Dissipating Her Husband’s Substance

Dissipating Her Husband’s Substance

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones (Proverbs 12:4). “Solomon seems to intend by this appellation, a woman who has all the perfections of her sex; wisdom, modesty, prudence, virtue, and, above all, economy and good management; and by her who maketh ashamed, he means the contrary; and particularly a woman who dissipates her husband’s substance in expensive follies; in the same manner as he called a libertine a prodigal son, a son that causeth shame.” (Benson Commentary)

Many women today are spendthrifts. They are continually going shopping and spending money or scouring the Internet for things to buy. The average woman makes 301 trips to the store annually, spending close to 400 hours a year shopping. This amounts to 8.5 years spent shopping during a typical lifespan. They are not content with what they have and must have more and more. A friend of mine just had dinner with a man whose wife was rottenness in his bones. She didn’t like the color of the Hummer he had bought her and wanted a new one. She spent all of his hard-earned money and was never satisfied. He was a broken and miserable man. Unfortunately, these types of stories aren’t uncommon in today’s materialistic society.

There are other women who go deep into debt by going to college and taking out big loans. Then when they marry their husbands, the husbands have the added burden of trying to pay off their wives’ loans, plus these same women want expensive wedding rings. Women, this isn’t using wisdom! We don’t need an expensive college education, the latest fashions, expensive haircuts and manicures, spa days, elaborate vacations, new cars, perfectly decorated homes, eating out often (Americans now spend more money on dining out than groceries), etc. if all these mean we are dissipating our husband’s income. We must not be rottenness to their bones but strive to be virtuous women who are a crown to our husbands instead, for godliness with contentment is great gain.

Here are some examples of virtuous wives who live contentedly within their husband’s income and are a crown to them.

 Laine lives within her husband’s income and has learned to be content with little. She found joy in living carefully and frugally while praying for wisdom often. “Every paycheck, I do my best to put a little away. Even if it is only a little, it is a savings. We have a savings account, a retirement account where a sum is taken out of my husband’s salary each month, and an emergency account for emergencies. There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders all that he has (Proverbs 21:20).

I do my best to keep our electrical and water bills as low as possible. When we were in an electrical crisis and our bill tripled overnight, we went into a very small, hip high refrigerator with no freezer and shut down our water heater. …We had to heat our water to bathe and to wash dishes. It was rough for awhile, but I was able to keep us on our budget. (She admits that they had to truly sacrifice to get out of debt and this is an example of a sacrifice they made, no hot running water for a time.)”

Here’s another woman who was a crown to her husband by living within her husband’s income. “I make my own cleaning products, personal care products, and most condiments. I would also add that we have a child with multiple severe food allergies, and I do buy our staple foods in organic versions and make all my own baked goods, treats, etc. from healthier ingredients.

We have SLOW Internet, no cable. No smartphones. No fancy gadgets. We do have newer vehicles, one that we are still paying on, and my hubby just bought a motorcycle for its fuel efficiency for his commute. We have a small backyard flock of chickens for egg and for meat.”

Then there are all of the women who I have asked how they have been able to stay home and live within their husband’s income. One woman responded, “For me, the most important change for making it on one income was mental. When I quit practicing law, I kept finding a quote that the path of Christianity is one of ‘downward mobility.’ Trusting that there is greater peace, joy, and fullness of life with less money/stuff/conveniences was key for me. Also, I personally don’t make my own laundry soap, can, thrift, etc. That is WONDERFUL for those who do, but tips like that would’ve scared me off the one-income idea. I say this just in case someone is reading this thinking, ‘Obviously, we can’t live on one income because I can’t do all of that!’ Those of us brought up to be career women have a hard enough time with the transition! But there are lots of ways to save money that don’t require Mom to be a domestic creative genius. We eat out pretty infrequently, drive older, long-paid-off cars, no cable or up-to-date electronics, ‘vacation’ only by visiting family, etc. I miss nothing that I used to spend money on, and find family life so much richer than financial wealth!”

It is your choice: do you want to be a crown to your husband by living carefully within his income or rottenness in his bones by spending more than he earns?

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12

44 thoughts on “Dissipating Her Husband’s Substance

  1. Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head… for me. You (with the help of the Holy Spirit) seem to always speak to me where I need it the most.

