said ya I will do that too. Let's get the kids taken care of and then I will get the tires and also, let's get a sitter and go out this weekend. My heart melted because we don't go out without the kids because that is money we can't spend on a normal basis and we wood rather the kids be with us when we go out.

Kids. Plural. As in more than one. Mine and ours. He doesn't even see my daughter as not his daughter even though she has a father. I just can't imagine being married to someone that saw my kid as MY kid because I would be afraid that that attitude would show to my kids. How can you love them but yet say WELL you have to pay for them because they are yours. Not mine.

I hope that this arrangement is ok with you but obviously it's not. It would hurt me honestly. I hope he changes and helps you out

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 9:06PM
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We put everything into 'one big jar'. FDH has 2 kids, I don't have kids. Some of 'my' money goes to his kids, that's fine by me. I knew this when we got together, it comes with a partner who has kids. Simple.

We're supposed to have the skids 35% so not full-time, but if we did I'd be happy to see a bigger share go to them, no problem.

I agree wtih myfampg

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 9:57PM
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My husband and I have four kids between us. We have separate accounts but not because we separate our money.... it's to keep us from making mistakes with debit cards. If ANY of our children need something, it doesn't matter whose child it is. Whoever has the money in their account gets it. We don't argue about it. It just gets done. I consider my ss my son and he considers my son's his.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 8:45AM
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I would hope that anyone married to someone with kids would not keep back extra money while the kids went without something that they needed.

I think the question becomes what to do when needs are taken care of, and it becomes "wants", and what to do if there is a disagreement about whether a purchase for anyone is a "need" or a "want", and if there is only enough left for one person to get their "want" of the month, who gets it?

What if one person is a saver and one is a spender?

What if one person always puts any "wants" of the kids over "wants" of the parents?

What if, say, DH was getting CS from BM, and it was way overdue - and DH decided not to pursue it, because "needs" could be taken care of without it? Do we all still split the pot for "wants" - or is DH's share forfeit because it was his choice to not pursue back CS?

If DH or I work OT to make some extra money, what happens with that? Is it extra for that person since they did the work? Does it go into the general fund?

What if DH decided to start working part-time instead of full-time, just because - but could still pay half the "needs"? Does he still get part of the now greatly decreased "extra" money if it was his choice to cut his work hours, and that choice is not benefiting the rest of the family?

There are just so many variables. Obviously communication and compromise are key but even married couples without kids are going to have disagreements from time to time.

In the case of TML, I'm guessing if you're managing to buy groceries and household items for a family of six on $525/month, you're not living high on the hog with scads of extra money at the end of the month to disperse. I was thinking more along the lines of does one of the kids get another video game or does DH get to go golfing on the weekend - not does TML clip coupons and shop at the thrift store while hubby buys a motorcycle. It's one thing to for your DH to feel that he is entitled to buy himself a "treat" or two upon occasion, even if that means one of the kids goes without something that they want; it's something else entirely to buy himself expensive things while the rest of the family has nothing extra.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Well said Mattie

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 9:28PM
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I don't know how 6 people only spend 500 on food and supplies a month, it is more than a modest life style, it is less than a 100 per person. Yet DH buys computers and motorcycles. I think it is grossly unfair.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 10:07AM
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If you are running a daycare out of the home, then I would assume part of the utilities should be paid from the business. After all, being home all day with kids will increase the expense. Is part of the grocery bill for snacks/meals served to daycare kids?

One of the problems that I've encountered in my situation, which isn't too different, is that I am self employed & my DH works outside the home. I don't get paid a salary, my income is based on how many customers I get. He gets a paycheck on payday, so he feels as if he is the breadwinner because he can count on his check... even though sometimes I work many more hours than he does and sometimes I contribute more money to bills than he does, but sometimes it's hard to see it that way unless it's pointed out. He's much better about it now that he sees it written down, what is spent monthly and how each of us contribute.

Money is certainly something that should be discussed before marriage, especially when there are kids involved. I kinda understand him feeling like he shouldn't have to support your kids as long as you're getting child support, that is what the child support is for. Quite frankly, if it's $500 for three kids, then it's not much at all. If your DH is using his money for necessities for your kids, then the money should probably be used for the necessities and then your DH won't feel as if he's supporting another man's children while you buy extra's with the support money. That was also a problem with my DH when he got a lump payment from his ex's tax refund. He wanted to put it in a separate bank account to use for things she wants/needs (extra's) throughout the year. Well, we were already providing for her needs... I had been paying for all the extra's and even paid the co-payments when I took her to the doctor. So, of course I was not happy with his plan. Could your husband be feeling that way?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 2:25PM
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