Family Finance

5 Marriage Money Mistakes Wives Need to Stop Making NOW

money in marriageWhen you get married at 25 like I did and you have been with your spouse since you were 22, it's very easy to completely merge your lives to an almost co-dependent degree. My husband and I do everything together, from grocery shopping to errand running to the running of our households. We don't divvy up the tasks. We do them together.

Until recently that was true of almost everything. Except money. Yes, I am embarrassed to say that after years spent as a stay-at-home mom and now as a working mom who is 100 percent at home, I still turned all of the financial aspects of our marriage over to my husband. We have one bank account, and until about two years ago, I never even checked it. All bills were paid by him and anything that came in from any other source was always handed immediately over to him.

I am not sure how it got this way, but it was a mistake. I am changing. Not because I am unhappy in my marriage. I am as happy as ever. But I do know financial dependence on a man isn't a good idea.

Here are 5 of the biggest money mistakes many smart, educated women are making right now in their marriages:

1.) Letting him handle all the bills: Take a few on yourself. It's a good idea for the marriage (even husbands get overwhelmed), but also good insurance that you are still on the ball, building credit in your name, and generally staying fresh.

2.) Not looking at bank statements: I cringe when I think of myself doing this. I was acting more like a daughter than a grown-up. Now I take responsibility for my spending and for his. We talk about our money and allocate funds better. We are a team and it also means we have more money since we are both keeping an eye out for strange charges and flawed billing in our account.

3.) Not knowing how much he makes: This seems crazy to me, but some women don't know how much their man makes. This should NOT be a secret. These are joint budget decisions and both partners should be aware of how much there is available to spend.

4.) Not keeping some for yourself: Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a career woman who makes more than your husband, it's a good idea to save some money for oneself. I totally don't do this, but I need to. It's not that I think I will get divorced, but it's nice to not fight over his beer brewing hobby or my shoe collection. This would work well if we had separate piles of money. Some for him. Some for me. Perfect!

5.) Lying about spending: Let's grow up ladies! Lying about how much things cost is immature and we are acting like children when we do so. Own up to purchases. Better yet, pick an amount -- say $200. Below that you can spend without a discussion. Above that and BOTH of you need to consult the other. Done and done!

What money mistakes have you made in your marriage?


Image via Jenifer Correa/Flickr

breakups, divorce


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

linzemae linzemae

Im the one who controls the money in our house. He wants nothing to do with it. It sucks because im always the money nazi. I try to get him more involved now that im a sahm

mommy... mommytoeandb

We haven't made any money mistakes.  Thank goodness!  

the4m... the4mutts

I handle money in this house. He hands over his entire paycheck to me, minus 100$ for his own spending money for x-amount of days.

Most of the time, HE has no idea what MY savings or checking look like (we have separate accounts), even though he earned the money that is in it. And he couldn't care less. He also couldnt care less if I spent 500$ on shoes (i never would, just an example)

As long as bills are paid, and I promise him that the savings for 3 months worth of bills is still in tact, then I have 100% free reign.

Hell, when he goes out, he asks my permission to get 50$ out of my account! When I tell him to do whatever he wants, he looks at me like Im fucking dense and says "I would never do that without asking, its your money!!"

So. Here's my question. How is it a fail if women do all these things, but when men do it, it's perfectly acceptable, even admirable?

Granted, I LOOOOVE it, am grateful for it, And would never take advantage of it. But why the double standard? Why is this mistakes women make, not mistakes COUPLES make?

Diane Pritchard

I handle the budget in the house, we have one bank account, but it's always an open fact how much we have and what can/can't be spent. Other than bills that are obviously nonegotiable, we usually discuss where the "extra" money goes towards

April... AprilJune

Ugh....I am so guilty of #1 and 2. My husband and I have been together since we were in high school, married at 24 when we were both starting our careers. We both have good jobs, but he makes triple what I do and it's just easier to let him handle it. I know I need to be more involved, but I let the fact that I grew up under the poverty line and experienced a lot of finance related anxiety as a child keep me out of the financial loop in my marriage. This article has inspired me to be better!

wamom223 wamom223

I was thinking the same thing as the4mutts.  The majority of my friends are in charge of the finances as well as all my sisters.  Some talk with their husbands, but some of their husbands could care less and seem not to care as long as the bills are payed.  We aren't married but run our house as though we are as we are a one income family.  Before our son was born he was mostly in charge but now its pretty 50/50 other than the shopping which I do because I run the coupon book.  We try to communicate and stay on the same page with things but we do what works for us and so should other couples.  I'd like to add that I don't think its okay for a woman to have a private savings account, just in case of divorce, unless her husband has one too.

the4m... the4mutts

Wamom- idk about most women, but I have a savings account, and he does not. The reason for ours being this way, is because he pays child support for a 17yr old son from a previous marriage.

He is an electrician, and gets laid off 2 months, every year, during the rainy season. EVERY SINGLE TIME, if there is more than 100$ in his account, the child support services pre-emptively (sp?) Takes a month of child support, up front, even though he hasnt been late on a single payment since we've been together.

So, I keep the accounts with money, in my name, and pay his support in money orders for those 2 months.

Our money arrangement makes sense. So I can kind of see reasons for women to have accounts in their own name under certain circumstances. But I also agree, that when there arent other factors at play, men should be free to do the same

miche... micheledo

Haa haa.  My husband does the first three.

I am a SAHM and he doesn't pay any bills, doesn't look at bank statements, and doesn't know how much he makes.  Neither of us keep any money for ourselves.

The only thing we both do is number 5 - we don't lie about our spending.

wamom223 wamom223

mutts-That sounds like it works for you guys and makes sense.  And funny how they are always hard on the guys who don't miss payments hunh?  I'm talking more about the 'divorce fund' or women that feel that 'his money is our money and my money is my money.' I've had some personal experience with this with one set of parents (I have divorced parents)and it leads to nothing but resentment.  I'm just really not down with double standards, lol. 

sahm_... sahm_of_rj

Every woman should know how to take care of the bills and every woman should be able to support herself if something happens to her significant other. That said, for years my DH took care of the money and I never looked at the bank account. We had pre-determined our set "free spending" (mine was significantly higher than his) and we withdrew it in cash every paycheck. He paid the bills and we bought groceries and gas out of the bank account. I just happen to believe that he doesn't need my help with it and I don't need to check up on it. We've actually changed it around now because I'm home with two kids and it's me that is doing it and him that isn't checking up.

1-10 of 18 comments 12 Last