I Have to Ask Permission to Shop
Problem: "I have to ask my husband's permission to go clothes shopping, and it makes me feel like a child."
Some husbands feel they're entitled to monitor every little purchase because they earn the money. "Whenever I walk in with a shopping bag, he says, 'Are you sure you need that?' " says Kelly Ridley, a mother of two in New Providence, New Jersey. "And he's always buying things for himself, which makes me resentful." In other cases, it is the at-home mom who feels obliged to consult her husband before making even mundane purchases. Doris Cheng, a mother in Short Hills, New Jersey, fell into this habit when she stopped working. "I wanted Ben's approval before I bought anything," she says. Whether it's your husband's need for control or your insecurity that's holding you back, it's time to be treated (and treat yourself) as an equal partner. Mellan recommends putting money into a household account that you both have access to. Make sure there's enough there to cover typical purchases for you and the family so you're not constantly begging for cash. Map out a spending plan together that sets aside discretionary funds for you both. "Approach this as a joint effort—you're giving each other permission to spend a certain amount of cash each month," says Jeff Opdyke, author of Love & Money: A Life Guide for Financial Success. Fairness is key: Your husband shouldn't be buying pricey golf gear while you're restricted to $20 a week. And don't keep your money frustration bottled up: Learn to talk about your concerns. A resolution may be far simpler than you think. "After we talked, I learned that Ben hated having to approve everything I bought," Cheng says. "Now I don't tell him what I'm planning to buy-unless it's something big."