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Carole
05-20-2008, 04:47 PM
I wonder how many of you are in the same rickety boat with me. At tax time this year, Mr. Vagabond and I sat at H & R Block watching as our total earnings for the year were tallied up, and then we picked our jaws off the floor when we saw the bottom line.

Where does all our money go!?

No, we don't have big incomes by a long stretch. I'd say that our household income is pretty average for our area. We have a super-cheap house that was a foreclosure, and our monthly housing payment is probably half that of our neighbors with much smaller places. We do have a ridiculously expensive truck that we seem to be stuck with for a little while, and that thing drinks gas like it's been in the desert for years and each gas station is the last oasis on earth. Oh well. It was expensive, but still affordable for us a year ago. Lately with gas prices going to the moon, not so much. (Note: When gas prices hit $4.00 here, it will cost us $112.00 to fill up the tank and I do that every week!!)

So this morning, sick of being broke and filled with inspiration to turn our spending practices around, I sat here with my favorite program of all time - Excel - and started an honest look at our finances. I opened up my bank account online and started a spreadsheet beginning with last payday, two Fridays ago. Nothing too unusual happened over the past 2 weeks, so I figured that would give me pretty good insight as to where we're being stupid.

First let me say that when I was finished, I saw that I actually spent $15 more than I earned last pay period. Did I mention that it's not even payday again? No idea how I managed that since I was down to almost nothing that Friday.

At the end of my little sheet, what I learned was that I could have saved close to $300 in the past 2 weeks if I had only not been stupid. Things I purchased with absolutely zero need include, but are not limited to: Extra Lysol (I already had three bottles of cleaner), More yarn for baby stuff (as if 900 - not really, but close - skeins of pink yarn aren't enough to clothe my brother's new baby for a year as it is!), two movies on DVD (we already own so many DVDs that they won't fit on the shelf in the living room), $60 worth of fast food, More soap (should I really need a whole bathroom drawer just to hold soap?), Q-tips, since I can't find the last pack I bought but know that it's here somewhere, and let's not forget all the food that just spoiled before we could eat it!

This is ridiculous. I think I need an intervention. With the way the economy is going, you would think I'd be a lot more cautious. I'm really not that dumb (Or am I?) so I should know better. Please tell me that I'm not the only one...

Seaclusion
05-20-2008, 05:23 PM
I wonder how many of you are in the same rickety boat with me. ...


My boat's not rickety, well not much anyway. I spend way too much on beer and restaurants. I think we have all gotten into the habit of spending without thinking. It has become so routine we don't even notice it.

My two pennies(not that I have any to spare)

Richard

Carole
05-20-2008, 05:38 PM
Spending without thinking. That's the thing. If it's there, I have money and I want it, I buy it without looking a week or two down the road. My younger son has it nailed. He loves money. So much, in fact, that he never spends any. He'll walk to work rather than drive his car just so he doesn't have to buy gas. (Then again he only works a few blocks from his dorm) He even goes to movies for free because he works at a theater. He takes his meals at his dorm's cafeteria (Good thing, since it's included in room and board. Better thing since he is on scholarships!) and he rarely goes to the mall to buy anything. If he wants something, he thinks about it for a while and plans it out. Where did he get this attitude? I have no earthly idea. Certainly not from me.

My husband is just as bad. He theorizes that we were to freakin dirt poor for so long that neither of us know how to be careful with money or even have the desire.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-20-2008, 05:44 PM
My boat's not rickety because I spend way too much on painting it, remodeling it, redecorating it, maintaining it and loving it. Along with similar unneeded purchases (how many bottles of shampoo, deodorant, kitchen d/w liquid and Comet do we need? How many bars of soap? How many pairs of socks? How many flashlights, batteries, cans of tuna, bottles of salad dressing?)

I'd write more, but I need to go shopping...

::sigh::

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 05:48 PM
I am in the same boat. The problem I have is in going out to eat, renting movies, and buying books, DVD's etc.
I don't even go out to eat in nice restaurants either, just fast food.

The problem is, being single, I can't stay cooped up inside all weekend because I go stir crazy. If you go out anywhere, you spend $

and Dating? There's no way I can even afford that right now.

It's not the big purchases that sink me. It's the many little purchases that add up.
The ones that you think 'Oh, that's only $4? that's no big deal!'
At the end of the weekend, you see that you spend $2, $3, or $4 twelve times.....

stormie
05-20-2008, 05:50 PM
Don't sweat the stuff that you will eventually use, like the yarn or soap or Lysol. They don't go bad. I do the same thing. Buy in bulk, but when they're on sale.

Now here's where I go wrong with the money: We hardly ever eat out or do take out. When we do, we go to a mid-priced restaurant, as opposed to a fast food place. I order the appetizer as a main course, patting myself on the back for being thrifty. BUT I'm enjoying being out and I order a glass of wine (even house wines are about $5), dessert (about $4.50), and coffee ($2). Then there's the 20% tip. And tax. So if I could just ask for a glass of water with ice (not bottled water), and skip dessert, or share it, I'd save about $10. Saving that $10 a month adds up. Then I think, wait a minute--can't I enjoy myself once in awhile?

So, Carole, yeah, you're not alone!

Yeshanu
05-20-2008, 06:15 PM
He even goes to movies for free because he works at a theater.

Very best job in the world. :D (Most of the time, anyhow...)

A number of people both on and off this board have recommended a book called The Complete Money Makeover. I've yet to check it out, but I thought I'd put that in for what it's worth.

Carole, I think you've taken the critical first step, though--finding out where your money's going. Keep keeping track, and you may find that that's all you have to do.

Not that I'm in any shape to give advice. I know where my income goes--to the restaurants. So I bought a Crock Pot on the weekend, and now I can put stuff in it and know that I'll have dinner waiting when I get home from work. At two in the morning. (Because working in a theatre does have it's down sides. :tongue )

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 06:19 PM
Every year I sit down and do a budget. It's really a good idea what you're doing, Carol. Apart from the essentials such as mortgage, etc. often we'll find ways to cut down on waste and discretional spending.

My biggest "wastes" are dining out and movies. Well, I have to watch movies (I review them) but I now try to go to matinees instead of evening shows. I also get on a list for advance screenings and so far I've seen six movies for free (as long as I reviewed them). I also usually end up eating at home a lot soon after I do the budget, but eventually go back to old habit because I do really need to go out often with friends, etc. -- it drives me crazy to be home all the time.

I also have huge bills on the Internet, cell phone, etc. But I've cut down already -- only subscribing to the cheapest plans. Other than that, it's the occasional big item purchases such as a new iPod, Mac software, etc. My car has a 35 mpg fuel efficiency so it's not too bad -- but I do enjoy taking a long drive once in a while (by long I mean like over 100 miles each way).

Ever since I watch my spending I've discovered ways to minimize it:

- I only buy what I need and I make sure I really have run out of something before I buy it. I'm also the kind of shopper who grabs what he needs and gets out anyway.

- I don't grocery-shop when I'm hungry; otherwise, that's when I buy all the crap I don't need or normally eat... like hot pockets or big bags of potato chips

- When I really want something (like a new HD TV or something), I won't impulse buy. I do my research, then look at the thing for at least a couple of weeks, then walk away. I think about if I really need it (vs. I just "want" it). If after a few weeks I still think I "need" it, then I'll buy. Most often, though, I find that I end up not buying because I realize I just "want" it. I used to have $thousands worth of gadgets and gizmos. I don't really anymore.

- I subscribe to Netflix. Saves me $hundreds if not $thousands. Often I realize I don't really need to own the DVDs I watch. Sometimes I do want to own something -- but if I wait a few more months, I can sometimes find them in the bargain bins.

- I go through my fridge once in a while and throw out the "bad" or expired stuff. That way I know what I buy but don't eat. Also, that way I'd know what I don't have and what I have. So when I go shopping I don't end up buying extras.

- I buy clothes maybe twice a year. Enough styles to mix and match. So don't be surprised if you see me wearing the same thing when you see me. But I don't really care. They still look good on me. My clothing budget every YEAR is like $300.

- cut up all your credit cards except for one, with a lower credit limit. That way, you will only use it for stuff you really need or must have. Also, try to pay the balance off or down every month. I also have a HELoC (home equity line of credit) to consolidate my credit cards -- the interest rate is only 7.5% now and the interest is tax-deductible.

- every year go through all your utility bills and figure if you can cut down. Do you need all those cell phone minutes? Do you need 500 cable channels (and still nothing to watch)? Do you need the 4-out-at-a-time Netflix plan? Do you need that XM subscription? I usually find myself cutting down at least $100 by eliminating or lowering my plans.

That said, I tend not to think about money or stress. That's why I do a budget every year or so to remind myself, but I don't stress about it every day. I don't conscientiously dread about money -- I just make the above into habits... second natures. When I go out I don't stress. The "do I need it" thing has become a second nature to me now. And I feel that the more you stress about money and the more you "want" to have more, the less you seem to have. I don't usually stress about it and so far I'm doing very well, even when the stock market tanked for months -- well, it came back.

tjwriter
05-20-2008, 06:28 PM
It must be the economy or that time of year or something. I keep meaning to sit down with all my receipts and see where my money goes. I'm thinking I only need a nice little spreadsheet to track everything, as we don't have much in the way of complex financial data. Our house really needs to buckle down and get rid of the credit card debt.

One of my biggest issues is the grocery store. Generics are your friend, as most of them are really good nowadays. However, my husband was raised that generic=bad by the Grandmother-Who-Spoiled-the-Living-Crap-Out-of-Him. So he insists that his stuff be brand name, and of course these are way more expensive. So a bunch of my money goes to pay for his crap.

I am so in need of a deep declutter and organizing festival. I should make a party out of it.

JimmyB27
05-20-2008, 06:35 PM
Screw it, you can't take it with you. I have more important things to do than counting the pennies. So long as I still have a roof over my head and food in my belly, I'm not spending too much, and that's as far as my budgeting goes.

James81
05-20-2008, 06:36 PM
It's amazing how much money you save (and how much more conscious you are of spending) when you sit down and write it out (or put it into excel--which is what I do).

I read some advice last year that has REALLY helped me curb unnecessary spending and that is to earmark how ever dollar is going to be spent BEFORE you get your paycheck.

And yes, make sure you earmark some money for "entertainment" purposes. Don't punish yourself, but if you are conscious about where your money is going, you'll spend less.

Shadow_Ferret
05-20-2008, 06:39 PM
ISo this morning, sick of being broke and filled with inspiration to turn our spending practices around, I sat here with my favorite program of all time - Excel - and started an honest look at our finances.
I did that. Excel lies to me and says we should have several hundred EXTRA dollars a month after bills, groceries, and all the other necessary expenditures.

Have no idea where that money goes. I think someone is tapping into our account without our knowledge.

stormie
05-20-2008, 06:41 PM
And yes, make sure you earmark some money for "entertainment" purposes. Don't punish yourself, but if you are conscious about where your money is going, you'll spend less.
I agree.

tjwriter
05-20-2008, 06:42 PM
I did that. Excel lies to me and says we should have several hundred EXTRA dollars a month after bills, groceries, and all the other necessary expenditures.

Have no idea where that money goes. I think someone is tapping into our account without our knowledge.


They're called kids.

Carole
05-20-2008, 06:43 PM
I am so in need of a deep declutter and organizing festival. I should make a party out of it.

Can I join you? I think you may be right in that it's the economy or that time of year or whatever. I've just had this looming thing over my head ever since tax season and it's spilled over into everything else.

We've owned this house for over a year now, and it's nowhere close to livable. I would die if any of my relatives decided to come visit, but we always feel that we can't afford what we want to work on. It's that no money cycle. I feel deprived toward the end of a pay cycle so the minute I get paid I'm taking the truck through the car wash, buying lunch at my favorite Japanese grill and picking up a ton of totally necessary (unnecessary) things at Wal Mart, and that's just on payday! I still have almost two weeks to go afterward until my next payday. So of course by the time the next pay period rolls around, I'm broke again and counting the minutes until I get paid.

I never wanted to be one of "those people" people who live paycheck to paycheck with nothing to show for it, but that's exactly where I am. Mr. Vagabond sure doesn't help, either. He has an extreme job that's very dangerous, so when he gets paid he fully believes that he is entitled to spend whatever he wants on anything he wants. He is never behind on paying any bill, so his thinking tells him that whatever is left over after paying his bills is his to blow. Sure, he's technically right, but after 10 years together neither of us have any real savings. None. Yep, you heard right. He has his 401k, but that's very small after pulling so much out for house repairs and we learned this year that we can't touch it ever again unless we actually liked paying Uncle Sam twice for the privilege.

Namatu
05-20-2008, 06:44 PM
I budget a certain amount of money to spend on groceries and necessities every pay period, and I take that money in cash. Unless it's an unplanned expense, I use cash for everything. That way I can see my pocketbook dwindling. To make sure I don't use up next week's money this week, I place that cash aside and only pull it out the following Friday.

Food: I buy it when I'm going to cook it. If I buy more at once, I require myself to use it. It can be a pain to have to run out to the grocery store after getting home late from work, but I've found it actually saves me a few dollars (only buy what you need, then get out like the store's on fire!).

Wants: If I want something, I have to assess if I have the cash for it. If I'm desperately wanting to shop, I check my credit card balance first (I only retain a balance on one card so any debt is consolidated and in my face every month). When I find something I want, I walk away, run the item around in my head for a marathon with my money goals, and then decide if it's worthy.

Set a savings goal, whether it be per paycheck or per month. I have an account set up for automatic deposit that I never touch.

If you save money at the grocery store through coupons, pull that money out of your pocket along with the change you got back from the bill, and place it in a jar. It adds up faster than you'd think.

Don't feel like you have to rigidly maintain a money regimen like this. It's okay to eat out once in awhile or go see a movie. Take saved money from the grocery store or money you have leftover at the end of the pay period (it can happen!) and set it aside in an envelope, hidden at the bottom of a drawer you never go into. Then when you want to do something fun, you've got some cash on hand.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 06:46 PM
Screw it, you can't take it with you. I have more important things to do than counting the pennies. So long as I still have a roof over my head and food in my belly, I'm not spending too much, and that's as far as my budgeting goes.

Sometimes you do have to let go and have a good time -- life's too short -- and not worry about or count the pennies. But. You can't continue to do the grasshopper for too long. Yes, chances are we may die tomorrow so it doesn't really matter. But just in case we live to 100... well, we need to save money for our retirement and medical bills, etc.

I believe in some kind of balance. I don't live like a monk -- I play and I play hard -- but at the same time, I have a nest egg so in case I do live to 100, I don't have to stress about money either.

Namatu
05-20-2008, 06:48 PM
after 10 years together neither of us have any real savings. None. Yep, you heard right.
Carole, I suggest an automatic deposit into a savings account that you both agree not to touch. If it never makes it into your hands, you can pretend it doesn't exist! Your spending will adjust around it.

It's very hard to make changes in spending habits. It takes a lot of discipline and self-correction. It eventually gets easier to maintain.

mscelina
05-20-2008, 06:50 PM
or addictions. In my house, that would include books (mine) clothes (brat #2) art supplies (brat # 1) and things to eat that are soooooo rotten for you but SOMEONE can't live without (husband.)

We also have pets. LOTS of pets.

We don't really go out to eat often--maybe 5 or 6 times a year. Working in the service industry cured me of that. Same for movies in the theater--there's only 5 or 6 movies I have to see on the big screen every year...and by the time you pay for gas to get there, tickets, soda, popcorn it's almost cheaper to go to the bar and drink a few beers instead.

Gas is what's killing us. My husband's work has him driving all over the place and it costs probably $180-220 per week to keep the gas tank filled.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 06:50 PM
Set a savings goal, whether it be per paycheck or per month. I have an account set up for automatic deposit that I never touch.


That's something I think everyone should consider doing. Take out the money before you even see or touch it. Out of sight, out of mind. Whether it's an IRA, 401(k) or an individual saving/investment account. Do a budget and determine how much you can save, then direct-deposit that amount. Before you know it, you have a nice nest egg growing (that's how I managed to save 25% of my income over the last 10 years).

Carole
05-20-2008, 06:53 PM
One thing that really worries me is what if something happened and I lost my job or Mr. Vagabond lost his? We'd have nothing to fall back on. Chances are, we couldn't even sell the house to save ourselves because the real estate market is so pitiful. And it's not like that is some unrealistic concern. People lose their jobs every day. People with years of seniority and a strong college education lose their jobs without any warning.

And then what if this recession really does turn into a full on depression? What then? I can already barely afford to fill up the gas tank just to get to work.

Geez - maybe I'll just worry myself into actually being responsible.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 06:57 PM
Another thing I do, now that I'm a freelancer is to minimize my health insurance premiums. Granted, I don't have kids nor do I have a chronic health issue, so it's easier for me to do. Still, I don't need the fancy plans. I just need something to pay for the hospital bills in case I get really sick or have an accident or something. Otherwise, I have a savings account set up for the occasional doctor's visit and deductibles (put in what I otherwise would have paid for the health insurance).

My plan is $130 a month, with a $2500 deductible. Normally I probably would have to pay $350 a month for an individual plan, so that's almost $2500 I can put toward that healthcare savings account. I hardly ever use up that deductible so whatever is left over in that savings account goes toward the following year (or I can tap into it for other spending if I need to).

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 06:59 PM
One thing that really worries me is what if something happened and I lost my job or Mr. Vagabond lost his? We'd have nothing to fall back on. Chances are, we couldn't even sell the house to save ourselves because the real estate market is so pitiful. And it's not like that is some unrealistic concern. People lose their jobs every day. People with years of seniority and a strong college education lose their jobs without any warning.

And then what if this recession really does turn into a full on depression? What then? I can already barely afford to fill up the gas tank just to get to work.

Geez - maybe I'll just worry myself into actually being responsible.


Yeah.. Start saving. You should always have at least 6-12 months of cash flow as a cushion. Say if your monthly budget is $3000, that is at least $18,000 in case of emergency or if both of you lose your jobs. If you don't have that now, it's time to really fasten your belts and make it your goal.

Bubastes
05-20-2008, 06:59 PM
Two personal finance blogs that might help motivate you:

http://www.getrichslowly.com
http://www.thesimpledollar.com

pconsidine
05-20-2008, 07:06 PM
I actually just went through the same thing and discovered that even after having paid off my student loans and one of my ex-wife's credit cards, I still only come out $16 ahead on a month to month basis. And that's without any cushion for emergencies at all (which is why having to put 4 new tires on my car is stressing me out quite a bit right now). For now, I'm trying to live on cash only. I have my expenses broken down into monthly and weekly and every pay day, I get out enough cash to cover my weekly ones. Then I go home and put my ATM card in the freezer (where my credit cards already reside).

The key for me was to budget realistically on how I've actually been living recently and not how I think I should be living. There are definitely things I could cut out, but those are the quality of life things that I would feel very cheated by not having. Sure, I'm not entirely comfortable with the reality of the situation, but it's a start. And it's a much bigger step toward financial responsibility than I've ever taken before, so I figure I should learn to be comfortable with this before I try to do anything else.

Southern_girl29
05-20-2008, 07:06 PM
Most of our money is going toward gas. I'm having to fill up twice a week, because of all the driving I do for work and to get there. If gas prices keep going on, I'll basically be working just to pay for the gas. We're looking into me staying home after this baby is born, if we can swing the insurance at my husband's job. It's pretty expensive.

Carole
05-20-2008, 07:30 PM
See, I think this gas thing should be illegal. When we bought our truck, we could afford the gas in the tank. Now that it's through the roof, not only is it difficult to afford the gas, but it's also impossible to trade the truck for something more economical because we are upside down. I never dreamed that a foreign car would depreciate this fast, but the truck we paid close to $30,000 for last July is worth, according to Kelley Blue Book, about $19,000. Makes me want to scream. So what do we do? Keep paying for the gas to get to work to make more money to pay for the gas to get to work. My husband's company is already cutting back. Some of the new guys are only getting a couple of days of work a week. It costs so much for their fleet of trucks to run around that they're giving all the work to the guys who can work the most efficiently. Thankfully Mr. Vagabond fits into that category, but with the price of diesel who knows what will happen with his job in a month?

James81
05-20-2008, 07:39 PM
See, I think this gas thing should be illegal. When we bought our truck, we could afford the gas in the tank. Now that it's through the roof, not only is it difficult to afford the gas, but it's also impossible to trade the truck for something more economical because we are upside down. I never dreamed that a foreign car would depreciate this fast, but the truck we paid close to $30,000 for last July is worth, according to Kelley Blue Book, about $19,000. Makes me want to scream. So what do we do? Keep paying for the gas to get to work to make more money to pay for the gas to get to work. My husband's company is already cutting back. Some of the new guys are only getting a couple of days of work a week. It costs so much for their fleet of trucks to run around that they're giving all the work to the guys who can work the most efficiently. Thankfully Mr. Vagabond fits into that category, but with the price of diesel who knows what will happen with his job in a month?

Buying a brand new vehicle is one of the worst investments you can make anyway (gas prices or no gas prices).

In "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley, they studied the habits of the average millionaire and reported the results in the book.

The average first generation milionaire (someone who started with nothing and built their fortune from the ground up) buys slightly used vehicles (Anywhere from 2 to 3 years old).

Let someone else take that depreciation hit the moment they drive it off the lot.

Southern_girl29
05-20-2008, 07:46 PM
Yeah, I won't buy a brand new vehicle at all. It depreciates so much. It just isn't worth it. However, we are going to have to buy a newer vehicle soon, so we'll have more room in the car, and I don't want to get a mini-van or an SUV because of the gas prices.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 07:51 PM
Buying a brand new vehicle is one of the worst investments you can make anyway (gas prices or no gas prices).


The second the car leaves the lot it's depreciated. Leasing is also an option if you don't want to keep a car for too long.
With car loan terms lasting up to 7 years, buying only makes sense if you intend to keep a car for 10 years or more. And I don't buy anything with gas mileage less than 28 mpg.

