Women and Conspicuous Displays of Wealth

Some comments from yesterdays post on the very expensive and dramatic vacation planning…

Holdingallthecards: @Jennifer: I know you work, so don’t you have your own savings account for things like weekend getaways with girlfriends or just your daughters? Time apart is healthy in a marriage (the amount varies per couple), and there is no rule that says every vacation has to be spent with a spouse (especially when they’re the homebody). Besides, if the money comes from your own savings, it’s your budget, too. The only one to say yes or no is you.

Jennifer:  From the beginning of our marriage we’ve always had joint finances…I mean even if we had “separate” accounts we’re legally joined in all things financial etc. when it all comes down to it anyway. I personally would see it as divisive to have a “this is mine, this is yours” setup to our finances. We are a team, we make financial decisions as a team, we have team finances.  

I prefer to spend our hard earned money on vacations as a family…sure we both like an afternoon to ourselves once in a while (the introvert thing) but I have no interest in going away without Athol. I enjoy spending time with him and our daughters, and it really wouldn’t be any fun obsessively planning a trip that I couldn’t experience with them. And realistically, the one to say yes or no is the budget…if I plan some sort of blow-a-lot-of-money weekend, whether for myself/friends or the family, that’s not responsible of me and I wouldn’t end up having fun.

Athol:  We had a three year long distance relationship as our engagement and we’ve had our fill of being apart.

Otherwise if we wanted to play the game where all the money we earn belongs to us as individuals, rather than the marriage, Jennifer would have to learn to pitch a tent, and I’d have some quite lovely trips to the islands.

Well maybe not quite that dramatic lol, but you get the idea.

Beta Tester:  The problem I have with vacation is there is virtually NO sex. I have 2 little cock blockers around day and night. If we go camping we have to wait till they are asleep and it is late enough so none of the other campers will hear (I bet they still do). If we go to a hotel or stay with someone, forget it. The kids are in the room or we can’t have sex in a bed that is not our own.  That said there has been the rare adventure. Once in a rental minivan outside Disney. Another time on a remote beach in a northern state. Another time we did it on a couch in a basement cause ya can’t use the bed in someone else house.

I do have a question with letting her plan the vacations though. Are you giving up your Captain’s seat to the First Officer? My wife also likes to go on vacations. When I was all beta, she would take the kids and her mother on vacations without me. Since I have been running the MAP, my wife has been running fewer shit tests. This year I made the vacation plans and am making the arrangements. She will still have to do her fair share of the packing, I am just taking my command back. I have limited days off from work. I am making dam sure I get to use them how I want.

Athol:  I kinda find outwitting the clockblocks fun lol. It’s actually kind of easy now that they’re older and can be sent on errands together, or can play somewhere unsupervised for a while. Eldest can drive next year, so that’s pretty much an open dunk for getting them out of our hair.

I think you perhaps misunderstand the First Officer role a little. The First Officer is meant to be completely capable of “having the bridge”. Jennifer and I share a great deal of the decision making, but I take a final responsibility for us as a family, and tend to make the final / bigger decisions. She’ll probably come back with a dozen possible options for things to do and we’ll narrow it down to the things that work out the best for everyone. As it turns out, part of our trip is work related for me, and Jennifer and the girls will be out and about a lot doing fun stuff together that I don’t have much interest in anyway.

Also Jennifer is better at finding things to do and good deals than I am, so I just let her do her thing. She is very bright ya know. I don’t micromanage her because she doesn’t need it. If she needed to be micromanaged it would be because she’s stupid and that would drive me crazy. Plus it’s not like you can fix stupid.

RedPillAwakening:  I’ve never understood why my wife feels like whatever we do to spend time together doesn’t count unless it somehow drains our bank account. Suggestions I make for activities that don’t cost anything (or don’t cost much) always get shot down, without fail. Sometimes I think if she had to bust her ass to earn the money she might learn to be a lot more careful with it. I finally got us out of credit card debt after many years, but I have had to become a hard-ass just to make ends meet.

Athol:  Because for most women it’s about bragging rights and assuring their place in the female pecking order. Look at the great thing my vagina got for me, much better than the thing your vagina got for you. You know why that is? It’s because my vagina is better than your vagina and don’t you forget it. Advantage me…

Women are interested in high income provider mates, and actually landing one means she is a higher Sex Rank female compared to others. Outranking other females provides social benefit for her, but it also requires a conspicuous display of wealth to communicate that effectively. She can’t just say, “Well Harold is awfully well off, but it’s all locked up in investments at the moment.” and have the other women fawn over her because it’s not terribly believable. She can however say, “Harold took me to Paris and we stayed in the Ritz and ate here and here and it was fabulous! Well let me tell you, just as I thought it was finished, he got me this amazing necklace!! He refused to tell me what he paid for it, but I called up the jewelry store he got it in and asked them how much I should insure it for! Anyway then he’s all moody because I didn’t give him a blowjob that day…”

Women want objective proof to display the value of their mate, because their value is based on it in part. It’s the same thing as husbands wanting a hot looking wife to show off to their friends. See that big titty blond on my arm? That’s right… I’m the man.


  1. “If she needed to be micromanaged it would be because she’s stupid and that would drive me crazy. Plus it’s not like you can fix stupid.”

    On that topic, what would be a good match, in terms of intelligence, for a couple? My husband’s older brother, who is a highly successful genius, has finally married after years of ho-ing it up. She’s less spectacular than any of the other women (still young and pretty, thought), but the only one who’s anywhere near his IQ. He says that’s what did it, and that the lower IQ women tended to both annoy him and blur together.

    That got me wondering. Is there an ideal combination? Can you bridge a big gap if one of the partners is good with more practical things, and there’s an atmosphere of respect? Are problems with differences in intelligence down to the gap itself, or patronising/resentful attitudes?

  2. I have to agree with Athol and Jennifer on this. If you’re not ready to share finances – to be a true partnership – you’re not ready to be married. If you want to take separate vacations, you’ve got bigger problems than how to pay for them. In twenty five years my wife and I have shared every cent (I’ve done most of the earning but she’s inherited quite a bit) and we’ve never even thought about going on a separate vacations.

    As for planning vacations it works this way for us:
    Me: would you like to go to X?
    Her: Yes.
    Me: great I’ll book the flights and hotels (I travel a lot for work and know what I like and don’t like and how to get the deals). The rest is up to you.

