Friday, November 22, 2013

Husband Seeks Control Over His Paycheck, Wife Wonders Why

Dear Tazi:

I have a problem that I am NOT comfortable talking about with anyone! I am what you'd call a "man's man", the kind of guy who others see as macho and tough, the kind of man who wears the pants at home and is a leader at work, the kind of guy who doesn't take nuthin' from nobody. While this is true for the most part, it is not completely true. My wife handles our finances and has me on a weekly "allowance" of spending money.

"Florence" likes to budget every dime, and she is an excellent bookkeeper and a wonderful wife, so I am not complaining about's just that sometimes I feel like a man at work and a little kid at home. The guys all think I am kind of a big deal because I always pay cash money for everything - but the truth is that you will never see me charge anything to a debit card because I don't carry one; Florence won't let me. I am given $50/week spending money to spend on whatever I want - beer, coffee, magazines, whatever...gas money for my truck does not come out of this; this money is just for me. It is plenty - I am not complaining about the amount, just that I feel like a child when my wife gives me my "allowance" each payday.

I work hard and would like to maintain some semblance of dignity and I think keeping the money I earn - and not calling it my allowance - would make a difference. Rather than handing over my check to my wife, I would like to go to the bank and cash it, grab my spending money out of that, and then deposit the remained and give my wife the receipt to balance the books. When I brought up this matter to Florence she just gave me a funny look and told me I was making a big deal out of nothing, but I don't feel that this is nothing. I don't even want to think of the ribbing I would take from the guys if they heard about my "allowance". Should I just let it go? Or am I being controlled by my wife?

Macho (Or Not So?) Man

Dear Macho (Or Not So?) Man:

I can completely understand why you feel emasculated by your wife's insistence that you bring her your weekly paycheck, un-cashed, for her to deposit and in return receive "allowance money". You are not a twelve year old with a paper route; you are an adult man and should be respected as one. Could the two of you at least agree to call your weekly allotment your "spending money" or "fun money" or even "walking around money"? Choose a term that works for you, and ask Florence to use it.

Your wife's desire to receive your check and cash it herself makes me wonder if there is another side to the story that you are not telling me. Do you have a history of hiding money from her? Spending your check at the bar or the casino before it makes its way home? Is your wife a homemaker who has the time to go to the bank during the day thus saving you the trip on the way home from work? Or is she just an absolute control freak?

Or is she from Japan, where this practice is quite common?

If your company offers direct deposit, this may be an option for you; this way, neither you or Florence would have the responsibility of depositing your weekly paycheck. Instead, it is directly deposited into the account - or accounts - of your choosing. If you would like to start carrying a debit card (which can be great for emergencies, but requires an extra book to balance) you could set up a "spending money account"; each week, your $50 could be direct deposited into this account with the balance deposited into your household account. Florence could have a spending account of her own, too, if that is what you wish. This way, you will be able to withdraw your own spending money each week; bank that which you do not spend for a "treat" purchase, like tickets to a sporting event or a new TV; and in the end feel like you have control over your own personal finances. So long as you are willing to balance your own personal spending money account, I do not see why your wife would object to your having it.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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