Namatu
05-20-2008, 07:54 PM
The key for me was to budget realistically on how I've actually been living recently and not how I think I should be living. There are definitely things I could cut out, but those are the quality of life things that I would feel very cheated by not having. Sure, I'm not entirely comfortable with the reality of the situation, but it's a start. And it's a much bigger step toward financial responsibility than I've ever taken before, so I figure I should learn to be comfortable with this before I try to do anything else. It's key to start with small steps like this. Don't try to make a huge overhaul all at once. It's traumatic and makes sticking to it that much harder. If you can gradually implement changes, it won't seem as harsh. Start with setting aside some savings and asking yourself the next time you're at Target if you really need to buy new sponges now or if it can wait until next pay day.

James81
05-20-2008, 08:01 PM
The second the car leaves the lot it's depreciated. Leasing is also an option if you don't want to keep a car for too long.
With car loan terms lasting up to 7 years, buying only makes sense if you intend to keep a car for 10 years or more. And I don't buy anything with gas mileage less than 28 mpg.

Leasing is also a terrible way to pay for a car. You might get the lower monthly payment and a new car every few years, but you have restrictions on mileage and often times there are high end payments at the end of the lease term.

Carole
05-20-2008, 08:13 PM
Well, we're scared of used vehicles because we've been burned badly in the past with no or little remaining warranty. With the Explorer we had before this truck, we absolutely paid more one year in repairs than we did in truck payments. Sick, right? I am thinking about used but with some remaining warranty. It's just scary.

We wouldn't be able to lease a vehicle and make out at all because my commute to and from work is about 80 miles a day. We've got 20,000 miles on this truck and we've not even had it a year yet. And we haven't even really taken a trip in it either!

Sad, sad state of affairs. I remember owning a Honda Civic many years ago and honestly I'm thinking about looking at them again. It was the most dependable car I'd ever owned and I didn't own a better one in that way until recently. Just a little manual transmission Civic hatchback and it got great mileage. My truck barely squeaks by at 17 mpg. Of course, when I owned that little Civic gas was $0.99 / gallon and I could run it on $5 a week! Oh, those were the days. The days when gas prices weren't anything to even consider. It was like buying a pack of gum. Oh wait - you can't even hardly get a pack of gum for $0.99 anymore!

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 08:37 PM
Leasing is also a terrible way to pay for a car. You might get the lower monthly payment and a new car every few years, but you have restrictions on mileage and often times there are high end payments at the end of the lease term.

It is NOT terrible if you don't intend to keep the car for 10 years and if you like to change cars every three years. The restriction is not really that bad unless you do drive a lot. I find 15,000 miles a year quite adequate even with my penchant for long-distance drives. Leasing is not for you, however, if you intend to drive more than that and if you want to mod your car. Most people don't.

If you drive a lot, get a hybrid or one of those smaller cars with great mileage. Mine has 35 mpg. Love it. Still costs me $45 to fill the tank now, but at least I only fill it up every 2 weeks.


What high payments at the end? Unless you don't upkeep your car or are over the mileage limit, there's no fees at the end. Plus you can always opt to buy at the end of an open lease. Don't get a closed lease.

The problem with buying is the long-term car loans with high interest rates. To keep the car payment low, some people opt for a longer-term loan as far out as 7 years (84 months). Again, if you don't intend to keep the car for more than 10 years, it's not worth it.

Leasing makes sense for many people because a) the interest rates are generally lower, b) factory warranty usually covers the entire lease term (36,000 miles or 3 years), c) you don't really care about depreciation, except for calculating your lease payment using the residual value, d) you have the option to buy if you decide to keep the car after all, e) in the short-term it's better value than buying (the break even point is about 4-5 years), and f) you can "afford" a more expensive car.

Really, with the depreciation, it's really not that big a deal. I kept my Subaru for 6 years, barely paid off the loan -- and the blue-book value was only $4000. It wasn't worth it.

Little Earthquake
05-20-2008, 08:50 PM
Oh my god, NO, you're not the only one! I've managed to dig a deep hole for myself debt-wise because of really stupid spending practices. Now that I'm on a tight budget, I do pretty well, but I still "lose" money to impulse buys and brain farts.

I've heard it said over and over that tracking your spending is the best way to get a handle on it. When you take a good hard look at what you're buying, you're more likely to consider whether or not you truly need or want something in the future. I almost never use cash; instead I write checks or use a debit card, and when I record the purchase in my check register, I write down what I bought it as much detail as possible. (For instance, a $70 trip to Wal-Mart was for cat food, cat litter, contact lens solution, and prilosec. All things I truly needed, so when I balance my check book a week later, I'm not thinking, "Why on earth did I spend all that money? What did it go to?")

Good for you for tackling this! Good for you for talking to your friends about it! Budgets are like diets; you need support to make 'em work!

CDarklock
05-20-2008, 08:53 PM
Where does all our money go!?

That's what I keep asking my wife. She handles the finances. I come to her every so often and say "I need to do this and that, I'll need $500."

And she says "we don't have it".

Now, I'm a software project manager. When I'm working in that capacity, I bring home a nice comfortable six-figure income. (The "when I'm working" part of that is beginning to get on my nerves after eight years, so I'm evaluating other career options.) But I look around our house, and we live like people who make less than half what we do. Which begs the same damn question, where the hell does it all go?

I know the answer to that - fast food, coffee, and groceries. My wife is sitting around the house hungry, so she goes to the grocery store with our two hungry children, and after the orgy of "gimme gimme" shopping is too tired to cook - so she stops for fast food. Then on the way home, she wants some coffee, so she stops at Starbucks. She gets home, unpacks the groceries, and when I ask what she bought for dinner tonight, she just stares guiltily at the floor.

She bought crap. We have eight hundred convenient packaged snacks, but there's not a single meal. Now I have to go back to the store, where I'll pick up the necessities of a week's meals for about $80.

Meanwhile, my wife spent $280 on snacks, $40 on lunch, and $20 on coffee. So we've spent over $400, and we have dinners for a week. Plus a four year old who simply won't eat dinner, because he would rather eat all those snacks instead - after all, mommy didn't buy any dinners when he was at the store. Dinner is this horrible punishment daddy inflicts on the family, where you all have to eat the same thing, and you have to sit at the table, and it's not at all like a snack which you just toss haphazardly on some horizontal surface while you run around and play.

I don't know how to fix this, because my wife's entire self-worth as a human being is tied up in being the person who handles the finances and does the shopping. When we made $45,000 a year, I thought the problem would be solved if I just made three times as much money, but it really hasn't changed anything. Sometimes I make six times as much money, and it doesn't change anything.

I think what needs to happen is my wife needs to hit the ground hard and suffer a while, so she knows the alternative. But it's my job to make sure that never happens. Which gives me rather a troublesome conundrum.

James81
05-20-2008, 08:57 PM
I think what needs to happen is my wife needs to hit the ground hard and suffer a while, so she knows the alternative. But it's my job to make sure that never happens. Which gives me rather a troublesome conundrum.

No it's not your job to make sure that never happens. It's your job to be a man and not be afraid to stand up to her and tell her that she's wasting money on useless shit.

On the flip side of "being a man" is not only standing up to your wife, but also being man enough to own up to your OWN mistakes and your OWN wild spending habits. I'm sure your wife shares the blame, but I'm almost positive that the blame does not lay directly on her...if you get my drift.

*Disclaimer: I only say this because I too was once married and I too had a great habit of blaming my wife for our tight finances and I too was too skittish to stand up to her and let her know that changes need to be made.

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 09:02 PM
When I was married, she kept the books, made all the payments, and let me know what I could and could not spend. There were never any late paymenst and we always had money in the bank. We had a house and evern though we had no savings, we weren't living paycheck to paycheck.

Well, now that I am single, make $45 - $50k per year, and last year I had to take a Chap 7 bankruptcy.
I have managed to get a grip on finances, but just barely. I still find myself falling into the trap of overspending on foolish BS (fast food and coffee being the two main items)

I AM living paycheck to paycheck, but it is my own fault. I am slowly learning, and trying to quash bad habits. I am trying to get just a little ahead so that I can take a deep breath and then start saving some.

It is difficult though, especially when I have never had to be in charge of the finances.

Bubastes
05-20-2008, 09:07 PM
Maestro already said this, but it bears repeating: pay yourself first. Treat your savings payment as if it's another bill (even if it's just $10). Do it every single paycheck before you pay any other bills and stash it in a separate account. Believe it or not, you will get used to living on a little less. It's a good habit to learn.

stormie
05-20-2008, 09:09 PM
Yep. I agree. Pay yourself first. And keep an old fishbowl or other clear large container in your bedroom to throw all your coins in at the end of the day. It really adds up. And don't touch it until six months later (or a year, if you can).

James81
05-20-2008, 09:12 PM
When I was married, she kept the books, made all the payments, and let me know what I could and could not spend. There were never any late paymenst and we always had money in the bank. We had a house and evern though we had no savings, we weren't living paycheck to paycheck.



This is why a budget is ESSENTIAL in a marriage. This takes the blame game out of your hands and the finger pointing no longer becomes back and forth at each other, but, rather, at the budget. Blame that dang blasted budget! It says I can't spend anymore money! The piece of shit!

If you get into an arguement about finances, then, you can just say "Don't blame me, blame the fuckin' budget" and then take each other brisquely by the fireplace and make love like bunnies.

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 09:14 PM
This is why a budget is ESSENTIAL in a marriage. This takes the blame game out of your hands and the finger pointing no longer becomes back and forth at each other, but, rather, at the budget. Blame that dang blasted budget! It says I can't spend anymore money! The piece of shit!

If you get into an arguement about finances, then, you can just say "Don't blame me, blame the fuckin' budget" and then take each other brisquely by the fireplace and make love like bunnies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWSTXS http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2369678#post2369678)
When I was married, she kept the books, made all the payments, and let me know what I could and could not spend. There were never any late paymenst and we always had money in the bank. We had a house and evern though we had no savings, we weren't living paycheck to paycheck.


This is why a budget is ESSENTIAL in a marriage. This takes the blame game out of your hands and the finger pointing no longer becomes back and forth at each other, but, rather, at the budget. Blame that dang blasted budget! It says I can't spend anymore money! The piece of shit!

If you get into an arguement about finances, then, you can just say "Don't blame me, blame the fuckin' budget" and then take each other brisquely by the fireplace and make love like bunnies.


*******
Well, the point I was making was that I liked it that way. However, after the divorce, I realized that I didn't have a clue. Not her fault at all, it was my fault for not paying attention and letting her teach me how to handle it all.

Carole
05-20-2008, 09:16 PM
I don't know how to fix this, because my wife's entire self-worth as a human being is tied up in being the person who handles the finances and does the shopping. When we made $45,000 a year, I thought the problem would be solved if I just made three times as much money, but it really hasn't changed anything. Sometimes I make six times as much money, and it doesn't change anything.

Hmmm. You sound rather bitter, not that you don't have the right to. I do have a suggestion or two up my sleeve, though.

You hit on something important there about your wife. If her entire self-worth is supposedly tied up in managing the family finances and shopping for the family, maybe the two of you should sit down with Quickbooks or something and map out what is spent. If she prides herself in caring for the family but often gets overwhelmed or sidetracked (had little kids, been there, can feel her frustration from here) I would be willing to bet that if handled carefully, you and she could really work out something wonderful.

I wouldn't go into it with the attitude of, "Here I am to save the day". I would go into it like, "Lets see what's going on and how we can make our situation better." My ex used to do the superhero thing with me and it made me feel like a child who was incapable of taking care of my family. Obviously I wasn't receptive to it at all. Then again, he couldn't understand why the same amount of money wasn't in the bank a week after payday when I had paid the mortgage and car payment out of it and had done that very thing for years.

I know the hazards of taking kids to the grocery store, especially when you and they are hungry. IMO, kids make grocery shopping intelligently almost impossible unless you are very, very disciplined. Hell - I have a hard time grocery shopping with my husband if he's hungry! He'll have a basket filled with snacks in addition to my buggy with actual food! So it's easy to see the hows and whys of bad decision making at the grocery store with hungry kids in-tow. Maybe it would make more sense for your family if you watch the kids while she shops. And if the two of you have planned out what you'd like to eat over the next couple of weeks, she could go in there with a real plan.

It might sound like a lot of work just to go grocery shopping, but I imagine that the end result would make every second of it worthwhile. More money (saved), more real food and much less stress on your whole family. :) A little planning and watching the kids could get some nice returns for the lot of you.

AnnieColleen
05-20-2008, 09:18 PM
It's amazing how much money you save (and how much more conscious you are of spending) when you sit down and write it out (or put it into excel--which is what I do).

I read some advice last year that has REALLY helped me curb unnecessary spending and that is to earmark how ever dollar is going to be spent BEFORE you get your paycheck.

And yes, make sure you earmark some money for "entertainment" purposes. Don't punish yourself, but if you are conscious about where your money is going, you'll spend less.

Completely ditto this!


A number of people both on and off this board have recommended a book called The Complete Money Makeover. I've yet to check it out, but I thought I'd put that in for what it's worth.
This forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/nomoredebt/start) is dedicated to following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (if that's the one you mean). They have some awesome advice on budgeting/frugality.

Two of the big steps in TMMO are tracking/budgeting all expenses and building an emergency fund. (Also "sinking funds" to save for known upcoming expenses -- car maintenance, trips, whatever -- and the "debt snowball".)

I hope you find something that works for you!

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 09:23 PM
There was a short piece on the local news channel here in Dallas, last weekend, showing this woman who shops with coupons, and she bought $159 worth of groceries...then they ran her coupons through, and her total that she paid was $52

I was floored. That's significant savings!

MidnightMuse
05-20-2008, 09:25 PM
I strongly recommend two things:

1) You're Broke Because You Want To Be: How To Stop Getting By And Start Getting Ahead, by Larry Winget.

2) Get out of the mindset of "We deserve to indulge."

What you deserve is to attain financial security. What you deserve is the luxury of having so much in savings, you can work on your house without borrowing a dime. What you deserve is a life without credit cards, interest rates, or debt.

Eating out, buying little things, treating yourself. Those are things you Want. Not things you Deserve. So you have to make a choice, change your way of thinking from NOW to LIFELONG, and decide which you prefer. An instantaneous indulgence lifestyle that takes you from paycheck to paycheck, or a lifetime of security.

And remember - Credit Cards are a corporate conspiracy to enslave the consumer with debt.

/soap box. :)

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 09:26 PM
I strongly recommend two things:

1) You're Broke Because You Want To Be: How To Stop Getting By And Start Getting Ahead, by Larry Winget.

2) Get out of the mindset of "We deserve to indulge."

What you deserve is to attain financial security. What you deserve is the luxury of having so much in savings, you can work on your house without borrowing a dime. What you deserve is a life without credit cards, interest rates, or debt.

Eating out, buying little things, treating yourself. Those are things you Want. Not things you Deserve. So you have to make a choice, change your way of thinking from NOW to LIFELONG, and decide which you prefer. An instantaneous indulgence lifestyle that takes you from paycheck to paycheck, or a lifetime of security.

And remember - Credit Cards are a corporate conspiracy to enslave the consumer with debt.

/soap box. :)

I seriously think I might print this out and put it in my wallet.

James81
05-20-2008, 09:28 PM
Completely ditto this!


This forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/nomoredebt/start) is dedicated to following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (if that's the one you mean). They have some awesome advice on budgeting/frugality.

Two of the big steps in TMMO are tracking/budgeting all expenses and building an emergency fund. (Also "sinking funds" to save for known upcoming expenses -- car maintenance, trips, whatever -- and the "debt snowball".)

I hope you find something that works for you!

To echo this, I also make the suggestion to read "America's Cheapest Family Gets you Right on the Money" by Steve and Annette Economides. It's a fantastic resource for helping you budget, plan, and make your dollar stretch farther than you could imagine.

I'll give you an example from my own life that's not necessarily a suggestion within that book but something I started doing BECAUSE that book put me into that "mode" of stretching my money. And it's a stupid thing that I never really thought about before.

Birthday parties. Whenever someone in my family has a birthday, the first place I stop is the Dollar Store. I get their card and a fairly decent gift bag for about $1.50.

In the past I would just go buy their gift at Walmart and while I was there buy the gift bag and the card. The gift bag and the card itself would come out to about $8-$10 sometimes. It's ridiculous how expensive that shit is and how totally useless it is in the long run.

Little things like that add up in a big way. When I go grocery shopping, I "start at the bottom" and work my way up. The first place I stop is the Dollar Store and I get whatever non-perishable items I can (things like sandwich bags, aluminum foil, cleaning supplies, etc.). Then, I go to a local "Save-a-lot" market and I pick up my canned goods and other foods that I don't mind having an off-brand for (which, most of my groceries are bought here), and finally I go to the supermarket at Walmart and pick up the things I can't get there or the things I absolutely won't comprimise as far as name brands go (Miracle Whip is one such item).

As a single man, who feeds two kids twice every other week and four times on the off weeks, I spend about $75 twice a month, or $150 for ALL of my grocery shopping, cleaning supplies, etc.

tjwriter
05-20-2008, 09:29 PM
This is definitely making me think I need to take action now. Tonight, while I relax on the couch with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for the zillionth time, I think I'm going to grab those receipts and start breaking them down by expense category and see what exactly I'm buying at the store. The extra funds could be used for a million things.

Coupons are great if you are already making that purchase. I could use to clip them and keep them to use regularly. There are a million online resources for coupons and discount codes, but note that not all stores will accept internet coupons for some reason.

I'm thinking I am due for a decluttering spree this weekend. The crap in my house needs to go so I truly have an idea of what I have.

Menu planning needs to come to the front again so that I can use what's in the house most effectively. We've really cut down on most of our other expenses with food being one of the last areas, and there is a pretty neat little farmers' market up the road from work every Friday where I can get some produce for cheap.

I need to get the game plan back in motion.

Bubastes
05-20-2008, 09:32 PM
To add to MidnightMuse's post, paying credit card interest is throwing away money for the privilege of buying something now versus something later. Once you've disciplined yourself to get your finances under control, you can pay for those "wants" with cash. You end up being able to buy more with your money simply because you're not wasting money on credit card interest. How cool is that?

ETA: oh, I remembered another mantra of mine: don't buy crap. This helps keep me from being penny-wise and pound-foolish because buying crap costs more in the long run. I detest clutter (I mean really, really hate it), so I don't throw money away on crappy little cheap things "because they were such a good deal." As a result, I have more money that I can spend on a few more expensive quality items that I adore and that will last. I also won't buy crap food (key: I avoid eating anything with an ingredient that is not recognizable as food) and as a result the food I buy does not come with packaging.

Dave Ramsey's debt snowball idea is great for whittling down those credit card balances. Another technique I've learned is called "snowflaking." Whenever you save or receive small amounts of money (like through eBay-ing your stuff), you immediately apply it to paying off debt. Some recommend a savings account specifically for this purpose so you don't waste money on stamps. Those little "snowflakes" of money add up to a snowball.

JoNightshade
05-20-2008, 09:35 PM
Yeah.. Start saving. You should always have at least 6-12 months of cash flow as a cushion. Say if your monthly budget is $3000, that is at least $18,000 in case of emergency or if both of you lose your jobs. If you don't have that now, it's time to really fasten your belts and make it your goal.

Do this, do this, DO THIS. I can't say how much this has helped my husband and I. We have a cushion of 20K right now, and what that means is when something bad happens, it's NOT A PROBLEM. Early in 2007, we bought a used car that gave up the ghost about 4 months later. That would have been a complete disaster had we not had the money saved up to go out and buy a new car (and be able to get a really, really good rate since we can afford to pay it off in 2 years). After that, our fund was a bit low, so we put ourselves into the "save" mindset until it was built up again.

The only real excess we indulge is food. We could save SO much if we didn't eat out so often. I'm working on improving that - but overall I'm not worried. Mainly because we're still able to put away 50% of our income each month. (And I only work 40 hours a month!) I'm not entirely sure how we wound up in such a great situation (hubby doesn't make a ton of money or anything), but here are a few things we do:

- We have one car, and it's a hybrid.
- We live about 2 blocks from my husband's work, so he doesn't even have to drive.
- I do have to commute, but I go into the office only 1 day a week. If you have any sort of job that you could possibly do from home, I recommend sitting down for a chat with your boss about going long-distance. There are remote programs so you can work on your office computer on your home computer without having to install everything. My boss is very environmentally conscious so he was willing to work with me on the commute thing.
- We live in the cheapest apartment complex available in town. And it's one bedroom with a combined kitchen/living room. No dishwasher or washer/dryer. Sure it's a little cramped, but we'd rather live here and save for a house than buy now and wallow in debt. It also keeps our spending down because we simply don't have space for a bunch of crap.

And perhaps the single best way that we save money:

WE HATE TO SHOP. We just hate it. This is also the reason we go out to eat a lot, because I hate grocery shopping. But anyway, we wait until we HAVE to go shopping before we do. You'd be surprised how long you can live without stuff. :)

So if you love shopping, maybe find a new hobby?

Little Earthquake
05-20-2008, 09:36 PM
Well, we're scared of used vehicles because we've been burned badly in the past ...

I remember owning a Honda Civic many years ago and honestly I'm thinking about looking at them again.

I've only ever owned used cars, and I've had great luck with them. It has a lot to do with the kind of car you buy - some makes & models are just a more dependable than others. If you decide to take the used car plunge again, do LOTS of research. Ask your friends and relatives what vehicles they had good luck with. My experience has led to the opinion that Asian cars are just a thousand times better than American-made cars. That's just my opinion, though, and there are plenty of folks who'll disagree with me! (I happen to be dating one of them. We can talk politics & religion, but we can't talk cars.)

Man, I feel for you with that long commute, geemus! I can't imagine driving 80 miles every day in today's economy.

DWSTXS
05-20-2008, 09:40 PM
I am going to start doing the coupon thing for groceries. I just decided. What could it hurt? Besides, I'm at the grocery store 4 -5 times a week anyway. I KNOW I'm overspending there.
I'm also going to start doing the dollar store thing. That just flat-out makes good sense.

CDarklock
05-20-2008, 09:41 PM
See, I think this gas thing should be illegal.

It would be, in a communist economy.

See, here's the fundamental question about selling something. Imagine that I buy something for $5, and then I go and sell it to someone else. How much should I charge for it?