    I get paid to make decisions so my idea of a vacation is to not have to make any. My wife knows that when we are on vacation never, never, never to ask me what I want to do, where I want to go, or what I want to eat. I expect her to have all of that organised and to know me well enough not to drag me to crap I won’t enjoy.

  3. So the trick really is that you don’t provide that objective proof of wealth if the relationship isn’t functioning with a proper amount of give and take (i.e., I give you trips, presents, whatever they like and they give you sex, and lots of it – or whatever you need most in return, but lets be honest, we are men and generally sex is what gets it done). Since running the MAP I see so so many guys failing these tests. So many guys afraid of their wives and it’s ‘yes honey this’ and ‘yes honey that’ and ‘oh, let me check with my wife to get permission’. So many guys buying everything and doing what they can to please her. Often I think the objective proof becomes an overcompensation on the mans part because he is secretly unhappy with a wife that won’t touch him except for birthdays and Christmas if he’s lucky. If nice things and nice trips are what you like and what your wife likes, then by all means, but don’t do it to make up for your insecurities, do it because she deserves it.

  4. @holdingallthecards: What happens in Vegas eats away at your marriage like a cancer. May God have mercy on your husband.

  5. RedPillNewb says:

    Can you bridge a big gap if one of the partners is good with more practical things, and there’s an atmosphere of respect?

    My wife and I are actually perfect opposites in some ways that mesh perfectly. She’s the queen of obsessive detail work but can’t see the big picture even if it’s beating her around the head. The perfect proofreader but she can read a newspaper article and be unable to tell me what happened in it. I’m a big-picture guy who is embarrassingly bad at details (“What? That was today?”) and doesn’t have the stamina to deal with all the tiny arrangements. So we’re each “smart” in our own way, and strong where the other is weak.

    It’s a great combination, which is probably one of the reasons our marriage has done as well as it has despite my obsequious beta-ness.

  6. “Because for most women it’s about bragging rights and assuring their place in the female pecking order. Look at the great thing my vagina got for me, much better than the thing your vagina got for you. You know why that is? It’s because my vagina is better than your vagina and don’t you forget it. Advantage me…”

    We are not all like that. I wonder how a man gets caught up with a woman like that. Perhaps he is the male equivalent to her? Do they think the sex is that good that thought processes like the above don’t matter? Who would want to spend time with anyone who was like that let alone live with or try to sleep with them? A hot body or good sex only goes so far.

    Intelligence matters. The gap can be bridged but it has to be a small bridge. It’s hard to build a life with someone who can’t carry on a conversation on your level. There is a difference in one being great with numbers and one being great with their hands. It’s easier to bridge the gap if both are smart in something.

  7. alphaguy says:

    I’m the big picture guy when it comes to vacations. Like I’ll plan a trip to Europe, book the hotels and plane tickets and she picks out the day to day trips and restaurants. Not that we are traveling to Europe with two little cockblockers running around, it’s probably the last thing we’d do right now. Unless you can afford a separate room for the little munchkins, there is probably no sex going on unless you can sneak some in when nobody is looking. I’m fine with that for a week or so because everyone is relaxed and having a great time.

    My wife runs with a pretty wealthy group of women and while we haven’t fallen on hard times, our income levels have dropped considerably since the recession and things are looking better right now it was a quite a struggle there for a couple of years. Some of her friends take super lavish vacations to Europe and Hawaii and god knows where. It drives her insane that she can’t compete on their level. I’m already feeling the pressure for the summer of 2013 for us to take a really expensive vacation just to compete with the neighbors.. Thanks for talking about this! It will give me some ammo for next year when vacation planning starts late next winter…

  8. Mike M. says:

    Athol, the trip is supposed to be work-related for you AND your staff. Get the kids stuffing envelopes or answering mail. It’s all about the tax deductions.

    Over at Vox’s place, they’ve been debating intelligence as an attraction factor. I’m not sure it’s so much an attractor as the lack being a disqualifier. I think more than ~ 10% difference is problematic.

  9. alphaguy,
    Sounds like your wife needs to realize she has something money can’t buy. Show her friends a dominant husband; they’d rather die than admit it, but they’ll be jealous. If they become jealous enough, they’ll kick her out of the club, but she won’t even care.

  10. holdingallthecards says:

    @Jennifer: Thanks for the reply. But Athol made the same point when he wrote “As it turns out, part of our trip is work related for me, and Jennifer and the girls will be out and about a lot doing fun stuff together that I don’t have much interest in anyway.”

    I knew that some men would go extreme with my suggestion (like the Vegas comment), but most of us have places we’d like to go or things that we want to do that our spouses would not be great company for. One of my twins will be attending culinary school upon graduation, and I plan on taking him to Napa/Sonoma Valley for a HS graduation present (yes, this includes wine tastings, but no one checks ID’s out there, and I have allowed the kids wine with dinner since they turned 16 — treating them more European than American, in that sense). My other twin wants me to take her to NYC and see a movie star perform on Broadway, and neither of these trips interest my husband, who prefers the wilderness, fishing, and beer.

    I understand that you enjoy vacations with Athol, but like I said, the amount of get-away time from your spouse varies by the couple. As an added benefit, I think it’s great to spend quality, one-on-one time with the kids as they transition from children into adults. As for girlfriends, sure, you could go to Vegas, but most men I know loathe being toted around to go shopping and do not want to attend the Opera or get the spa treatment.

    Finally, the money thing. Athol took it to a level that was extreme. I wrote “Savings account,” and did not mean a complete segregation of finances. Even completely dependent SAHMs have a mad-money allowance. So when I wrote that this savings would be your budget baby, you could have 2 short/cheap vacations or one big blowout a year, but how you spent it would obviously be responsible because you couldn’t go over what you didn’t save for. Heck, you might come home and still have money left over in the account.

    Hope this explains it better.

  11. Holdingallthecards,

    I don’t mean any disrepect to you, but I think it’s important you understand that the way you came in talking about this issue – “it’s YOUR money and your husband shouldn’t tell you how to spend it!!” – set off a whole bunch of triggers among the male readers. Married and coupled men have received all manner of mixed messages over the last generation about the “equalist” marriage versus the “male-leadership” role and the more we hear its twists and turns the more it sounds like married women want to have it both ways – blame the man for all the problems yet reserve the right to make whatever decisions they want to make themselves.

