Mrs. Lion’s post yesterday really got me thinking. She proposed taking over our finances and putting me on an allowance. She also noted that she could punish me by temporarily reducing my allowance. When we exchanged email a bit later, she clarified that she wants to be more aware of the finances, not take them over. But this conversation exposed an issue that has bothered me for some time.
We maintain separate checking accounts. The main reason for doing this is to insulate each other from any action that might be taken against one of us. It may be paranoia, but we both felt it made sense. This plan has a serious drawback. If Mrs. Lion gets low on money she almost never lets me know, much less asks me to give her some from my account. She will go without or let the fuel in her truck run very low until her next pay check. When I was working, this made no sense. I may not have thousands in my checking account but I almost always had enough to share.
One of the barriers I hope that our FLR and enforced chastity will break down is this reluctance to tell me that she needs something, money included. There is a big difference in our earnings and I am much more likely to have money at any given moment. It’s money that is hers as well as mine. So, when she suggested that she might want to take over the finances, it might be a way to get her to use our combined pool of cash for her needs instead of just her paycheck. In fact, she doesn’t want to handle all the bills; she just wants to be more aware of what comes in and goes out. That’s fine. One of the bad things about separate accounts is that I can’t get Mrs. Lion a debit card on my account. They will only issue one to me. Even if she could have one, I know she is unwilling to use anything that she considers mine unless it is an extreme emergency. So even if we have a joint account, chances are good she wouldn’t spend a dime that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
Another suggestion she made was that I should have an allowance. That idea, at first blush, was extremely unappealing to me. I am used to spending money as I see fit. Since I have more earning power (when I work), I have just used money for things I want. That’s unfair. Why should I have disposable income and my lioness feel poor? This has bothered me as long as we have been together. She doesn’t ask for things for herself and works hard to have no expectations. I haven’t been able to help her change that. Also, docking my allowance for bad behavior is certainly an effective punishment.
It may be that she will always be this way. But my side of the equation has been much too unbalanced. If she decides to control my personal money, we might move toward a more equal approach to spending. I don’t want to give the impression that I just go out and buy anything I want. If the purchase is large, we talk it over and make a decision. I can’t remember when Mrs. Lion ever said no. That is something I hope FLR will change.
So, if I go on an allowance I can spend for anything I want, but is expected to cover some basic personal expenses, Mrs. Lion has direct financial control over my discretionary spending. If she requires me to get permission to buy anything that my allowance doesn’t cover, she will have to consider what I get. The one thing I can’t change is her unwillingness to take money from “my” account for her needs as well as feeling free to get things for herself. Perhaps we can agree that she will discuss anything she might want for herself. I can encourage her to go ahead and get it.
We need more financial communication. I need control over discretionary spending and Mrs. Lion needs to consider the money I earn as available to her at all times. I think it is interesting that in a mundane area like family expenses, FLR properly applied, can help our communication as well as our finances.