Budget Battles When Your Husband is the Only Breadwinner

Hello, I hope you had a good weekend. Ours was pretty low key and like always, we had a talk about the “budget” issue. If my darling husband is reading this, I don’t want him to take it the wrong way. I am just “ruminating” out loud, no judgement or complaint, just curious about what other people do.

I am talking about the issue of buying things for yourself or doing things on your own that cost money. How do you find the balance between giving your loving, working husband what he wants and needs in terms of time away from home for hobbies and himself vs having the same for yourself?

It is hard to find the balance and impossible for it to be “fair” without spending all your dosh. But basically Brian has a few hobbies but they cost a lot of money in the long run. Golf is $70 a round and he wants to get in as many rounds as possible, that price excludes food or drink on the course. Skiing is also $70 a lift ticket, again excluding gas, food etc. And then there is beer ($20 a case) and scotch ($40-$80+ a bottle). Now don’t start judging and thinking my DH has a drinking problem, he doesn’t. He has an appreciation for the good things problem! I repeat he does not have a drinking problem so pack up your judge suitcase and take it elsewhere.

I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to have these things, and I know he works hard to get them. But that’s the problem isn’t it? Stay at home mom is the most under-valued, under-paid, under-appreciated, under-respected but most rewarding job on the planet. So how do you find room in the budget for yourself when you “don’t work”, “don’t contribute” as society seems to see it and define it? How do you justify saying no to the working man so you can say yes to yourself?

I wonder does this problem occur often in the reverse (i.e. man giving up so woman can have)? And how prevalent is it in families where both parents work? Do mom’s always take a backseat on themselves so that their family can have things?

I know what you are going to say, “you shouldn’t have to justify it” but I do, and he does too. It is stereotypical to say but woman are just more empathetic and sympathetic and have an easier time understanding others so unfortunately it is easier for a man to justify his wants to a woman than the reverse. I find it impossible to justify anything frivolous for myself on our tight budget unless I truly need it. For example, fabric to complete a gift for a family member, new jeans because the old one have a hole in the thigh, those are easy to spend on. It’s the just because I want it things that are hard.

Like this weekend, my brother in law send me a link for a RIDICULOUS good deal on a tablet computer. But then Brian says “why” and all could think is “because I want it and it would be fun!” Reasons enough? Maybe. Did I get it? No.

So should I start asking, “Why do you think you should get to spend $$ on _____?” I do sometimes and, like I said, I am easy to convince.

And like I said earlier (darling husband if your listening) I’m just talking not ANYTHING else. I am very happy, of course, but I might also like to change. Mostly, I want to know:

How do you find the balance of budget in your marriage?
How do you say “yes” without feeling resentful?
How do you say “no” without feeling guilty?
How do you get what you want without having to convince your family?


About the author: Leslie Brooks is a Calgary parenting blogger at and the master mind at Hippo Hug, a line of beautiful and innovative weighted blankets that she hand makes. She writes about the typical and not so typical adventures she gets up to with her young son, husband and two dogs with frequent outings to local family fun spots. She will give you her no nonsense opinion on the experience.  Leslie has been featured on Family Fun Calgary, Sober Julie and Dinner with Julie. When she isn’t wrangling her little Spiderman into a trip to the pharmacy she can be found behind a sewing machine, a book or laptop; reading creating and learning.