Frugal living can be a great way to save money, but it is important to be mindful of the impact it has on others. If frugal living leads to people taking food or other resources from those who are less fortunate, then it is no longer a sustainable or ethical lifestyle. A user asked on the forum, “Am I wrong for wanting some space because of how my husband “buys” groceries?
Here’s the whole story.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The original poster (OP) has been in a committed relationship with her husband for 17 years. Overall, things have been great, although they have had a few rough patches.
“It’s important to note that while he earns more than me and is considered the main provider, I have a substantial trust fund that ensures we’re financially stable. I work part-time as a teacher while attending university, earning less than him, and most of my income goes toward tuition. Our household income exceeds $200k annually, while the average in our area is below $50k,” she says.
The main issue is the frugality of the OP’s husband. “He likes to control my spending and have the final say on how he uses his earnings. It’s worth mentioning that I’ve never used any of his income and have no intention to do so,” says she.
THE REAL ISSUE
The main point of contention between the OP and her husband is his frequent visits to food banks. Despite having more than enough food at home, he insists on going to food banks to save money.
“He intentionally looks disheveled and uses our beat-up car to blend in, even though he’s never experienced food scarcity. I’ve explained to him the need for food donations in our community, even showing him social media posts from local food banks, but he remains indifferent, ” says the OP.
She even suggested he volunteer or donate to gain firsthand experience, but he refused. “The unfortunate part is that since we’re never short on food, most of what he brings home ends up getting thrown away,” says OP.
WHAT DID OP’S HUSBAND DO?
“Today, I discovered our fridge filled with fresh produce and meat that clearly didn’t come from our regular grocery store. When I confronted my husband, he admitted to going to a food bank after seeing a Facebook post about a fresh food donation.”
The unfortunate part is that there are other genuinely needy poor people in the neighborhood who could really use this food. “People on social media were already asking if any was left, and there wasn’t,” said the OP.
HE DOESN’T CARE
“I showed him these comments, but he brushed them off, claiming people should have gone earlier,” Says OP.
WHAT DID OP DO?
Exhausted by the situation and his lack of compassion, she packed a bag and went to stay with her brother for the weekend, asking for space to think things over.
WHAT DO THE HUSBAND AND HIS FAMILY THINK?
“My husband accuses me of overreacting, being vindictive, and threatens to go back to the food banks regardless of my feelings. His family is also messaging me, calling me names, and urging me to stop interfering with his choices. I turned off my phone, but now they’re bombarding my brother with messages. Thankfully, he supports my decision and ignores them.”
WHY DID THE OP WALK AWAY?
Says she, “All I want is to enjoy the rest of my week without being angry at my husband. Yes, I could let this go and not scold him, but the food he takes could have gone to people who truly need it. I’m not leaving my husband, but I need a few days away to gain some clarity.”
She asks, “Am I wrong for wanting this space?” Here are the responses she got.
I WOULD WANT PERMANENT SPACE
“This is completely unhinged. A man making 200k while married to a woman with a trust fund going to a food bank is unacceptable. I couldn’t live like that, and I also couldn’t live with someone controlling how the money was spent. You are absolutely not wrong to want space. I would want permanent space.”
MAKE COUNSELING A CONDITION FOR RETURNING HOME
“I imagine there is some kind of food insecurity or trauma around food in the husband’s past that makes him essentially steal food that he doesn’t even need. (I know it’s not legally stealing – but ethically, it is.)
I’m wondering what his early childhood was like – whether either of his parents was addicted, whether the food was readily available etc. I would make counseling a condition of any return home. He can afford it, and it might help save the marriage.”
HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED
“I’d repack any box he brought home, take it back to where he got it, show them his picture while explaining the truth about what he’s doing, & suggest they ban him until he can provide verifiable proof that he’s in need. (In the future, he might be in need).
Every food bank would have been alerted after the first time he pulled this. I’ve been almost homeless & had to use the food bank to survive. People like OP’s husband hurt those who actually need it & he should be ashamed.
There’s a big problem here that needs to be dealt with asap, even if it takes naming & shaming him to get him to stop stealing from people in need. Therapy is also a good idea to work on the other issues. Divorce isn’t off the table, though, since he doesn’t understand what he’s doing is wrong on so many levels & insists that he should keep doing it. He’s like a fictional villain stealing from the poor to stay rich.”
HE IS STEALING FROM THE LESS FORTUNATE
“Your husband is stealing from less fortunate people. I’m frugal, too, and I like to save money where I can. I use coupons, buy store brands vs. name brands for some products, etc. What your husband is doing isn’t frugality; it’s being a mean person.
I would go to the food bank with his photo and speak to the person in charge. Tell them you’re sorry your husband has been coming, but you want to let them know he does not need a food bank. I’d offer to make a charitable donation to cover the food he has taken from them. I don’t know if they can outright refuse him, but it’s worth a shot. They should be aware.
For you: You say he likes to control how you spend money. He sounds financially abusive. Please consider making that week away from him permanent.
Do you have access to his finances? This may be an overreaction, but I’d be worried he’s also committing welfare fraud.”
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