Sep 1, 2011

Can You Still Treat Your Sweet?

In this vlog, I pose a question that I'm sure lingers in the minds of newly marrieds. Help!


Lily said...

Interesting question! I am not married, but in a relationship for 3 years, and have a similar situation.

First, my brother and I have birthdays less than a month apart. He usually gets me about $50 in cash or gift cards, and I generally use that money to buy his birthday gift. It seems a little counter productive, and it is. But really, I would probably spend about $50 on his birthday gift anyway, so why does it matter whether that $50 was from what he gave me, or from my own bank account? It all is put together anyway!

Also, Danny and I basically already share money. We have for a while. We have a joint savings account even. Sometimes, I will plan an outing for us and he pays for it. Other times, he 'takes me out to dinner' and I pay for it. It doesn't make any of it less special. Although my suggestion is that if YOU feel it may be less special, do something with a personal spin. Instead of just taking him to Etc Steakhouse(and really, can I blame you if you wanted to?!?!), surprise him with his favourite dinner at home with like a pretty table set that 'feels' like the restaurant experience at home.

I also think the little things really add up. Like I think it's so much sweeter when you walk through the front door and are greeted with a random single flower than it is when you get a big bouquet for your anniversary. I think the same can go for the hubby too! I think Danny was SO HAPPY when he picked me up one day and I chose to wear a Jets shirt, because I knew they were playing that evening(I really don't like football, if that wasn't obvious!). So much happier than if I were to feed him etc steak. Well, maybe just as happy... :)

It all comes down to, imo, the simple principle of "it's the thought that counts"!

(also my word verification is "toilit" lol)

Hadassah said...

we share the pot too - and in my case it's oh so much more complicated because there's his money, my money, our money, and the money that we each have put aside for our respective children.

I cannot do the grand gestures - the dinners out etc. KoD will spoil me occasionally with dinner out - but really it isn't in our budget.

It shouldn't be about money.

When the KoD brings me coffee, or when he lets me sleep in, or he does the groceries when he knows I am not up to it - that's a perfect if not grand gesture.

When I make him his favorite dinner or leave a shmooshy mooshy greeting card in his desk drawer - that means more than dinner or a movie.

I love flowers and chocolates and all the traditional man-spoiling-wife treats - but they are rare - birthday and anniversaries, and that's what makes them more special.

It shouldn't be about money at all. Anyone can spend money on another person - but the best gift is time. Your time.

Kelli Brown said...

Great question. This has become a big joke in our family, as my husband has been a student for the better part of five years and I'm the breadwinner. I like to chide him that I'll "buy you dinner if you put the kids to sleep" - much like everything else I buy.
But it's just that - a joke. In nearly every relationship, things will never be 50/50, and even if they are close salary-wise, they may not be when you factor in who does the bulk of the childcare, household stuff, finances, etc.
For us, the solution has been that it isn't about who actually pays for it, but more about who plans it - IMHO, the surprise of a nice simple gift or meal out is always nice, even if you're still the one footing the bill. It's still a treat that someone cared enough to plan it for you.

@wifeofmottel said...

That's why we stopped "treating each other to dinner" - or more relevant for us, betting one another and the loser has to pay-- and now we bargain in diaper changes.

In a pre-children situation, I think HSM makes some great points re: doing things for one another, showing you care, etc.-- unrelated to the lump sum of moola.

Aidel Knaidel said...

Chaviva, you're so cute! Love seeing you come to life in a video. My husband has always been the main breadwinner, and I have no problem using our joint checking account to buy him birthday presents or the like. When we make bets, the loser usually has to do some dread activity--like clean out one of the cars. You've already gotten wonderful advice above; clearly only brilliant women read and comment here!

HereinisLOVE said...

What I usually do is look for free things. Like For fathers day there were a bunch of free deals for cards and photo gifts. For our birthdays (which are in the same month) we're going to a restaurant that gives $30 gift certificates for the birthday person. So we'll have $60 for dinner. That way he feels like he's actually getting something that he didn't pay for.

Redacted said...

We both bring in income, but I also sometimes wonder about us "treating each other" or giving gifts since it still comes out of the same shared pot.

For us, it often comes down to using the money in a way for the other person that they wouldn't be selfish enough to do for themselves. For example, I buy him a gift that he'd never buy for himself or I take him somewhere that I know he likes, but I'd prefer not to go. What makes it special is that he knows that I was thinking of him and trying to do something special for him that he wouldn't suggest or do on his own.

