Another big deal

by singlemomseeking on October 29, 2009

That Lucky Guy has been spending more time at our home lately.

Fortunately, my sweet girl seems to like him a lot. She’s also very straightforward about when she’d like some space with her mother alone (i.e., “I want some Mama time today, okay?”)

At the moment, I’m sitting here after picking up M up from school, just the two of us. I’ve made some Earl Grey tea and pre-heated the oven. The tomatoes for tonight’s pasta are waiting to be washed — yes, next to the dull pencils that need to be sharpened.

Tomatoes.don3rdse

On the way out of school, I remembered to pick up the Organic Veggie Box. So, here’s the big deal: LG and I are sharing a veggie box from a local farm.

For the past few years, I’ve been wanting to join this local farm’s Veggie Box Delivery Program through M’s school. Every week, this farm delivers just-picked fruit and veggies in a big box. This week? Kale, green beans, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, melon. The farm, however, doesn’t offer any single parent family specials — and that entire weekly harvest would have been too much food for our mother-daughter duo. I hate the thought of throwing away food.

Since LG and I make dinner together at least a couple of times a week, I asked him if he wanted to “split” the box. He was game. He pointed out that I buy most of the groceries for our meals, so he wanted to cover the weekly cost of the Veggie Box. (Thank you!)

So, here’s what I’m wondering: how do you split the expenses when you’re dating someone?

I used to be the kind of woman who went hush-hush went it come to money-talk. That all changed after becoming a single mom. Now, I talk about finances like I talk about the weather.

I’m sure you have thoughts on this one. After all, I recall how opinionated most of you are when I asked, “Who pays for the first date?” So, what happens when you get to this point and you’re buying weekly groceries together?

Do you sit down with the receipts — say, from the weekly Veggie Box and the Trader Jo’s receipts — and do the math together?

Do you include restaurant dinners in that equation, too?

At the moment, it’s casual with us. We’re chatting about money out of respect, as we do our best to take turns when it comes to covering food costs. But at some point, however, isn’t there a time and place to have a conversation about all of this?

Photo from Flickr — thanks to Don3rdSE

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren October 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I love that you said you talk about finances like you do the weather – so funny and so true for me too! It probably makes my married friends uncomfortable. I should scale that back a little.

But my bf and I talk about money as well. We don’t live together but we do a lot of stuff together and while the scale probably tilts a little to his side, we try to keep it 50/50. (He and I both split with our exes around the same time, and less than a year before we met. We started out just talking on the phone about our divorce tribulations. I suppose this might be why we jumped into money talk so early on.) I find it easiest to go with the flow. Rather than splitting things, the “you paid last time” approach seems to work for us.
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..From the Other Side – #1. The Divorce Attorney =-.

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Phil October 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Maybe it’s only easy for me to say because I have a decent steady income and I don’t have any debt outside of a mortgage – but it’s just money. It isn’t important.

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Bonnie October 29, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I was very concerned about this issue when I was dating Guns. He is a very high paid attorney and I work in non-profit, plus he is old fashioned so he always insisted on paying. I think it is great your man is covering the veggies box and taking you out. He enjoys being in your home and that is HUGE. Guys never tell us, but they love being in a women’s home when they are in love. Guns always told me he loved eating with us because he was very lonely at dinnertime otherwise. I used to pick up drinks or concert tickets for us if he bought dinner. He always appreciated this.

You could also ask him to start picking up some groceries for dinner ont he way over that night. Start putting him to work if you see him becoming an eventual member of your home. This well help M get adjusted to his constant presence too.

If things are working out towards merging households in a more concrete way then you can start talking about how you both manage money, debt, etc. This is a much more important conversation to have than going over grocery receipts. Trust me that these issues become of grave importance. Guns and I had to discuss issues around saving for college for three girls, vacations, etc….even groceries!

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singlemomseeking October 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Yes, Bonnie, I also wanted to go into the fact that LG makes more money than I do (he works in Bio Tech)… so that’s another topic altogether.

He, too, seems to take pride in paying. My own pride got in the way at first, and now I’m learning how to accept and say “thank you.”

I’d love to hear about this, too, from all of you: what if one of you makes more money that your boy/girlfriend? Or, you’re debt-free and he/she is paying back for that college tuition. I’m curious!

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Katherine SOLOdotmom October 30, 2009 at 6:22 am

This is a great topic for conversation. I have been dating Mr. M. for about nine months now and we have many meals together. Since the kids and I do eat at his house many times on the weekends and he eats with us during the week it seems to balance out…

The times we go shopping for food together we don’t really sit down and do the math per se’ but sometimes I pay – sometimes he pays. I try not to keep count. It makes it less stressful that way. He makes slightly more than I do, but pays a great deal in child support… so I try to keep that in mind as well.

