what's the best way: differences in financial power
I am not married yet, but I will be in three months and we live together and prepare for the wedding. Everything is set. For now, our finances are separate. We live in my house with my son and his two dogs. He doesn't have children. He also has a house he keeps and we will move into his house in a few years, after my son graduates high school. His house is mid-way between our jobs, now he has a longer commute. That's just as a little background. Second marriage for both of us.
Now, I make good money, low six figures, but he makes between 3 and 5 times as much as I do, depending on the year (he owns a business). He's a handy person and he's the type of man who always likes to have projects around the house. Well, he moved into my house and he started to have projects. I didn't contradict him, those projects were good ideas and I know it makes him happy to do such things. He built a sunroom and paid for it. Now he proposed to paint the house in the interior, because it hasn't been painted in 12 years. I said OK. It wasn't discussed who pays for it.
I make good money, but I just recently paid off a credit card debt that I was carrying around for about 13 years, and I was trying to build up some savings. I'm happy to be debt free and have excellent credit. Also, I do not make any income in the month of July, and for june and August I only make half of my usual take home pay. So I'm trying to save. Also, my family is coming over from overseas and the custom is that I will have to pay for all of their maintanance here. I want to cover a few things for the wedding also, although he'll pay for most of it, at least I'd like to cover flowers, photography etc. and he can pay for the venue/food. My family come for the wedding but stay a few weeks, which means I'll need to feed them for that long. I also have to pay about 1000 for my son's camp. So there are expenses going ahead and honestly, I only have 12K saved right now in my account to pay for everything. I'll save some more May 1st from my paycheck but after that I won't get a full paycheck until September 1st.
My question is, how should I handle paying for the painting? He will pay for it if I don't offer, but I feel guilty/obligated to pay for it. Normally, I wouldn't have painted this year, I would have waited one or two years to build up some savings after paying down the debt. Should I pay for it and if later I'm left without funds to cover my summer expenses, I can ask him for help? I don't want to go into debt again. I have had to go into debt before in the summers due to home improvements, things breaking down, family visiting, childcare as single mom, plane tickets for son/family etc. I struggled to pay down everything so I can marry debt free. So should I pay the few thousands for painting or let him pay?
Right now, we have separate accounts and I pay everything in my house plus groceries, and he pays when we go out to eat and pays for his house. We discussed finances after marriage and initially he proposed to put all the money together. I asked if it's better to keep some together and some separate so there is no conflict about certain purchases or gifts, and he said no, we won't fight about expenses, let's keep it together. We discussed this twice or three times and he maintained the same idea. I was honestly happy he trusts me that way.
Now, yesterday, I was talking about budgeting and he said yeah, you can put my stuff and your stuff in mint and make a budget. So I asked so aren't we going to pool our finances like we discussed. He backpeddaled. He said that well, maybe we just make a new account jointly and we put 80% of our paycheck and keep 20% in separate accounts. That was my initial proposal that he said neah to, no need for that. But during the conversation he also confused me further with mentioning, or you can ask me for what money you want and I'll transfer it to you (implying separate accounts?). I said I really don't want separate accounts and to have to ask for money, it stresses me out. The 80/20 idea is good. But the fact that he now backpeddaled on his initial idea (not mine) to pool everything in one, makes me even more insecure about what he thinks about me maybe not paying enough for these home improvements or I don't know, maybe I did something to make him think I'm after money. I don't think I did anything, but there is a difference in our incomes and I can't afford certain things at the drop of a hat, I need to plan and save for them, I don't have the cash to drop on stuff immediately.
He also proposed a trip for us in the spring break and I dropped some cash unplanned on plane tickets. I think it's a matter of having different incomes and affording different things. So he says it doesn't matter who pays and he's happy to cover things, but then I feel bad to have him cover things and I feel hurt that he may think me as not paying enough or caring to use his money or something.
I don't even know what I'm saying, I'm just feeling a bit hurt about the backpedaling and confused about how to handle the pay for the painting (offer or not, since I don't really think I can afford to pay, without having to put credit card debt in July), my expenses ahead and communicating to him that it's not that I want his money or don't want to pay for things, I just can't afford things that aren't budgeted ahead.
Thanks a lot for the help!