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Wife calls husband a 'jerk' for suggesting they spend less on Christmas this year.

Wife calls husband a 'jerk' for suggesting they spend less on Christmas this year.


Is he a Grinch, or just being fiscally responsible (hiss user name is notagrinchaita, but you can't answer that question for yourself)?

Is he airing all his dirty laundry on Reddit and trying to make his wife look bad (and potentially self-owning), or is he struggling and genuinely needs advice? You make the call.

My wife (36F) and I (38M) have been married for 10 years and have 3 kids (8, 5, & 3). We both work full-time and live fairly comfortably. I work in sales and have had somewhat of a down year commission wise. At least compared to the last couple years.

Coupled with inflation this year and the cost of raising 3 growing kids, our budget has definitely tightened a bit. Nothing serious, we just aren't saving as much as we have been able to in years past. But also enough of a change to warrant a careful look into our spending, at least in my opinion.

My wife's family is large (she has 5 siblings and they all have kids). They also LOVE Xmas. They make a huge deal about it. One of their traditions is that each sibling and their family buy a gift for each and every one of the nieces and nephews. We are also expected to buy gifts for each of her siblings and their parents.

They at least say not to spend more than $20 on a gift, but that's still hundreds of dollars. And let's be honest, a $20 gift for a kid is going to either be ignored within a month, destroyed, or completely disregarded. In my opinion, I would rather draw names for 1-2 people and get them a gift that is actually thoughtful and worthwhile.

After buying school supplies for our older kids and both of them wanting to participate in fall activities this year, I looked at our budget and saw that we are actually spending more than we have the past few years. I had a talk with my wife about where we can curb some of our spending.

I suggested that maybe we have a talk with her family about their Xmas tradition of buying literally everyone a gift. In my eyes, that's the easiest way to cut out hundreds of dollars of spending in one swoop.

She took great offense to this and told me that her family has been doing this tradition for years before I came into the family and she's not going to be the one who tries to stop it. She said that we are just going to have to find ways to cut spending elsewhere.

She told me I was a jerk for even suggesting such a thing when I know how important Xmas is to her family. She suggested we just don't buy gifts for each other this year instead. But that's only a fraction of what we are spending on gifts.

When I asked her for other suggestions, she didn't have any because she likes our quality of life and thinks we are doing fine. I showed her the numbers and she still didn't think it is that big of a deal. I mean, yes, it's not like we are going to lose the house, but I don't think she is taking this as seriously as she should be, especially if I have another down year next year.

I suggested we cut way back on things like Starbucks (she gets it EVERY DAY) and she got pissed saying that I spend money on golfing. I golfed 3 times this year. She's mad because she thinks I am trying to cut spending on things that she cares more about. I just think her family Xmas tradition is the easiest way to cut back.

Here's what people had to say:

superfastmomma asked:

You have five sibling and a 20 dollar limit. Okay, cut them out and you saved $100. That's not much. And I can't see not getting her parents a single gift. That feels unreasonable.

So, how many nieces and nephews are we talking about here? And why, if money is the issue, would you rather go all out on 2 people and not just small gifts for several?

notagrinchaita responded:

Including our 3 kids, there's 19 nieces and nephews. Also, I wouldn't want to go 'all out' on gifts for 1-2 people. More like $25-50 gifts, which would still save a lot of money.

melissa3670 asks:

How much do you spend on your family? I would make a budget and say “We have x-amount to spend on Christmas.” And that’s that. NTA.

notagrinchaita OP responded:

Significantly less. But my family is smaller and we don't buy gifts for everyone. The kids still get more than enough presents and the adults each bring 1 gift and we play a game to distribute them.

Spectrum2081 says:


But both need to start caring more about each other. Your wife should be more concerned about the budget. Not because you are right and she is wrong but because it’s important to you. And you need to start caring about her Christmas traditions more. Not because she is right, but because it’s clearly super important to her.

Speaking of which, what about you? What sort of changes in your everyday lives can you give up to lower that budget? You mention golfing 3 times a year - is that equivalent to get daily Starbucks habit money-wise? (I am being earnest: some golf trips are local but some are serious resort-type getaways).

What other places can you guys snip back? You are not TA for not suggesting those first, but let’s be real. Not getting each other gifts and a few adjustments to your (plural, not just wife’s) lifestyles can make all the difference while keeping in-law’s Christmas traditions alone.

notagrinchaita OP responded:

I played 3 single rounds of golf at local courses. Total cost for all 3 rounds was less than $300. My wife spends nearly that much on Starbucks every single month.

MagsAndTelly says:

That’s a pretty huge change and I would strongly oppose it in my family. My kids would be going from a pile of gifts they look forward to to one gift that’s not much better? I would just say feel free to not contribute and we won’t get your family anything either.

We actually did that for my BIL. He seems pissy we don’t get his kids anything but they changed the traditions and we decided just to opt out in that case.

notagrinchaita snapped back:

'My kids would be going from a pile of gifts they look forward to to one gift that’s not much better?'

Maybe take a step back and think about what kind of lessons you are teaching your kids.

lady_wildcat asks:

I wonder what the discrepancy is and how their bills are split.

notagrinchaita OP replied:

I make about twice as much as she does. But all of our finances are shared so both of our paychecks go into one account and all of the bills are paid out of that account.

Primary-Criticism929 says:

You're using 'we' when you talk about cutting back but the only things you want to cut back are things impacting your wife and her lifestyle. You want her to cut back, you need to meet her halfway and sacrifice a few things yourself, otherwise, it's not fair. YTA.

notagrinchaita responded:

To be fair, she spends a lot more money than I do in general. I don't buy thing for myself.

thejackalreborn says:

Loads of really harsh comments in here on the OP. Sometimes you have a bad year and have to adjust spending, suggesting he gets a second job seems crazy. The tradition would also really annoy me, you're spending huge amounts of money to buy gifts no one will really like, and in return you get loads of gifts that you don't really want either

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