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Husband puts wife on 'strict allowance' due to her spending, friends say he is a tyrant. AITA?

Husband puts wife on 'strict allowance' due to her spending, friends say he is a tyrant. AITA?


"AITA putting my wife on a strict allowance and making her ask me permission to buy expensive things?"


When we married, we decided not to fully combine our finances. We have a shared account in which i fund 3/4 and she fund 1/4. We use this account to pay the mortgage, utilities, grocery, etc.

We also have our separate accounts where we deposit the rest of our money. We’re responsible for our own investments and cars. Things worked well for a couple of years until recently when she came to me crying.

It turns out my wife is not good with her money and owes $150,000 spread over several credit cards and her car loan. Unless she wins the lottery, there’s no way she would be able to pay off her debt and I didn’t want her to mess up her credit by declaring bankruptcy.

I decided to loan her the money to pay off the debt on strict conditions. I will take over her finances including receiving her income. She will be placed on a strict allowance and budget.

She will have to ask permission to buy anything over $50 and have to go by my judgment. Once she pays me back the money, she can take control of her own finances.

She argued against the conditions until I pointed out I don’t have $150,000 in cash stuff in the couch. I will have to sell some assets including stocks that are currently performing well. If I loan her the money, it will cost me money. She finally agreed.

This weekend we were at a dinner party where after too many drinks, some of the women decided they wanted to take a girls trip a few weekends from now. My wife turned to ask me if she could go and I answered no, it’s not in her budget.

I’ll spare you the details of the argument that erupted but the TLDR version is that I’m a misogynist pig who keeps her on a leash. Some argued I should have bailed her out without conditions because there should be none in a marriage.

The hurtful part is that she didn’t once defend me. So, was I wrong to put those conditions on her?

Unsurprisingly, comments began pouring in, so the OP provided a swift update.


Hello all. I read some of your comments at lunch and continue to read them. When I got home from work, she started another round of arguments about the trip.

I pointed out she has no money at which point she pointed out that she hasn’t hit the limit on one of her credit card and that card should cover her for a weekend. So I drove back to my office and will spend the night here.

To answer some of your questions, our shared account pays for everything in the house. For example, a few weeks ago we bought a new cookware set from Costco and that money came from the shared account.

She works a full time job. Minus her contribution to the shared account, the rest of her income is hers to spend as she wishes. I cover things we do together like dinners, dates, and vacations.

The principal amount she owes is about $120,000 of which about half is her car loan. The rest consist of interests and late fees. I didn’t bring up her debt in front of our friends because I wanted to protect her reputation. I haven’t liquidated anything. I’m working with my advisor and broker to decide what to liquidate to take the least financial and tax hit. She doesn’t gamble.

I looked over her bills and it looked like she spent her money on dinners/drinks and shopping with her friends. We’ve been married for less than 5 years and do not have children We talked about starting a family in a couple of years.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. Your wife is seriously irresponsible and it seems that when you bailed her out she didn't learn a lesson. She and her friends put you on the spot like that hoping the pressure would force you to say yes.

A normal person would have realised the mess they had made and realised they can't spend frivolously with 150k debt hanging over their heads but this just shows your wife's attitude. Good luck getting your money back.


My concern is that since the 150k has been taken care of, she is going to go into debt once again but hide it better. What prevents her from doing this again? Her lack of remorse is troublesome.


Op better keep her SSN on hand Check her credit report every now and again. Credit cards are so easy to hide. Reminds me of the husband who wanted to buy the $175k boat for the family and he made plenty to do it. But his wife’s credit cards were out of control.

She agreed to not use them or tell him when she did so he could pay the small allowance amount. And show the statements. Ready to buy the boat, he wanted to double check her credit cards and she refused to show him for over 3 days. He had to back out of the boat, kids were devastated, all because she couldn’t be trusted with money or to even show him statements.

