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'AITA for telling my wife she can't use gift cards on everyday things that we need?' UPDATED

'AITA for telling my wife she can't use gift cards on everyday things that we need?' UPDATED


"AITA for requesting that my birthday gift cards not be used for everyday purchases?"

Tiberius_Jim writes:

I recently celebrated my birthday, and a large portion of my gifts were, by request, Amazon gift cards. I added the balance of each card to our account and ordered an item, and had some funds left over.

Today I went to order a few more items only to discover that my gift card balance was $0.00. I was confused and surprised, and at first thought something had gone wrong. Maybe I ordered more than I meant to with my first purchase... and then I remembered my wife had placed an order for some items for our kids the day before.

I checked the order details and, sure enough, she used the remainder of my gift cards on those items. It was everyday stuff like mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.

I asked her if she realized she had used my gift cards for this purchase, and she said yes, and that “we might as well, better than paying out of pocket.” I expressed annoyance since that money was for my use and not to be used towards everyday items, to which she replied, “So just buy what you want and pay out of pocket, it’ll all come out even.”

I understand... if she hadn’t used the gift cards, we would have paid for those items out of pocket and we’ll end up spending the same amount anyway. Yet something still bothered me about it, mostly because she used the money without informing me, leading to my momentary confusion when I went to place an order. It also just seems somewhat rude to use someone’s birthday money for everyday things, especially without telling them first.

I wasn’t angry, just mildly annoyed, and I asked her, in the future, to not use my gift cards for her own orders. It’s simple enough to uncheck the box that says “use gift card balance,” and if, as she says, it doesn’t matter in the end, then just don’t use the gift cards.

Call it irrational or illogical, but when I buy something I want but don’t exactly need (some aesthetic upgrades for my PC in this case), I feel way more guilty about buying them when it’s coming out of pocket versus being covered by a gift card. Again, I realize that it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other, but mentally it just feels different, and now I feel less inclined to spend the money.

I’m the one in the family who always watches our budget and manages the money, so my frugal side is saying to let the gift card cover the stuff we need and skip the stuff I want, but at the same time, I know that’s not fair.

Meanwhile, my wife is now angry with me for “whining” and “making a big deal out of nothing” when I simply expressed some mild annoyance and asked that I be allowed to use my own money in the future.

She’s now talking about opening her own bank account and never ordering from Amazon again to avoid this, which wouldn’t solve anything because a separate bank account has nothing to do with Amazon orders (we use an Amazon credit card), and she obviously doesn’t need to stop ordering altogether... just simply don’t use someone else’s gift cards going forward. Am I really being unreasonable by making this request?

OP provided an update the next day.

We sat down and talked about this after the kids went to bed and cleared the air. She started off still really adversarial about it, but we eventually got down to the real issue and our disconnect in terms of how we believe gift cards like mine can and should be used.

First of all, she was irritated with me because she was having a tough day at work and claimed my bringing this up "ruined her lunch break" as it didn't allow her to relax. I'd only brought it up because her lunch breaks are our only chance to talk during the workday, and I had only meant to verify that she knew she had used my gift cards and nothing more.

I call her on her lunch break every day, and this topic just happened to come up in conversation. I didn't call specifically to talk about this. She was also irritated because she didn't understand why I would even be mildly annoyed because it just seemed logical to her to use the balance since we were placing the order now versus the money sitting there until I eventually ordered something.

She knew I had ordered something already but didn't know when I'd be using the rest (and neither did I, really), so she figured... why not just use it? She didn't consider it "my money" anymore once it was in the account and figured I would be fine with ordering whatever and putting it on the credit card.

This mostly stems from the fact that she uses her own gift cards, usually Target and Costco but sometimes Amazon, whether received from work or from family and friends for birthdays and Christmas, for things we need versus things for herself.

I wasn't aware of this, mostly because she knew if she told me, I would insist she treat herself rather than spend the money on necessities. She assumed I would be okay with using mine in the same manner.

In the end, we realized we simply have different thoughts about how gift cards should be used, and in the future she'll ask first before using any gift card balances, and I'll simply only input them into the account as I use them versus loading them all in at once.

Both of those changes together should prevent this from happening again. Best of all, we were able to end the evening on a happy note, no longer irritated at each other. She saw I had the item in the cart I had wanted and placed the order for me.

We also just set up her own Amazon account and linked it to our Prime Membership, so this will not be an issue again in the future. It will mainly help keep gifts a surprise when we order things for each other or have the kids pick things for us, but it will also avoid anyone using the other's gift card like this going forward.

Here are the top comments:

Unique-Assumption619 says:

NTA (Not the A^@%ole). That was super rude and selfish of her. You have every right to enjoy your birthday gift, whether it be a new toy or gift cards. It’s your present, not hers.

ImmmaLetUFinish says:

As a married man coming up on 35 years of marriage this is not worth the animosity. Pick your battles. This is not one I would bother with. You’re both right but it’s such a waste of energy. Good luck with your marriage.

Ok_Homework8692 says:

NAH (No A^#$oles Here). I can see any other gift cards thats specific to a store ( such as Eddie Bauer) but we have an Amazon credit card and account too. I put the balance of our birthday gifts on and then we just ordered what we wanted when we decided. In the meantime I did order household stuff but to me it all comes out of the same pot. It's not like the gift card got used and you got nothing.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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