More men are taking care of the household and the kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re in control of the finances.
On a recent Tuesday, I went grocery shopping. I turned down the cereal aisle and saw two of my neighbors – also married men like myself. They were each studying the ingredients on two different cereal boxes. One neighbor looked up and shouted, “Where real men meet!”
All of us work part-time – as writer, bounce house salesman, and short order cook – and we take care of the kids while our wives bring home the bigger paycheck. That’s such a big trend these days, merchandisers have started marketing to us. According to a Wall Street Journal article…
Food makers, including giants Kraft Food Groups Inc. and General Mills Inc., eager for any potential new sales, are trying to win over men. Research indicates men are doing a greater share of the grocery shopping and meal preparation.
But products geared toward men – like Powerful Yogurt, with the slogan “Find Your Inner Abs” – might not work on guys like me. A study by Child’s Play Communications, a public relations agency for moms, concludes that even though more dads are going grocery shopping, moms still make many of the financial decisions, especially when it comes to children.
In fact, moms in the survey said only 1.1 percent of dads were entirely responsible for buying children’s toys and clothes. That’s definitely true in my household. My wife also dominates spending on pieces of furniture, appliances, light fixtures, bedding, comforters, sheets, and the throw rugs she occasionally purchases without my “permission.”
I’m comfortable with giving up control on certain things. But some aspects of the household finances still belong to the man, and Child’s Play survey revealed three of them…
- 55.3 percent of moms and 62.2 percent of dads said that dad was entirely responsible for buying decisions related to home repair
- Half of moms and 57 percent of dads said dad had sole responsibility for lawn and garden
- Roughly a third or more moms said dads handle all decision making for automobiles (38.4 percent of moms, 48.6 percent of dads)
Speaking from personal experience, I don’t think arguing about who’s in charge of which financial decision is worth the aggravation. If my wife wants to buy a piece of furniture, she’ll let me know and even ask for my opinion – but she buys the piece she wants. If I need a new ratchet set, I don’t ask. I go out and buy it.
And when I go grocery shopping, I always bring a list so I don’t waste money on things we don’t need, and I don’t forget the fabric softener – because I don’t think about things like fabric softener. It’s a running joke between me and my two neighbors who also do the grocery shopping. We don’t forget meat, bread and beer, but fabric softener is a problem. So after my neighbor yelled out,“Where real men meet,” he followed up with, “Hey Brian, don’t forget the fabric softener or your wife will be mad!” I don’t think I’ll ever forget it again.