OP, be prepared for your wife to reneg on this deal (she kinda already did) and she’ll use it as a wedge in the marriage and blame her bitterness and resentment and the lack of marital interest all on this.

She may even do things like quit her job or accept less hours/income and then claim “hardship”, use a pregnancy and kids, a sudden increase in your salary, etc, to say you need to cover her expenses.

It’ll be so exhausting, the constant reminding of your sacrifice and arguing your stance, and she feels embolden by friends who are biased anyway. You’ll be rundown with mistrust, resentment, anger, and marital discord that you’ll finally give up.


NTA. But dude, this kind of stuff, for me, would be 'reconsidering this relationship' territory. She didn't just overspend on a holiday and had to borrow $1000 from you to pay for the hotel tab or whatever.

She must have overspent for YEARS to build up $150k in debt. She didn't tell you about her money troubles until it got so bad that she could no longer hide it. That doesn't bode well for the future, because she's essentially been lying to you for all these years.

The fact that to her (your?) friends she is making it out like you are a controlling husband and/or lets people believe that narrative is frankly disgusting. She is not taking any blame for herself and is ok for the people that you both love and care about to think you are a financial abuser...

Like, what?!?! She done f*cked up but can't acknowledge that to her social circle and is happy to throw you under the bus to keep her ego intact for just a little longer. The fact she thought it was even appropriate to consider a friends' trip when she is $150k in debt shows me she still doesn't get it.

Honestly, your arrangement to me sounds like it was still too lenient. I'd have made her get rid of the car (if you need a car on a payment plan, you can't afford the car, but maybe this is a USA thing I just don't get) and got her a 3k beater instead. She can drive a crusted up old car for as long as needed, or start memorising the local bus schedule.

I'd have insisted on controlling ALL OF HER MONEY until the entire $150k has come back to me. That means she gets NO free spending money at all. I don't know how much she makes but say that after taxes she has $5k income every month, and after paying her share of the bills (which is just 1/4 of the total), how much is left, maybe $3k?

So that is going to be 50 months of paying you back, right, which is just over 4 years (and this is ignoring interest/returns on investment you are missing out on). And that is with her living on 'rice and beans, beans and rice' and NO fun money.

Can she live like that for that long? If not, then maybe better to bail now and try to make her fix this and still end up with a divorce two years down the line when you can recuperate less of your money. Please support her in finding a therapist. She clearly needs help.

I knew a couple where the guy had ended up overspending on loans or overdraft or whatever and when the woman eventually found out, he had to come clean totally and adjust his lifestyle, which meant that when we all went to a music festival together, he had to sit that one out because he just couldn't afford it. That's how that works... Just as a tip from a frugal woman:

* She can absolutely survive without buying clothes for the next 5 years. Most women have so many clothes that unless there's a lot of weight loss/gain, we can just wear what we already have and be fine for YEARS (barring perhaps some simple new underwear and socks). She can consider selling the clothes and accessories with the highest resell value.

* She can still enjoy life with very little money especially as she must have used those $150k for consumer goods (perhaps some of it went to services/meals/travel). So she can enjoy those and/or decide to sell them.

* If she's bored because she doesn't have money for her normal past time (drinking, dining out, travel, cinema etc), she could consider volunteering somewhere. That costs nothing and she can help the local community. She might even learn a thing or two about managing your money/spending.

* Cooking your own meals can save you a lot of money. If she's used to ordering in a lot of food, why not stop that altogether and get a couple of secondhand cookbooks and learn to cook your own delicious meals? That will also take time, so a great boredom buster.


NTA. I think you are handling this absolutely correctly, taking her paycheck and all. I don’t give a damn if her credit card debt is only in her name. She is risking BOTH of your futures and retirement by being so irresponsible.

She needs to receive some counseling for possible shopping addiction. You are a good man for not jumping straight to the thought of divorce and seeing this as a team problem. You haven’t even mentioned if y’all have kids and how she is risking their futures too?!

So, if you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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