There are lots of factors when it comes to this conversation. And I know it will be one that I will have to have more than once as things progress and get more and more serious. I have been divorced almost 5 years… so I have my budget and spending ideals down to a science… and struggle with the idea of “changing” them to incorporate another opinion… if you know what I mean.

What do you think about keeping the money separate after taking the next step of getting married (if you continue to contribute fairly and equally to these things)? Is that too cold and controlling to suggest? I hate that I have had keeping 2 accounts to cross my mind about my future with anyone… but it has.
.-= Katherine SOLOdotmom´s last blog ..Pretty Packages, Clarity, and Sleep =-.

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singlemomseeking October 30, 2009 at 9:36 am

@ SoloDotMom, great question re: “What do you think about keeping the money separate after taking the next step of getting married (if you continue to contribute fairly and equally to these things)?”

I feel very strongly about having my own bank account…. and my own last name. I’ve always been this way. How do others feel about this one?

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MindyMom/Single Mom Says... October 30, 2009 at 8:49 am

Great question!

In my past relationships it’s worked out where I was buying the groceries and cooking for us (often with my kids) and dining out was paid for by him. When I was with DBD, after a while it became unblalanced where it was mostly me cooking and us rarely going out and then I did feel taken for granted. Shocking, I know.

The best thing to do would be to talk with LG about it. Keep the lines of communication open so no one ends up feeling they are being taken for granted.
.-= MindyMom/Single Mom Says…´s last blog ..Boo! Who? =-.

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MC October 30, 2009 at 9:20 am

Hey MindyMom, that’s my current situation with my guy!

I’ve been dating a guy for 3-4 months but I’m mostly cooking for us at my house and we rarely (I mean RARELY) go out. I’m starting to get a little annoyed, but I’m wondering if I should be? Last week he suggested either going to a bar or staying home and cooking, but when I said “cooking would be great” (I’m not really into bars) it because clear that he meant at my house not his. I did ask him to pick up the groceries and bring wine, though, because he hasn’t spontaneously offered to this before.

In general I really like going out but I know it’s expensive and men sometimes like to/feel obligated to pay. But I usually pay about half the time once we get past the 3rd date or so. Also in general I think cooking is fun to do together. But in my other recent dating relationships we’d go out on about 50% of our dates and when we stayed at home, about 1/3 of the time it was at his house & he’d either (try to) cook himself or order takeout.

So my current guy has me confused and slightly offended. I’ve told him that I like to go out more, and once I took him out to a nice restaurant (& paid myself). But he hasn’t gotten the hint. I’m debating whether to ask him if he’s on a really tight budget or what? But I’ve held off for fear of embarrassing him.

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singlemomseeking October 30, 2009 at 9:37 am

@MC: I’m so curious to know what your guy would say if you suggested — clearly, straightforward — how much it would mean to you if you went out for dinner sometimes.

Let us know, if you bring it up…..

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Mike October 30, 2009 at 10:56 am

After reading all the comments forgot what the original question was. I have to say I have no game plan with this. Every woman I’ve dated a while has different desires. Personally I enjoy cooking and happy to do so. When going out the ratio usually becomes to 3:1 with me paying. However I’ve known some women to be 1:1. Others I pay when we’re out and they pay when they cook. Just like every relationship is different so is the finances. I do find that women have a stronger vision of how it should be than men.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Surprise … Surprise … Surprise =-.

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Honey October 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Jake makes about twice as much money than me. So we split the rent proportionally to income (I pay 1/3, he pays 2/3). All other bills, including groceries, are split 50/50.

I would say, though, that he probably pays 90% of the time when we go out for drinks, dinner, whatever. If he’s feeling pinched financially he lets me know, and either I pay (which I’m happy to do if I can) or we find something less expensive to do.

I may pick up the tab a bit more once my credit card is paid off – we both have credit card and student debt, but since I get paid so much less I feel the pain of it a bit more. But instead of picking up the tab, I may divert that money to our wedding fund instead!
.-= Honey´s last blog ..How Safe is Too Safe? Or, Lance Blows Up Brazen Careerist =-.

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Get Your Ex Back November 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer as to who pays for what in general. Every situation is different and what is important is that both parties are agreeing about what is fair. You wouldn’t want one to feel put upon or taken advantage of.
.-= Get Your Ex Back´s last blog ..Should You And Your Ex Get Back Together? Rekindling The Relationship =-.

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