How to Revolt Against Spouse’s Money Rules

Dear Mary,
My husband and I don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to spending. Basically, he feels that I should run every purchase I make by him, no matter how big or small. It’s gotten so bad that he now highlights the “questionable” purchases on our Visa bill and leaves it for me to explain. I really can’t stand being treated like a child. I work hard, and I’m not a spendthrift at all. In fact, my friends marvel at what a great bargain shopper I am!


I have become resentful of him, and it’s starting to creep into other areas of our marriage. What can I do to get him to see how unreasonable he’s being? Doreen, Maine

Dear Doreen,
When one spouse is in charge of the money in a marriage it creates imbalance and opens the door to resentment and the conflicts that both of you are experiencing. The way to resolve this problem is for you to work together as financial partners.

Tell him you want to negotiate an allowance system where each of you receives a set amount of money each month that you can do with as you please, no questions asked. This will give both of you the right balance of security and freedom. I’m sure he will warm up to this idea in no time, and his rules and heavy hand will melt away as “yours” and “mine” turns into “ours.”

Dear Mary,
I’ve been going to the same stylist for over five years. Usually, a haircut costs me about $45. About two weeks ago, I discovered that she had raised her prices to $60 for a haircut. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this out until after she’d already cut my hair and I was at the front desk with my credit card in hand.

I really feel that I should have been informed of the price change before she started working on my hair, but I feel a little uncomfortable saying something. I’ve become kind of friendly with this woman, and she really is a great stylist. Am I wrong to keep this to myself? Also, I’m just wondering if there are any laws about notifying customers of a price increase. Robin, Arizona

Dear Robin,
I doubt that a 30-percent price hike simply slipped her mind. It was rude of her to put you into such an awkward position. The right thing would have been for her to post a notice of the price increase at least a month in advance. Her actions prove she doesn’t value your friendship or your business, and you have every right to be upset.

Unless you have a written contract with her, however, you have no legal recourse. You do, however, have recourse as a consumer, and that’s to take your business elsewhere. I’m sure you’ll find another hairdresser that you like as well—one that has business ethics, too.

Do you have a question for Mary? Ask in the comments section below.

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11 replies
  1. Bruce from TN
    Bruce from TN says:

    Another option: His money, her money, household money. Suze Orman recommends this and that’s how our money is organized. No money fights ever.

  2. Tricia
    Tricia says:

    Re: the Haircut lady : Someone financially wiser than the hairdresser may well have suggested to her that no increase in her price over 5 years needs to change. Most business folks make their needed increases every year so as to
    avoid shocking their customers, as you have been shocked. Bottom line: everything goes up ( has gone up! ) and this increase when seen over a 5 year period is not unreasonable. Obviously, the communication of the increase was
    clumsy, and could really have blindsided a client at the cash till.
    Nevertheless, having been married to a small business person for 25+ years, I feel a sympathy for the hairdresser as I know full well how individuals in business by themselves often struggle to figure out a reasonable price structure and communicate that carefully to their clients. It can be a territory fraught with pitfalls, and sometimes bad feelings on both sides.
    Has your hairdresser provided you with a valuable service over these several years? If so, look around at the price of similar salon services and think about
    what you may gain, or lose, by moving your business.

  3. witsend
    witsend says:

    Years ago, when money was very tight, I started getting resentful about feeling that I had to “justify” so simple a purchase as a pack of gum or an ice cream cone. My husband did not do the demanding – I did. I knew I had no money to spare! Finally, I decided to give myself an allowance of $5 a week – it was mine to spend with no explanation to myself. It worked wonders – I stopped feeling resentful about having so little money. And guess what? I seldom spent that $5. My attitude changed and fortunately, so did our household income.

  4. Marsha
    Marsha says:

    The hairdresser has not raised her rates in 5 years for this woman. Would this woman feel better if the hairdresser raised her rates 6% per year? She has saved far more this way. Her hairdresser does not need to announce or justify her rates. Expecting the same rate year after year is absurd.

  5. ShirlSumm
    ShirlSumm says:

    Your putting a hair cut on a credit card? You have bigger problems than just a price increase. She can raise her prices whenever and to whatever she wants to. Perhaps you should find a new hairdresser, i.e. a Supercuts or a Walmart.

    • Tricia Kendell
      Tricia Kendell says:

      It’s rude to assume that because she is using a credit card that she has problems. You don’t know her whole story, just this tiny snippet, so don’t judge her.

  6. ShirlSumm
    ShirlSumm says:

    Remember those old fashioned vows “for richer or poorer.” When you get married you co-mingle everything including money. I like the idea of both people getting an allowance to spend however they want. But for the most part, you both should be discussing how every penny is spent or you won’t have any when it’s time to retire.!

  7. KB
    KB says:

    Re: haircuts- would you work at a job that didn’t give you a raise for 5 years? The only way I can make more money is to raise my prices.

    • jeri
      jeri says:

      At my job we are required to remind our clients what our prices are before each appointment so they change their mind if they want I have not had a raise in five years and I doubt I will ever get one . You can only charge so much for nails.

  8. marlxoxo
    marlxoxo says:

    RE:Hairdresser, We all know that finding a hairdresser that you like and stay with for 5 years is a gold mine. I agree that she can raise her prices whenever she wants, but when you have clients that have been that loyal to you for so long it’s not only professional, but just common courtesy to let them know of an increase like that, It’s not a buck or two, that was $15.00!!!! I myself would have been stunned at the cash out too. (And if Robin pays with a credit card, that’s her business.) It’s so hard to find a stylist that does just what you want, so maybe the increase isn’t a big deal, the way it was handled was. She can mention it nicely on the next visit, clear the air, and cut, curl, n’blow dry!!!!

  9. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    Way back when – over 40 years ago – I shared Doreen’s problem, namely a husband who was outrageously controlling when it came to our spending; he even checked the grocery check-out slip item by item, questioning why I bought this brand and why I bought this item and why didn’t I get such and such. Needless to say it made me crazy. It went on for about 5 years, and when I finally revolted, I was much more heavy-handed than your suggestion. After one such grilling, I said “Fine, from this moment on, you will do the grocery shopping.” He ignored me. Well, two weeks later, on payday, he asked when I was going grocery shopping. I repeated that this was now his responsibility, to which he replied “Oh, c’mon . . . ” A couple of days later, he went into the fridge and said “We’re out of milk.” When I didn’t respond, he asked “Why are we out of milk?” I replied, “I guess you didn’t get any”. I then left the room. A while later, without a word, he headed out and returned with a quart of milk. A couple of days later, it was “We have no bread!” . . . and then again “We’re out of milk!” and . . . well you get the gist. He finally asked if I would go shopping with him. Nope – it’s your job. And he finally went out and bought a cart-load of groceries. Of course, he didn’t make a list, and after a few days, it was same old same old. “Why are we having KD again??” . . . and so on. It took a couple of months for him to get the message, and finally he sat me down, apologized for his former behaviour, and asked if I would take over the grocery shopping again. I said “No, I won’t. Either we will do it together, or you will continue to do it yourself.” He agreed, learned to help with the grocery list, learned to think ahead in terms of meals, and every two weeks, we went to the supermarket together and came home with no arguments. Interestingly, it was one humdrum activity that we eventually LOVED doing together for the rest of his life. Like I said – heavy handed, but it worked.


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