Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am a stay at home mom to a 2 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. Before having kids, I worked part-time. It’s been tough to live on one income, and unfortuantely my husband and I seem to have different ideas about spending. For example, he thinks it’s irresponsible for me to get my nails done at the salon, but I see it as a necessity. I need that quiet time once a week, and it’s not that expensive.
Who do you think is right?
Wouldn’t it be great if I were Suze Orman? Great for me, I mean! Because then I’d be a kazillionaire and take you out for a nice manicure! Wait, unless Suze Orman practices fiscal responsibility and doesn’t treat people she’d never met to manicures and other beauty treatments.
Personally, I totally sympathize with you. I love to get an occasional manicure and see it as Necessary Pampering. Unfortunately the Treasury has yet to recognize this budget item as worthy of deduction status. It’s not easy to look good sometimes. But I also sympathize with your husband. Because when looking for expenses to trim, his eye naturally jumps to all things shiny. Like your nails. And if it’s between food, housing, car, cable or your nails, I don’t have to tell you what’s going to be sacrificed in that pentogram.
The trick is to balance your need for some pampering and his need to live within your means. There are some ways that you could approach this.
1. Get your nails painted a less shiny, eye-catching color. There are gorgeous muted shades for fall, so perhaps it’ll be less likely to catch his eye? Of course you may prefer less Lucy-hiding-purchases-from-Ricky approaches below.
2. Discuss how much money there is in the budget for discretionary spending. If you know you have $X a month for non-necessary spending for the family, talk about splitting that amount among the family. And if your budget does not permit for discretionary spending, it’s time to re-evaluate it. Because a financial plan that does not allow for occasional spending is not sustainable.
3. Explain that the manicure is about more than nails, that it’s time for you to have for yourself. If you hire someone to watch the kids while you get the manicure, would it make sense for him to watch the kids on the weekend so that you can save on the costs that way?
Look, many of us are having money worries and financial conversations with our partners that we may want to avoid at all costs. Talking about money feels icky to us. But unless you can find a source of oil in your backyard (definitely worth looking! And if you find it, remember what a rock I’ve been in your life for the past few minutes), you got to have the tough-as-nails talk.