I don't know if my pride/ego is bruised, if I'm misdirecting my frustrations, or if I'm just pathetic so I'm turning to the opinions of random internet strangers. Today my wife did the biweekly grocery store run. She likes going alone and before she left I offered to make her a jug of ice water because it’s hot and I knew she was going to get thirsty.
Her “jug” is a $50 Stanley cup. Even though it was bought months ago it was out of our budget but she begged for it and swore she would use it all the time. About 45 minutes later she got back and had two huge bottles of Evian water.
We are on a very strict budget. We do not get food stamps because I make “too much”. She had $35 to get what we needed and I know Evian is expensive. I asked her why she bought water when I offered to make her water before she left. I guess you can compare it to “We have McDonalds at home”.
She tells me they were on sale 2 for $7 and she just wanted it. That is not a freaking sale. I immediately got frustrated because we don’t have money for “wants”. Hell we don’t have money for “needs”!
That $7 could have bought some protein to add to our meals. I already skip as many meals as I can get away with so there is enough for her and the kids. We have been surviving on beans, rice, spam, eggs, and frozen veggies. I would do anything for some chicken right now.
That $7 could have bought a few small toys for our kids' birthday next week. Two of them have birthdays and I had to explain to them we can’t celebrate this year because I had to replace our a/c system. And before someone says I shouldn’t have kids if I’m poor, it’s too for that.
My work boots are falling apart. I walk to work every single day and carpool back home to save on gas and we don’t have valid car insurance because I had to choose between that or electricity.
I hate that I’m a man who gets p*ssed off over $7 water. I'm embarrassed. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I don’t see how anything is going to get better but my wife needed her Evian. I told her she needs to take her cup of water every time she leaves the house or sell that stupid cup and I instantly got sick to my stomach at how controlling and petty that is. I’m the a**hole, right?
Just to add we have filtered water at home which is what I meant when I said I'd make her a water before she left.
I know our vows are for richer or poorer but hear me out. Almost a month ago, I posted about how my wife did the biweekly grocery store run. About 45 minutes later, she got back and had two huge bottles of Evian water. We are on a very strict budget. We do not get food stamps because I make “too much."
I was just pouring my heart out to my kids, "If I had extra $ I'd get you guys something, you know that". And then here comes my wife with expensive water and now they think it's a load of crap. Our kids only got one pair of new school shoes this year and no clothes, it bothered me more than it did them.
When I asked why she doesn’t care that our kids are going without her response is “It’s only one birthday they are missing”, “field trips aren’t that big of a deal”, “at least they have something to wear to school."
Very nonchalant “it is what it is” attitude. She had a rough childhood where she never got celebrated, got gifts, never had new school clothes, ect so it’s not a big deal to her. But it is to them.
I walk to work to save on gas, I pick up overtime when it’s available, and I’m at the point where there aren't enough hours in the day for just me to make enough money to get us to break even. I told her she needed to find some part time work.
She told me she would need a new interview outfit and to get her haircut. I said we don’t have money for that. She then started talking about all the things she would be buying/doing for herself once she starts working.
I told her the money would be going towards getting caught up on bills, getting the kids what they need, and to maybe start saving a few bucks. She said it would be HER money which caught me off guard because my paycheck isn’t considered MINE nor have I ever insinuated that it is.
Daycare has been the reason why she is a SAHM. It was too expensive. I’ve spent the last week and a half calling around to find daycare since my other kids are back in school and I finally found an opening. Today I told her that our kid can start next week and that she should have no trouble getting a job by then. Hell, even a serving job would work.
All of a sudden, I’m controlling and she says she doesn’t work well under pressure. I love my wife but I love my kids more. She is barely taking care of the kids and at this point she is just another mouth I can’t feed. Am I wrong if I kick her out or leave?
NTA, have a sit down talk about money and finances and explain to her why buying $7 water is ridiculous even if you have the budget for it especially when you have a $50 cup sitting at home.
NTA. Take yourself to a food bank. Often. They are for people like you. Does your wife have a job? If not, she can work somewhere weekends and evenings while you take care of kids. Do you qualify for any type of subsidized housing? She may be able to get WIC if any of the children are under 6. The guidelines are much more lenient than you might think. ETA WIC ends at age 5, sorry.
I’ve noted sometimes when people are broke they splurge on stuff like this cause they’re so tired of being poor. But you’re cutting back on eating so I’d tell her that and return the water for food. Tell her you’ll do the shopping as you have to eat to be able to work.
I'm so sorry to read this. You sound like a really responsible, compassionate guy. You are not p*ssed over $7 water. You are p*ssed at the betrayal and the wasting of 20% of your grocery budget. You are sad about disappointing your kids. You are frustrated that you went against your better judgement to buy an expensive cup for your wife that she doesn't want to use.