    My hubby and I are planning a little camping trip away this weekend. I’ve struggled all week because I’ve got this picture perfect idea of what camping should look like (think: glamping) and have wanted to make multiple trips to Dollar Tree (it’s only a buck, right?) to purchase items that seem necessary. The honest truth: we don’t have the extra money right now. The point of camping was supposed to have been: cheap getaway. I’d just sat down to plan my next trip to the store when this article caught my eye. *big sigh* I needed this reminder to focus on priorities. Thank you and God bless.

  2. Lori, you refer to the money that a husband makes as his, but I would think it’s their money.

  3. Be careful with this, for many years we would go camping and I loved it! Then we stopped and I think part of the reason was I had to take so much “just in case we need it”. Seriously, I packed way too much and the packing and unpacking was a chore, and I am convinced that this is part of why we stopped going. You really don’t need all that much to camp. Thankfully, my husband is talking about going again, and I hope I am wiser this time when packing. For me, I have a plan, just enjoy the time away without the distractions, enjoy my husband and family and take as little as possible. Have fun!

  4. My husband and I were discussing a co-worker of his and how he always has to have the newest and greatest things. And not just that, he also has to have the most expensive, because obviously it must be better if it costs more right? My husband told him that he was trading all those things for a good wife. He told him that he was trading his cars and toys for a wife that cooks and is available to him and that he was (my favorite part of what he said) trading material things for the things that really matter in life. He said his co-worker didn’t say anything, and that he thought he must already know this. This conversation just about brought tears to my eyes, and made me very proud. I am so proud that he doesn’t value things over me.

  5. Hi, Lori, another great post 🙂 Would you mind doing a post about the opposite situation where the husband is the spendrift and loves eating out, buying fancy things but has a ton of debt… Meanwhile, he wants to put having children off and wants me to work so that he can afford to continue his lavish lifestyle…I do what I can to help, don’t spend any money on myself, cook meals at home, etc etc… Thank you! 🙂 What would your advice be?

  6. Dear Lori,
    Another timely message! My sweet husband has been so very blessed in his chosen occupation and is up for a promotion. He makes quite a comfortable living. We could easily afford a housekeeper, but I said no. It is a privilege to take care of my own house and make it a clean place of rest and welcome for my family. I also find it stress-relieving to cook, can you imagine that? 🙂

    But what I love the most about being frugal is that we are able to share with those who are less fortunate.


  7. Another “Do as I say, not as I do.” post.
    You do realize your $70 skirt was more than your readers probably have for groceries each week?

  8. I prefer to not dwell on what I deserve, as the feminists have tried to train us to do, but to be thankful for a husband who works hard to provide for me.

  9. I bought it when it was on sale, Michelle, but I have always lived within my husband’s income and do not spend a lot of money on myself. I own three skirts. I like quality when I do buy something. There is always room for improvement, but the point of this post is to not spend all of our husband’s hard earned money and my husband knows that I am careful with his money. He appreciates this about me.

  10. Follow the advice given by the LORD in 1 Peter 3:1-6, Alina. Give it all to the LORD in prayer for Him to convict and change your husband while you learn to be a godly, submissive wife to him. In the meantime, learn to be as frugal as you can. The LORD hears your prayers!

  11. Amen! I think it’s rather fun and romantic to refer to my husbands earnings as “his”. He is such a generous man and a good provider. It helps me appreciate him even more.

  12. I agree. Feminists have taught women to be so selfish and self-oriented that the last thing they need to concentrate on is it being “their” money! Our husbands are our head, our providers, and we submit to their leadership. It’s God’s plan, not mine.

  13. Lori,

    I have the loveliest little vintage ceramic “scoop” spoon rest hanging in our kitchen above our range. It says:

    “The wife can throw out more with a scoop
    Than a man can bring in with a shovel.”

    Another version of this is an old saying, “The wife can throw more out the back door than a man can bring in through the front.”


  14. Forgive me if I am reading something into this that is not there, but what does it matter how much her skirt cost?

    This reminds me of the time Lori done a post about keeping things clean and there was a picture of a kitchen from a lady in the chatroom and people got upset and started posting that “most people couldn’t afford a kitchen like that living on just one income and a nice kitchen like that is beyond most of the ladies that read these posts income” Again, I say so what? No, we don’t have the money for me to spend $70 on a skirt, nor do we have the money for a “nice” kitchen like the one in the previous post, but I am not going to post about how unfair it is. It reminds me so much of the younger generation and how everything has to be “fair”. If you want everything to be “fair”, then guess what? We deserve to die for our sins, it wasn’t fair that Jesus willingly took our place was it?