I'm really digging the idea of betting dreaded chores, though...that's a good one! :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Chaviva! I just spent way too much time reading your old blog posts... thanks for sharing so much of your life with us!

My husband is our main breadwinner, but I do all the weekly shopping & spending, so when I want to treat him I manage it by being extra careful with the money that week. I'll spend the time to look for good prices on things we need, take the time to make something from scratch instead of buying the more expensive ready made item, etc. That way, though he "earns" the money, I'm working to have the extra money for the treat! :)

Natalie S said...

Along the same husband and I (just going on two years) also have joint accounts, so this also takes the surprise out of any gifts. "Oh, why did you spend $$ at whateverwebsite?...Ohhh...nevermind..."

It's a problem I've been trying to get around ever since we joined up our accounts. I think our solution might be an option for anyone having trouble with treating their special someone and dividing his/her money. We get prepaid Visa cards and pre-load them with a certain amount for six months or a year or whatever.

The thing this does is....first, I can't see what he is buying and I can stil keep balancing the books. Second, (muy important because we're both grad students) we can't go over budget. Third, we're spending roughly the same on each other so all is fair. Fourth, whatever is on your card is *your* money that you're responsible for stretching out and divvying up and you don't have to think who put what in your actual bank accounts or who makes more...etc...Fifth, it forces you to get kind of crafty and plan things out better. For example, say you have $500 and you know that that's for a six month period. That period also includes your anniversary and Valentines day. So with this example, you might go out to a really nice dinner for the anniversary $200, give a nice gift $100, do a picnic and a naturey thing for Vday $100, and another date night or surprise somewhere in between. Maybe you buy them one insane $500 thing and every other event or date is crafty....the combinations are endless. =)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Even though its a shared pot, its the thought that counts.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

Wow. Y'all are amazing. Seriously -- you've given me hope and perspective.

Time, not money. I LOVE IT!

M said...

If you really like the idea of being able to get him a little something tangible once in a way from your own money instead of a shared pot, why not set up a virtual savings account with ING? That way you can funnel away a little bit here and there (say like $10 out of every paycheck you receive for the work you do), and have it set aside in a dedicated "treats" account. I don't have a husband, but I do have student loans and a desire to travel, so part of each paycheck goes into two accounts with ING virtual: student loans and travel. It's very satisfying to be able to watch my progress towards a goal!

Natalie Strobach said...

I think what M said is great. It parallels what I was going for in my comment. I actually set up the prepaid cards through SmartyPig (online piggy bank). It used to have better rates than ING (don't know if it still does), but the user interface is a major win. It's freakin' adorable! Plus, you can make certain goals public if you want, so people will plop money in to a birthday fun and whatnot. Totally free. I've never saved so well in my life.

SusQHB said...

For us, the shoe is on the other foot. I'm the primary breadwinner. The downside of this is that when my husband wants to buy me something, I'm reluctant to let him spend too much money since A) we have a tight budget and B) I'm scared I'll feel as though I'm treating myself. In the end, I don't get many gifts. But, b"H my husband is amazing and does take a much, much larger role around the house then any other man I know. Personally, I'd take a load of laundry over a box of chocolates any day.

violarulz/ducksandbooks said...

I used to be the bread winner, then I got laid off.... Now, on a grad student budget, my husband is our main income earner. This isn't really a problem, once I learned that recreational shopping is no longer OK. Apparently my life used to involve a lot of retail therapy, now it involves coupon clipping and returning anything I find in my closet that still has a price tag on it. Ouch.

Anyway, back to treats and such. I think that it's the intention with which the gift is given that makes it special. I'll sometimes make a meal or a dish that he's requested or that I know he likes more than I do as a treat for him. For me he'll say something like "let's go on an adventure!" and suggest going to a museum or go for a walk or suggest that I make us a fancy picnic and we go on a date in the park. It doesn't sound like much, but we don't have much money and looking for a job off and on for 2 years is EXHAUSTING.

Doing something outside of our routine is really good treat for me. Yes, I appreciate when he helps with the laundry, dishes, etc. but what I really appreciate from him is keeping me from falling into a housewife rut of volunteer committees that are sometimes annoying and too much TV.

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