    Especially since we just had a huge discussion here about solo vacations and the opportunity to cheat on your spouse, everyone’s a little sensitive to the idea that whenever a wife starts asserting her independence within the marriage, she may be headlining her lack of being “all in” for the marriage.

    I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing, but understand that the way you are communicating your side comes across as combative.

  12. “Even completely dependent SAHMs have a mad-money allowance”

    Really? damn, I never got that memo. I have an Excel spreadsheet for our monthly budget. There are some 30+ lines on it. I do not see where I could squeeze in a “mad money allowance” for myself. And we ain’t poor. We are your typical white-picket fence, minivan driving, middle class family.

    I think HoldingAllTheCards is making assumptions about people’s income levels based on her own experience. FYI, lots of families don’t have enough disposable income to have family vacations plus separate vacations. For us, we have worked pretty hard in the last 2 years to finagle a humble family Summer vacation (no Hawaii and such but in-state for the most part) with kid-less weekend getaways for each of our birthdays. We don’t buy each other presents, the weekend getaway is the present.

    Pick-and-choose, compromises and team work are part and parcel of what lots of families have to do to administer their time and money wisely.

  13. “solo vacations and the opportunity to cheat on your spouse”

    This a disagree with because then you would have to also assume that every time your spouse travels for work that’s an opportunity to cheat as well. So then no one can go anywhere because everything is an opportunity to cheat if you are away from your spouse.

  14. Red,

    I think you are conflating status hunger with lack of intelligence. In my experience, there’s no real relationship either way – some very smart girls are big-time status whores (sometimes as a result of elite educational paths that put them in contact with the highest achievers in society). Academically-oriented women sometimes have different status metrics they want impressed upon them (like a more intellectual job instead of a super-salary job, or a taste in music instead of being a strong jock), but I’ve found intelligent women are a lot more like other women than anybody wants to admit.

    I think you’re vastly underestimating the prevalence of women wanting to show off the man they’ve caught. Maybe you run in a crowd that doesn’t care about that stuff, but if most women didn’t care about it Athol wouldn’t have a dozen posts or more about how income and career achievement and well-timed displays of wealth are powerful happy-wife triggers and there wouldn’t be a bunch of posts from men about their wives’ insistence they flash the cash.

    Additionally, I’ve talked to a LOT of women conversationally (and eavesdropped a lot) on what they want and expect from men. Almost all of them have a strong desire to show off SOMETHING about their man
    (highly introverted, or truly independent, women are the exceptions, but that’s all they are). It’s a generalized statement, not a tautology, but it’s still useful. A man ignores this phenomenon at his peril.

    I think half of the MAP concept can be summed up as “give her something about you that’s worth showing off.”

    As for me, I make it clear that I don’t express my love for a woman in dollars, and I value financial security and the ability to make the occasional splurge without feeling any guilt. I make it clear that if a blingy, high-roller lifestyle is important to her, respectfully she should find another man.

    I feel much better about spending money on someone who doesn’t really care that much about it; then it’s fun and generous. If I’m spending on someone who NEEDS to be spent on to feel properly loved and cared for, I feel like I’m failing a huge shit test. Some may say I’m a stick in the mud but I don’t lie awake at night wondering how we’re going to pay off indiscriminately-accrued credit card debt or something like that.

    It is an issue that as much as any other broke up my last LTR; I’m not at all interested in fighting it again, so true to your point, I’m screening for women who aren’t like that. But they don’t grow on trees; the behaviors we’re talking about are being talked about because they’re common.

  15. Wendy,

    Maybe you didn’t read the last few posts and their comments; it was pretty clear there that there’s a difference between a work trip and and an extended girls/guys night out.

  16. RedPillNewb says:

    I’m so grateful for my tightwad, introverted wife, who doesn’t feel the need to compete with anyone, moneywise or otherwise.

  17. @Badger

    They may be different, but they are both still opportunities for cheating. Other 2 opportunities for cheating I personally am aware of: a friend of my husband’s who cheated on his wife with his spinning instructor, and my husband’s coworker whose wife cheated on him with another coworker.

    So people, don’t go to work and don’t exercise.

  18. Wendy,

    Way to work that false dichotomy. Your argument is silly; you are extrapolating anecdotes into trends that don’t exist, and you’re really doing it just to have an argument that one spouse shouldn’t be able to forbid another spouse from doing something that manifestly threatens the marriage.

    The definition of risk is “what bad can happen, and how likely is it to happen?” That a bad outcome happens in a scenario doesn’t necessarily mean the scenario is risky. Vegas and other booze-sloshed parties are much riskier than going to work or to the gym, your singular anecdotes notwithstanding.

  19. Thanks for the insult Badger. Glad to see we can carry an argument here.

    This is he basically the nutshell for me:” That a bad outcome happens in a scenario doesn’t necessarily mean the scenario is risky.”

    And in this comment you are referrig to “Vegas and other booze-sloched parties.” Am I gonna be silly if I dare say that not all girl/guys night out are in Vegas or are booze-sloched?

    As far as “extrapolating annecdotes into trends that don’t exist” well I dont have data on incidence of cheating across different scenarios. If you do, please do tell. I doubt we can ascertain that most cheating happens in Vegas or local clubs. I’d say that annecdotes of cheating with a coworker or personal trainer are not rare or unique. So incidence of one or the other doesn’t seem so self-evident to me.

    But anyways, we ain’t going anywhere with this and it is off topic for the thread anyways.

  20. @Badger’s comment – That was a two concept post. I wasn’t trying to align one with the other.

    I am continually surprised at women who are status whores. I am not materialistic or status conscience. I am not your typical woman though I am not claiming to be a snowflake. I have very few female friends…I guess because I know a lot of women who aren’t worth hanging with. I am continually surprised that women act like this and wonder how they snagged a man worth having anyway.

    Completely on it’s own, intelligence DOES matter. If both parties have something they are “smart” about and can carry on a conversation and process thoughts on a similar level to their partner, the relationship can work. If there is too great a gap in intelligences I think one ends up parenting the other. I also think respect eventually lessens, maybe out of frustration of trying to interact with someone not on your level of intelligence or not intelligent in compatible ways. This is of course based on absolutely nothing scientific, just my observations.

  21. @Holdingallthecards. If you run with the crowd where SAHMs have “mad money” accounts large enough to cover vacations and still potentially have some left over, you’re making it seem like you’re living with an income well beyond most MMSL readers.

