Two-Month Allowance
June 3, 2009 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I've a boyfriend visiting me for a couple of months soon, from outside the US. Funds on his end are quite low, as he's still a student, so I'll be supporting both of us while he's here. (I'm happy to do it, I've a steady full-time job and I've really missed him since he was last here, a few months ago.) What I'd like to know is, would it be appropriate for me to also give him some spending cash for whatever small things he'd like to get for himself, during his stay? A prepaid card of sorts? And, how should I approach this without making him feel like he's completely dependent on me, even if that might be the reality? I'd like to be delicate.

Information that might be relevant or helpful:

* We've been dating for several years, although this is the longest visit so far.
* Neither one of us has any weird spending habits, and we're on the same page when we've discussed various aspects of finances previously.
* I bought the tickets for this flight and his previous one - and he's admitted to feeling a little like he already "owes" me, though I don't share the same sentiment. That's why I'd like to be delicate about the extra spending money issue.
* I'm completely fine with supporting him while he's here. He's a total sweetheart when it comes to helping me around my place. He loves cooking, so I always have help with dinner, he's great about keeping things clean, and we never argue about one person not pulling their weight in the relationship.

I'm probably giving more details than necessary, but I've found that mefi is a curious place and it's good to cover all bases with anonymous questions :)

What it basically boils down to is: how much, and how?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total)
 
"Hey babe, I don't want you to feel like you're dependent on me or anything, so how 'bout I just throw some cash your way, spend it however you like, ok?"

"What, you feel like you're sponging off me? Eh, I consider it paying for sex, so make it good and we'll call it even."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:40 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Place a jar somewhere in the house and keep cash in it. Say it's spending cash for the both of you and he should feel free to take money when he needs it. This way he won't feel so emasculated, you'll give him a level of control, and he won't have to feel guilty asking you for money when he really needs it. It'll create more of a partner-situation, and less of a mommy-can-I-have-my-allowance sort of scenario.

I'm assuming of course that you trust him to be reasonable with how much he takes and when.
posted by Grimble at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Assuming you'll be at work most days while he is at home, I'd leave a few hundred around "in case you think of something we need" and let him feel free to pick up groceries and extra what-nots at his discretion. Replenish the fund as needed, and if at any time he says "Oh, I saw this cool thing at the store today" tell him "There's plenty of money in the envelope, why don't you buy it?" This makes it feel less like he is a "kept man" and more like there are household funds to spent on enjoyable things, and while he's part of the household he is entitled to spend that money.

Or, on preview, pretty much what Grimble said.
posted by philotes at 1:45 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe have him do the grocery shopping? Give him an "allowance" of, say, $50 a week (I think two people can eat on $20-$30 a week, but this may vary if you eat nothing buy Kraft Dinner or shop at Whole Foods or whatever). Ask him to do you a favor, pick up food for the week while you're at work, and not to worry about a receipt or change.

That way you're not giving him an explicit hand out, and he feels like he's earning it.

And, from someone who's been in a long-distance thing before; I hope you have a lot of fun! Two months! Yay!
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:46 PM on June 3, 2009


it was pretty cool when my girlfriend gave me a second card on one of her credit accounts. maybe give him his own card?
posted by lester at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2009


If he is going to be with you for several months I think the most important thing is to establish an expectation that he is a partner not a guest. Shared responsibilities and obligations. A reasonable division of labor (and fun)--cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands etc. I am not suggesting you give him a list of things to do an hour after he arrives. But soon after the glow of ( re)acquaintance there will be opportunities. He may volunteer to do some chores/duties-accept graciously. Or you may need to ask for help. If a rhythm of sharing emerges I like the idea of making some money available for joint expenses/fun ( The Jar as described by Grimble). If a rhythm of sharing does not emerge, or you can not help nurture one, perhaps he is a guest and not a partner. Then it is up to you to decide about sharing money. My guess is he will want to actively contribute, he will feel better. If he does not, well, you will have that much more information.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:59 PM on June 3, 2009


How's about asking him "hey honey, what do you think is the best way for us to deal with money while you're here?" Assuming he's a reasonable person, he'll come up with a reasonable answer. And then take him at his word. Letting him take a bit of control in this situation best keeps you two on even footing.
posted by Pineapplicious at 2:08 PM on June 3, 2009


"What, you feel like you're sponging off me? Eh, I consider it paying for sex, so make it good and we'll call it even."

That's mad hot. Make him prostitute himself the whole time. As long as it's not a permanent arrangement, that sounds like fun.
posted by Netzapper at 2:15 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with Brandon and Netzapper.