If your answer is $5 or less, that's the communist answer. No profit is acceptable.

If your answer is some number over $5, that's the socialist answer. Some profit is acceptable, but not too much.

The capitalist answer is whatever you can get. There is no "should" in capitalism. If I buy something for $5, and I can sell it for millions, I should sell it for millions.

If we had any other system, we could no longer be the "land of opportunity". We could call ourselves that, but it wouldn't be true.


I never dreamed that a foreign car would depreciate this fast, but the truck we paid close to $30,000 for last July is worth, according to Kelley Blue Book, about $19,000.

That's actually good. The rule of thumb is, the second a brand new car leaves the lot, it loses half its value. Yours lost just over a third.


My husband's company is already cutting back.

This is where "it should be illegal" breaks down in business.

What do you think the gas companies would do if they couldn't raise the price of gas any more? Take home less money, or lay people off?

James81
05-20-2008, 09:45 PM
Besides, I'm at the grocery store 4 -5 times a week anyway.

Cut that shit out.

Seriously, the most likely place for an impulse buy is at the grocery store. In the book I suggested, the "cheapest family" goes once a month. Personally, I think that's a TAD ridiculous, but you can very well limit your trips to twice a month, or at the very least, every other week.

Take yourself away from the temptation for an impulse buy and watch how much more money you seem to have.

JoNightshade
05-20-2008, 09:51 PM
Seriously, the most likely place for an impulse buy is at the grocery store. In the book I suggested, the "cheapest family" goes once a month. Personally, I think that's a TAD ridiculous, but you can very well limit your trips to twice a month, or at the very least, every other week.

Ugh! Really?! If I went to the grocery store less than once a week, I'd have a fridge full of moldy veggies and fruits. (Incidentally, when I was living in China people thought I was nuts that I didn't grocery shop MORE often than once a week. Many of them go to the market every day for fresh ingredients.) Does milk even last 2 weeks before it expires?

What I'm going to try to start doing is visiting the local Farmer's Market. They have fantastic produce - and that's about it. So I'm not tempted to buy all those yummy packaged goodies.

Bubastes
05-20-2008, 09:52 PM
By the way, coupons are great, but be careful because (in my experience) coupons can be a marketing lure to entice you to buy something that wasn't originally on your list (again, if you didn't need it, you didn't save 40 cents -- you spent 2 dollars). I rarely use coupons, especially for food, because the food I buy the most doesn't have them.

ETA: oh, and ditto on the farmer's markets. They are THE BEST!

Yeshanu
05-20-2008, 09:55 PM
This forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/nomoredebt/start) is dedicated to following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (if that's the one you mean). They have some awesome advice on budgeting/frugality.




Thanks for the link, Annie. That's exactly the one I meant.

Jaycinth
05-20-2008, 10:05 PM
1) Never go shopping without a list.
2) Always.. ALWAYS allow $10.00 extra on the list so if you go to the store and see that the 'non perishable' item you always buy is on sale for 1/2 price...you can stock up (read save money).

3)If anyone wants my spreadsheets (grocery shop and standard weekly budget) PM me. They are in Quattropro, but I can convert them to Excel.

4)NEVER GO SHOPPING WITHOUT A LIST...ESPECIALLY ON LINE!

5)Get a checking account that pays interest and does not charge a monthly fee.


and...

most important of all....



6) Stop buying silly clothes for your pets. I mean REALLY!

James81
05-20-2008, 10:05 PM
Ugh! Really?! If I went to the grocery store less than once a week, I'd have a fridge full of moldy veggies and fruits. (Incidentally, when I was living in China people thought I was nuts that I didn't grocery shop MORE often than once a week. Many of them go to the market every day for fresh ingredients.) Does milk even last 2 weeks before it expires?

What I'm going to try to start doing is visiting the local Farmer's Market. They have fantastic produce - and that's about it. So I'm not tempted to buy all those yummy packaged goodies.

Well, it may take out some of the freshness, but you could always freeze stuff like that. You could also freeze bread and stuff like that.

Not sure what freezing does to these foods (I'm no health expert) but I can't imagine it doing too much damage to them nutrient-wise. *shrug*

Then again, you could go to the market twice a month for everything BUT these items and then buy these items fresh and when you go in you go STRAIGHT for these items without getting sidetracked.

As an aside, I've kept milk for over a month before and used it. lol It get's a little rank by the end of the month, but I've used it without any side-effects. I wouldn't recommend others to do it, but I'm just saying is all. ;)

I keep milk for two weeks now and it's perfectly fine.

James81
05-20-2008, 10:08 PM
And the BIG point here is that he's going everyday or almost everyday. NOBODY needs to go to the market everyday, no matter WHAT diet you are on.

Even once a week is still better than everyday.

CDarklock
05-20-2008, 10:10 PM
Hmmm. You sound rather bitter, not that you don't have the right to.

I primarily manage budgets and schedules for a living. A damn good living, I might add, because I am damn good at doing it.

But I can't approach my wife about budgeting on any grounds other than husband-wife. She has no respect for my professional credentials at all. Whenever I come to her and say "we need to discuss our budget", it's not an expert saying "we have a problem" - it's her husband saying "women can't handle money".

Which is the core reason my marriage is falling apart. So yeah, I'm a little bitter.

Carole
05-20-2008, 10:16 PM
My mother in law is also a whiz at saving money. I have laughed watching her pick pennies and nickels off a K-Mart parking lot. I rolled my eyes when she advised me to put this year's raise straight into my mostly nonexistent savings account before I got used to having the extra money. I shake my head when she tells me that I should always save everything that I save. (Meaning if I buy something and find out unexpectedly that it's on sale, I should immediately "pay" myself the difference.) Each one of these things seem so small, but everything adds up. Look at how fast the little crap adds up that I buy at Wal Mart every week!

By the way, I relate to another post upstream a bit. I am absolutely famous for not only going to buy something specific and coming out of the store $70 later, but I am also famous for going in for something and coming out $70 later with everything except the one thing I went to buy in the first place! So then I have to go back. Do I get just that one thing then? What do you think?

Carole
05-20-2008, 10:17 PM
I primarily manage budgets and schedules for a living. A damn good living, I might add, because I am damn good at doing it.

But I can't approach my wife about budgeting on any grounds other than husband-wife. She has no respect for my professional credentials at all. Whenever I come to her and say "we need to discuss our budget", it's not an expert saying "we have a problem" - it's her husband saying "women can't handle money".

Which is the core reason my marriage is falling apart. So yeah, I'm a little bitter.
Eek. Not good. You know, though, maybe that husband and wife thing might hold more water with her anyway. After all, it's not just her and it's not just you. You're a couple and both should have a say. Not saying that it's right for her to have a lack of respect for your savvy, just that she might be more receptive to it if it's presented differently.

I dunno. The dynamics of every marriage is different.

James81
05-20-2008, 10:17 PM
I primarily manage budgets and schedules for a living. A damn good living, I might add, because I am damn good at doing it.

But I can't approach my wife about budgeting on any grounds other than husband-wife. She has no respect for my professional credentials at all. Whenever I come to her and say "we need to discuss our budget", it's not an expert saying "we have a problem" - it's her husband saying "women can't handle money".

Which is the core reason my marriage is falling apart. So yeah, I'm a little bitter.

Heh, you sound a bit like I used to.

It's kinda hard to see past the bitterness at the point you are in right now (good lord I remember), but I'll tell ya. You aren't going to get anywhere playing the blame game and you aren't going to get anywhere constantly living in fear of what your wife might think if you disagree with her or step on her toes.

Can I tell you something you probably aren't going to believe? Your marriage is falling apart BECAUSE you don't stand up for yourself and you are too afraid of hurting her feelings. Does that sting to think you might be a major part of the blame? I seem to remember it stinging when I realized it...but by the time *I* realized it, it was too late. She WANTS you to disagree with her once in a while. She WANTS you to "stand up to her" (for lack of a better phrase--I know that sounds a bit sexist but I don't mean it in that way).

Instead of coming at her with a "somethings gotta be done about the finances" (she hears "I'm not good enough" because SHE handles the finances), why don't you sit her down and ask her if she needs help with the budget and ask her what YOU can do to help make ends meet.

If you want to SEE a change in your marriage, you've got to BE that change. I know that sounds kinda lame, but it's the truth.

JoNightshade
05-20-2008, 10:21 PM
But I can't approach my wife about budgeting on any grounds other than husband-wife. She has no respect for my professional credentials at all. Whenever I come to her and say "we need to discuss our budget", it's not an expert saying "we have a problem" - it's her husband saying "women can't handle money".

Geez, that's too bad. I don't understand why some people get like that. Believe you me, I am SO happy to let my husband do all that budgeting crap and worrying about our payments and so on. As far as I'm concerned, it's a bunch of boring math and if he wants to handle it, let him.

Do you think she could be worried that you would "deny" her stuff? Or that you would be controlling somehow? Something that worked for our our first 2 years of marriage is having one big joint bank account and then two separate ones, one for me and one for him. We had it set up so every month a certain amount would be deposited in our private accounts, and we could use that money for anything we wanted. It helped him because he is an over-spender; it helped me to feel that I wasn't getting the raw end of the deal because I didn't feel like he was using "our" money to buy extraneous stuff - as much as he was spending, I was saving for whatever I wanted. (Actually we finally just eliminated these accounts... at this point we've become secure enough about each other that we can discuss anything we want to buy.)

Oh - that's another good thing to do. If it's not groceries or gas, and I want to buy it, I ask hubby first. And if he wants to buy something, he asks me. Not necessarily for permission, but just to give the other person a chance to talk you out of it if it's silly. EG, at the bookstore, he'll want to buy a hardback. I'll say, "Can't you just wait for the paperback? Or get it from the library?" Most of the time he'll admit that yes, he probably could, and put it back. But if he really wants it, he'll still get it and I don't freak out. But we do it for each other, so it doesn't feel like one person is always harping on the other.

Bubastes
05-20-2008, 10:25 PM
I am absolutely famous for not only going to buy something specific and coming out of the store $70 later, but I am also famous for going in for something and coming out $70 later with everything except the one thing I went to buy in the first place! So then I have to go back. Do I get just that one thing then? What do you think?

My vote: go back for that one thing AND return the $70 of stuff that wasn't on your list in the first place.

Also, have you considered putting your mother-in-law's advice into practice now? It might be a good start to building your savings habit.

Carole
05-20-2008, 10:28 PM
What do you think the gas companies would do if they couldn't raise the price of gas any more? Take home less money, or lay people off?
I vote take home less money. They aren't exactly starving. Think they'd like my suggestion?

Seriously, though, It's extraordinarily painful across the board to everyone who drives a car. When the price of gas/diesel goes up in increments of 10-20 cents a pop, everything from freakin toothpaste to tomatoes goes up because of transportation costs. I can't think of anything that has the same impact on the everyday lives of nearly everyone in this country as extreme jumps in fuel prices. Basically, rising fuel prices impose on the normal lives of everyone I know. We either suck it up and do without certain things or we radically change our lifestyles. Just because I spend too much at Wal Mart (I loathe Wal Mart,by the way. It just happens to be one of the few stores in this little town) doesn't mean that I have a big lifestyle. For me, that (not being affected by rising fuel prices as much as I am now) would mean selling the truck, getting a bicycle and trying to find a job in the tiny, rural town where my house sits for less than half what I make in the city. Less than half is just about the going rate around here.

Cranky
05-20-2008, 10:32 PM
I budget a certain amount of money to spend on groceries and necessities every pay period, and I take that money in cash. Unless it's an unplanned expense, I use cash for everything. That way I can see my pocketbook dwindling. To make sure I don't use up next week's money this week, I place that cash aside and only pull it out the following Friday.

Food: I buy it when I'm going to cook it. If I buy more at once, I require myself to use it. It can be a pain to have to run out to the grocery store after getting home late from work, but I've found it actually saves me a few dollars (only buy what you need, then get out like the store's on fire!).

Wants: If I want something, I have to assess if I have the cash for it. If I'm desperately wanting to shop, I check my credit card balance first (I only retain a balance on one card so any debt is consolidated and in my face every month). When I find something I want, I walk away, run the item around in my head for a marathon with my money goals, and then decide if it's worthy.

Set a savings goal, whether it be per paycheck or per month. I have an account set up for automatic deposit that I never touch.

If you save money at the grocery store through coupons, pull that money out of your pocket along with the change you got back from the bill, and place it in a jar. It adds up faster than you'd think.

Don't feel like you have to rigidly maintain a money regimen like this. It's okay to eat out once in awhile or go see a movie. Take saved money from the grocery store or money you have leftover at the end of the pay period (it can happen!) and set it aside in an envelope, hidden at the bottom of a drawer you never go into. Then when you want to do something fun, you've got some cash on hand.

Yup. I did some math the other day, and the paltry $35 bucks I'm socking away every month in loose singles and change will add up to around $8,000, assuming I didn't at some point stick it in the bank to gain interest.

That's pocket change, guys!

johnnysannie
05-20-2008, 10:39 PM
[QUOTE=Carole;2368880]

. Things I purchased with absolutely zero need include, but are not limited to: Extra Lysol (I already had three bottles of cleaner), More yarn for baby stuff (as if

QUOTE]


Not in your boat - mine is sturdy and sound if a little old-fashioned.;)

But buying something - like Lysol - ahead isn't necessarily stupid. I do this all the time with things I use frequently. It saves trips to go buy more and with the way prices have gone up in recent months on many items, I'm ahead on things that I would pay more for - and will, eventually.

CDarklock
05-20-2008, 11:09 PM
Can I tell you something you probably aren't going to believe? Your marriage is falling apart BECAUSE you don't stand up for yourself and you are too afraid of hurting her feelings.

The reason I don't believe it is that it isn't true.

See, I can't make my wife do anything. I can explain the problem, and demand a change, and even get her commitment to make the change. What I can't do is make her do it.

Largely because there are no consequences. I can't say "do this or I'll divorce you". Ooh, scary! "You'd better do this, or I'll give up my kids and give you half of everything I own and send you checks every month." What the hell kind of threat is that?

James81
05-20-2008, 11:13 PM
The reason I don't believe it is that it isn't true.

See, I can't make my wife do anything. I can explain the problem, and demand a change, and even get her commitment to make the change. What I can't do is make her do it.

Largely because there are no consequences. I can't say "do this or I'll divorce you". Ooh, scary! "You'd better do this, or I'll give up my kids and give you half of everything I own and send you checks every month." What the hell kind of threat is that?

And what does she say about the marriage?

Look at what you posted. Look at the words. "Make", "Demand", "Consequences", "Threat".

Are you her husband or her father?

Like I said, I didn't think you'd agree because you aren't prepared to hear it.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 11:19 PM
No it's not your job to make sure that never happens. It's your job to be a man and not be afraid to stand up to her and tell her that she's wasting money on useless shit.

I agree. Giving your wife the responsibility knowing she is bad with finances and shopping means you're equally at fault with your financial woes. You can't really blame her. It's like blaming the child for buying the whole store of candy because you allow him for his "self-worth." Tough. Time to say, "enough is enough, sweetie" and take away the cash and credit cards.

The financial responsibilities should always lie on the one who can make the sacrifices and be responsible. My mom handled the family finances, and it was a great thing. She has the toughest iron fists when it comes to spending.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 11:29 PM
The reason I don't believe it is that it isn't true.

See, I can't make my wife do anything. I can explain the problem, and demand a change, and even get her commitment to make the change. What I can't do is make her do it.

Largely because there are no consequences. I can't say "do this or I'll divorce you". Ooh, scary! "You'd better do this, or I'll give up my kids and give you half of everything I own and send you checks every month." What the hell kind of threat is that?

You have a problem with your marriage. Seriously, you do.

But you know, we CAN'T MAKE you do anything either.

It is your life.


(Money is the #1 reason why people divorce. It's not infidelity. It's not falling out of love. It's not children. It's not careers. But money.)

Namatu
05-20-2008, 11:43 PM
By the way, I relate to another post upstream a bit. I am absolutely famous for not only going to buy something specific and coming out of the store $70 later, but I am also famous for going in for something and coming out $70 later with everything except the one thing I went to buy in the first place! So then I have to go back. Do I get just that one thing then? What do you think?
That's why you make a list. Make a beeline for those items once you're in the store and get out. You can't be trusted otherwise. :D

Shadow_Ferret
05-20-2008, 11:43 PM
And remember - Credit Cards are a corporate conspiracy to enslave the consumer with debt.

No. Credit Cards are a godsend that help below average incomes live like kings.

If operating with a debt is good enough for the U.S. government, it's good enough for me.

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 11:46 PM
No. Credit Cards are a godsend that help below average incomes live like kings.

If operating with a debt is good enough for the U.S. government, it's good enough for me.

I do want that Stealth Bomber. Which card should I use: Discover or MasterCard?

maestrowork
05-20-2008, 11:49 PM
That's why you make a list. Make a beeline for those items once you're in the store and get out. You can't be trusted otherwise. :D

Or: put a price on every item on the list, tally them up, and give that exact amount (give or take a few bucks) to your hubby and tell him to get everything on the list and nothing more. Give him 10 minutes.

Never enter the store yourself. Yup, you can't be trusted. :D

Carole
05-21-2008, 12:01 AM
No shit, right? I'm the worst! But here's the thing - I do make lists. I am fanatical about making lists. I've even made Excel sheets for lists, color coded by product type, little check boxes beside the items and everything. I just never remember to bring the darn things with me! It never fails, I come home from the store and there's my pretty color-coded list laying on the kitchen table.

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 12:01 AM
I know - my husband was just saying how we have no money because of bills. It's not the bills, it's that we have to put SO MUCH MORE money in the gastank, there isn't as much for bills.

Once school is out, I'm parking my car for the summer. We're going nowhere that isn't close by and unless we absolutely need to. We have a pool next door and a huge swingset out back. Everything we need for summer fun. I'm getting my bike fixed and so is hubby.

We've gotten rid of our long distance service. I was paying $30 every two months for $3 worth of calls! I have unlimited long distance (nights and weekends) on my cell phone, and no longer have dialup to worry about. Out it goes. I only call my sisters long distance, and we use our cells for all those calls.

We've also lowered our rate plan on the cells. We had all these minutes we weren't using - it was a waste of money!

I have a new mixer and I'm learning to make yeast products - I may start making my own bread soon. Flour is cheap.

James81
05-21-2008, 12:03 AM
I have a new mixer and I'm learning to make yeast products - I may start making my own bread soon. Flour is cheap.

Ha ha! My mom has a bread machine that she doesn't use and she said I could have it. I might be making my own bread myself.

Carole
05-21-2008, 12:05 AM
No. Credit Cards are a godsend that help below average incomes live like kings.

If operating with a debt is good enough for the U.S. government, it's good enough for me.
I heard something once that reminds me of this. I think it was Paul Harvey on the radio, but I may be wrong. At any rate, the point was that in "our parents' day" if a person said they didn't have any money, that meant they didn't have any money. Nowadays, it means that there's no room left on any of their credit cards.

As a side note, our household has only one credit card, it only has a $300 limit (on purpose) and my Mad Vagabond keeps it with him at all times. :D

Carole
05-21-2008, 12:10 AM
Flour is cheap.
Might not be for long. Have you heard about rice, flour and oil rationing right here in the good old U.S.?

Check this out (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/23/usa2)

And this (http://www2.nysun.com/national/food-rationing-confronts-breadbasket-of-the-world/74994/)

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 12:29 AM
Rice, yes, but I hadn't heard about flour. We may be stocking up this week. Heck, if I have flour and yeast I can make my own pizza too.

Carole
05-21-2008, 12:32 AM
Not just rice and flour. Oil too.

I've wanted one of those big deep freezers for ages. Mom bought a couple of bags of flour and rice and stored them in hers, just to be on the safe side. She's not in panic mode, but she doesn't want to be told what she can buy and when.

I'd settle for a little deep freezer. Of course hubby would have it stockpiled with Popsicles.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 12:55 AM
Carole-

I know how you feel. you might look at this thread; http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101214

I am realizing I could spend a lot less on groceries. I did when I was single, but I've gotten comforatble (Lazy?).

When I was single, and then again when I was first married, I (we)got a handle on our finances by using a budget and cash.

1) List all your bills for the month (I do it by paycheck)
2) Subtract your bills from your income. This amount is what you have left for groceries, eating out, spending, your house, whatever. I list Gas in this catagory.
You might take savings out of this or make it a bill like some people suggested.

3) list what you need / want to spend money on. Gas, Groceries, Eating Out, Spending, something for the house, an oil change, new shirt, whatever. Then parse out from the total left after bills.
When I was on the cash system, I got cash out for groceries, eating out, and spending. It really helps to see the money disapear. It makes you think twice about impulse purchases. But I started to feel like a child on an allowance. I/We are grown ups, you know. IF I want new shoes, I can choose to not eat out once and buy new shoes. If I want to eat out one more time, I can choose to not buy new shoes. What ever. So now i keep a ledger, but it isn't as effective.

4) In your check book (do you keep your check book up, balanced? DO THAT) if we have a bill we know is coming but haven't rec'd it, on pay day I subtract an estimated amount from the check book. Since I write out a budget everypaycheck I know what to anticipate. On my last pay day, I knew the power bill was on its way, since it hadn' tbeen on my last budget. I looked at what I paid last time, $85, and subtracted $95 from my ledger, and called it 'AL Power set aside'. When the bill came on Monday, it was $94.78. (am i good or what?) In the ledger I add the $95 back in and check mark the set aside so I know I added back already. Then I subtract the actual amount. This way, the balance in the check book reflects what we can spend, not what we have. Because mentally, if we see it we spend it. I do this with the mortgage payment too, I subtract 1/2 in the check in the middle of the month and then we take the other half out of the check when the mortgage is due.

The key to this is, when you are out of money, you are out of money. No credit cards. Spend less than you make. Pay yourself. Our cars are paid for so we put (aim to put) that amount aside a month in savings. We aren't perfect, but we manage most of it. But even just a few dollars set aside add up quickly.