    Right now, we have to save for this sort of thing and parleying a work trip for me, into a short vacation for everyone else is the best we can do.

  22. I have read about studies that found those who travel a lot for work cheat way more than average and other studies showing clear links between opportunity with good possibilities for cover up of all kinds and cheating. Travel of most kinds means very good opportunities for cheating with very low risk of getting caught. NATravelALT of course but I`d say most represent quite a lot of risk.

  23. HeSedSheSed says:

    “MAD MONEY”!?! I need some of that. We are what I would call middle class (not necessarily upper) and I Stay at Home and my husband works. We have four small children and I can assure you that I have no hidden mad money to spend on an updated wardrobe let along a vacation sans husband and children.

  24. LovelyLauren says:

    Having money spent on me isn’t about status (at least for me, I’m sure it is for other women). It means that, to my husband, I am worth spending money on. When my husband’s parents refused to help us pay for our weekend honeymoon (after paying for a week long trip to California for his sister and contributing nothing to our wedding) he took on the battle and it made me feel like I was worth something to him and he wanted a nice honeymoon for me. Similarly, when he takes me out to a restaurant I particularly like, it makes me feel like he is willing to spend money (even if it’s not a lot) to do something I enjoy.

  25. I didn’t get the mad money memo either. Does anyone have a copy of that? :-)

    If you have enough disposable cash, I suppose there are some separate vacations that would be alright. Some churches have ladies’ retreat weekends, which ought to be pretty safe. Surely there’s a secular equivalent for those of us who aren’t religious. A Vegas-type trip would definitely not be a good idea!

  26. holdingallthecards says:

    @Athol and the SAHM’s: I stayed at home for the first few years with the kids, but we had both worked and saved and planned for them. I’m aware that this economy is difficult, and maybe my family is an exeception, but there are always places in the budget that can be trimmed. Food, for sure. Coffee/Starbucks, restaurants, fast food, electronics/gadgets, etc. Currently my kids have part-time jobs, so they can buy some of their own clothes and pay for their car expenses, dates, etc. We also have never purchased a house or vehicles that caused us to lose sleep. Overspend on those big ticket items, and no Hawaii for sure — more like a backyard barbeque.

    My paycheck automatically delivers $150 to my savings account, the same way it sends money to my 401(k). The rest goes into the family checking account to help pay for the bills and regular expenses. It just requires discipline to start it, like any routine does. The kids have checking and savings, too.

  27. holdingallthecards says:

    @Badger: Both my husband and I have separate savings accounts (and retirement accounts) so that we are free to purchase whatever. Everything else gets directly deposited into the joint account for bills. I understand the sensitivity regarding money in a marriage, especially for the husbands that bring in the majority of it only to watch it fly out the window (add lack of sex and then you’re really in hot water).

    If you hand all your money over to someone who has no self control or experience in budgeting, you’re asking for trouble. I would no sooner do that than hand all my money to a child.

  28. Regarding work trips vs girls/boys Vegas-like trips. Opportunity is Opportunity, and those who are going to step out, will do so regardless of the type of trip it is.

    I had a new job recently that required a lot of training. The training was broken up into three sessions (6wks, 3wks, 3wks). We were a pretty large group of about 350 and stayed in a fairly well know hotel that catered to big organizations.

    What I noticed interacting and observing certain behaviors amongst the married individuals, is that they fell into two groups fairly evenly. Group A (No to very very low probability of cheating). Group B (Medium to 100% probability of cheating).

    Behaviors I noticed in Group A:
    – They flew to their homes almost every weekend (paid for by the company), and had their spouse and/or kids visit them at least once during each session.
    – They didn’t really hang out with us single folks past a certain time since most of us were interested in the late and night life of the area.
    – The married people in this group formed their clicks along gender lines. Married men hang out in general with other married men and the married women hung out with married women.

    As most will have already guessed Group B, tended to do the opposite than Group A.
    They didn’t go home as often (some didn’t go back at all). They hung out with the singles group and did almost or as much partying as us. They were almost always hanging out in mixed groups.

    As for alcohol, we were staying in a supposedly dry zone area, you had to go out the zone to get your own alcohol if you wanted. The hotel bar and the few establishment that could serve liquor made quite a bit of money from us.

    Quite a few stories I could tell. So for me personally, I personally don’t think the kind of trip matters. If someone is inclined to or determined to have some extra curricular activity, they will.

  29. Wendy,

    Again, we’ve done this whole separate-vacations debate already, go read those threads from last month.

    “Thanks for the insult Badger. Glad to see we can carry an argument here.”

    This is amazing. I directly and logically addressed your argument (which is flawed in a number of ways I pointed out), and you accuse me of getting personal. It sounds like you’re the one who can’t handle an argument if disagreeing with you is a personal insult.

  30. “Regarding work trips vs girls/boys Vegas-like trips. Opportunity is Opportunity, and those who are going to step out, will do so regardless of the type of trip it is.”

    You’re missing the main point, though, which is that “locks keep honest people honest.” There’s two groups of people you need to worry about – those who actively want to cheat on their spouse, and those who are susceptible to temptation put in their face.

    The former group can’t really be contained, they’ll find the path of least resistance somewhere. The latter group, however, can be contained by not exposing them to risky situations. For them, a long work trip might be a low to moderate risk. But a trip involving bars, clubs, striptease establishment, bachelor(ette) parties, people of the opposite sex throwing themselves at them – let’s not get haughty and think we’re all masters of self-discipline. I know I’m not, and I’m pretty disciplined.

    That’s the difference – the work trip contains incidental opportunity. The Vegas trip (or whatever substitute you prefer) actively cultivates an environment of temptation. The Vegas trip is riskier, not so much for the philaderer (who already got his/her rocks off at the work retreat anyway), but for the regular Joe/Jane whose decision system goes haywire when put in a new situation specifically designed to push their emotional buttons.

    People have gotten really offended in the Girls Night Out/Vegas Vacation threads by the idea that they might not be trusted. The fact of the matter is that humans on the whole aren’t very trustworthy in the face of temptation. And humans aren’t nearly as good at controlling our behavior as we want to think we are.

  31. @holdingallthecards

    “…but there are always places in the budget that can be trimmed. Food, for sure. Coffee/Starbucks, restaurants, fast food, electronics/gadgets, etc.”

    Oh, wow. I have to butt in here.