And there are tons of ways for him to make money, btw. He could tutor in his native language, for example.
posted by charlesv at 2:17 PM on June 3, 2009


I was once a poor student, visiting an international girlfriend, for three months. I didn't keep tabs (neither did she), but I would have ended up many hundreds of dollars in her debt. She didn't give me an allowance as such, but anything we'd both use (train tickets, food, petrol, etc.) she'd pay for. I had a little of my own money which I used for small personal purchases.

I think the 'prostitution' idea sounds like fun, if that kind of thing would be cool between you. The more you talk about it and make it into an issue, the worse it'll be. Just leave cash around, tell him it's for whatever he needs (groceries, etc) and never let him get away with feeling bad about it.
posted by twirlypen at 2:23 PM on June 3, 2009


Just show him where you keep your extra spending money so that he can access it if he needs / wants to buy something frivolous (like a video game or cool American T-shirt!)

Since he's good at helping with errands and chores, send him out for groceries and such while you're at work and just throw 30$ (or whatever yo spend each trip to the store) at him.

I kinda feel like he would feel worse taking some of the extra spending money, but not as guilty if you give him money for necessary consumables.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:26 PM on June 3, 2009


Make him prostitute himself the whole time.

Whatever works for them, but I only throwing that suggestion out there as a way of lightheartedly saying "Don't worry about it, lets just have fun." Depending on his temperament and ego, some of the other suggestions might work better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on June 3, 2009


Seconding getting a secondary card for your bank account or credit card account. I was and still am in the same situation as your boyfriend, and it's nice not to have to ask for money every time I go grocery shopping.
posted by halogen at 2:52 PM on June 3, 2009


"What I'd like to know is, would it be appropriate for me to also give him some spending cash for whatever small things he'd like to get for himself, during his stay?"

The question is, do you feel this is appropriate? I really don't think it's our place to say. Go with your gut.

"And, how should I approach this without making him feel like he's completely dependent on me, even if that might be the reality? I'd like to be delicate."

I don't think this can be avoided. No matter how delicately you approach it, no matter how you frame it, he's probably going to feel just a little ashamed at the need to take money from you, if indeed you decide to give him some money at all. What will be the biggest factor though is how mature he is to accept it if he's offered. Will he take it, feeling a little guilty but grateful at the gesture? Or will he take/reject it and let his pride ruin everything? Again, you;d know the answer better than we would. You need to make the call.

But a thought that just popped into my head as I'm typing, is you could decieve him for his own good. If he's from overseas, there's a chance he dosen't know the exchange rate. Find out what it is. If $1 of his money = .70c of your money, offer to exchange his money for him (tell him you looked into the exchange rate and thought you'd save him the hassle of a trip to the money exchange) and give him $1.50 of your money for every $1 of his (or whatever exchange rate you feel is appropriate). This way he thinks he's still self sufficent, but dosen't realise he's actually getting a really good deal, and some extra cash to boot.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:24 PM on June 3, 2009


Perhaps if he is willing to get into a situation like this he is not as preoccupied with money as all that. Why not go with the assumption that when opportunity allows he'll return the favor.
posted by semmi at 5:54 PM on June 3, 2009


I would be a tiny bit more restrained about letting him have a second card on your account. Let's face it, you aren't married (yet); there may not be that level of trust in the relationship. Maybe you should be just a tiny bit cautious about giving him access to your entire net worth.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 7:42 PM on June 3, 2009


nthing "pointless" - just because you love someone, doesn't meant the relationship is ready for the strain that shared credit can bring. Just leave a few hundred in cash in a jar for the "household".
posted by saradarlin at 8:10 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


just because you love someone, doesn't meant the relationship is ready for the strain that shared credit can bring.

Yeah, I was hesitant to say so, but I have heard far too many nightmare stories about people who went wild on a supplemental card to think it's a good idea for someone to do that. It is really not a good idea.
posted by winna at 10:26 PM on June 3, 2009


Assuming you're going to give him like $300 why not just say you won $600 at the track/video poker or whatever and say "$300 for you, $300 for me?"

I mean, if you're not going with the prostitution thing b/c that's an even better idea.
posted by hamida2242 at 11:02 PM on June 3, 2009


hamida2242, most people don't enjoy lying to their significant others, for whatever reason.
posted by halogen at 4:37 AM on June 4, 2009


"What, you feel like you're sponging off me? Eh, I consider it paying for sex, so make it good and we'll call it even."

That's mad hot. Make him prostitute himself the whole time. As long as it's not a permanent arrangement, that sounds like fun.


Seriously? That's mad insulting. I'd rather not take any money at all.
posted by aquafortis at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2009


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