The Carr Report: What’s a wife to do?

She’s married with children. Household income is just shy of $100,000. She earns $27,000 p/y (per year). He earns $70,000 p/y.  She has her set of bills she’s responsible for. He has his share of bills he’s responsible for.

She nets approximately $1,600 per month. Her expenses are as follows:  Car: $269, Groceries and Household Essentials: $800, Credit Card: $47, Insurance: $110. In addition to these expenses, she’s also responsible for paying for children’s clothing and children’s sporting activities, gas, cat food, cat litter and baby formula, diapers, and wipes.

He covers the mortgage, utilities, a car payment, and insurance.

Here’s the problem, she simply doesn’t make enough to cover her expenses, nor does she have extra money to save. Food alone is half her freaking paycheck.

She’s tired of being broke. When she asks her husband for money, he throws a fit. What’s a wife and mom to do?

-Facebook Question


Damon says:  Men are to lead, protect, and provide. She cries out for help. He throws a temper tantrum. Sounds like an immature boyfriend to me, not a husband. He’s not leading nor is he protecting. Based on the fact she’s struggling to make ends meet and he does nothing to help, he’s not providing.

She will lose respect for him. She will do less of the things he expects her to do. Even now when she does those things, her heart isn’t in it. Her effort is lackluster.

There are two unwritten rules when it comes to money management within a married household:

  1. Women should receive a larger portion of disposable income. Men want their women to look good. Maintenance and upkeep aren’t free.
  2. Women should drive the most reliable car in the household. You’d hate for your woman to be out here in a hooptie stuck on the side of the road.

Some modern men may consider men who ascribe to those rules as being a “simp.” Respectfully, I disagree. That’s what grown men in thriving marriages do!!

They need to seek out a marriage counselor and a money coach. My guess is he’ll be reluctant to pursue either.

He probably doesn’t fully understand the numbers. He’s thinking he’s covering the major bills. She should be able to pay for what she’s paying. But he hasn’t done the math. I’d encourage her to write down her income (net pay) and write down her expenses. Show him in writing as opposed to merely talking to him about it. Have him go to the grocery store with her. Let him see firsthand what’s being bought and how much food and household essentials cost. I guarantee he will be surprised. She should ask him to write down his income and expenses and show them to her. She too will be surprised.

My wife and I do this exercise at least once every other year. We oftentimes are both surprised at the total amount of expenses that we’re individually responsible for. Certain expenses increase over time.  We make adjustments and move forward accordingly.

I think that every adult within the relationship should be responsible to pay a portion of the bills. I also think that every adult needs autonomy over a portion of the money. You’d be surprised to know how many households rely on one person to be responsible for paying all the bills. If/when that person becomes sick or dies, the other spouse has no clue how to manage money and handle the bill-paying process. You’d be surprised to know how many people feel less than when they have to constantly ask their spouse for money because they have no autonomy over their money. They feel like a child asking for an allowance.

If presenting facts to him in black and white as well as suggesting seeking a marriage counselor and money coach doesn’t work, it’s time to work and focus on you and form an exit strategy. As the song goes, “Quiet as it’s kept, I can do bad by myself. I don’t need no help to starve to death.”

As a married couple, the Census Bureau, The IRS and the Bible consider you to be one economic unit! Married people should act accordingly.


Damon, I rarely disagree with you fam but I have to disagree on just a couple points. Based on the information we have here, he doesn’t sound immature. It sounds to me like he’s the more financially disciplined spouse. We don’t know exactly how much his other bills and other household expenses are. This may be the reason why he complains. It also appears that she is the less responsible of the two which is why they have problems.



Damon says: In the financial planning world, we tend to extrapolate. I look at the known factors and can reasonably come to a logical conclusion.

The fact of the matter is she doesn’t make a lot of money. His income is 70 percent of the total household income. If we’re being fair, he should be paying 70 percent of household expenses across the board.

How can a man who’s the head of household and breadwinner justify his wife being solely responsible for children’s clothing and children’s activities? How can a husband react with a temper tantrum when his wife is seeking help from her husband?

Let’s look at her expenses. We’re talking about food, household products, clothing, diapers, baby formula and children’s activities.  These are basic necessities, not luxury items. Even the minimum payment on her credit card suggests a balance on it of no more than $1,000. She’s not a spendthrift. She’s not selfish. Her money is spent primarily on household necessities and kids.

Where is the hair/personal care in her budget? Where is the weekend out with the girls in her budget? It doesn’t exist because she’s carrying a burden of expenses she cannot realistically afford.

Her argument regarding daycare expenses is real. Daycare bills can get up in the $2,000 per month range when you have multiple children and one being an infant.

Sad to say but purely looking at the numbers and her current income, she’s better off financially divorcing him, getting Section 8, childcare help, Medicaid and child support.

He’s the man, the head of the household, the leader of the household, it’s incumbent upon him to sit down with his wife, look at the numbers and formulate a plan that benefits the household as a whole. Sure, there’s two sides to the story. All we know is hers and the numbers she presented.

From a budget sculpting perspective food should be no more than 15 percent of your net pay. Her food cost is 50 percent of her net pay. That alone tells me this woman is overwhelmed and under-appreciated.

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached 412-216-1013 or visit his website at



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