    There are probably families in financial dire straits because of over spending on those things. But there are also families that cut to the bare bone and still struggle. I’m guessing that that’s the majority of the SAHMs on MMSL who are objecting to what you say.

    Either way, it’s an unbelievably condescending thing to say, and it shows a lack of awareness of how most people live. I’m in full time paid employment, as is my husband, and even I playfully slapped the side of my head and said to him, “Not going to Starbucks or eating in restaurants?! Why didn’t WE think of that?!”

    So, in essence: NO, one cannot “always” find something to trim off the budget. And that’s not always peoples’ fault, or a lack of discipline, or because they spend on things like Starbucks. (My god, that got up my nose.)

    I’m a capitalist libertarian, and even I found that annoying. Can you at least acknowledge that your financial situation might be unusual, and you might even be – whisper it – lucky?

  32. Separate bank accounts are important, in case a catastrophe happens — say your spouse goes Batshit and you have to run. When our marriage blew up, Mr Batshit tried to freeze me out of our joint bank accounts.

    But “mad money”? None of that here. Even when the marriage was going well, vacations tended to involve visits to long-distance relatives and scrambling to find friends who would put the family up. “Trim the budget to have a nice vacation?” Honey, we didn’t have cable TV, never bought coffee out of the house, never ate fast food, …” Mr Batshit made a nice income, but it went to housing and basic expenses (and maybe Mr Batshit’s “extra-curriculars”, and yes, we live in an expensive area).

    Right now, vacations of any sort are far down the list, below paying the mortgage and divorce lawyer.

    I think the separate money problem comes when one spouse (wife or husband) says “Well, this is MY money, and I can spend it any way I want, but your money belongs to the family.” The problem there is “any way I want” … in a good marriage, all the money is jointly managed (by the better money manager, Captain or First Officer) no matter who earns it or what account its in.

  33. My husband and I learned long ago that each one of us need money to spend that we didn’t have to account for to the other one. Pocket money really, small incidentals. We’ve made sure to include that in our budget the last 17 years. The amount will be different depending on the income and the people involved.

    I think Ian at the Red Pill Room posted one time about having money the other didn’t know about it and using it to surprise the spouse.

  34. holdingallthecards says:

    @SAHMs: I’ve gone back through the past posts regarding money, and the biggest spot the budget should have been cut was in the choice of house. There are overwhelming posts by men who were pushed into buying homes they could barely afford, and the home itself increased the trickle-down expenses (like gas and electricity, plus keeping up with the Jones’).

    I don’t live in a mansion, my husband and I have simply tried to avoid spending money we don’t have. I don’t attribute any of it to luck, just “Do I have the cash for this or not?” Also, it’s about setting priorities. Vacations are my pleasure choice, not gas-guzzling oversized vehicles or 55″ plasma TVs.

    @Liz: I understand what you’re saying, and maybe the people you know are in situations similar to yourself. In no way is that indicative of everybody, as Red and ZSAys have pointed out.

  35. Holdingallthecards – it’s not just SAHM families but ALL families. It’s amazing what some people consider “necessities”. And it doesn’t seem to matter if they have the money for it or not!

    I just talked to a divorced dad who wants to take his ex to court to get custody of his kids and his current wife supports it. He would like to but can’t right now because it cost several thousand dollars. He just bought a new house, but perhaps if he didn’t have all new flooring installed on 3 floors, replace every working appliance with brand new ones, and have granite counter tops installed he may have had the money.

    It’s all about priorities.

  36. JCclimber says:

    Just had a coffee station conversation along similar lines. Coworker took her 28 year old daughter to visit family in Iran. Had a blast. She said average age of retirement there is late 40’s to 50’s. Another piped up that average age of retirement in China is 60.

    I think most Americans can’t retire early because they are absolute f*ing idiots about their money. I’m not talking about saving $1 or $2 per coupon on groceries. I’m talking about buying a product that has coupons to being with. I’ve never seen a coupon for tomatoes, for large bags of bread-making wheat, for apples.

    I laugh at the stupid Costco coupons that we regularly get in the mail. To me it is the best indication that something is overpriced and not needed if there is a coupon for it. You’re buying someone else’s overprocessed, bland (or MSG loaded to take away the bland), corporate, mass-produced, preservative-laden junk.

    Cannot recall the last time, if ever, I saw someone who needed to lose 50 or 60 pounds who swamped the cashier with healthy, unprocessed food.

    Food is just an example. Look at your clothes, your kitchen gadgets, your iWhatever eGadgets, your televisions, your cable bill. The typical American family is working like dogs used to work, in order to buy unneeded, over marketed crap. Look at your TV, cable bill, etc. If you actually had a life of your own, that was interested and exciting, filled with friends and family, would you need to watch TV? Would you even have time to watch TV? If you don’t watch TV, you don’t need a 48″ flat-screen with tricked out sound system, and a whopping cable bill. Every. Single. Month.

    And so on. I have zero sympathy for American families. Compared to the rest of the world, our poorest person on welfare is rich.

  37. I believe there are two evolutionary pressures depending on the woman’s upbringing. Either she grew up with stability and abundance, and wants the conspicuous consumption, or she grew up with instability and few resources, and wants to save save save. I fall into the latter camp, and I never want to spend frivolously on “fun” stuff, or vacations, or Starbucks, or movies/restaurants, etc.

    I am even compulsively frugal with video game virtual money, so this definitely gives me some kind of satisfaction in itself. My husband actually makes me happy by looking at something he wants to buy and then not buying it. He does tend to be the one doing most of the spending, but he also appreciates it when I don’t veto purchases he really wants.

    Basically the idea of “I’m worth spending money on” gets turned into “I’m worth saving money for” in my case. Does any other woman feel this way?

  38. RedPillNewb says:

    Does any other woman feel this way?

    My wife is that way. She gets actively angry if I buy her gifts with rare exceptions for something exqusitely well-thought-out. This is the aggravating “read my mind” challenge that women like to pull, but in my case it’s not “you didn’t spend as much as I expected” but rather “you spent money when I was telepathically informing you not to spend anything.” If “just say what you @$#^&! want, woman!” is off the table, I’ll take a default of not spending over a default of excessive spending.

    While MMSL is on the one hand showing me all I did wrong and need to correct, the comment section is making me appreciate how lucky I was in wife selection (and it really was luck as opposed to skill).

