Ask Toi: Is gifting my husband a gift spent from the joint account the same as him buying his own gift?

So this comes from a stay at home mom who doesn’t have her own income.  She recently purchased her husband a birthday gift and he told her she should return it because it would be no different than him buying himself a gift.  The wife wrote me and is devastated as she thought the gift was nicely done.

My answer is yes.  It’s a yes ONLY on the premise that you aren’t fortunate to live with a partner who understands the concept of one pot.  There shouldn’t be in my opinion yours and his.  He knew that you were a stay at home mom.  Should you not have access to do as you need to do.  Unless he said no gifts than I think he is making this an issue.  The bigger issue is that he wanted you to return the gift.  He didn’t explain anything further other than it would be like him buying it himself instead of taking the gesture from his wife.  I think you and him should  have a conversation about the pot and what is okay and what is not okay when you are working in the home and he is working out of the home.  It needs to be understood that if you had your own money and purchased himself it would be okay and quite frankly if its okay he needs to let it be okay for you to have the opportunity to express gifts to him as well for special occasions.  I really hope that you and your husband works things out on the financial level as this issue is actually a good way to clarify how he views your ability to use the money in your account.  It’s not just about the gift its your ability to use the money on the same level as he would.  Since you’re not working you wouldn’t view the gift from him as you buying it for yourself.  He does because he still views it as his money.  As long as you can’t get pass what is HIS, you will bump heads along the way. Good luck!

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