You mentioned being upside down on your truck. Other people mentioned Dave Ramsey. If you don't have his book, get it. From listening to his radio show I know what he'd tell you to do. YOu said it was $30,000 and now it's worth $19,000. You owe more than $19,000 I assume, since you said you were upside down. Dave would say to sell it. Go to a credit union or small bank. Talk to a person. Tell them what you are trying to do. (get out of debt). Borrow the difference and buy a beater. Say you owe 25,000 and sell it for 18,000. The difference is $7,000 . So borrow $7,000 from the credit union to pay off the balance. or even $10,000 and buy a $3,000 beater. It is better to owe $7,000 than 25,000 and you'll get a better interest rate and can pay it off faster. Again, this is what Dave Ramsey would say. I know reality isn't always as easy.

CDarklock
05-21-2008, 01:09 AM
And what does she say about the marriage?

That depends on what she wants. Marriage carries different rights, responsibilities, and obligations from day to day and moment to moment. The only constant is that she was right to do whatever it was she did.


I didn't think you'd agree because you aren't prepared to hear it.

I don't agree because I've lived here for twelve years, and you've read a couple posts on a forum. Do you suppose maybe you don't know enough about the situation?

I know things are broken. I think they can be fixed, but I can't fix them by myself, and I can't make my wife help. If she doesn't want counseling, counseling won't help anyway. She has to want to fix it, and I can't do anything to make that happen. All I can do is decide from one day to the next whether the best choice is just to walk away and start over.

Because you're right, I'm not her father. I've spent over a decade trying to establish how a husband and wife operate a successful household together as partners and equals, and she's insisted on acting like a teenage girl the whole time. Now she's in her thirties, and it's time to grow the hell up.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 01:14 AM
I primarily manage budgets and schedules for a living. A damn good living, I might add, because I am damn good at doing it.

But I can't approach my wife about budgeting on any grounds other than husband-wife. She has no respect for my professional credentials at all. Whenever I come to her and say "we need to discuss our budget", it's not an expert saying "we have a problem" - it's her husband saying "women can't handle money". My bold.

Dude- no, you can't approach your wife saying "woman can't handle money." there's your problem. (one of many). Also you said her self worth is tied up in her taking care of you all. um...yeah.

Go to marriage counseling - you have more than money problems. Money is just a symptom.

Try approaching her as an equal. You are a team. "Honey, WE aren't handling our money as well as WE could. I would like to sit down with YOU and work together to see how WE could make it work."

Listen to her. Don't tell her what to do with money. Ask her what she does now. Ask if she sees a need for a change, or how something could be improved. Ask if she needs you to do something differently.

Do all the things I listed above for carole. As a team. Look at the budget together.

When I first got married, I paid all the bills. I made the budget. I told Mr. Groove how much we had to spend. - We overspent everymonth, had credit card debt, car loans, and other debt.
Dave Ramsey said to sit down together and make the budget. I was doing it on excel. It was fancy- oh so pretty, but my husband would just look at it and say, "that's fine." but since he wasn't involved in decided how much to spend, he didn't remember, it wasn't in his mind, and would spend more. And I'd spend it with him, because even though I keep the check book, I have this weird thing about needing permission to spend money and he always said yes. So I grudgeingly tried what Dave Ramsey said. I asked my husband to sit down with me, and we hand wrote a budget together. It wasn't easy. It wasn't magic. I had to get him to turn off the tv. I had to explain why I wanted him to do it with me. I had to point out how we say we can't afford to fix up the house or buy a computer, but we spend X amount on books, dvds, and impulse purchases. I had to point out that if we planned we could save for those things, we could take a trip to Disney world, we could save for an Xbox 360. So he sat down with me, and we wrote the budget together. It worked. Not instantly. WE didn't have a lot of money at the start. It wasn't magical. But now, we have cash saved up, I have a laptop, he has an Xbox 360, we paid off our cars and we have no credit card debt. When we had a financial emergency a few months ago we paid cash for it. (ETA- we're not perfect. We stumble. We didn't set any savings aside this paycheck. BUt we have a leak in the basement and we paid cash for the supplies to fix it. there was a time when we would have put that on a credit card.)

What was my point? Oh yeah- approach it as a team, not and you verses your wife. She shouldn't be looking at her feet in shame when you ask what she bought at the store. There is more going on there than money problems. Ask her about it. Ask her how she feels. What she thinks. Tell her how you feel about things. It won't be easy, and there might be tears, but in the long run you'll both be happier.



The reason I don't believe it is that it isn't true.

See, I can't make my wife do anything. I can explain the problem, and demand a change, and even get her commitment to make the change. What I can't do is make her do it.

Largely because there are no consequences. I can't say "do this or I'll divorce you". Ooh, scary! "You'd better do this, or I'll give up my kids and give you half of everything I own and send you checks every month." What the hell kind of threat is that?
There is a big consequence. It sounds to me like two strangers living in one house. In a marriage, that is a big consequence. No, you can't make her do anything. But you can ask her to sit down with you and talk with you and ask her to help you, ask her to listen. Ask her to work together with you as a team.


Because you're right, I'm not her father. I've spent over a decade trying to establish how a husband and wife operate a successful household together as partners and equals, and she's insisted on acting like a teenage girl the whole time. Now she's in her thirties, and it's time to grow the hell up.
Well then tell her that. Communicating isn't always pretty, but it is a hell of a lot better than walking around on eggshells all the time and wondering what the other person is thinking or why they do what they do or what have you. It is better than wondering if the best option is to walk away. YOu never know, it may be the wake up call she needs.

No you can't make her go to counseling. But you can ask her to talk to you. You can ask her to be your partner - if you want to go to counseling you can ask her to go. I know i am not there, I don't know your specific situation, but from what you've shared I get the feeling you are throwing your hands up instead of working on it. And I get the feeling you are telling us what you need to be telling her.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 01:15 AM
The only constant is that she was right to do whatever it was she did.


I don't know what you mean. OK, we're not trying to do armchair analysis on your marriage. But what does that mean? That "she was right to do whatever it was she did?" Obviously, do you mean she thinks she's always right, or she really is always right?



and she's insisted on acting like a teenage girl the whole time. Now she's in her thirties, and it's time to grow the hell up.

But would you let a teenager handle your finances? If not, why do you let your wife do it?

If that's her self-worth issue, maybe try to help her find something else for her self-worth? Otherwise, you're guilty as an enabler.

Just a thought.

Siddow
05-21-2008, 01:34 AM
I handle all of our finances, because I have the time and I'm damn good at it.

Here's what I do: when money comes in, I pay bills. All of them, everything due. In our case, there's money left over. I keep $150 in spending money in the account for a week, and everything above that gets moved into savings immediately. My savings account is with a different bank from my checking, so if I want money from savings, there's a three-day wait.

I did all the culling of 'miscellaneous expenses' a few years ago when I started staying home with the kids.

Mr Flibble
05-21-2008, 01:39 AM
Because you're right, I'm not her father. I've spent over a decade trying to establish how a husband and wife operate a successful household together as partners and equals, and she's insisted on acting like a teenage girl the whole time. Now she's in her thirties, and it's time to grow the hell up.

I used to have a hubby like that ( I divorced him, but we didn't have kids). Now the rule is...we each have seperate accounts. There is one other account where the money for food / bills comes from and we each ( or only one if only one is working) pay a set amount into that. What we have left in our own seperate accounts is ours to splurge on what we want. Joint account is only for bills and actual food shopping, If it runs out -- the kids eat but we don't. You aren't her father, but she isn't a kid either -- she should act like a grown up.

If you do that, your wife will have to budget. Because she won't have enough money to eat other wise. She doesn't have to grow up, because you're letting her behave like a kid on a candy store. If she has money in her account, fine she can go to starbucks or whatever. If she doesn't ...she can't.

Idiots -- whose best mate's first wife left him after spending every single penny he had in his account and racking up bills with everyone that he had to pay off, to the point she faked paying his rent so she could use the money, and got him evicted.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 01:51 AM
this is how my budget looks:

On the left side of the sheet.

5/16
Mr. Groove pay: $$$
My pay: $$$
Total $$$$

Mortgage set aside (1/2)
Power bill
car insurance
life insurance
student loan (groan)
car tag (Once a year, came up this month)

Total:$$$

Subtract from income total: $$$

Savings
Gas
Groceries
Eat out
Spending me
Spending Hubby
House
Perscription
Misc

Total left: zero (because we named every dollar)

on the right side of the sheet I jot down

5/30
estimated income (less than I think it will be)

Mortgage (the other 1/2)
netflix
water bill
phone
cell
gas bill
Directv

with estimated amounts. This way I know I am not accidently skipping a bill and that I am spacing it out well so we aren't tight for two weeks and rich for two weeks.

We put more in savings in the middle of the month, that's when are car payment used to be. Next paycheck I'll refer to this sheet and start a new one. I usually pay the bills, and get the amount left, and then talk about how to distribute the money left with my husband. We've reached a point where we know how much to budget for groceries and eating out so it becomes a discussion about spending money, house money, and how much to put in savings.

Again- we're not perfect. There is no perfect budget. It is fluid. It changes every month. We fall off the wagon sometimes. Sometimes we get pushed. The car tag came and i hadn't thought about it - last year I anticipated it and set a little aside over a few checks. Also we have seepage in our basement, so the money we set aside for savings went to supplies to fix that. But we actually had cash on hand. Like I said, there was a time when my knee jerk response to every emergency was to break out the credit card.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 02:07 AM
I guess I have lots of thoughts on budgets.

I want to stress that we're not perfect. I used to get uptight if we didn't follow the budget to the letter. (ok, i still do.) BUt it is a guide. We had to make changes to the budget this time after we made it for the seepage in the basement. That's life.

In Feb I hurt my knee and needed surgery. Budgeting went out the window. I stayed on top of paying the bills, but that was it. I couldn't cook. We started eating like bachelors, since hubby was in charge of meals. We ate out more. So our budget, mental at this point since it wasn't on paper, shifted so we spent more on eating out and less on groceries and misc/spending money. But since we've been doing our budget together for a while, it wasn't all that bad. We still stayed with - in parameters we've set up. Since it is habit we were ok for a while. I think that's why we stumbled a little, but that's ok. In the past when we stumbled we were $900 dollars deeper in debt. now we just didn't put a little bit in savings. big difference, let me tell you....

Carole
05-21-2008, 02:14 AM
Sass, that's actually pretty similar to what I came up with this morning. (Believe it or not, I studied Accounting - a long time ago :D )

I seem to have all the tools. I just have become terribly lazy with them. There's always next month, you see. But Mr. Vagabond is still working in that single guy mindset. I work for my money and it's mine to do with what I want, as long as I pay my share of the bills. He's not nearly as nasty about it as that sounds, but it's still the general idea. I think most of it stems from the fact that he has lived on the road for the past 10 years - almost as long as we've been together. I see him on weekends only. So from his standpoint, he has to keep his things separate to keep a handle on them.

In reality, what happens is that he makes a lot more money than me, he spends way worse than me and we really don't function as a couple trying to prepare for the future. One week, I'll be broke and he'll give me $50. Another week maybe he'll be broke and I'll give him $50. That just seems so bizarre!

We don't have debt, though, except for the truck and house. No credit cards with running balances, one extremely small personal loan that's almost paid off and that's really it. That's one WONDERFUL thing. We don't spend what we don't have. Then again, we don't save what we DO have.

But

I have come to a realization on this, my hookie day from work. Even if hubby isn't ready to get into the saving mode, that doesn't mean that I can't. I have my own job, my own checking and savings accounts and although we both have access to each other's accounts, we never touch them except in a real emergency. I've been getting tons of overtime lately and there's no end in sight for that, so maybe I will just base my budget on my normal pay, and everything else can go into savings. I can easily get a couple extra hundred dollars a pay period and that's a pretty good start!

TerzaRima
05-21-2008, 02:14 AM
Darklock, does your wife have a job? It sounds like she's not employed.

I agree with Idiots. The "yours, mine, and ours" accounts system works really well for some people, provided you're both earning. Mr Rima and I have a joint account, and then we each have our own accounts. Neither of us wanted to be in the position of having to ask the other to approve minor purchases. In our case, it has worked out pretty well.

pconsidine
05-21-2008, 02:24 AM
She has to want to fix it, and I can't do anything to make that happen. All I can do is decide from one day to the next whether the best choice is just to walk away and start over.I'm not about to start trying to tell you what to do, but I can say that it sounds awfully familiar (except with the roles reversed). My ex was definitely the better money manager, but I always thought it was my job to take care of everything. For some reason, it seemed better to me to try to handle money and do a crappy job of it than to admit that I couldn't do it. It's been really tough to acknowledge my own limitations, but not doing so would only have led to even worse trouble (as it pretty much has).

Money is definitely a symptom (as you obviously know). And you're right that you can't make it work if you're the only one working on it. But you absolutely have the right, if not the obligation, to take every possible step to ensure your own happiness.

All of which I say as one who learned all these things too late.

Keep the faith, man. One way or the other, bad times don't last forever.

James81
05-21-2008, 02:26 AM
That depends on what she wants. Marriage carries different rights, responsibilities, and obligations from day to day and moment to moment. The only constant is that she was right to do whatever it was she did.



I don't agree because I've lived here for twelve years, and you've read a couple posts on a forum. Do you suppose maybe you don't know enough about the situation?

I know things are broken. I think they can be fixed, but I can't fix them by myself, and I can't make my wife help. If she doesn't want counseling, counseling won't help anyway. She has to want to fix it, and I can't do anything to make that happen. All I can do is decide from one day to the next whether the best choice is just to walk away and start over.

Because you're right, I'm not her father. I've spent over a decade trying to establish how a husband and wife operate a successful household together as partners and equals, and she's insisted on acting like a teenage girl the whole time. Now she's in her thirties, and it's time to grow the hell up.

All I need are a couple of posts. That's the beautiful thing about a looming divorce, everybody is so damned hard-headed and they all believe (myself was included in this) their situation is so different.

What you'll discover AFTER your separation and sometime around the time the divorce is actually final is that your situation is no different, you're not special, and millions of people have been there before you.

Like I said, you aren't ready to hear what I am saying. Keep this thread in mind when the marriage fails though, cause I'm giving you damned good advice here. ;)

CDarklock
05-21-2008, 03:01 AM
I don't know what you mean. OK, we're not trying to do armchair analysis on your marriage. But what does that mean?

Whatever she does is justified. She'll jump through some really tortuous hoops to explain not only why she did something, but that she indeed had no real choice in the matter - it was the only thing she could do. Expecting her to do anything else was simply not rational.


If that's her self-worth issue, maybe try to help her find something else for her self-worth? Otherwise, you're guilty as an enabler.

Again, I can't make her do anything. I can only prevent her from doing things; I can infantilise her, and make her ask for every dime she wants to spend, and then I'm this cruel tyrant of a man who runs every aspect of her life. Indeed, one could productively argue that this would be abusive in and of itself.

And besides, she wouldn't learn anything from it. She has to learn not to spend the money that is there. She does just fine not spending money we don't have. I need her to learn how to handle a bank account with a rising balance.

Carole
05-21-2008, 03:41 AM
CDarklock:

Yanno, looking in on a situation that isn't mine, I do have a couple of observations. Take them or throw them out - whichever. If they are offensive, I honestly don't mean for them to be. If you tell me so, I'll happily delete my post. I don't want to overstep.

There seems to be a cycle going on and she may very well feel just as helpless as you feel. Allow me to explain where I'm coming from.

When I married my ex, I was 18 years old. Growing up, my mother never allowed me to do laundry for fear that I'd break her machine, she never allowed me to do dishes for fear that I'd break those too. She was never satisfied with how I kept my room and would invariably reclean and reorganize everything when I was finished rather than showing me how she expected it to be done. Now my mom is a great woman. She just had little patience for teaching me how to be a responsible adult and chose to take care of me rather than exasperate herself with lessons for someone who was happy to let her do it all. She had two other kids and a husband to take care of and it was just easier for her to do it all herself and move on to the next runny nose or hungry family member.

So when I got married, I was quite honestly clueless. No joke, I woke up that first morning in our little house and was momentarily stunned that the previous night's dinner dishes were still dirty and in the sink. I had to learn everything from scratch, and the hard way. My husband, on the other hand, was military-grade disciplined. He never lifted a finger in the house, but he sure knew how it was supposed to be done. His mother taught him well, but she also taught him that once he was not a bachelor he no longer needed to do anything. I wasn't really allowed to work and he had me quit college when I became pregnant so I was your stereotypical teenage pregnant wife with no college education and no job.

He knew that I was clueless but somehow thought I would just figure out how to manage money and run an efficient household (just like his mom's) by virtue of being alive, I suppose. I always became indignant when he talked about money in a huff, partly because of his attitude and partly because I was ashamed that I didn't live up to what he expected me to just know. But rather than ever talk to me about how to do something properly, he only screamed. Of course when he screamed, I became that little kid at mom's house and nothing was accomplished except a fight. We never once discussed managing money as a family. He expected me to just somehow know how and was irate when I didn't. That happened a lot.

Now, I am not a dumb blonde. It took a time, but I did eventually learn all of those lessons with zero help from anyone. I read, I went back to what I had learned in high school accounting, I worked at cooking and I eventually got it all together. But a rift was created between him and me that would never be healed. He was an ass and I would never be half the woman his mother was. *shrugs* (Interesting thing here is that the very night - 9 years later - that he did finally decide to talk about money and get it together as a family is the very night I told him that the boys and I were leaving. I'd had it with money fights and I wasn't going to be in another.)

The point I am aimlessly trying to make is that unless both parties can really REALLY humble themselves, a situation like this is probably doomed. Sure, you are probably a financial whiz. But as a husband and father, you're an awful lot more than that. Frustration and feelings of helplessness in any situation breeds resentment and that just can't be overcome without both people really getting down on the same level: human.

If the future of your marriage and emotional security of your kids mean as much to you as I suspect they do, you will most likely have to be the bigger person by showing her that you care enough about your family to gently guide both of you into whatever necessary changes have to be made. I'm guessing that you aren't a saint at home or with her. Being in a position of feeling taken for granted (a.k.a. human money machine) and not having any control over what you earn would make anyone pissed off and hard to live with.

Try to see things from her eyes, as hard as it may be. If you think that you should both work on it, maybe try to think that she is probably on eggshells most of the time worried about screwing up - again. I know that feeling well! Of course I deserved to feel like I was on eggshells and maybe your wife does too, but the bigger picture is getting through it and then past it with your family intact. It was practically an everyday thing for my ex to come home pissed or even just annoyed that I hadn't done something right. He was usually right about those things, but the dynamic between us made it impossible for us to work on it together and eventually both of us destroyed our marriage, really. Me, for not being what I ought to have been and him for acting as though he was helpless, used and the victim in the matter. (among other things)

TerzaRima
05-21-2008, 03:54 AM
I can infantilise her, and make her ask for every dime she wants to spend, and then I'm this cruel tyrant of a man who runs every aspect of her life

You know, there are women who really like this game. They want a daddy, and they want to pout when they break the rules.

CDarklock
05-21-2008, 04:10 AM
All I need are a couple of posts.

Then why do you have it entirely backwards?

My wife, knowing I don't share the value she places on something, is afraid I won't respect that value. So rather than face the risk of communicating about it, she simply does what she wants and makes excuses later.

She doesn't tell me what she wants; she's afraid I'll say "no". Because I don't have an assertiveness problem.

Cthulhu
05-21-2008, 04:14 AM
For what it's worth, my parents use this budgeting program called Mvelopes or something. From what I understand, you put in your income or whatever, and then budget all of that money to whatever needs you have for each month, so you have, for instance, an "eating out" bit where (sticking to the budget) you can't spend more than that amount. It seems like a pretty cool way to keep track of money, especially for the mathematically disinclined.

JoNightshade
05-21-2008, 04:56 AM
Then why do you have it entirely backwards?

My wife, knowing I don't share the value she places on something, is afraid I won't respect that value. So rather than face the risk of communicating about it, she simply does what she wants and makes excuses later.

She doesn't tell me what she wants; she's afraid I'll say "no". Because I don't have an assertiveness problem.

I had to laugh (sadly) when I read this - I have your wife's problem. If I think someone isn't going to agree with my decision... I simply don't tell them. I go ahead and do it and damn the torpedoes! I'll deal with the consequences later! (I inherited this stubbornness directly from my mother. :)) Fortunately I was lucky to marry a guy who knows how to deal with this. (And fortunately I don't have this habit with money - I'm the frugal one.)

You said your wife knows you don't place the same values on things as she does - so she feels she has to go behind your back to get what she wants.

The answer here isn't to keep butting your head against hers, because I guarantee that's not going to solve the problem. (It certainly wouldn't deterr me...) Nor is it realistic to expect her to change into a different person.

If you really want to help, try this:

1) Really, honestly try to figure out what she values and why. Why does she want the things she spends money on so extravagantly? I'm assuming she's not an idiot, so these things must make her FEEL a certain way. (Attractive? Satisfied? Something else?)
2) Realize that there's nothing stupid or insignificant about the way she feels. It's possible she's come to see you as the "enemy" who always tries to thwart her in getting at what she wants. You get personal validation and satisfaction from some things; she finds them elsewhere. That's probably why you once thought you fit well together.
3) Show her that you understand her needs and you want to fulfill them. You're not just a tyrant (as you said) attempting to take away everything she loves. You love her and you want to give her things that make her happy. Make a concerted effort to study your wife and figure out what she needs. Talk to her about meeting these needs, steering it towards intangible stuff. (Don't even discuss money.) Is she lonely? Does she feel ignored? Does she feel unattractive?
4) Try to figure out if there is some way that you, the husband, or both of you together, can meet these needs. Most people who spend compulsively are trying to fill some kind of hole, to make them happy. But it never does - hence her spending all the money no matter how much you make.
5) After you've communicated how much you care about meeting her needs, let her know that you also have some needs. And that one of them is financial security. Don't try to overhaul the whole system (which as you know will make her defensive). Pick something simple but important to you. For example, say you feel anxious that the two of you aren't putting away any money - so perhaps x dollars per month could be delegated to a savings account that would not be touched. Maybe this could be automatically deposited so she would never even have to see it. Again, ultimately this is about her needs - you want to make sure that she and the family are secure in the future, no matter what happens to you.