  39. @OP:

    “Because for most women it’s about bragging rights and assuring their place in the female pecking order. Look at the great thing my vagina got for me, much better than the thing your vagina got for you. You know why that is? It’s because my vagina is better than your vagina and don’t you forget it. Advantage me…
    Women are interested in high income provider mates, and actually landing one means she is a higher Sex Rank female compared to others. Outranking other females provides social benefit for her, but it also requires a conspicuous display of wealth to communicate that effectively. She can’t just say, “Well Harold is awfully well off, but it’s all locked up in investments at the moment.” and have the other women fawn over her because it’s not terribly believable. She can however say, “Harold took me to Paris and we stayed in the Ritz and ate here and here and it was fabulous! Well let me tell you, just as I thought it was finished, he got me this amazing necklace!! He refused to tell me what he paid for it, but I called up the jewelry store he got it in and asked them how much I should insure it for! Anyway then he’s all moody because I didn’t give him a blowjob that day…”
    Women want objective proof to display the value of their mate, because their value is based on it in part.”

    Not to bring up yet another hot-button topic, but it’s things like this that make me wonder why feminists get such a bad rep around the Manosphere. Maybe I’m just lucky that my lady is a feminist who actually walks the walk, but she HATES shit like this even more than I do.

    Which is not to say that she’s immune to wanting to show me off to her peer group a little, but she does it in other ways. If she brings me to one of her friends’ weddings and I clean up nicer, am wittier, more charming, and just having more fun than the rest of the male arm candy around that look like they were stuffed into a monkey suit and dragged there against their will, then yeah, it brings a smile to her face. But if the next girl over is showing off the diamond necklace that her boyfriend or husband bought her for the occasion, my lady is more likely to react with, “That dumb broad. If she wants fancy jewelry she should get a job and pay for it herself so she doesn’t have to put up with some schmuck with nothing more to offer than a paycheck” and then a diatribe about the human rights violations of the diamond industry than with jealousy.

    I dunno. Maybe I just lucked into a woman who took most of the right lessons from feminism and fewer of the wrong ones. But I compare that with the long angry counter-feminist rants you see on many Manosphere blogs (thankfully not this one), and it has so little to do with the brand of feminism that I actually see practiced in my day-to-day that it doesn’t even make sense to use the same word.

  40. Thanks RedPillNewb. I knew I wasn’t alone!

    By the way my husband trained me out of the “mind reading” expectation by telling me that I need to be more “assertive” and tell him what I think/want. He said, if I don’t speak up, then he can’t be faulted. It sounds sort of blue pillish to tell the woman to be “assertive,” but it did work for me.

    Also when spending money on gifts, practical stuff that could potentially offer “savings in the long run” is great for the frugal gal. My Christmas present last year was a floor sweeper and wiper in one, and my feeling on it was, “we save by not needing to hire maid service, and it helps me clean.” Very good and useful gift, that I picked out myself…

  41. RedPillNewb says:

    By the way my husband trained me out of the “mind reading” expectation by telling me that I need to be more “assertive” and tell him what I think/want.

    That works fine if what you say you want is actually what you want. Frequently not the case for many women! Sometimes people suggest that MMSL is all “mind games” and what’s needed is more “open and honest communication.” The problem being that when the open and honest communication is concluded, 1) them woman knows what the man wants, and 2) the man knows what the woman says she wants. So then the man does 2), but the woman doesn’t do 1) because what she really wanted was something different than what she said and she’s mad she didn’t get it.

    There are many of us betaized men who have lived this! If you aren’t doing it, then many thanks to you and congratulations to your husband.

  42. PastorofMuppets says:

    I’m a fan of your site and agree with you more often than not, but if you truly believe business trips aren’t fraught with temptation or are “low risk,” then you probably haven’t spent much time in that environment.
    Unlike, say, a night at the club, which tosses people together for brief interactions, people on business trips can spend literally 12-15 hours a day together, sharing office space, meals, drinks, etc. And after all that – lo and behold – they head off to rooms in the same hotel, hundreds or thousands of miles from home, and not within sight of any friends who might let something slip.
    To be clear, I’m not advocating here FOR ladies’ trips to Vegas or nights out clubbin’, etc. and, to be fair, work trips aren’t something that can, or even should, necessarily be avoided. After all, people have to earn a living. Nobody I’m aware of has to go to Vegas for the weekend (professional fighters excepted).
    I just don’t think you’re painting a very accurate or realistic picture of the relative levels of temptation.

  43. @Hope – I think there’s a lot of validity to this, but there are definite exceptions. In my case, I think it’s genetic. My mother grew up in a well off family, but gave her parents fits when she went to college by putting her monthly allowance in a savings account instead of spending it. I’m nearly as bad as her. I hate spending money, because money = safety in my head, and spending it feels risky. The more we have in savings, the safer, and happier, I feel. I’m not a miser; I do spend money, but I make sure that I get every ounce of worth out of each dollar I spend.

    It’s been a good and bad thing in my marriage. He’s more comfortable with a smaller savings account than I am, and I’m constantly having to stop myself from nagging him about the little luxuries he enjoys. Yes, soda costs less if you buy it in a six pack from the store, and more if you buy it from the gas station – but the difference isn’t going to kill us. We’re in a better financial situation than he was when we got married, though, and I use my penny pinching ways to keep our standard of living higher than it would be otherwise.

  44. RedPillNewb says:

    if you truly believe business trips aren’t fraught with temptation or are “low risk,” then you probably haven’t spent much time in that environment.

    And you haven’t seem my coworkers! (rimshot)

  45. @RPN:

    It’s important to note that the problem of what women say they want not necessarily being what they really want isn’t always because they’re being intentionally deceptive or because they have some ridiculous notion that the man should “just know” what she wants, but because she is likely not being honest with herself.

    My lady had some health problems at one point that made sex uncomfortable or even painful for her. She resented the fact that I was still able to enjoy sex when she wasn’t, but she wouldn’t admit that to herself because it was irrational and she didn’t like to think of herself as being prone to irrational resentment. And for my part, I resented the fact that I wasn’t getting nearly as much sex as I used to and when I did it tended to be very lackluster because she was too afraid that it was going to hurt to get into it. And I wouldn’t admit that to myself because it conflicted with the idea I liked to have of myself as this patient and supportive saint. What kind of terrible person would complain about the frequency/quality of sex when his lady was in pain?

    In both cases, “open and honest communication” helped us work through it, but NOT until we were able to be honest with ourselves about what was bothering us.

