Friday, February 24, 2012

Ignoring the obvious

Yesterday's close call with having to drive downtown amidst the skyscrapers got me to realizing that if I don't like something I avoid it and/or ignore it, hoping it will go away. I did that for most of my married life with our finances and trying to deal with Dh and his spending.  I just tried not to think about it and hoped it would go away.  Of course it did not!  Funny how that works.

The past couple of years has been a growing experience for me in terms of how to better handle our finances. Dh has never wanted to be in charge of keeping track of it, he just wanted it to be there when he wanted to spend it. In order to avoid dealing with him over it I just let him spend it. He wasn't so much a personal spender (though when he does it's usually something big, which is just as bad) as spending big on his business.  He expected me to handle those finances too..and expected the money to be there when he wanted it. When business was good in the summer I couldn't get him to set aside some for the winter when work was almost non existent (yet the finance companies still wanted their payments).  So, he'd borrow from his Line of Credit and charge up the credit card...and the cycle would begin all over the next year.

Honestly, I was never so relieved as when his business (and us personally, because he wasn't incorporated) went bankrupt. It was finally over! At the same time this was all happening I had settled into my current decent paying job and we were at least able to live on one income.  I am the one who has to keep all this together and not fall into debt again.  My two side jobs help give us some cushion and now some money each month towards savings. I will not allow us to get another credit card.  I was thinking we should have one because of emergencies, but I know eventually it would get maxed out, so I've come to realize I'm staying away from credit cards.  We haven't charged anything for over 3 years (one year before Bankruptcy, during the LONG year it took to finalize) and now the 15 months since.  And it feels great!

I'm not ignoring our finances anymore and I'm not ignoring Dh and his wanting money to magically appear just because he wants something.  Sure, he's getting mad at me more and more, but I'm holding my ground. I have over $2500 saved up in the past 2 months and I am tracking my expenses.  Of course, it would be better if I could tell him about the savings I have set aside, but I'm not that strong yet.  If he knew about the money I've set aside in my EF, he would use every argument, pout, big puppy eyes, beg, and then get mad at me trick he could come up with to try and get me to part with it. Mentally, he is a child as far as money goes, and though I never wanted to admit that to myself, he is, and I have to adjust how I handle him and our money because of that.

As for the drive downtown - even though I didn't end up having to do it, I was prepared! I had directions printed both ways, looked into where to park, what floor in the building I needed to go to, I had my debit card and cash with me for whichever I would need for parking, I had 2 company checks ready to take, just in case I messed up writing one.  I had no plans to ignore it and hope it worked out getting there and back.  Nope, I'm in charge of this trip now.


  1. I'm pretty sure this is going to sound offensive, but why do you stay with your hubby? I'm so sorry because this is so none of my business, but every time you mention him I wonder why you don't kick him to the curb!

    I really enjoy your blog and your honesty is refreshing! Good luck

  2. I'm not offended. It's been a struggle, to say the least, but I guess I'm just one of those "for better or worse" types. And honestly, since he can't work and support himself now due to his health condition I can't see myself abandoning him now. He has gotten a lot better about spending the past few years and I am just learning I need to keep my resolve to be in charge of our money now, in a positive direction. Last night he wanted to buy something on ebay for his air compressor, so I agreed, and then he turned around and listed something for sale to offset the purchase, so that is a step in the right direction, he bought a used part and is selling something unneeded to offset the cost, which I wasn't expecting. Thanks for reading and commenting! It's hard to be honest about it all sometimes, but I think it's helping me stay focused on what I need to do to live within our one income.

  3. It takes time to change habits. Approximately 3 years on average per some study I cannot name but remember reading. That's about how long it has been for the spouse and I to really change our relationship with money. We still have issues here and there but we're cresting the hill and beginning to coast now. The spouse was a lot like your hubby (and I was even worse) and, like you, I've been the one leading this change. He's catching up though. He has some really bad days when he's jonesing for Amazon, Best Buy or the mall but I tell him that he just has to get through that day (and the next) without spending money and, yes, he gets mad at me. I use the 'early retirement' argument to keep both him and I on track.

  4. My parents have been married for over 45 years and my Mom started "hiding" money from my Dad about 5 years ago. My Dad has always been the spender of the family and the "live for today" guy ... while my Mom was the saver and the bill payer. It worked as long as they were both working full time, but after they both retired, their income was cut in half. Many, many financial fights ensued. My Dad got angry with my Mom for being a "cheapskate" and my Mom got angry with my Dad for spending everything all the time. My Mom finally told my Dad that she needed X amount from his pension & social security checks each month for fixed expenses ... it's more than she actually needs for the bills, but she stashes part of that money in a bedroom drawer so when my Dad says he's "out of money", my Mom just hands him some cash - the rest of the overage goes into a savings account and my Dad has no idea - Mom has replaced her fridge and paid an unexpected tax bill with this money. It's made things so much easier for my Mom - she told me her little secret a couple years back and I was very supportive. My Dad is content because he has this money that he can spend on whatever he likes and my Mom is happy because she has a little cushion for the unexpected.

    1. That's pretty much exactly what I have to do. The nice part is I make the money and manage it, so I have pretty good control over how much I want to "hide". At this point, I doubt my Dh will ever change his money ways, so I am just going to keep working toward managing the money and HIM better. Thanks for sharing your story - it's nice to know I'm not the only one out there in this situation