Anyway, you're probably tired of getting stomped on every time you try to do anything in your family. But if there is going to be reconciliation, someone has to go first. And it can't be faked or half-assed.

Carole
05-21-2008, 05:03 AM
Then why do you have it entirely backwards?

My wife, knowing I don't share the value she places on something, is afraid I won't respect that value. So rather than face the risk of communicating about it, she simply does what she wants and makes excuses later.

She doesn't tell me what she wants; she's afraid I'll say "no". Because I don't have an assertiveness problem.Why is there a "risk" and fear associated with talking about it?

And where did all the lovely budgeting advice I was getting trail off to? This thread used to be about ME, I say, Meeee! :D (joking...seriously)

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 05:07 AM
Whatever she does is justified. She'll jump through some really tortuous hoops to explain not only why she did something, but that she indeed had no real choice in the matter - it was the only thing she could do. Expecting her to do anything else was simply not rational.

Unfortunately, that's not how adults operate in their relationships. Every time you say "I can't change her; I can't make her do anything; I can't reason with her; I can't teach her; I can't..." it sounds more like you're giving up or you're not a partner with her wife or vice versa, instead of two adults trying to build a trusting relationship...

Again, I don't presume to know your marriage. But it just sounds like to me you're giving up -- "she justifies everything she does" and you accept that.


Again, I can't make her do anything. I can only prevent her from doing things; I can infantilise her, and make her ask for every dime she wants to spend, and then I'm this cruel tyrant of a man who runs every aspect of her life. Indeed, one could productively argue that this would be abusive in and of itself.

I didn't say infantilizing her. I didn't mean to treat her like a fifteen year old. But what's the hurt of having some money management and not letting her handle the finances since she can't handle it? It is your money, too, you know, so why can't you do something about it? It still sounds like you're enabling.

My mom managed my dad's income and gave him a monthly allowance. It worked like a charm and my dad never said my mom treated him like an infant. He just wasn't as a good a money manager than my mom. A marriage is more than just two people living together. It's a managed household with both people working hard to achieve certain common goals... At least that's my idea of what a marriage should be...

eldragon
05-21-2008, 05:19 AM
We just try to set limits, because we also enjoy going out to eat every week.
We don't eat fast food, so a meal out for the three of us is usually $30-50. But we seriously love it.


It's family time.


We use NETFLIX, and have for years, and I agree with Ray that it saves big bucks over renting DVD's.


Our biggest problem is gas, because both my husband and I commute to work, but what can you do? We can't quit our jobs to save gas money.


We paid off our one major credit card and intend for it to stay paid off. We try not to charge anything at all. And for the next 6 months, we're going to try to put my checks into savings.


And Carole, remodeling, even doing it yourself, is expensive. My husband just gutted one of our bathrooms and put in ceramic tile, put in new walls, new appliances, fixtures, crown molding, everything, and it still cost around $2K just for the stuff. It was worth it though. The bathroom is beautiful.

(But the kitchen is atrocious.............this 117-year-old house.)

StephanieFox
05-21-2008, 05:27 AM
Two words:

Yard Sales!


I get much of what I need cleaning stuff, fancy soaps, clothes, dog toys, books, games, etc. for pennies on the dollar. Too bad the yard sale season is only six months long.

Places like Big Lots and consignment shops are great too. Except for food and drugs (prescription) I hardly ever buy retail. Avoid credit cards, too.

We also grow our own veggies, even though we live in the city. We freeze the extra and eat them all winter long.

CDarklock
05-21-2008, 06:06 AM
Every time you say "I can't change her; I can't make her do anything; I can't reason with her; I can't teach her; I can't..." it sounds more like you're giving up

That's the only thing I actually said.

The reason I originally put the word "make" in italics was because I wanted it to be clear that the intended meaning was "force". I cannot force my wife to do what I want, or think what I want, or feel what I want. She has to do and think and feel what she does and thinks and feels all by herself.

The only thing I can give her is tools for the job and a safe place to do it. I can't make it happen; I have to let it happen. And if I don't see results, sooner or later I have to call it a failure and move on.

Carole
05-21-2008, 06:32 AM
The only thing I can give her is tools for the job and a safe place to do it. I can't make it happen; I have to let it happen. And if I don't see results, sooner or later I have to call it a failure and move on.

What tools? You mentioned before that you can't talk to her about it. That just sounds like you're watching an experiment in a fishbowl. If you are a family then, in my opinion, you should have an active role. Like Ray mentioned before, part of a marriage is the managed household. If the household isn't being managed and you are part of that household, you are just as much to blame as her. If you don't have money in the bank like you want and groceries in the fridge like you want, you are also part of that equation. I wouldn't fire my husband from the family just because he is very incapable of gardening and we need those vegetables. I work the garden because I can. He works on our vehicles because I can't. We've yet to ban my sister from Thanksgiving just because she can't cook a turkey. Someone else does it. It only makes sense that if there is work to be done and one person isn't capable but another person is, then the capable person should be in charge of that work. Surely your wife has more to offer your family than just her money managing skills or lack thereof. It's really scary for me to think that my husband would dream of getting rid of me because I couldn't do something that he could yet he refused to step up and take charge.

JoNightshade
05-21-2008, 06:51 AM
For all you people who commute such a long ways, have you considered asking your boss for a gas stipend or some such? If I were doing an hour commute to work, I'd be at my boss's desk asking for either a raise or something to cover part of the gas. (I realize not everyone has a nice boss, and it's scary to ask for a raise, but I've learned that being assertive at work is the best way to go.)

Also I know there are also lots of carpool organizations where you can hook up with people going in the same general area. That could help a lot.

ETA: You might also ask if your work is willing to help finance you in purchasing a hybrid or a car with good gas mileage. When I was younger, my dad had a really jerky employer, but he negotiated with the guy and he helped my dad buy a van in return for having his company logo on the side for a couple of years.

Carole
05-21-2008, 06:56 AM
For all you people who commute such a long ways, have you considered asking your boss for a gas stipend or some such? If I were doing an hour commute to work, I'd be at my boss's desk asking for either a raise or something to cover part of the gas. (I realize not everyone has a nice boss, and it's scary to ask for a raise, but I've learned that being assertive at work is the best way to go.)

Also I know there are also lots of carpool organizations where you can hook up with people going in the same general area. That could help a lot.

That is a fantastic idea! I do have a nice boss and I already know that she is concerned about how much it is costing me lately to get to work. Maybe it's time to ask for a little more. The worst she could do is tell me that it isn't in the budget. Then again, this is the lady who, at Christmas, wrote me a $200 check out of her personal account because my retroactive raise was delayed in paying out. How many bosses would do that?! And I paid her back within two weeks, when my next paycheck came in.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 06:59 AM
Also, consider telecommuting. Sometimes, depending on the job, it really doesn't make sense to have the employee at the office every day, all the time. Telecommuting works well within a lot of organizations. As long as you get things done (and are accessible by phone, email, etc.) it's almost unnecessary for someone to be physically in the office.

Carole
05-21-2008, 07:02 AM
Also, consider telecommuting. Sometimes, depending on the job, it really doesn't make sense to have the employee at the office every day, all the time. Telecommuting works well within a lot of organizations. As long as you get things done (and are accessible by phone, email, etc.) it's almost unnecessary for someone to be physically in the office.
I have some of that freedom too. I can connect to my work computer from home and I have worked at home many times. Hearing my bosses boss talk about such things at a recent meeting, I think we may just be going more and more that way all the time. We're already traveling much less for meetings and taking advantage of what he calls "That modern technology" by simply calling in.

CDarklock
05-21-2008, 01:18 PM
You mentioned before that you can't talk to her about it.

It's not because I don't try. It's because no matter how I approach the subject, all she hears is "obey your man, woman". We can't have a productive conversation about it.

She wasn't like this when I married her; she got this way after she graduated college. Sometimes I see glimpses of the woman I married, and I know she's still in there. I just don't know how to bring her back out. Everything I try only seems to make things worse.

Marian Perera
05-21-2008, 01:44 PM
2) Get out of the mindset of "We deserve to indulge."

What you deserve is to attain financial security. What you deserve is the luxury of having so much in savings, you can work on your house without borrowing a dime. What you deserve is a life without credit cards, interest rates, or debt.

That's my philosophy. I'm a single person working at a job that doesn't pay very well, and my dream is to buy a condo one day. So I don't have a car; I use public transport. I don't have a TV; when I need entertainment I borrow books from the public library, and my favorite shows, like MST3K, are on YouTube anyway. I don't go on vacations; when I get time off from work I clean my apartment and write. I used to volunteer at an upscale thrift store, so most of my clothes come from there and cost maybe 25 cents each. When I needed a new computer, I put the word out and my best friend's brother managed to get me a new Dell for $350. He also installed all the software and brought it to my place and set it up. I treated him at Subways.

That's not to say that I never indulge in buying new stuff, but my indulgences are generally small (under $30) and occur every two months or so. So I've got money saved and hope to buy that condo before I turn 40. Or even 35. My biggest fear is buying it and not having enough for the maintenance, taxes and who knows what.

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 03:11 PM
We're also now reducing the number of channels we get on the satellite. We'll lose the couple of movie channels we have (not HBO or anything, just Encore) but we have a good DVD collectoin. And we've decided to skip the weekly ordering out for dinner night. We'll make our own pizza instead and save almost $100 per month between the two items. That's most of at least one grocery bill.

And I've decided to make our own iced tea and buy a big thing of Splenda to sweeten it, instead of buying Crystal Light.

This is fun! What else can I do to save money. The only problem is the gas. We HAVE to use the car - there's no public transportation that will get you anywhere on time (I did like that when I lived in the city; didn't need a car at all) so we need to drive. Once the school year is over though, I'm not going anywhere I don't have to. Even the library will mail me stuff I want.

Carole
05-21-2008, 03:24 PM
I'm getting ready to head out the door, but I have a little challenge (if anyone sees it before it gets forgotten about or buried)

How would you live on $20 / week? This is considering that there's already gas in your vehicle, but only staples in the fridge (eggs, milk, butter, etc.)

How would you use that $20 and make it last a week? I know it's possible because I'm doing it this week.

James81
05-21-2008, 04:41 PM
Then why do you have it entirely backwards?

My wife, knowing I don't share the value she places on something, is afraid I won't respect that value. So rather than face the risk of communicating about it, she simply does what she wants and makes excuses later.

She doesn't tell me what she wants; she's afraid I'll say "no". Because I don't have an assertiveness problem.

Hmmm, maybe I do have it backwords.

Instead of an assertiveness problem, perhaps you are a control freak?

The point that you consistently have missed is that you REFUSE to accept the blame. You have done nothing but bitch about your wife and her problems and yet you haven't acknowledged YOUR problems.

Carole
05-21-2008, 05:01 PM
In CDarklock's defense, we aren't in his home. The only thing we have to base any judgments on is what he's written. I'm sure we're all guilty of coming across much more negative when writing than we really are, especially when we're frustrated. Without meeting him and his wife, there would be no way to really know. And we aren't exactly a bunch of marriage experts. Raise your hand if you've been divorced.

*raises hand*

Raise yourhand if there is the slimmest possibility that the divorce wasn't all your previous partner's fault.

*raises hand*

Carole
05-21-2008, 05:25 PM
Ok - on to the $20 for a week challenge: (5-day work week, though)

This is a tough one, as I'm finding out for real because that's what I'm living on this week. I have basic items in the pantry and fridge like milk, eggs, butter, rice and bread.

This might not be the most glam way to live for 5 days, but I'm not going hungry and I'm not overbudget. Also, I slid off the vegetarian wagon recently, but I plan to be back up there soon. I purchased:

Good old Oscar Mayer Bologna $3
Lays potato chips (big bag, I take some to work each day) $3
Pudding Packs - On sale and I bought two. $2 (.99 cents each)
Zatarain's Red Beans and rice - I bought two on sale. $3 ($1.50 each)
Canned Corn - 2 cans $1.50
Canned green beans - 2 cans - $1.50
Large canned tomatoes - 1 can - $2
1 onion - $.50
Canned potatoes - 2 cans $1.75

For almost all of that $20, ($18.25 plus tax) I got enough food to eat all week.

The bologna, pootato chips and pudding packs are for lunches this week. I already have some canned soup in my desk at work so that's kinda cheating, but I couldn't help that.

The red beans and rice, I have in a pot for dinners and all the veggies I bought are for vegetable soup that I'm making tonight. So I'm having red beans and rice and vegetable soup for dinners this week and there's also plenty of lunchmeat for sandwiches to go with the soup if I'm not totally sick of it by the end of the week.

I came in under $20!!

Edited: I just scored a free Krispy Kreme. WoOt!

Namatu
05-21-2008, 05:29 PM
I'm getting ready to head out the door, but I have a little challenge (if anyone sees it before it gets forgotten about or buried)

How would you live on $20 / week? This is considering that there's already gas in your vehicle, but only staples in the fridge (eggs, milk, butter, etc.)

How would you use that $20 and make it last a week? I know it's possible because I'm doing it this week.
That's basically what I do, with only occasional spillover. I'm not counting my public transportation costs for the week, which my employer subsidizes. Basically, I go to work and go home. I socialize with friends during walks, or if we go out, my drink is a water. During the week I try to focus on de-stressing from work, reading, cooking. No time for much else. Weekends are harder, but I fill it with exercise, writing, laundry, and when I meet up for others after the gym for tea, my "tea" is the water I bring with me.

How many people drink soda? How much? How much does it cost each week? Water is free!

Namatu
05-21-2008, 05:31 PM
Ok - on to the $20 for a week challenge: (5-day work week, though)

This is a tough one, as I'm finding out for real because that's what I'm living on this week. I have basic items in the pantry and fridge like milk, eggs, butter, rice and bread.
Oh, you are counting food? I'm out. I'd starve. I could manage on $30 though.

johnnysannie
05-21-2008, 05:43 PM
Here's something I do to have a "petty cash" fund. I throw all the $1 and $5 bills I get in change into a coffee can and that's our family petty cash. Kids want lunch money, I dip into petty cash. Need a few extra dollars for something during the week? Dip into petty cash. Want to splurge on a meal out or order pizza? Tap into that can and voila!

Those small bills add up over time.

We also toss all our change into a big container and when it's full, roll the coins or take it to a Coin Star. The first few times, I was amazed at how much that pocket change added up to over time!

Carole
05-21-2008, 05:46 PM
I do drink Diet Pepsi, but I'm drinking a lot more water these days. It isn't free, though. Far from it. If I actually do drink the tap water, it's because there isn't anything else around. My husband is a water snob and only buys Smart Water at about $1.89 a bottle. Ridiculous. I want to get a Brita filter for the kitchen sink and stop buying bottled water. I just don't like tap water. I'm funny that way. After we installed the plumbing in the house and I could see just where it was coming from, I couldn't drink from the tap for several months. It was all new plumbing, but I wouldn't drink from a PVC cup so I don't really want to drink from PVC pipes. And also, there's glue in there from where the pipes were glued together. Not icky enough? The original pipes were slightly corroded metal of some sort. Yeah, I know - I have a water pipe ickiness hangup.

But even from the tap, it isn't free. My monthly water bill runs between $50 and $60. I drink coffee, but not as much as I used to and it's a very rare thing for me to just buy a cup of coffee anywhere. Usually I just make it at home. I like Starbuck's specialty lattes (like the Pumpkin Spice - YUM!) but I honestly don't care for just a regular cup of Starbuck's coffee. Believe it or not, I much prefer good old Folgers or Maxwell House. Better still, I buy the local JFG - now that is some good coffee!

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 05:52 PM
Wow, your water is expensive! Our combined water and sewer is about $96 every THREE MONTHS!

Carole
05-21-2008, 05:59 PM
Ours is combined water and sewer, but yeah - between $50 and $60 a month. And I don't use a lot either. I don't take long showers and throughout the week, it's just me there.

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 06:44 PM
Whew - I feel for you.

James81
05-21-2008, 07:26 PM
*raises hand*

Raise yourhand if there is the slimmest possibility that the divorce wasn't all your previous partner's fault.

*raises hand*

My ex-wife is a bitch, she cheated on me, she was a complete lazy slob, and she made my life a miserable mess...

*puts hand down to the side*

And yet, I understand completely why she was unhappy with me. There are very FEW cases where the blame is shouldered on one party. I accepted the things that *I* did and faced MY issues and as a result I have grown in leaps and bounds.

It's a choice. You can choice to point your finger and blame someone else all your life and be miserable, or you can take responsibility for your own actions and improve yourself and be a better person for it, regardless of what your spouse decides to do.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 07:32 PM
Carole, I am not divorced, but I do have an X. I acknowledge I am partly to blame for the disentigration of our relationship.

But really, that doesn't defend Cdarklock. It should open his eyes though. Cdark, please heed what all these people are saying. Especially the ones with exes who learned the hard way. I get the feeling you are telling us what you should be telling your wife.
If she hears, "Obey your man, woman." No matter how you approach it, then tell her, "I am not demanding that you obey your man. Will you please listen?"

If you know the woman you married is still in there somewhere, tell her. You keep posting excuses in response to our posts when you should just be listening. Learning. And listening to your wife. Now go tell her what you told us. Because money is easy to fix, you have marriage problems.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 07:36 PM
That's my philosophy. I'm a single person working at a job that doesn't pay very well, and my dream is to buy a condo one day. So I don't have a car; I use public transport. I don't have a TV; when I need entertainment I borrow books from the public library, and my favorite shows, like MST3K, are on YouTube anyway. I don't go on vacations; when I get time off from work I clean my apartment and write. ...

That reminds me of someone else, but a complete opposite. He'd look at a nice condo and say, "I'll buy that some day." I shot back: "How?" You see, this guy makes $30,000 a year, but he doesn't save. He spends all his money. He loses $200 in 10 minutes gambling online. He eats out all the time. He buys expensive toys using his credit cards. And he says he's going to buy a $350,000 condo. How?

That said, QoS, you've got to live a little, you know. It doesn't take $$$$ to have a vacation, for example. I can have a great vacation and see places for $100. Seriously. That was how I traveled around the US in college -- I was really cheap. I've seen some friends that went to the extreme of "not having a life" so they can have a life when they're retired. That's just odd to me.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 07:41 PM
We're also now reducing the number of channels we get on the satellite. We'll lose the couple of movie channels we have (not HBO or anything, just Encore) but we have a good DVD collectoin. And we've decided to skip the weekly ordering out for dinner night. We'll make our own pizza instead and save almost $100 per month between the two items. That's most of at least one grocery bill.


I just cut my cable service -- I lost most of the movie channels and misc. and consolidated my Internet services. I now have a faster connection and fewer channels I never watched anyway, for about $80 less.

That's the thing. Cable or cell companies etc. tend to adjust their plans and pricing all the time. It's good to check with the periodically to adjust your plans. I got a new and BETTER cell plan for $30 less just by checking with them. I recommend everyone to check with their service providers periodically to get better deals.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 07:45 PM
I also love Trader Joe's. I can have 1/3 more food for about the same money I would have spent at Kroger's. I couldn't believe it. I had a cart full of stuff (and good stuff at that) and I thought it would cost $200. It came to $146. I was surprised.

JoNightshade
05-21-2008, 08:06 PM
I'm getting ready to head out the door, but I have a little challenge (if anyone sees it before it gets forgotten about or buried)

How would you live on $20 / week? This is considering that there's already gas in your vehicle, but only staples in the fridge (eggs, milk, butter, etc.)

How would you use that $20 and make it last a week? I know it's possible because I'm doing it this week.

This is how my husband got through college. He alternated between bottom of the barrel frozen meals and ramen, just once a day. And candybars for energy. If I tried your challenge, he'd KILL me. :) (One of the rules he laid down when we got married was "no frozen meals." I'm surprised he'll even eat ramen anymore.)

Cranky
05-21-2008, 08:08 PM
I get inexplicable cravings for the chicken flavored ramen every now and again, so I always keep some on hand. :D

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 08:12 PM
NOt to lose the point of the thread, here, Carole mentioned she is going to start saving her overtime, since it is 'extra'. GOOD FOR YOU. Good start. :)

Namatu
05-21-2008, 08:18 PM
I also love Trader Joe's. I can have 1/3 more food for about the same money I would have spent at Kroger's. I couldn't believe it. I had a cart full of stuff (and good stuff at that) and I thought it would cost $200. It came to $146. I was surprised.
Trader Joe's is awesome. I stock up on cheese and nuts there, and if you're entertaining, they've got lots of little frozen goodies that are tasty but cheap.

Namatu
05-21-2008, 08:19 PM
NOt to lose the point of the thread, here, Carole mentioned she is going to start saving her overtime, since it is 'extra'. GOOD FOR YOU. Good start. :)
Know what else is GOOD FOR YOU, Carole? That you're debt free. I meant to mention that earlier. That is fabulous and puts you ahead as you start to save.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 08:22 PM
I get inexplicable cravings for the chicken flavored ramen every now and again, so I always keep some on hand. :D

I still have plenty of ramen at home. They're comfort food. And super cheap. That was how I got through college with a tight budget. Ramen and eggs, and sometimes kielbasa. Literally $0.50 a meal. I was skinny as a bone through college but I ended with no debt at all while living in a nice apartment. I guess I had my priorities. Food was never my vice.

Cranky
05-21-2008, 08:25 PM
Not mine, either. But the sodium in that stuff is off the charts! I can eat it with no trouble, though. Low blood pressure. :D

And yeah, crazy cheap. It's quick, easy, and you can always throw out the flavor packets to make some kind of casserole with it, if you're feeling adventurous. I lived on the stuff as a lowly E-1/2 living in Miami. I'd have starved otherwise...

Kate Thornton
05-21-2008, 08:26 PM
I know I am jumping in here a bit late - but I just want to share what has worked for me.

Just for the record, I am currently unemployed , disabled and not bringing in a dime. BUT (there's my big but...)

When my husband & I sold our houses several years ago, moved in together and bought a house together, we were fortunate - both working, both w/retirements and both with $$ from our respective houses. We were able to pay the mortgage down drastically on the new house.