    (It should also be noted that she had a lot more incentive to sit down and ask the hard questions about what was holding our sex life back after I’d spent a few months running the MAP and was at my most attractive, both to her and potentially to anyone who cared to try and take her place if we didn’t get our problems worked out.)

    A few posts back the question was raised of when/whether/how much to tell women about MMSL, and a number of people chimed in saying they didn’t think there was much advantage to it. I would say that, at the right time and in the right way with the right woman, that’s the advantage right there: because it could be as useful at explaining women to women as it is at explaining women to men. If a woman wakes up one day with the inexplicable desire for a lavish and expensive gift from her husband, for example, it might be useful for her to be able to examine that and realize, “What I really want is something that displays my husband’s high value and by extension my value as his mate,” and bring that desire to him in those terms rather than in the form of a, “You must break our carefully formulated budget or you don’t really love me bwaaaaaah!” shit test.

  46. Over It says:


    Maybe BOTH you and the SAHMs out here are hanging with like crowds…that is, you have friends with similar lifestyles to yours. So while you think you’re average, you’re probably not THEIR average (and vice-versa).

    I, too, know families that bought too much house, car, stuff, and could easily cut back on a few things to put themselves in better situations. And I know families like yours that can take nice vacations and such. Or families that were able to plan and save before having kids, rather than scramble after surprise pregnancies, as I did.

    Now, please explain to me what I’m doing wrong that I can’t afford vacations like yours. I’m a SAHM, and we bought a small house well below our means, cars cheap enough that we could pay for them in cash, have zero credit card debt or loans, don’t go out to eat, make all our meals from scratch, buy our clothes off clearance racks, and can’t pinch another penny because they’re all screaming already. If I want to save any more money, I guess I could turn the heat down and wear my coat indoors. Then we wouldn’t need to run the fridge!

    Good for you that you can deposit money into your savings, 401K, etc. right off the top of your paycheck! Some of us need to pay the electric company or the grocery bill first.

  47. RedPillNewb says:

    Badger, I don’t mean to sound like I’m opposed to communication, but as you say, it only works if both parties have “taken the red pill” so they are actually asking for what they want. I don’t think of my wife as devious or dishonest, but she does have a way of demanding things that she doesn’t want and being mad when she gets them. Now that I have MMSL, I get to see her being happier with not getting her way than she was while getting her way. It’s still annoying to try to figure out which is which, but I have a sporting chance at least.

    I’m not ready to go full-bore “here’s the blog honey, see if you can figure out which are my comments,” but I have been discussing the basic concepts with her when the opportunity arises and so far it’s working pretty well.

  48. JCclimber says:

    @ Ben. Your little hamster is so cute! What are you feeding it, it must have some steroids mixed in (perhaps it’s from the American cattle industry feed lots).

    “Not to bring up yet another hot-button topic, but it’s things like this that make me wonder why feminists get such a bad rep around the Manosphere. Maybe I’m just lucky that my lady is a feminist who actually walks the walk, but she HATES shit like this even more than I do.”

    You then followed up this post with the perfect example of your wife’s entirely normal hamster process. There is a reason most men in the Manosphere have painfully shed the feminist mindset that was force fed us throughout our childhood. It seems obvious from your examples that you have so far just held the red pill in your mouth. Perhaps it is slowly dissolving, but of the many reasons we hate the feminist mindset and will mock it mercilessly when needed, is because it is at it’s core anti-male, and ultimately also anti-female. It’s female hypergamy run wild, and is very anti-choice.

  49. holdingallthecards says:

    @Over It: I was only a SAHM before the twins went to school. I have a college education, which pretty much pushes my income bracket up. Same with my husband, and my kids also have worked since about 13 (babysitting, helping out neighbors, then jobs the government knows about at age 15). As a SAHM, your disadvantage is the lack of income. Hopefully when your youngest gets into 1st grade, you can change your situation.

  50. PocketAces says:

    If the woman needs to show off, and they all do, choose how wisely.

    I gave the wife a nearly obnoxiously large engagement ring. Cars turn into clunkers. Houses need to be heated. Its hard to show off a vacation without being a bore, and, puhlease that was last year. Everything else we are fairly modest in. If someone wants to pull rank, the hand with the ring comes up on the table and people shut up real quick.

    I have probably saved a ton of money in the long run.

    Yes I know whats coming…. Thats blue pill! Maybe it is, but you should see the guys run away, tail between their legs when she flashes the ring. Ha! And the double takes from women, especially if im just knocking around in a flannel, jeans and a pair of steel toe shit kickers.

    BTW, all said, I also got very lucky. I damn near caught the height of the dollar and the low of the diamond market when I made the purchase. I probably couldnt do it again today.

    Also, Im not saying this to swing my dick around, theres a lesson about short term and long term thinking in there that I think is often overlooked especially in the US. Short term thinking usually costs a lot more. I also have my own problems otherwise i wouldnt be here.

  51. Funny ive been married over 20 years… I started very frugal thought he would like that? I looked average …cleaned the house did all SAHM stuff. What I noticed was he’d always be looking at all the hot women around him! Well that takes time and money….so about 15 years ago I started investing in myself so to speak and now he tells me he’d prefer the house messy…….I cant figure you guys out….you want it all!

  52. Sometimes when families are struggling it really isn’t due to poor planning or lack of self-discipline. Earlier in our marriage, my husband was in a serious accident. Not long after we recovered financially from that and he was making a 6-figure income, the industry he was in got slammed by the poor economy. He and the rest of his team were laid off. He couldn’t get a job making comparable money because there just weren’t any to be found in his field at that time.

    He went from 6 figures to $35,000 a year. We moved to a cheaper house, then sold it and moved to an even cheaper one. Medical expenses are through the roof where we live, and we couldn’t afford the very expensive insurance at his job, so we had to pay out-of-pocket for everything. I bought our clothes on clearance racks. We don’t get cable television or satellite. We had to have internet though for his job. There were times (for example, when we had to pay almost $4,000 for my 2 root canals, right after paying property taxes) when we ate mostly beans and potatoes because they were cheap, and we barely made it with enough even of that to eat to the next paycheck.

    Finally, after 3 years of that, Allah or Yahweh or Zeus or Thor or Whoever be praised, my husband managed to get a job making a decent amount of money again, although not as much as he had before getting laid off. It’s such a relief. I still don’t have mad money though. I’ve never been a big spender, and now I’m actually afraid of spending.