    It sounds like jealousy to me. What ever happened to being happy with what you have? Why does everyone have to be jealous if some are better off than others? Honestly, if you think about it, there is always someone worse off than you, for example homeless people, widows, moms who have lost their children. Rather than be jealous of what someone else has, ask yourself the question “Why do I deserve so much?”

    Not to come off sounding holier than thou, because trust me, I’m not, but I do feel like people sometimes just look for something to complain about.

    Proverbs 27:15 – A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

    As always, Lori please feel free to not post this if you think it will cause problems.

  15. You do realize it is all relative? Maybe some readers can afford $700 skirts and others can afford none. The post is about being conscientious spenders and living within your means, and means are different for everyone.

  16. My husband’s grandfather was famous for saying, “I’m not a rich man, so I can’t afford cheap clothes.” I think there is great wisdom in this statement. Is it more prudent to have to replace cheap and poor quality clothing often (using gas and time in the process) or to save up to purchase high-quality garments that will last a lifetime? My husband and I are perfect examples of these opposite scenarios. My husband grew up in a family that subscribed to the grandfather’s scenario and they would save up to buy high-quality classic pieces of clothing with the goal of having them for a long time. My husband still subscribes to this way of thinking and, as a result, he still has his same clothes from 15 years ago that are in great shape!

    I, on the other hand, grew up in a family that was always barely scraping by and we bought very cheap clothes out of necessity, since saving up for good ones wasn’t a priority over some other things. Well I have always purchased very, very inexpensive clothing and have had to replace my clothes every 1-2 years most of my life. My husband was always saying earlier on in our marriage, “Didn’t we JUST by you those clothes that now have holes and are wearing thin?” and I would say, “No, we got these a while ago…Like a year or two.” He would say, “Honey, a year or two is not a long time. Your clothes should not be in bad shape after that short of time. If you will purchase quality items then they will save money and last forever.” I also personally think that doing this helps everyone manage their weight too so that their clothes always fit them.

    It is REALLY hard training my brain to spend more now to save a ton more in the long run, but it is part of being prudent and practice delayed gratification as you save up. I also find that cheap clothing can cost more if it has a designer brand name on it, so I don’t care about the name and go straight for quality instead. I bought a pair of quality heels 12 years ago that I wore almost every day for years when I worked and they are still going strong. I want to be a wife who is wise when investing for the future, instead of adopting the pius attitude I once had in thinking that purposely buying cheap clothes made me more noble somehow. I look back on all those years of constantly replacing work clothing and realize that I could have saved my husband much hard-earned income by holding off for a bit and buying higher quality clothing in the first place. Now I have to make up for lost time (and income) and follow my husband’s example. Just my 2 cents…

  17. I must agree with your husband’s co-worker. After being married for 21 years to a wife who had $106,000 in student loan debt and a brand new car when I married her. Yehaw!

    She is not huge dollar spendthrift, though. No, she likes to spend it under $20 on blood letting basis, so you don’t actually know where it went.

  18. You’re welcome, RH, and yes, it’s good to step back at times and take an objective look at what we’re doing to see whether or not it is beneficial and/or needed. Have fun on your camping trip!

  19. We camp all the time. We live simply and both bring in income as we are saving to buy our own place, and It’s the best way to spend our limited resources on getaways. I’m as tomboy as they come and have always loved roughing it. We love to camp, hike, kayak & fish.

  20. Thank you, HH, and I debated whether or not to post this comment but I get these types of comments frequently and I agree with you. There so much talk about being “fair” and life is NEVER fair. Ken gave our children a long lecture about this when they were young and our children were never heard saying, “That’s not fair!” They knew it wasn’t fair that they lived in America, had full tummies at night, and soft beds to sleep in and others do not. We must learn to be thankful and content with what we have and not be covetous towards others who have more since there will always be others with “more” than us.

  21. That’s a perspective I hadn’t thought of. My husband and I refer to “his” money as “our” money. I’ve always thought of it as a way to demonstrate oneness, rather than a way for me to be selfish or try to minimize my husband’s provisions. When we were first married, we had both been working for several years, so we had our own bank accounts. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it was some time before we merged our accounts, but even when our money was separate, we thought of it as ours.

  22. Oh my! Buying things online is my weakness. Although i make sure bills are paid and groceries are bought first. And i wait until extra money is there. But i still feel a pang of guilt when something unexpected comes up and we dont have the money to pay for it. Theres a thrill that one gets when a parcel arrives at your door. Its like christmas day. But theres nothing worse than the guilty feeling i described above. I need to be more wise with ,my spending.