The new house is a 1954 mid century modern which needed a lot of exterior & infrastructure work. We did those necessary things in the first 2 years. Now we just have upkeep - a full time job as every homeowner knows, but I'm here pretty much full time and work on stuff I can manage.

But the really cool thing about the house is that it is a simple place and we got rid of almost everything we owned when we moved into it. Once we were satisfied with our few pieces of furniture, a couple dishes and a TV set, we realized the place is VERY NICE with VERY LITTLE in it. So we do not continue to collect anything. No DVDs, crystal, nothing we don't need. Okay, we buy art once in a while, and books of course.

Only the rule is if you bring in something you have to take something out. This applies to clothing, too.

It saves a ton of money. When I lost weight last year, all my clothes went to the charity shops. I bought only what I needed and replaced about 1/5th of what I had. I use 1/4 of my closet.

The garage - repository of so much junk we have accumulated - is slowly getting emptied as we give stuff away to anyone who can use it.

I have diabetes, so I cook at home. Gotta eat fresh vegetables, so it's less expensive - and healthier - than going out. I had to learn to cook, but it's a lot of fun now. Hubby is healthier now too. We do go out once a week - we can afford it. But we are on a strict household budget, save $$ as long as he's working, and have a comfy life without a lot of clutter. We vacation twice a year, and have no cc debt. Next year my Army retirement checks will start arriving and I'll be hard-pressed to know what to do with all that $$.

Oh, and the $20 challenge is a very cool exercise in economy. It can work for groceries if you already have staples, condiments and spices in your pantry/freezer/fridge. $20 can buy a lot of fresh vegetables at our local market. Meats are expensive but fish & chicken can be less so.

Try to change the way you *feel* about acquiring stuff. I feel great living a more simple life - free and light and somehow more happy.

maestrowork
05-21-2008, 08:27 PM
Not mine, either. But the sodium in that stuff is off the charts! I can eat it with no trouble, though. Low blood pressure. :D

And yeah, crazy cheap. It's quick, easy, and you can always throw out the flavor packets to make some kind of casserole with it, if you're feeling adventurous. I lived on the stuff as a lowly E-1/2 living in Miami. I'd have starved otherwise...

I only use half of the flavor packet. Most of it is salt anyway. The flavors are just as good with half a packet. Ramen is also a good alternative to pasta -- I know, it's fried but it's also cheap and quick. 3 minutes and you can have pasta marinara.

Cranky
05-21-2008, 08:30 PM
Hmmm. Maybe we should start up a Cookin' With Ramen thread in the cooking forum. :D

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 08:35 PM
I know it seems like we're all dogpiling Cdarklock. I am not trying to pick on you. I see hurt in your posts and that triggers something in me that wants to respond.

Maybe we're all over thinking Cdarks posts? Maybe it's a vocabulary lesson waiting to happen. Cdark, you keep indicating that when you approach your wife, she reacts negatively, assuming you want to control her or are demanding she "obey her man." when you aren't. Well, let's look at that. You may not mean to approach her that way but that doesn't mean she doesn't perceive your approach that way. let's go in the way back machine to your first post here.


(snip)

I know the answer to that - fast food, coffee, and groceries. My wife is sitting around the house hungry, so she goes to the grocery store with our two hungry children, and after the orgy of "gimme gimme" shopping is too tired to cook - so she stops for fast food. Then on the way home, she wants some coffee, so she stops at Starbucks. She gets home, unpacks the groceries, and when I ask what she bought for dinner tonight, she just stares guiltily at the floor.

She bought crap. We have eight hundred convenient packaged snacks, but there's not a single meal. Now I have to go back to the store, where I'll pick up the necessities of a week's meals for about $80.

Meanwhile, my wife spent $280 on snacks, $40 on lunch, and $20 on coffee. So we've spent over $400, and we have dinners for a week. Plus a four year old who simply won't eat dinner, because he would rather eat all those snacks instead - after all, mommy didn't buy any dinners when he was at the store. Dinner is this horrible punishment daddy inflicts on the family, where you all have to eat the same thing, and you have to sit at the table, and it's not at all like a snack which you just toss haphazardly on some horizontal surface while you run around and play.

I don't know how to fix this, because my wife's entire self-worth as a human being is tied up in being the person who handles the finances and does the shopping. When we made $45,000 a year, I thought the problem would be solved if I just made three times as much money, but it really hasn't changed anything. Sometimes I make six times as much money, and it doesn't change anything.

I think what needs to happen is my wife needs to hit the ground hard and suffer a while, so she knows the alternative. But it's my job to make sure that never happens. Which gives me rather a troublesome conundrum.

Perhaps start with something practical. read what you wrote. You may not have intended it but to me it drips with resentment and anger.

Instead of "when I ask what she bought for dinner tonight, she just stares guiltily at the floor."

Try saying something constructive. Example: "Honey. Thank you so much for doing the shopping and taking care of our family. I understand you want to buy X snack food. That is fine. Will you also please buy food for dinner? I would appreciate it so much."

Who cooks? DOes she cook or do you? Maybe work on a menu and list together. Then when she goes, she'll have an aide, since the kid will be distracting her, and she will buy less "crap" and more real food. If you cook, help her by making the list. But ask her what she would like to eat.

I am not a parent, so I don't know what that is like, but I did take child development and teach preschool. One thing I learned from babysitting and teaching is kids won't starve themselves. If your kid doesn't like what's for dinner, make mac n' cheese. or do what my mom did. "You don't like what we're having, you don't have to eat it but you don't get snacks later." After a while, I ate, let me tell you. And don't call what she buys crap either, I am sure that doesn't help.


Like Jo said, too about asking about your wife's needs. "Honey, it is fine that you go to Starbucks. I know you like an indulgence now and then. What is it that you like so much? How does it make you feel? Is there something I can do better? Would you like an espresso maker at home, or is it the atmosphere you like? It is fine that you go, but maybe you could go less often? Or is there some other way you'd like to cut the budget so you can go as often as you'd like? "



You said something else that triggers a flag.

I don't know how to fix this, because my wife's entire self-worth as a human being is tied up in being the person who handles the finances and does the shopping. Then you said later that this started after she finished college. Could it be she doesn't want to be a stay at home mom? I am sorry, but her self worth shouldn't come from handling finances (poorly) and grocery shopping. Have you asked her how she feels about staying home. It is right for some people, but not others. I know I long to stay home, but I suspect if I did I would become lazy and slothfull and not do all the things I think I would do if I did. I need a place to go everyday. I like my job, it challenges me. Is that what she's missing? A challenge. Maybe she needs a hobby, something to do outside of the kid and you. SOmething to keep her busy so she doesn't just blow money shopping for snacks. That's just going to make her feel worse about herself.

Maryn
05-21-2008, 08:57 PM
I thought of this thread when I grocery shopped this morning. I saved $32.00 with coupons, buying multiples of stuff that keeps that we've used for years, with major coupon-age. The prices are coming down and the quality going up on all kinds of produce, too.

Marian Perera
05-21-2008, 09:11 PM
That said, QoS, you've got to live a little, you know. It doesn't take $$$$ to have a vacation, for example. I can have a great vacation and see places for $100. Seriously. That was how I traveled around the US in college -- I was really cheap. I've seen some friends that went to the extreme of "not having a life" so they can have a life when they're retired. That's just odd to me.

My mother had a good friend who moved to Toronto and bought a townhouse here. When I emigrated from the UAE to Toronto, I asked her if I could stay with her for a week or so while I looked around for a place of my own. She agreed reluctantly. I soon found out why - her house was like a museum. Nothing could be touched, including the walls (I was specifically told not to touch them). She was holding on to the too large and too expensive place with one person's salary and taking out bank loans to replace the roof. Best of all, she told me that she would not be able to afford the place after she retired, so she'd have to sell it then.

Oh, and she hated having anyone besides herself in the sterile pristine house, so she threw me out shortly afterwards. Fortunately I'd found another place, owned by a sane person, and I moved into the basement apartment. Your story about your friends reminded me of that.

And I do enjoy myself, even if I don't go on vacations. It's not that I desperately want to travel but deny myself; it's more that I'd rather spend the money on books, or clothes, or something else. I'd prefer that to a vacation at the moment. Some day I want to see France, Kenya and Japan, but that's when I'm financially more stable and have enough money to spend, and maybe have someone to go with. I don't really want to travel all by myself.

But I don't feel deprived. When I was a kid, my family traveled a lot, so I've been to at least 13 countries. :)

stormie
05-21-2008, 09:12 PM
Yay Maryn! Coupons=good. People in the supermarkets sometimes get angry when they're behind me in line as I produce a bunch of clipped coupons. One even sniffed (and I swear she sniffed), "I'd never do that. You only buy stuff that you'd never buy otherwise."

I could have educated her, but...she was sporting expensive accessories and didn't give a you-know-what.

At home, make a list. Look through your coupons. Star any item that has a coupon and note how much the coupon is. (So you can compare the store brand with the name brand and how much you'll save.) Oh, and put the free-with-coupons items at the front of your stuff when you check-out. It's easier for the cashier to find the item on the ticker tape to write in the amount.

Christine N.
05-21-2008, 09:41 PM
I LOVE Sam's Club! Shopping in bulk for certain items saves us so much money! Peanut butter, jelly, OJ, and many cleaning supplies are so much cheaper. Meat - it's large quantities, but the per pound price can't be beat, and I break down the packages and freeze the stuff. Thomas' English Muffins, bagels, chips - all terrific deals.

For toiletries, I go to Target. They have great prices on their own brand stuff, and good sales too.

I baked my first two loaves of bread today too - just with what I had in the house, to see if I could do it and it would be edible. Delicious! (I can also use the recipe to make cinnamon bread too - yum!)

Namatu
05-21-2008, 09:46 PM
Yay Maryn! Coupons=good. People in the supermarkets sometimes get angry when they're behind me in line as I produce a bunch of clipped coupons. One even sniffed (and I swear she sniffed), "I'd never do that. You only buy stuff that you'd never buy otherwise."
There are rarely coupons for the stuff I buy (I even make my own salad dressing), but I don't sniff! Coupons are gold.

For families, what about joining Sam's Club or something like that? I've heard there are good deals, but have never ventured in. My apartment has limited storage space so I can't really stock up on anything, and since I moved in, I've enjoyed being more minimalist.

I agree with Kate Thornton. If something comes into the house/closet, something comes out. It can be hard to give away books, but every once in awhile I make myself do it. The size of my library remains relatively steady that way. I would love a new, bigger bookcase though.

Speaking of furniture, if you're in the market for some, check out resale stores first. There can be some good finds there for a lot less money. I know someone who furnished practically her entire house with resale stuff and it looks great.

sassandgroove
05-21-2008, 11:04 PM
Between this thread and the grocery shopping thread, I'm getting inspired to re-think how I grocery shop and cook.

JoNightshade
05-21-2008, 11:12 PM
Speaking of furniture, if you're in the market for some, check out resale stores first. There can be some good finds there for a lot less money. I know someone who furnished practically her entire house with resale stuff and it looks great.

I've griped about craigslist before, but actually this is a grrrreat source of furniture. If you're willing to be patient and just look through regularly (for specific items) you can get some fantastic deals. Most people getting rid of furniture need to do it NOW, so they're willing to lower the price a lot. (Unless you live in my area where half the residents are millionaires who think every object they own is priceless... I have to hunt more carefully.)

Craigslist is also a great way to get rid of stuff without having a garage sale. So far I've sold a broken iPod, a veggie slicer, a radio, and gotten rid of 2 old monitors. Next up is an old sound system. Old junk becomes extra cash. :)

Yeshanu
05-21-2008, 11:30 PM
Other people mentioned Dave Ramsey. If you don't have his book, get it.

I got his book from the library yesterday. (Public libraries are the best money-saving institutions on the face of the earth, btw.)

I read it after I got home from work. At 1:30 this morning. Finished it at five and went to sleep.

I woke up at 9:30 pumped to do something about my situation. In one day, I managed to sell some books to a used bookstore, and add $30 to that, and open a savings account at a no-fee bank. I'm beginning my baby steps back to solvency, and I'm suddenly not as afraid as I was before.

CDarlock, I'm going to say something you're not going to like.

You have a problem. A big, big problem.

Every post you've made on this thread has been about how your wife is causing you financial distress. You've posed no solutions to anything. You've not made any replies to other people's posts except to disagree with them.

Quite frankly, I agree with James. Your marriage is doomed if you keep it up. I don't agree that the problem you're having is primarily with finances.

Other people have said that you need to face your wife as a grown-up. First you need to face yourself as a grown up. YOU have a problem. YOU have to do something about it.

Change yourself, and one of two things will happen. Either your wife will see that you're serious about becoming an adult and grow up as well, or she'll find another kid to play with. Either way, things will only change for the better if you change first.

To everyone--I think the hardest lesson I ever learned in life is that if I have a problem, I'm the one who has to do something about it, NO MATTER WHO CAUSED THE PROBLEM.

The blame game doesn't work.

Let me say this again:

THE BLAME GAME DOES NOT WORK!!!!!

We can blame our spouses, the economy, high gas prices, job loss, easy credit, whatever we want.

It won't fix our problem. Only we can do that, and we can only do that by changing ourselves.

So stop bitching about your wife, and start facing the guy in the mirror.

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's life. Tough $hit.

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 12:00 AM
I got his book from the library yesterday. (Public libraries are the best money-saving institutions on the face of the earth, btw.)

I read it after I got home from work. At 1:30 this morning. Finished it at five and went to sleep.

I woke up at 9:30 pumped to do something about my situation. In one day, I managed to sell some books to a used bookstore, and add $30 to that, and open a savings account at a no-fee bank. I'm beginning my baby steps back to solvency, and I'm suddenly not as afraid as I was before.
GOOD FOR YOU. I am so glad.

When I went to get it at the library all the copies were out, so I bought mine. But I got it at Sam's so it was almost 1/2 off. :D I made a joke at the time that if I could afford it I wouldn't need it. But Mr. Groove said, "Hey, Dave's gotta eat."

JoNightshade
05-22-2008, 12:00 AM
I had a professor once who, out of the blue, stopped class one day to tell everyone that he was now on his fifth marriage. He said, "You know, it took me FOUR DIVORCES to realize that maybe the problem wasn't with my wife. Don't be that stupid."

I will remember that one forever. :)

CDarklock
05-22-2008, 12:14 AM
Instead of an assertiveness problem, perhaps you are a control freak?

Why are you so bound up in me having a problem? Maybe I honestly don't have one. Maybe I really have worked very hard for several years to try and establish a team relationship with my wife, and she really is just refusing to be part of the team. Why is that so hard for you to believe?

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 12:19 AM
Why are you only responding to James when many of us have posted to you directly? James just went through a divorce. He has a different POV than you. He sees in your posts some experiences he had and wants to offer advice he learned the hardway so you don't have to. No one is picking on you. Really. We are, honestly, trying to help. So you really have been working very hard for several years. Good. But Dude, work smarter not harder. If what you've been doing has garnered the angry resentful posts you brought to this thread, what you are doing isn't working and many people who have been in your shoes are trying to help. LISTEN!

Cranky
05-22-2008, 12:19 AM
Because it's almost never all one person's fault. They say it takes two to tango for a reason.

We're not trying to beat you up, here, honest. We just...want to help. *shrug* Take it or leave it, I guess. But it's the truth. I've only been married this once, but I've had relationships fail before. Even with the guy who was verbally abusive, it wasn't all his fault. Mostly his, yes, but mine too.

If you own up to your part, then there IS something you can do about things. You don't have to feel frustrated and helpless anymore.

Cross-posted with sass. :)

James81
05-22-2008, 12:20 AM
Why are you so bound up in me having a problem? Maybe I honestly don't have one. Maybe I really have worked very hard for several years to try and establish a team relationship with my wife, and she really is just refusing to be part of the team. Why is that so hard for you to believe?

Because your posts sound exactly like mine 2 years ago. That's why.

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 12:21 AM
I think Cdark has me on ignore...

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 12:55 AM
There are two threads in one here... Can't decide which one I should participate in. :)


Maybe I really have worked very hard for several years to try and establish a team relationship with my wife, and she really is just refusing to be part of the team...

Guy, if she refuses to be part of the team, and you still give her the credit card and cash and then bitch about her senseless spending afterwards... no, of course, you don't have any problem. Party on.


Now, back to the budget issue...

I just spent $8 on a salad. I feel really bad now.

Cranky
05-22-2008, 01:01 AM
Eight bucks on a salad??

A twenty-four carrot one, anyway. :D

Sorry, I know. I'm so punny.

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 01:04 AM
And it was good.

Bubastes
05-22-2008, 01:04 AM
Eight bucks on a salad??

A twenty-four carrot one, anyway. :D

Sorry, I know. I'm so punny.

:rimshot:

Cranky
05-22-2008, 01:07 AM
Seriously, I have only eaten at an expensive restaurant once. One time. On a date in Cleveland, with a view of the river. Best salmon I've ever had, at least.

Oh wells. I'd rather eat ramen with Mr. Cranky anyway. (He hates salmon, but he's a fabulous cook)

Christine N.
05-22-2008, 01:12 AM
Things to cut off the grocery list...

Pop tarts. (I KNOW! But when you have to get a five year old out the door in twenty minutes, they work. We'll be home this summer - no running.)

Waffles. I have a George Foreman grill with waffle iron plates. I can probably make a batch and freeze them.

Crystal Light. I'm brewing my own tea and getting the giant package of loose Splenda from Sams.

Probably just cut $10 off of the bill. Wish I could find a way to make microwave popcorn cheaper. I don't have an air popper. And the cheaper brands taste HORRIBLE. PopSecret really is the best.

Cranky
05-22-2008, 01:16 AM
We've saved a bundle by not buying soda. It's a treat for my kids, and besides, it's better for us to not drink it anyway.

Sweet tea made at home, and my coffee, plus juice and milk are plenty.

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 01:28 AM
Oh Oh Oh -
I saw on Good Eats on the Food Network how to do those things!

Waffles - cook them to not quite as dark as you want them done. let them cool. Separate them with wax paper and place in freezer bags. Better than Eggo!!! Then when you want them pop them in the toaster. (Or oven)

Popcorn- take popcorn, but it in a paper bag with some oil and staple it. Microwave. I haven't tried this, but Alton Brown did it on the show. I thought you weren't supposed to put metal in the microwave, which is WHY i haven't tried it yet. BUT it really isn't hard to pop popcorn on the stove top. Just cover the bottom of a pot with the corn, add some oil. Swish around. place it on the burner, (not to hot, I scorched some. Medium high maybe). Wait for one kernal to pop. Then cover with a lid, and while holding the lid with one hand, shake the pop back and forth with the handle until the popping slows to a second or two between pops. Mmmm...yummy popcorn goodness.
Tip- Don't use shortening, even though that's whats in the commercial bags, when I tried it on the stove top it smoked and set off my alarm. UGH.
Tip2- wear those mitten style pot holders if you got 'em. Trust me on this one....

Cranky
05-22-2008, 01:29 AM
If anyone can tell me how to make homemade buttered popcorn that doesn't shrivel up like raisins, I'd be all over it.

CDarklock
05-22-2008, 01:30 AM
Every post you've made on this thread has been about how your wife is causing you financial distress. You've posed no solutions to anything.

"Stop spending money that isn't in the budget."

End of story. Problem solved. See, here I am, not spending any money that isn't in the budget. That's all I can do. We sit down, and I say "we have to stop spending money that isn't in the budget", and she says "okay!" - and then we walk away from the table, and I don't spend money that isn't in the budget.

So what, exactly, should I do when she spends money that isn't in the budget anyway? What is the problem with my behavior when she does the wrong thing?


I don't agree that the problem you're having is primarily with finances.

It's not. It's with trust and respect. My wife and I agree that she will do something, and she doesn't do it. She doesn't see any actual reason to do it. She'll lie to me about whether she did it, and about why she didn't do it when I inevitably find out, and ultimately it turns out that she just had no choice. She's not responsible. The world did it. Ooh, damn that nasty old mean world, making my wife lie to me!


I think the hardest lesson I ever learned in life is that if I have a problem, I'm the one who has to do something about it, NO MATTER WHO CAUSED THE PROBLEM.

Remember, as well, that the only thing you can control is you.

That's a hard lesson, too. When you're trying to build something with someone who simply doesn't want any part of what you're trying to build, it's the wrong person. Your choice is to either build something else, or build with someone else. Those are the only two choices. All you get to do is decide how long you're going to keep trying before you walk out.

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 01:32 AM
I've learned to make my own pizzas. They sell these pre-made dough (about $4 each) and it's so easy to make, even a child can do it. Cheap, delicious, and home-made.

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 01:33 AM
I make the crust too. I buy Jiffy Mix Pizza Dough Mix, .36 cents! Got you beat! :D

Jiffy Mix is one of my staples. With the biscuit mix I can make, er- Biscuits :D, and pancakes, and waffles and pizza crust (that doesn't rise) and short bread and coffee cake and dumplings and a meat casserole and...

I also buy the JIffy Corn Muffin mix becuase I tried several times to make corn bread/ muffins from scratch and it failed miserably. MMMMM Jiffy!

Jiffy is better than Bisquick, the bisquick isn't sturdy and falls apart when you try it for things other than biscuits. And it is Cheaper. :D:D

Oh I just thought of the meat casserole. I havne't made one of those in a while. MMMM....make the biscuit mix cobbler receipe (on box) but put it over cooked meat instead of fruit. OMG! I like to saute onions and peppers, then brown meat and either add tomato sauce or just add some liquid to make brown sauce like soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. Bake it following the cobbler time on the box. Yummy goodness. You could also throw in left over veggies, like stormie does for her everythign soup. It is a good way to sneak veggies into a meal. It also works well with the corn muffin mix.

Now I am hungry.

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 01:34 AM
I make the crust too. I buy Jiffy Mix Pizza Dough Mix, .36 cents! Got you beat! :D

I'm too lazy to actually make it from scratch. Plus these are gourmet pizza dough! Yum. Add my own toppings. Yum.

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 01:42 AM
Dude mix ain't scratch. I had water, stir, let rise, roll out, add toppings, bake. mmm...

