When my (32m) wife (32f) and I got together 7 years ago, we both made a similar amount of money. Our arrangement was to put most of our money into a joint account for all bills and shared expenses, and keep a small amount in a personal account for fun money.
Shortly after we were married four years ago, she had a mental health crisis and stopped working. While we had to cut significantly from our normal spending, I decided it was a good idea to keep allocating a nominal amount to our personal accounts. There were some difficult austerity decisions that had to be made, but I was happy to come through for her in a crisis.
Over the next few years while my wife recovered but did not return to work. My career went well and I now make a bit more than we used to jointly. I fund our personal accounts proportionally. But, with hers at 2x mine, in hopes that it will get her out of the house during the work week.
We were both very happy when we found out she was pregnant last year, and I have (mostly) come to terms with the reality that our marriage will unexpectedly have brutally traditional gender roles for at least decades.
Since the baby was born, I have noticed that she is spending significantly more from the joint account on stuff that usually comes from our personal accounts - Starbucks, Sephora, Alamo, creator subscriptions, etc. Then last week she got an expensive tattoo, using her personal account, and even bragged about how she saved up for it.
I understand that, post-baby, a tattoo may feel like a way of reclaiming her body a bit, but this was a very extravagant one. While she has good taste and I like her tattoos, I'm feeling like she is embezzling from the joint account to pay for luxuries while I am still largely living with our austerity budget.
The money isn't the difference between having or skipping groceries/ meds/ mortgage/ etc, but it is the difference between me getting double protein on my Chipotle, or taking an Uber to work when it snows vs riding the bike.
I feel like the majority of my personal account pays for her birthday/ Christmas/ Valentine's Day/ anniversary presents, and that maybe she has gotten a little too comfortable being a daily Starbucks mom.
So, am I just salty b!+ch who resents my role in the household? Am I taking it out on her unfairly? Or is this worth bringing up? We have a strong relationship and are enjoying being new parents, but since she stopped working money has always been an extremely uncomfortable topic.
Her Starbucks should not be coming from the joint account. NTA to sit her down and review finances.
NTA. She is abusing your financial agreement! I suggest you have a long discussion and you adjust the fun money to be equal again since it's creating issues in your relationship.
NTA. You already give her twice of what you put for personal expenses. She’s misusing the joint account. You have the right to discuss this issue with her. If you have a strong relationship then having open communication should not be a problem. Much better than keeping it bottled up and building resentment.
I just think you need to keep the focus on the right things. Her "saving up" and getting a tattoo is not a/the problem. Her using the joint account for personal expenses is, and that should be the focus of the conversation. Don't get distracted by judging what she spends her personal money on.
However, are you also using the joint account for personal expenses? You mentioned Chipotle... Isn't that a personal expense? If you are both using the joint account in this way, you need to pull back and renegotiate what the actual terms are, and hold each other to the same standards. NAH yet.
Also, postpartum acting out / depression is worth considering. Her hormones may be out of whack. Please bring this up with her OB. Not a doctor, but have been around long enough to know that hormones mess with your thinking.
NTA. If you use "personal account" allotment, she should be spending from hers alone. Not from the joint account for fun. Also, I think it's worth mentioning that your arrangement and the allocation of finances was based on a 2-person household.
You're now a 3-person household. That would seem like the "personal fun" items would take a hit in order to go towards the baby items, and the "build for the baby's future" fund. Maybe the conversation should be geared towards now not being the time to be more extravagant than before, because now there is another tiny human who could have a personal fund of their own to be funded to pay for future needs.
Plus, the tiny human uses more of the joint household budget. (Although also noticed that you mentioned her spending prevents you from getting double protein on your chipotle...both personal accounts should take a hit in favor of the baby. Parenting and all.)
NTA. She either does not realize, or is being financially abusive. Sit with her, discuss and see where it goes. Joint accounts, IME, are for bills and emergencies and other obligations. Spending on Knick knacks, coffee and other enjoyment should be from a personal account. One which you already fund.