Pip: You seem to find it easier to spend money on your self than I do, do you think this is because you are the main breadwinner in your family?
Liza: Well I don’t drink (much) and I don’t smoke so it doesn’t feel too extravagant to have my hair done regularly and see a beautician from time to time.
Pip: So you still feel the need to justify spending money on yourself? Since I got married we have always had a shared bank account so I’ve never had my ‘own’ money to spend. Have you’ve always kept your money separate?
Liza: No, we have a shared bank account which is used mainly for the household running costs which we both pay into and then I try to have some money spare to spend as I wish, but this has only been the case since my children have become independent. When they were younger and I wasn’t working as I am now, there wasn’t any spare money and even now I feel guilty about spending on myself and if the children needed help with something I would sacrifice my personal money to help them out. But I would feel so out of control if I didn’t have my own account too and relying on someone else would make me insecure I think.
Pip: At the moment I am not earning so I don’t even feel like I can have my haircut when I need to, but even when I was earning everything went on the family and I still struggled with spending money on myself – is this because they were leaner years when the children were young that it has become a habit? Or is it because deep down we do not feel worthy of spending money on ourselves.
Liza: What if we were childless, would that be different? I am very envious of my childless friends who go on a shopping spree every payday without question.
Pip: When my husband needs a haircut he goes and gets one but would this be the case if his haircuts cost £50 instead of £15? There seem to be certain things that he feels guilty about buying, for example when he buys clothing he likes to point out that it was in the sale. But then again I have a single mother friend who has been chronically short of money for years and yet when she does buy things, she only buys the best.
As women we have certainly come a long way from the days when women were given an allowance by their husbands, but I know someone who despite being comfortably off and with her own income, still feels the need to hide her purchases from her other half because he monitors her expenditure.
Liza: As a mother it’s our natural instinct to put our needs at the bottom of the pile. So are we saying that we don’t value ourselves highly enough? Does it depend on the individual – what to some people is a luxury, for others is a necessity?
Pip: Is it as black and white as that or is it a combination of things – your financial set up for example?
Liza: Or the dynamics in your relationship?