  53. @holdingallthecards:

    Is it really so hard to admit that your situation is unusual, and not entirely down to your wonderful discipline? Seriously, just acknowledge it and move on.

  54. holdingallthecards says:

    @Liz: No, my situation is not unusual; many people are frugal and have the discipline to put money into savings and retirement. It is also not unusual that you don’t know anyone like that, as we tend to live in certain neighborhoods and befriend others that have similar values and lifestyles (aka Keeping up with the Jones’). I was also brought up by penny-pinching parents that opened savings accounts for us the day we started receiving an allowance for doing chores (mom was a math major). Perhaps it is unusual for parents nowadays to teach their kids to save rather than borrow on lines of credit, or to encourage kids to get parttime and summer jobs.

    @Linanati: I love hearing come-back stories. When I was a SAHM, I relied heavily on the public library for books and movie rentals (free), and it’s a frugality that I kept even when I went back to work. Your mad-money savings can start even with only $10 a week.

  55. John Q Galt says:

    “I’m a fan of your site and agree with you more often than not, but if you truly believe business trips aren’t fraught with temptation or are “low risk,” then you probably haven’t spent much time in that environment.”

    I’m in the oil business. 90% of my colleagues are dudes.

  56. I still think leisure travel is higher risk when done apart. The trip is a party even if it is a weekend in Cleveland. This is worse to me than meetings on the road. Beyond that a leisure trip is avoidable risk to a marriage. The larger question is why does a spouse WANT to get away from their partner; this is not the question on a manditory business trip. I would throw that in with separate accounts as behavior of single people.

  57. @JCclimber:

    I’ve got to admit I’m really not sure what it is in my comment that you seem to object to / disagree with. I certainly didn’t say that my lady is without a hamster– no one is! What I like is that her feminist background has given her hamster a tendency to work things out in my favor in situations like this: I don’t need to get her frivolous expensive gifts we can’t afford, she still gets her need to show me off to her peer group fulfilled, everybody wins.

    So again: not sure what you’re disagreeing with here. I’m sure that’s just me being dense, but for the sake of argument, would you be willing to humor me and rephrase your objection in slightly more detail and without the smug tone of condescension? You’re a sport. Thanks!

  58. PocketAces says:


    Oh yes. I’d much prefer living in squalor with a hot wife than a clean house any day. Heck I’d clean at least enough myself to keep the flies away. Good enough for me!

  59. @TPoke: “The trip is a party even if it is a weekend in Cleveland”

    I agree with that, that’s why the geographical location (Vegas or wherever) is not the main point for me, it’s the specific circumstance and the company one keeps that matter the most to me. I get concerned about business trips because I have to deal with those more often. My husband and I have not been to Vegas in years (together or separately) but my husband did travel for work 5 times last year, to various places, some more glamorous than others. So I have to deal with the threat of infidelity not by locking him up in the house but by dealing with it directly with him (lay him like tile before he leaves and when he comes back and tons of contact: text, phone, Skype, while he is away, and sometimes by looking him directly in the eye and telling him what I need to tell him to put my fears at bay) It’s pretty much common sense that you don’t send your guy away on a trip feeling, ehrrr, backed up, so even before I ever came across MMSL, I always made sure that he had a happy penis before hauling that suitcase out the door.

    “Why does a spouse WANT to get away from their partner…”
    Yes, I also agree with you that to actually want to be away from each other is not a good sign, it’s something that should be addressed. However I will own up to some selfish reasons I want to keep the door open on a possible trip by myself eventually. Currently,my priority is to vacation with my family, and to get away with my husband. Financially we are not currently considering any separate trips anywhere in the horizon. But I am a foreigner. I have 2 really great girlfriends from my childhood who live abroad. They happen to be unmarried but they are not clubbing, doing the one night stands. They are LTR types. It is possible that I may one day go visit them (they have visited me in the past, and my husband knows them really well, and we even traveled together as a group before we had kids) If I were to ever visit them by myself, it would not be with the slightest motivation to cheat, just to have some girl time with good old friends. I would treat this the same as his business trips: lay each other like tile before and after the trip and lots of contact : phone, text, skype, during the trip.

    Also, as far as more vanilla girls night out situations, here’s one example: my husband likes to watch MMA fights. Every once in a while it is his turn to host a few guys here at home. There ain’t nowhere for me to hide if the guys take over the kitchen and living room. Sometimes I do go take a bath and read a good book in bed. Sometimes though, I call one or two of the other wives and we go over to a nearby wine bar type place and have appetizers and a couple of drinks and girl talk. We have never ever been approached by anyone because we are not putting out those vibes out there when we go out. We are not dressed like we would dress on a date night with our men, we are not flirting and looking at anyone, and we are wearing our wedding rings. (I am not a 9 or 10, but I don’t feel like a 5 either.)

    Anyways, my husband, besides traveling, has also on occasion gone out with the guys for some reason (in the last 2 months for example, he went out once, and I haven’t gone out) So this is not something that happens all the time and neither he nor I are bar-hopping types. We have small kids, we very much prefer going to bed on the early side. But there are reasons that sometimes you do something away from your spouse on occasion. Personally, my feeling is I can’t be completely afraid of ever doing that/letting him do that, because as I see it, I would have to be completely afraid of so many other opportunities for cheating out there. Paying attention is one thing, being completely afraid is another.

  60. “Why does a spouse WANT to get away from their partner…”

    Because sometimes said partner really gets on the nerves and the spouse wants to get away for awhile before they end up doing something that could get them a prison sentence?

  61. Random Angeleno says:

    OK I’m a tad late to this thread. Bite me. But … I do have a critical observation: a man can only have a wife he can afford. A critical part of courtship is figuring out if he can afford her and figuring out how amenable she is should financial hardship strike. If he can’t afford her, he needs to cut her loose and reset his sights. If in the extreme that means that only the desperate fuglies are available to him, that’s on him. This applies even if a man has game … because most wives will give endless financial fitness tests to a husband who is perceived as not keeping up for whatever reason. If it takes the strenuous application of game on his part for the marriage to survive his financial shortcomings real or perceived, the wife is not much better than a whore in that situation. I’d say the “or worse” and “or poorer” clauses are just words to her. I do realize there exist exceptional women who don’t live that way, God bless them! but they are the exception, not the rule in my experience.

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