Sass- just pickin' on ya!

YOu could also make mini pizzas in the toaster oven by putting toppings on bread or english muffins. lightly toast them first, then add toppings and bake till you get melty goodness.


NOW I AM REALLY HUNGRY.

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 01:47 AM
YOu could also make mini pizzas in the toaster oven by putting toppings on bread or english muffins. lightly toast them first, then add toppings and bake till you get melty goodness.


Yeah, I do that. Quick and easy.

But I really must lay off the carbs.

Thus my $8 salad. :tongue

Carole
05-22-2008, 01:50 AM
I make the crust too. I buy Jiffy Mix Pizza Dough Mix, .36 cents! Got you beat! :D

Jiffy Mix is one of my staples. With the biscuit mix I can make, er- Biscuits :D, and pancakes, and waffles and pizza crust (that doesn't rise) and short bread and coffee cake and dumplings and a meat casserole and...

I also buy the JIffy Corn Muffin mix becuase I tried several times to make corn bread/ muffins from scratch and it failed miserably. MMMMM Jiffy!

Jiffy is better than Bisquick, the bisquick isn't sturdy and falls apart when you try it for things other than biscuits. And it is Cheaper. :D:D

Oh I just thought of the meat casserole. I havne't made one of those in a while. MMMM....make the biscuit mix cobbler receipe (on box) but put it over cooked meat instead of fruit. OMG! I like to saute onions and peppers, then brown meat and either add tomato sauce or just add some liquid to make brown sauce like soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. Bake it following the cobbler time on the box. Yummy goodness. You could also throw in left over veggies, like stormie does for her everythign soup. It is a good way to sneak veggies into a meal. It also works well with the corn muffin mix.

Now I am hungry.
Oh, honey - I looooves me some Jiffy Mix! I used Jiffy pizza crust mix just last weekend. Yum! And I made corn muffins for Mr. Vagabond. I made another batch of homemade (from scratch, thankyouverymuch) cornbread for me because I don't care for sweet cornbread, but he loves it. And everything Jiffy makes is uber cheap. Ever try their chocolate frosting mix? To die for, even if you do need two boxes for one cake!

CDarklock
05-22-2008, 03:13 AM
No, you're not on ignore. ;)


Cdark, please heed what all these people are saying.

Everyone's saying to do what any reasonable and concerned person would do the moment they noticed the problem - which, for me, was some eight years ago. All of the advice seems to rest on the idea that I've been sitting around with my thumb up my butt for eight years, pissing and moaning about the problem without doing anything.

It's not that it's bad advice; it's good advice. But I've already been there. Personal authority, attraction systems, culture coding, Jungian archetypes, body language, I am not a stupid or unmotivated person. I've researched pretty much every well-known avenue of developing and maintaining productive relationships, and a lot of lesser-known ones. Dominance, social alliance, escalation ladders, cognitive dissonance, backwards rationalisation, there's an entire underground psychology out there which drives directly at the focal point of understanding and directing human social interaction.

Try, for a moment, to imagine my frustration at people telling me repeatedly that I just don't get it and need to do something I have already done.


Now go tell her what you told us.

A week does not go by that I don't try and talk to my wife about the fundamental problems in our marriage. It's not over, and I'm not treating it like it's over. Falling apart is not the same as fallen apart. But ultimately, problems in a relationship are not something one person can fix. If she won't step up and own her end of the relationship, I'm just wasting my time. I deserve better than this.

Namatu
05-22-2008, 03:24 AM
Yeah, I do that. Quick and easy.

But I really must lay off the carbs.

Thus my $8 salad. :tongue
I had a $2 salad (it was small) and a little soup. For dinner I made my own pizza. I picked up some lavash bread from Whole Foods, topped with tasty bits, popped it in the oven. Quick meal. And lavash is thin. Low carb. :D

Siddow
05-22-2008, 03:31 AM
CDarklock, have you tried counseling?

When we had a communication problem, it worked for us. Sometimes people need to hear your words from someone else. God knows my husband did. :)

Carole
05-22-2008, 04:19 AM
Ok - I think the meaning of my little challenge was missed. I'm not suggesting that you actually subject yourselves to living on $20 for a week. I'm wondering how you would swing it. Like - what would you buy, what would you make and how would you eat if you only had $20 to get you through from Monday to Friday.

Tonight I had leftover cornbread, by the way. I was going to have soup, but I ended up not wanting it because I ate lunch late.

Carole
05-22-2008, 04:37 AM
Oh! I almost forgot! I presented my financial analysis to Mr. Vagabond and he was extremely receptive!!! WoOt! He is never receptive. Usually when I bring it up, he agrees that we are in dire need of an overhaul, but at the same time he acknowledges that he is selfish and simply isn't ready to buckle down. I swear, I love that man. He is the most honest person I have ever known. Even if it's something you'd rather not hear, guaranteed he's gonna tell you the truth. And if it is something you don't want to hear, he is somehow able to get it out without being offensive! I have NO idea how he manages that. I think that also be why I've having such a hard time digesting our friend's unfortunate situation with his wife. Mr. Vagabond and I communicate so well, and we don't even work at it.

Anyhoo....

He asked me to email the analysis to him so he could look it over and then you'll never guess what he said. He actually said, "So how much do you think I should get for my weekly allowance?" I nearly fainted! Some things have always been clear between us. First, neither of us will ever allow the other one to do without anything if we can help it. But, it's also been clear that my money is mine and his money is his. I know what he has and even have to tell him what his balance is most of the time, but his is his after his part of the household bills are paid.

Now we're getting into uncharted territory and I'm honestly really afraid of screwing it up. His everyday saying to me is, "Handle it, sweetie." I know he's thinking that now. Although his money pays the mortgage and the truck payment, I am the one who actually makes the payment. I doubt he'd even have the call-in number for Nissan to pay the truck and I know he wouldn't have the passwords to go to Countrywide and pay the mortgage.

It's not really his fault, though. He is never home except on weekends and in the evenings after work all he wants to do is crash in his motel room. It's also not his fault because I have taught him that I will do "everything else", another thing he says.

I asked him last night how he would handle the situation with me if I was completely inept at managing the finances but insisted on doing it anyway. Know what he said? He told me that he'd sit me down and tell me, lovingly, "Sweetie, you are a great mom, and great cook, my laundry is always perfect, etc., but you are the worst manager of money that could have ever existed. If we're going to have any kind of future, I'm going to have to take it over. So...I'm taking it over." And that would be that. And I know how that would go, too. If I got mad, if it made me sad, however I reacted, he wouldn't budge. He wouldn't be mean or hateful about it in any way. He'd tell me that he wasn't going to argue about it, he had put his foot down and that would be how it was going to be. I'd have to learn to deal with it and eventually get used to it. If it were his money, he'd not only have the right, but also the ability to do it. He'd open a new checking account if he had to and have his pay deposited into it and I'd have no access to anything besides what he gave me. And I'd learn to deal, eventually get over it and probably be happier that it wasn't my responsibility anymore.

Egads - isn't it always the case that you really need to be careful what you wish for? Now that I have his ear, I'm going to be saddled with figuring it all out.

*faints*

maestrowork
05-22-2008, 04:51 AM
Try counseling, CDark. Otherwise, try divorce.

James81
05-22-2008, 04:05 PM
Try, for a moment, to imagine my frustration at people telling me repeatedly that I just don't get it and need to do something I have already done.

Now imagine someone who comes on here, and with each passing post (including the rest of the one I am quoting right now ;)) sounds more and more like an older version of yourself. An older version of yourself that was in a great deal of pain and hurt and was living a miserable lie.

Now imagine you try to give that older version of yourself some advice on how to work through it...advice that was forged over a long year of hell, introspection, separation, loneliness, and divorce....

Now imagine that older version continually refuses to acknowledge what you are saying and truly get the point.

How frustrating can that be?

I've been there (Yeah, I studied relationships too and have probably read hundreds of books and posts on the internet about the subject ;). You still don't get it though.

For all the knowledge I gained from those books, I was truly ignorant.

Carole
05-22-2008, 06:15 PM
OK, I'm officially sick. I just realized that as of this morning's $0.10 gas price increase, fully 1/4 of my income goes to gasoline.

There's something very, very wrong with that. It's almost as much as my house payment.

James81
05-22-2008, 06:18 PM
OK, I'm officially sick. I just realized that as of this morning's $0.10 gas price increase, fully 1/4 of my income goes to gasoline.

There's something very, very wrong with that. It's almost as much as my house payment.

I'm there with you...not because of gasoline.

I realized a while back that exactly HALF of my gross pay never reaches my hands (no I don't have automatic bill pay or any of that, this the deductions for insurance, taxes, and child support and my insurance is only like 3% of my pay.

THAT is sickening.

James81
05-22-2008, 06:27 PM
Speaking of marriage, there's this girl in my office named "Harmony" and I can't help but wonder how awesome it would be if she were to marry some guy named "Bone Thugs". That way, her mom could call people in the family and invite them to Thanksgiving dinner and she would actually say "Bone Thugs and Harmony are gonna be there."

sassandgroove
05-22-2008, 06:35 PM
Cdark- please understand that it is hard to get a full picture from posts on a internet site from a stranger. I was responding to what you posted, I can't know what you've tried and that it has been 8 years unless you tell me. It seemed to me you were making excuses instead of listening. Please understand everyone who is posting advice means well and we're not trying to "lecture" you. WE can only respond from our own POV's. The last post was the first post where I felt you have acknowledged any thing we've been saying instead of just making excuses. I really did think you had me on ignore. Which is fine. I have 4 people on ignore. Half the time though I peek at their posts anyway. This thread has been in my mind all night and this morning. I know I can't but I wish I could do more.

CAROLE! That is so great that you talked to your husband and he was receptive. don't worry - I am sure part of why he is receptive and why he says, "Handle it Honey," is that he knows you'll be fine and he trusts you. And you know that if you fall on your face with the money what he'll do, so either way you'll be fine. HUGS!

Yeshanu
05-22-2008, 09:39 PM
Now, back to the budget issue...

I just spent $8 on a salad. I feel really bad now.



Ray, I really thing you should read Dave Ramsey's book, too. Not because you're in financial trouble, but because the last chapter tells you how to use your money once you're not in financial trouble.

A couple of questions:

Did you pay for that salad on credit, or with money that should have been used to pay off debts?

If the answer to both is no, then Dave would say, "Dude, enjoy the salad!"

Carole
05-23-2008, 04:09 AM
CAROLE! That is so great that you talked to your husband and he was receptive. don't worry - I am sure part of why he is receptive and why he says, "Handle it Honey," is that he knows you'll be fine and he trusts you. And you know that if you fall on your face with the money what he'll do, so either way you'll be fine. HUGS!

Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it. We'll see how tomorrow morning goes. Payday morning, I always spend a fortune before I even get to work. If I can just fill up the gas tank and go to work, I'll know that there's hope for me!

And we have this loooong weekend to sort some things out. I think I need to move my computer. It's still in the bedroom at the foot of the bed (When we moved in, there wasn't anywhere else to put it.) and it's really uncomfortable for two people to sit here and look at the screen. Plus we fight over who is Mouse Controller! Why is it that if something is electronic and "clicks", "some" men think they should have it in their hands at all times?

CDarklock
05-23-2008, 08:17 AM
Now imagine you try to give that older version of yourself some advice on how to work through it...

James, your advice is limited to relationships that operate in an open system. It works great for dating and sex, and it even works pretty well in the first few years of a marriage - before your partner has figured out that the rules are different.

But once your partner realises that it isn't an open system anymore, which will happen, the open system techniques don't just stop working... they become counterproductive. They damage the relationship.

I know you probably don't believe me, and that's fine. These techniques will get you through five to seven years of a relationship, and maybe that seems like a long time to you. You might actually not want a relationship that long. But if you intend to have a marriage that lasts ten, twenty, or fifty years... you need to know how the closed system game works. That game isn't about players, it's about teams. It's about sharing a common goal.


Cdark- please understand that it is hard to get a full picture from posts on a internet site from a stranger.

Well, honestly, you can't. I've got bias. Whatever you hear from me is colored by my own experiences, my own perceptions. You'd have to hear from my wife, too, before you could make any sort of fair determination of what was really going on. And even then, you end up biased, because both of us are going to be telling you all about the days it was really bad and not our fault.

But you don't tend to hear about the "equal blame" occasions, where it was petty and stupid and we were both being jerks. We'll avoid those. And you also don't hear about the good things. There are a lot of good things. If it was all crap in a hat, I wouldn't still be here. I don't think she would be, either.

It's never been that I can't stand to be with her one more day, or even five more years. It's that I need to figure out how the hell we're going to be together the rest of our lives. At some point, I won't want to get up at four in the morning and drive for two hours to sit in meetings all day and come home exhausted at seven. I'm supposed to be working on my business, not in my business, and certainly not for someone else.

But before I can get there, we both need to do what needs to be done. We need to establish what our positions are on this team, and how that team is ultimately going to win the game. We need to both get pointed at the same goal, and figure out who's going to do what on the way there.

Christine N.
05-23-2008, 01:44 PM
Then perhaps that's the answer? You both need to sit down and outline everything. On paper. Like a contract of sorts. What you're responsible for and what she's responsible for, and what you're responsible for together. Spell it all out. Negotiate with each other. Sign it, have it witnessed, if that's what it takes. Let her know that it's for you as much as for her, and remind her that you still love her and you want to do this because you still want to be with her for the rest of your lives.

Just a suggestion. Once you get past all the romance stuff of the first few years, the rest of your lives settles in and you have to run your household like a business. This is how good businesses run.

Bartholomew
05-23-2008, 01:46 PM
Be glad you have a boat at all, OP. I've been drowning since I could count quarters.

James81
05-23-2008, 04:24 PM
James, your advice is limited to relationships that operate in an open system. It works great for dating and sex, and it even works pretty well in the first few years of a marriage - before your partner has figured out that the rules are different.

But once your partner realises that it isn't an open system anymore, which will happen, the open system techniques don't just stop working... they become counterproductive. They damage the relationship.

I know you probably don't believe me, and that's fine. These techniques will get you through five to seven years of a relationship, and maybe that seems like a long time to you. You might actually not want a relationship that long. But if you intend to have a marriage that lasts ten, twenty, or fifty years... you need to know how the closed system game works. That game isn't about players, it's about teams. It's about sharing a common goal.

The advice I have given you applies whether you are in a relationship or not. That's the beauty of it. I say what I say because you'll never be happy in a relationship until you are happy with yourself. The psychological term for what you are doing is called "projecting" and also a bit of "denial". (I don't mean that as an insult, btw)

Open and Closed systems? This isn't Thermodynamics, it's a relationship. While you are writing plays for your team plan, your wife is at home...feeling, thinking, expressing....And until you learn to tap into that, you'll never get anywhere.

I could almost predict what your wife says. She probably thinks you don't understand her. She probably gets angry at you for no apparent reason (to YOU). She probably takes things out on you "unfairly" and totally misunderstands what you say. And I'll say that all of that is because you aren't speaking her language. ;)

I understand you, because I am a man. I like thinking logically about things. But SHE is thinking about them emotionally. It's hard for you to come up with a plan where HER plan changes from day to day on the whims of her emotions.

James81
05-23-2008, 04:43 PM
I'll say something else, Dark.

A woman is like a mirror. When you are in a relationship, and your wife/gf isn't happy it's usually a sign that YOU aren't happy (or her family life is rough) because a woman, at her base, defines herself through her ability to nurture her relationships. This is why you see women attracted to jerks, junkies, and head cases. Whereas you, a man, define yourself through logic and your "work", SHE defines herself (and prides herself) on her ability to nurture the people around her.

An example of a woman defining herself through the man she's with. My ex-wife hated sports when were together. Personally, I don't mind watching sports, but it was never a HUGE deal with me to watch a football or a baseball game. I like to watch basketball NOW, but then I didn't watch sports at all. She used to tell me how much she hated sports and was glad I wasn't fanatical about them. Well, the guy she is dating now is a football nut. And you know what I see? I see our college logo pasted on the license plate of her car, her wearing college football shirts, and even her email sig has to do with rooting for our college football team! Where did she acquire this taste? I mean, how could she hate football when she was with me to becoming a huge fan of our college football team? The answer is that she loves these things because she "loves" him. It's amazing how a woman can tell you she doesn't like something, but if she loves the man she's with it'll "grow" on her.

Basically, what I am saying is that the easiest way for you to discover your own problems is to look to her. She'll mirror them back to you. If you are unhappy with your wife, it's likely that that unhappiness is just a mirror of something that exists within you.

It took me a long time for that to make sense to me (because it DOESN'T make any logical sense), but when it did I began to see it in the relationships around me.

So, I ask you again, what about YOURSELF makes you unhappy? I'm not placing the blame squarely on your shoulders. I'm sure your wife has enough faults. I'm just asking you if you are happy with YOURSELF, because, honestly, it doesn't sound like you are. And I doubt that the marriage is to blame. I know it wasn't for me. I didn't suddenly become happy when my wife left. Actually, I became MORE miserable, which didn't make sense to me until I realized that I had to face myself.

Carole
05-23-2008, 05:27 PM
**Bulletin**

Carole made it to work this morning spending only (only - HA!) $75 for gasoline (there is a $75 cutoff at the station I went to) and $1.50 on a cup of coffee.

So far so good!

(I know I should have made coffee at home, but I was out of coffee.)

Carole
05-23-2008, 05:38 PM
James, your advice is limited to relationships that operate in an open system. It works great for dating and sex, and it even works pretty well in the first few years of a marriage - before your partner has figured out that the rules are different.


My goodness! You make it sound like it's just a business partnership! The business end of it is the least important thing to Mr. Vagabond and me. Sure, we don't have a lot of $ to show for it, but Geez-oh-Mighty we have a ball together. Nearly 11 years together and he's still the person I'd rather spend time with and the other way around. To be perfectly frank, there are only a very few well defined rules to our relationship and those are just common sense.

1 - Never EVER cheat on me.
1a - If you do, you'd better be a man/woman about it and fess up or I'll hunt you down like a rabid Ferret.
2 - Don't lie to me.
2a - Don't tell me a half-truth or leave something out just to save my (or your) feelings.
5 - Treat me with the exact same amount of respect as you want for yourself.
6 - Smile at me at least once a day. (This was a rule he instated the day I first laid eyes on him. I think it's probably the most important one we have!)

sassandgroove
05-23-2008, 06:27 PM
James, your advice is limited to relationships that operate in an open system. It works great for dating and sex, and it even works pretty well in the first few years of a marriage - before your partner has figured out that the rules are different.

But once your partner realises that it isn't an open system anymore, which will happen, the open system techniques don't just stop working... they become counterproductive. They damage the relationship.

I know you probably don't believe me, and that's fine. These techniques will get you through five to seven years of a relationship, and maybe that seems like a long time to you. You might actually not want a relationship that long. But if you intend to have a marriage that lasts ten, twenty, or fifty years... you need to know how the closed system game works. That game isn't about players, it's about teams. It's about sharing a common goal.
HUH?

Carole
05-23-2008, 10:09 PM
HUH?
yeah - that's kinda what I said, only it took me a lot longer to get it out. :D

Cranky
05-23-2008, 10:11 PM
I've been doing it wrong all these years, I guess.

I always figured that marriage was a bit like raising kids. You can only do so much "by the book".

maestrowork
05-23-2008, 10:14 PM
I have a feeling CDark does treat everything as a business transaction. Perhaps that may explain some of his problems.

Siddow
05-23-2008, 10:25 PM
Closed system game?

If my husband approached me with terminology like that, I'd give him one of these::Wha:

Followed by one of these: :crazy:

And then this: :whip:

:cool:

sassandgroove
05-23-2008, 10:57 PM
Cdark- would you defind what you mean by "Open System" and "Closed System" because I don't see how that pertains to marriage.

maestrowork
05-23-2008, 10:58 PM
Cdark- would you defind what you mean by "Open System" and "Closed System" because I don't see how that pertains to marriage.

It does if he's Donald Trump. I think he's onto his fourth marriage now.

pconsidine
05-24-2008, 01:39 AM
Open system – one whose parts freely interact with their environment (which, in this context, I would take to mean people who are free to interact in whatever way they wish with people, places and things around them).

Closed system – one whose parts can only interact with each other (presumably a relationship where only the two parties interact with each other).

Interestingly enough, I was recently reading a book that described the inevitable demise of any personal relationship that's viewed as a closed system (using these exact terms). In such a relationship, one partner's only source of happiness and satisfaction is the other partner, which places undue pressure on both parties to maintain a perfect balance of power (something with is practically impossible in any relationship). Such a relationship is almost automatically doomed by virtue of the fact that the world will never provide the means or the opportunity to preserve such a delicate balance and each partner must stifle his or her own growth, as well as that of the partner, to achieve it.

Interesting stuff, really.

stormie
05-24-2008, 02:28 AM
Gee, and this thread was opened by Carole about budgeting.

Back to our regularly scheduled thread.

Silver King
05-24-2008, 03:11 AM
Gee, and this thread was opened by Carole about budgeting.

Back to our regularly scheduled thread.
I noticed that also. The discussion went from budgeting money to dealing with marital woes and the budgeting of emotions. It just goes to show how we never can tell for sure which direction a thread will take. That's part of the beauty of these forums though, how discussions evolve and topics change hands and the dialogue turns this way and that, careening upward or downward and sometimes out of control. Then without warning, the wheels are back on track, the engine running smoothly as the discussion winds its way back to the original subject.

One way I've found to save money is to stop eating out. I was averaging about four hundred dollars per month (sometimes more) for the luxury of restaurant dining. Not anymore. I like to cook anyway and can often stretch a meal to include another lunch or dinner for later in the week, which counts as additional savings.

stormie
05-24-2008, 03:24 AM
And if you do eat out, you can substitute iced water (not bottled) for soda or wine or whatever, and share dessert (which usually could feed three).

One other thing to save money on: electricity. Unplug everything not in use. Those cell phone chargers. Your surge protector for your stereo, tv, computer, can all be shut off at night. They all use energy. The only thing I don't unplug at night (when not in use) is the microwave or electric stove. Too hard to get behind to unplug them.