    I don’t mind calling it my husband’s money. He worked hard to earn it. And he is gracious enough to share it with me. It would be the same the other way round. My husbamd could use the money on himself, he has every right to. But he loves me and wants to use it to make sure i am taken care of. ??

  23. I agree, TJFW! The “expensive” skirt that was mentioned is a very well made skirt and I wear it almost every day. It’s almost the most comfortable skirt I have ever worn! We most often get what we pay for and quality does last a lot longer. Thank you!

  24. Ken has always shared his money freely with me, too, but I do try to be careful and make sure I ask him whenever I buy something above the limit that he has set for me. We are blessed, AnonM!

  25. Alina, be glad that your husband wants to put off having children so he can continue to pursue his chosen lifestyle.
    When we are married to men like that, and we have children, sadly not all men change their ways. When we have to drop to one income while having babies, even temporarily, it is nigh on impossible to survive. And as those children grow and their needs become more expensive, if the man still hasn’t changed their ways, it becomes even more impossible.
    For many years, I simply could not give up work due to this same problem (my husband has bipolar so he has cycles of spending lots and not spending so much). I returned to work when my babies were just 4 weeks old 🙁

    Trust me, there is nothing worse than having no food in the cupboards, an empty fridge, and no money in the bank because your husband has just been on a spending spree, buying more things he doesn’t need. There is no worse feeling in the word than trying to put hungry children to sleep; there is nothing worse than trying to ignore the cries of hungry children with empty bellies.

    Lori’s advice is good: just pray.

  26. I live in a small town in a very rural area. I have a good figure and like to dress nice. I am retired on a limited income. I have a nice wardrobe with good quality clothes. I am not a real shopping enthusiast. My saving grace. A real great St. Vincent de Paul store in town. I bop in the store every week or two. I got 2 real nice shirts for summer for $2 each the other day. I needed new kitchen knives and got a nice wood block with 8 knives for $3. Jewelry is 50 cents to a few dollars. I can treat myself to something nice for little money. It doesn’t bother me if things are gently used and it is fun to go to the store. I get lots of neat craft kits for next to nothing to. Also great household items. Give a thrift store a chance you would be surprised what you can find. I get almost everything I buy there.

  27. Me too Annette. I love thrift store shopping so much. I buy high quality items for a fraction of the price I’d pay anywhere else.

  28. Would you mind sharing some of the brands that are high quality, especially for children? I’m not familiar enough with brands to know what to get! But I’d like to make better choices for my family, even if it is at the thrift store! Thank you.

  29. This reminded me of a time when I was newly married… many moons ago. I was ordering Christmas cards and wanted to spend 200.00 on these over the top, lavishly gorgeous cards. I came from a family that was well to do and had also made my own money before I was married, so purchases like this did not even cause me to bat an eye. My husband made a modest income but was insistent on me staying home with our newborn, so I had said goodbye to graduate school and a potentially high paying career. When I told him about wanting to order the cards he said “no way!” I was stunned…. no one had ever told me no to something like this before, so I argued and argued, determined to get my way. Finally he said, “Do you realize how many hours of work I have to put in (at a job that I knew he didn’t like, I will add) just to buy those useless cards?” I will never forget how ashamed I felt after that… and now whenever I am tempted to buy something frivolous, I always think about how many hours my dear husband will have to work just for that one thing that will probably be forgotten months later.

  30. Zig Ziglar used to say that he brought home the living and his wife made the living worthwhile.


  31. Record your husband’s words in your Bible. Date them. When you read your Bible through every year, you’ll reread the TRUTH spoken by your husband giving glory to God. Priceless.


  32. Lori’s RIGHT: pray, sweetie, pray! God hears you and He is going to blow your mind!


  33. Hi Lori,
    I really appreciated this excellent post and all the helpful comments. It is a blessing to find encouragement in our efforts to honor God and our husbands with our finances. It isn’t always easy to be un-self-ish, but through the years, wisdom grows in the area of best use of our income.
    I’ve commented the following saying on a couple other blogs in the past but want to share it with your readers too:

    “My husband makes the money first and I make it last.”

    Don’t you love that? I think it originated as an “Amish saying.” My husband likes that I quote it and when folks ask him, “what does your wife do?” he likes to repeat this saying to them. *-D

    Thank you for your faithfulness to teach and encourage ladies on your excellent blog.
    Lori in Missouri

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