If we're all honest here, you are likely a little afraid that your wife isn't as committed as you are to your budget and that leads to fear about supporting your family. This requires a serious conversation—which is causing some anxiety on top of all the rest. But you are not upset about water. And you are NTA.
I agree with others who say you need to have a serious conversation about the budget. Point out that she spent a fifth(!) of the grocery money on water. This does seem like her share of the groceries this week. Is she planning to eat air? Lay out how you are going without food so she and the kids can have extra. Point out how you walk to work so you aren't spending that money.
I'd suggest you do the shopping, but I don't think you have the energy for that. Maybe you can write up a list together that is followed 100%. Look up what's on sale for a little variety, but stick to the list. And definitely use the food bank.
You and your kids need the calories and nutrition. ps: Stop all discretionary spending. Figure out what you are spending money on (gifts to appease your wife?) and spend that money on groceries. If you can't afford birthday gifts for your kids, nobody else should be getting anything, either.
I have had a lot of people ask for an update on my first post so here it is. I just want to clear a few things up first. We were not poor when we got married and we weren’t poor when any of my four kids were born. Things didn’t go down hill financially until after covid, a hospitalization, and our central a/c went out.
Plus, the cost of living and inflation, how many of you are one disaster away from crumbling? I’m making the most money I’ve ever made yet I’m struggling. To those who said I need a better job, I have the best one I qualify for. There are only 24 hours in a day, I can not get a second job unless I want to give up sleeping.
One of my kids already asked me if I still live with them because I’m gone by the time they wake up and they are asleep when I get home. We need more income and my wife needs to work because we have no money for extras and yes that includes birthdays and emergencies. I can not “step up and be a better man” when there are no more steps.
If you don’t understand that then scroll on. I also want to say I am not divorcing her over spending $7. It wasn’t about the money. It was the fact that she chose her needs over our childrens and I’d hope any parent in that position would second guess being with their partner. My kids come first.
Now I sat her down and laid out our budget, explained how just me working isn’t going to cut it because “times are tough” and are only getting tougher. We don’t get food stamps. We don’t get government help. I told her if she wants to keep eating with a roof over her head but NOT work then she needs to leave and apply for benefits as a single mother.
Our fridge is empty, we have four mouths to feed and she won’t even go to a food pantry. She broke down crying saying food pantries make her feel like she is a kid again in foster care begging for scraps. She said she didn’t stress about the field trips or birthdays because there was nothing she could do and it would be a learning moment for them.
She said she wants to start working but doesn’t have anything that fits her anymore because she hasn’t worked in over 9 years. She has no self confidence because of the weight she has gained. She said her anxiety is holding her back.
I sympathize with her but also we can’t wait around until we get extra money before she starts working. Every penny of my checks are spoken for before it even hits my account. We can’t wait.
She said she will try to look for jobs that she can do from home that don’t require her to “look pretty”. She has ads on craigslist to clean houses/cars which would provide immediate income even if it’s $50-$100.
I’m embarrassed that that amount of money would be life changing. I also put up ads for mechanical work I can do on my day off. I do love my wife but she has to actively want the best for our kids and help provide for them.
As for daycare I found a private sitter for my youngest who is working with me on payment and will continue to until I am on my feet. It's a coworkers wife. This will open up my wife's entire day to look for employment and start working.
My suggestion here, she should look into your local school district. I'm a kitchen lead for an elementary school, it requires no dressy clothes or education. We're off the same days the kids are, and we get government employee benefits. No one cares how a lunch lady looks, we just feed the kiddos. Good luck!
Don’t ever be embarrassed that the amount of money isn’t trivial. She needs to put her big girl panties on and get a damned job. If it’s “would you like fries with that” and she can start tomorrow…. Gimme the mic and watch me ask if they need fries with that, if it were me….
Keep fighting the good fight. Hard working folks find the breaks come their way. Some call it luck, and maybe some of it is, but it’s amazing how often folks busting their ass day in and day out get lucky. May your luck come soon!
That was important that you explained to her the situation and she was able to explain back to you and that you understood what held her back. It shows that there is good communication among the two of you.
I understand it is difficult to be supportive to a partner when you come home tired from working so hard the entire day, just as it is difficult for her to spent her whole day primarily with the kids and limited adult interaction. It only adds additional strain on both partners.
But you need to support her so she can improve ehr self esteem. Many women are overweight but it does not mean they can not get a good job, or that they have to be hidden at home.
Seriously, whatever you can bring in to your home is a contribution and helps with something, even 50 dollars for cleaning a car. I’m on disability for an annoying as hell blood disease, and that’s mostly for the health insurance (however I would not be able to work a full time job).
So when my youngest kid hit preschool I found a job for 12 hours a week that I could do to help bring in money. And it does pay a small bill or two, or covers one of our kids birthday parties, some groceries, etc. It’s not glamorous or a bunch of money, but it helps, and I have no shame in that because I know I’m doing what’s in my ability to contribute.