Carole
05-24-2008, 05:44 AM
I'll definitely have to be cautious next winter about electricity because our bills were so high, but thankfully they're down to about $90 a month now. I'm home by myself during the week and I rarely even watch TV in the evenings after work.

I did very good today. Although I had to put $75 in the gas tank, I only bought what I had to - groceries. And poor little puppykins. I forgot her dog food, which was one of the things I was after at the store! Oh well. She enjoyed the chicken at least as much as Mr. Vagabond and way more than me.

We eat dinners out so rarely. He pretty much lives on the road so by the time he's home on the weekend the last thing he wants to do is eat another meal out. He's just waiting for something from our kitchen. It's maybe a once every other month or so thing for us to go out to dinner and I can't imagine eating out alone when he's gone. My biggest downfall that I am trying to correct in that regard is the fast food lunches. They're fast - hence the name - and easy, but they're terribly unhealthy and more expensive than if you just pack a lunch.

Siddow
05-24-2008, 06:13 AM
Carole, see if your supermarket carries Bear Creek Soups. (http://www.sbamerica.com/BearCreek/bearcreek_product_line.htm) Their broccoli-cheddar is da bomb, and will keep well for reheating in Ziplock bowls. Add a salad, or a simple ham n'cheese sammich and lunch will cost less than $10 for the entire work week.

I like to chop up my salad 'extras' and keep them in separate containers in the fridge, tossing them into the greens when I'm ready to make a salad, since greens always seem the first to turn. I do red onion, rinsed and drained chickpeas, and rinsed and drained wax and green beans. Toss a bit of feta cheese on it and yum! If you feel like splurging, add Kalamata olives.

Siddow
05-24-2008, 06:24 AM
And, in case CDark comes back to this thread, I want to recommend that he borrow or buy this book (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-Enough-Misunderstandings-Conflicts/dp/0060916044) and that both he and his wife read it, if they do nothing else.

It had a lot to do with my leaving my first marriage, and even more to do with how I am in my second. I almost typed 'how I am managing' or 'how I am succeeding in', but the truth is:

how I am.

Period.

CDarklock
05-24-2008, 07:09 AM
Cdark- would you defind what you mean by "Open System" and "Closed System" because I don't see how that pertains to marriage.

An open system is one where partners are free to enter and leave the relationship at any time. When you're just dating, the system is open. You can acquire or discard any available partner whenever you like. There's no commitment or obligation.

A closed system is one where partners cannot enter and leave the relationship at any time. Marriage is a closed system. The number of partners is fixed at two, and neither partner can just pick up and leave. There are specific commitments and obligations enforced by rule of law.

pconsidine hits it pretty squarely when he observes that a perfectly closed relationship - in which no interaction with people outside the system is permitted - is doomed. But these are broad categories, and just as no real-world system is perfectly open, no real-world system is perfectly closed either. The distinction is primarily useful as two sides of a theoretical midpoint, although there's a substantial grey area between them.

What happens in any real-world relationship is that the system begins open (you're not actually in a relationship yet), and progressively closes as the relationship is more completely defined and its commitments more firmly determined.

In the early stages of a relationship, when the system is still open, it's possible to guide and direct these definitions and commitments. The primary tool people use to do this is fear of replacement. "If you don't accept this definition and make this commitment, I will get someone else who does." Introducing a new partner to replace the old one, in an open system, requires little effort and carries little risk.

But in the late stage, the relationship and its commitments are already defined. You can't just jump up and change everything. You have responsibilities and obligations. If they're onerous and unfair, you don't get to just stomp into the room and proclaim to your partner how things are going to be done around here now.

You are no longer two people who happen to be a couple. You are a couple that happen to be two people. What you have built together is bigger than both of you, and neither of you is going to change it appreciably without the full trust and support of your partner. Replacement is now an empty threat. It requires a great deal of effort, a large amount of risk, and frequently carries a heavy price.

Even if it really is worth all that to you, the threat is still pointless. In the late stages of the game, threatening to leave your partner is not going to improve things. Either leave, or do not leave. Establish your boundaries, and instead of shaking your finger and saying "you better not cross that line!" - say nothing. Just pack your bags and go when the line is crossed.

Carole
05-24-2008, 07:02 PM
Replacement is now an empty threat. It requires a great deal of effort, a large amount of risk, and frequently carries a heavy price.


Holy cow. Just...holy cow.

maestrowork
05-24-2008, 08:14 PM
Marriage doesn't change the fact that you're two individual people. The only difference is that now you're managing a single household and working toward some common goals. But if you let this single household and common goal define who you are as a person, then this relationship will fail.

Marriage is a collaboration; it's a living thing. Not a binding contract with rigid rules and consequences. It's not a computer program.

Seriously, CDark, how did you get to this "late" stage of closed system if you and your wife don't see eye-to-eye with so many things? In my case, it didn't even get to the "wedding" stage, let along a point of no return.

I'm still baffled and you still haven't satisfactorily answered us (except that it's tied to your wife's self-worth): If she's so bad at managing money, why do you even let her manage it, and then get all upset because of that? And you keep saying it's not your problem, that you didn't contribute to the problem?

Old Hack
05-24-2008, 11:13 PM
An open system is one where partners are free to enter and leave the relationship at any time.

See, this pretty much describes the relationship I have with my husband, who I've been with for nearly fifteen years now. Each of us is free to leave at any time. We just choose not to, because we love and respect each other, and have more fun together than we'd have with anyone else. Even when things are difficult (and they are sometimes: we've got two children, both disabled in different ways, a vast moneypit of a house to take care of, and families that drive us up walls at every turn) we remember that love, that respect, and that fun.

It sounds to me, CD, as though you've got an awful lot of stuff to sort out. Really. The problems you've discussed here all reveal an awful lot about issues that you have, and need to work on. Your wife's behaviour doesn't seem to bad to me. Considering.

sassandgroove
05-25-2008, 10:46 PM
well my dsl blipped and I lost my post.

Cdark, maybe if you approached it like a marriage and not a science experiment...oh never mind.

Carole- glad things are going well. Keep up the momentum.

Sass- who needs to get some momentum of her own. :D

mario_c
05-25-2008, 11:32 PM
Oy vey, I'm glad I'm single. Regarding budgeting, I don't just watch what I spend, I track and budget it. What I spend on travel (gas, vacations) or food or nightlife (same envelope). I guess I'm anal and like to control all those little aspects of my life.
I bike more and drive less, and I learned to cook years ago and eat out a lot less. I'm not a aggressive person so I don't want to get into an argument every time I open my wallet, about what I'm spending and what the market is blahblah. But I shop carefully and second guess myself about what I'm buying.
In sum, I'm careful. But whether it's a mortgage or a car falling apart, or elderly parents or an accident sends you to a hospital, saving money is a myth - they'll figure out a way to take it from you. As to weekly budgeting and financial self-management, blood from a stone is the situation. We need RAISES. Our cost of living has doubled in just 5 to 10 years and our wages go up 10%. How is that supposed to work?
I worry about money because I don't own property yet. Once I've got those down payments happening on my little corner of the earth (7 floors in the sky - the urban version of the mobile home) then I can budget each paycheck and know how much I can put in the vacation fund each week. Until I sell my novel and a few scripts, and retire. :D

Jaycinth
05-26-2008, 06:30 PM
I somehow manage to average $110.00 a week on groceries. that includes cleaning stuff.

Of course there are just three of us, but my son is 21 and runs...and my daughter is 15 and runs, so thay have to eat well.

I buy the big packages of meat when on sale, and season them in portions and freeze them. My son takes leftovers to work. My daughter makes sandwiches, or if the leftovers are something she can eat cold...like leftover chicken..she takes that with her

But: I don't buy a lot of junk food. Never have. I keep water, green tea, milk, and orange juice in the fridge at all times. No sodas unless we're having a cookout. Ditto with chips. I buy big bags of uncooked popcorn and we use the hot air popper.

If they crave other junk food, they can just spend their own money on it.

This year I'm increasing the size of my garden. A nice, burger sized tomato costs $1.65. Buy the tomato and scoop out the seeds...plant them and free tomatoes (SALSA!!!!) all summer.

And you will not BELIEVE the price of a nice sweet pepper. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!

I also have a grocery shop planning spread sheet somewhere.....


Occasionally I bake cookies and cakes and brownies.

CDarklock
05-27-2008, 11:04 PM
well my dsl blipped and I lost my post.

I know the feeling. I broke my hand this weekend riding my son's Razor scooter, and I've lost several through awkward mouse click stupidity.


Cdark, maybe if you approached it like a marriage and not a science experiment...

There are three things going on here.

First, yes, my marriage has problems. I have mentioned one of them here; the one that was on-topic for the thread. The rest are, oddly enough, personal and private. I don't want to sit in here airing all my grievances about my wife, because even though I personally don't mind discussing these things publicly, it's not fair to her.

Second, since we've only discussed one side of one problem, nobody here really has enough information to make productive suggestions. Eight years of history is a lot, and I'm not going to go into detail about it - because, as mentioned above, it's not fair to my wife.

Third, I'm exerting a great deal of effort not to even look like I'm telling anyone else how to run their relationships. So my explanations of relationship dynamics are necessarily clinical and impersonal.

And what it really comes down to - in the context of this thread - is that money problems within a marriage are not exclusively a problem with the amount of money. It's about mutual agreement on how the money you have will be spent. My wife and I have made all the charts and plans and agreements that need to be made, but if she just ignores them from day to day and makes excuses for not following them, they're not accomplishing anything.

My wife actually had an epiphany this morning talking to the folks from CPS. (Our neighbor keeps reporting us, for no good reason, but they have to take every report seriously.) During the financial portion of the interview, the interviewer interrupted with some shock to comment on our financial picture: "Whoever is handling your finances," she said, "is almost criminally mismanaging them." She recommended we read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I picked it up off the table and showed her the cover. She pointed at the book, looked sternly at my wife - somehow, she could tell I'd already read it - and said she could not stress enough how important it was to read that book and change our financial attitude.

I've been telling her that for ten years. But once a stranger volunteers the same information... well, she's upstairs right now reading it. Maybe it will make a difference.

pconsidine
05-27-2008, 11:59 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm fantastically dense at times and it usually takes the worst of all possible cases before I'll learn my lesson. But I usually learn my lessons exceedingly well. It takes what it takes to motivate change.

sassandgroove
05-28-2008, 01:24 AM
First, yes, my marriage has problems. I have mentioned one of them here; the one that was on-topic for the thread. The rest are, oddly enough, personal and private. I don't want to sit in here airing all my grievances about my wife, because even though I personally don't mind discussing these things publicly, it's not fair to her.

Second, since we've only discussed one side of one problem, nobody here really has enough information to make productive suggestions. Eight years of history is a lot, and I'm not going to go into detail about it - because, as mentioned above, it's not fair to my wife.

Third, I'm exerting a great deal of effort not to even look like I'm telling anyone else how to run their relationships. So my explanations of relationship dynamics are necessarily clinical and impersonal.

That's all fine and good. All have to say is, "Man, you brought it up." YOu brought up your marriage so we responded. So don't get bent out of shape that we're discussing something personal. Take or leave what I/we have to say.

I am glad your wife is reading a book you suggested. Sometimes things do need to come from the outside to sink in. I hope it works out.

Bubastes
05-28-2008, 01:31 AM
I personally didn't care for Rich Dad, Poor Dad because I felt the book de-emphasized the real problems of taking on risk. Just my opinion. I'd recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover to get ideas on how to adjust attitudes about debt and money.

pconsidine
05-28-2008, 02:02 AM
Y'know, I have yet to read a financial self-help book that was any help at all. They all start off with a laundry list of things you ABSOLUTELY MUST do in order to accomplish whatever it is they think you should accomplish and it's never anything new (save lots of money and pay off your credit cards). Doesn't it ever occur to anyone that we know what to do, but for some reason can't make ourselves do it? I know that my money problems are completely psychological (well, my ex-wife also has a part in there, too). I would love to find a financial advice book that would acknowledge that and actually offer something more constructive than "I know you don't want to do it, but it's the only way."

James81
05-28-2008, 02:25 AM
Y'know, I have yet to read a financial self-help book that was any help at all. They all start off with a laundry list of things you ABSOLUTELY MUST do in order to accomplish whatever it is they think you should accomplish and it's never anything new (save lots of money and pay off your credit cards). Doesn't it ever occur to anyone that we know what to do, but for some reason can't make ourselves do it? I know that my money problems are completely psychological (well, my ex-wife also has a part in there, too). I would love to find a financial advice book that would acknowledge that and actually offer something more constructive than "I know you don't want to do it, but it's the only way."

The reason you don't find anything like that is because it's not true.

You can say that your money problems are psychological and throw out some really excellent advice (there have been SEVERAL books listed in this thread that are truly fantastic and motivating) just because they won't pander to someone who truly DOESN'T want to change, but the truth is, it really is that simple.

My advice to you: Try reading past chapter 1 in these books. ;)

Better yet, just read this thread. There's enough great advice in this thread alone that if you followed even some of it you would find a massive shift in your financial situation.

Your post, quite simply, is just an EXCUSE to remain where you are. And the truth of the matter is, that you probably WON'T take any of the advice in here until the pain of doing something about your situation is actually LESS than the pain of living paycheck to paycheck. Sadly, people as a whole aren't moved to massive changes unless forced into it by traumatic experiences.

Carole
05-28-2008, 03:25 AM
oooookay...

I got through the holiday weekend without any frivolous spending! WoOt! Am I proud of myself? You'd better believe it. It's like a challenge now between Mr. Vagabond and me: Who can go the longest without buying anything unnecessary? ~laughing!~ I'm determined that it will be me, and he is convinced otherwise.

maestrowork
05-28-2008, 03:38 AM
oooookay...

I got through the holiday weekend without any frivolous spending! WoOt! Am I proud of myself? You'd better believe it. It's like a challenge now between Mr. Vagabond and me: Who can go the longest without buying anything unnecessary? ~laughing!~ I'm determined that it will be me, and he is convinced otherwise.

:) It can be infectious. Then once in a while either one of you or both will break down. Then you find a Hello Kitty toaster in the middle of your kitchen and you have no idea how it got there... (ahem, it's not like that ever happened to me... really. No.)

Namatu
05-28-2008, 03:54 AM
I sent that toaster overseas for a friend's sister's birthday. Not a frugal expense!

Replace all your lightbulbs with the energy saver ones. It costs at first, but long-term works to your benefit.

Candles are also good at providing illumination on those exciting movie nights at home in front of the TV (which conveniently lights itself).

icerose
05-28-2008, 04:55 AM
CDarklock.

My suggestions are purely on a financial level according to my perceptions of your situtation. These may or may not help/hurt your relationship. Take it as a flyby.

Take your paycheck off direct deposit if it is on it.

Open up four bank accounts. One for her personal unmonitored use, one for yours, a bank account just for bills. That's all, not groceries, not gas, just the base month to month, year in, year out bills. And a fourth account for savings that is not in her name. Since she seems to be the bad one with money, don't give her access or knowledge of its existence.

Before you break up your check, deposit whatever it is you have set up for savings into that account. That money was never really in your check, see? Next, according to the budget, put in enough money to cover the bills plus an extra hundred or so for cushion in the bill accounts, next give yourself and her equal spending portions. No spouse "deserves" to spend more than the other. The grocery and gas money is then set aside in cash. If she blows all the grocery money on snacks, she is then no longer allowed to buy the groceries. Make that clear on the first of the month when the money is handed to her. Budget out so much for snacks, so much for groceries, so much for starbucks. If she cannot follow through as a team and just makes up excuses, then she doesn't have to worry about it ever again because you'll be doing the grocery shopping. She has her spending money, and you have yours, this money is for actual food. Make sure you also budget in kids things like clothing and such in your spending budget.

That will at least take away the symptom called money. All the others will have to be dealt with one way or another, I strongly suggest a couselor who can make it a safe environment and so forth, but take action now on your finances. There's no reason to be stuck in a bad financial situation because the other party involved is emotionally dependant on shopping and screwing up the budget.

pconsidine
05-28-2008, 06:34 AM
Your post, quite simply, is just an EXCUSE to remain where you are.Sorry, but that's complete bulls---. My post is based on a great many well-meaning but failed attempts to change. The reason for those failures, however, isn't lack of motivation or inability to do what was being asked. It's that I was trying to shoehorn myself into a mold that simply didn't fit. Just about every book on the market begins with a set of assumed values that don't always apply. Even the one book I recently read, which began with an intelligent breakdown of a variety of financial personalities, wasn't able to offer anything truly useful based on that information (which I thought was very odd).

The best advice I've heard recently is that a person's spending should be aligned with his or her values. Frankly, paying off the credit card debt that I got saddled with in the divorce really doesn't rate highly on my values list, but it's a necessary obligation I have to face. Does that mean that I should place a higher priority on that than the things that really matter to me? I'm going to go with "hell no."

Like I said in my first post, I'm only now taking my first steps toward fiscal responsibility. And it's only thanks to a real understanding of myself and my values, not some trite set of "steps to financial freedom" from some mass-market paperback, that I've been able to even start the process. If I was still trying to live up to all the things the books tell me I should be doing, I'd be no farther ahead than I was 20 years ago.


Sadly, people as a whole aren't moved to massive changes unless forced into it by traumatic experiences.And that's pretty much exactly what I said earlier.

Carole
05-28-2008, 06:35 AM
:) It can be infectious. Then once in a while either one of you or both will break down. Then you find a Hello Kitty toaster in the middle of your kitchen and you have no idea how it got there... (ahem, it's not like that ever happened to me... really. No.)

Some day you'll have to 'splain that :D

WildScribe
05-28-2008, 06:42 AM
We're in a pretty good way as far as money goes, although my income is nil right now (I'm trying to do magazine writing full time, so it is a scary leap with only a few months to get going).

We spend $10 every two weeks on groceries for us and the baby, plus our CSA membership, which comes out to $20 per week. That's $25 per week total for a HUGE box of fruits and veggies and a few staples like flour. We also have an expense account of $80 every two weeks ($40 a week) for anything else. We go to Costco with that money (we get things like milk and orange juice as well as bulk meats and fish, etc.) The account is also for Target, where we get litter for the cats and cleaning supplies, and for the pet store, where we buy expensive specialty food because I once wrote an article that described what is actually IN generic pet food and I couldn't stand it.

Other than that, we get $50 every two weeks to spend or save for fun stuff, and another $25 every two weeks to eat out or go hang out at a coffee shop and play games, which we enjoy.

I don't wear makeup, and I don't have a clothes addiction, so my spending is pretty low. The only thing I have to work on is my passionate LOOOOVE of eating out, but I also love to cook, so things usually turn out ok, and if we don't have the money, we just don't have the money.

Almost forgot, we were putting away $200 a month for savings for just us, which has been halted while I work on the career move, and we are still putting away money for retirement as well as $100 every month for our son. And we also save $20 a month for car repairs and such.

My husband and I share responsibility with money pretty much equally. He takes his check to the bank and moves money around, and he pays the bills. I keep track of the credit card and (usually) the cash that we have for groceries and eating out, and I do taxes. Works good for us.

Cdark, good luck, my friend.

icerose
05-28-2008, 06:02 PM
I found this article today and I thought it illustrated the need for budgeting and saving in a pretty simple, straight-forward manner.

http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/105017/Spend-%2410-Today-Be-Out-%24100K-Tomorrow

This is my favorite part.

If a person were to save $300 a month (approx. $10 a day) and invest it to get a 5% yearly return, that person would have $20,402 in the bank after five years. On the other hand, if a person ends up spending $300 a month more than he has and puts it onto a credit card that he doesn't pay off over the same 5 year period, that person will owe $36,259, assuming a 26% credit card interest rate. After five years, the difference between saving $10 and spending $10 each day results in a $56,661 gap in net worth between the two.

Add another five years to the same patterns, and the results are even more dramatic. After 10 years, the person who saved $10 a day would have $46,585 in the bank, whereas the person whop spent the $10 he didn't have would be $167,470 in debt, resulting in a net worth difference of over $210,000.

maestrowork
05-28-2008, 06:05 PM
The Math is not quite right, though. It's not a difference between $10, but a difference of $20 a day (saving $10 vs. spending the $10 plus another $10). It's also problematic because most credit cards' interest rates are between 14%-21%, not 26%. Also, it implies that the person never pays his balance on the credit card.

Still, we should pay attention to the saving rate. It is true. If you save only $300 a month, you can still accumulate well. That's why it's important to save early. I started when I was 24. I had only $2000 in the bank at the time -- I knew nothing about saving and investments. That one meeting with my financial advisor changed my life. Well, part of my life.

icerose
05-28-2008, 06:12 PM
The Math is not quite right, though. It's not a difference between $10, but a difference of $20 a day (saving $10 vs. spending the $10 plus another $10). It's also problematic because most credit cards' interest rates are between 14%-21%, not 26%. Also, it implies that the person never pays his balance on the credit card.

Still, we should pay attention to the saving rate. It is true. If you save only $300 a month, you can still accumulate well. That's why it's important to save early. I started when I was 24. I had only $2000 in the bank at the time -- I knew nothing about saving and investments. That one meeting with my financial advisor changed my life. Well, part of my life.

Right, the spending ten dollars is illustrated to the extreme, I definitely agree with that. But the savings is absolutely true. I read in another article that if you start at age 25, save $250 a month in a 5% interest savings, by the time you turn 65 you're a millionaire.

James81
05-28-2008, 06:13 PM
Sorry, but that's complete bulls---. My post is based on a great many well-meaning but failed attempts to change. The reason for those failures, however, isn't lack of motivation or inability to do what was being asked. It's that I was trying to shoehorn myself into a mold that simply didn't fit. Just about every book on the market begins with a set of assumed values that don't always apply. Even the one book I recently read, which began with an intelligent breakdown of a variety of financial personalities, wasn't able to offer anything truly useful based on that information (which I thought was very odd).

The best advice I've heard recently is that a person's spending should be aligned with his or her values. Frankly, paying off the credit card debt that I got saddled with in the divorce really doesn't rate highly on my values list, but it's a necessary obligation I have to face. Does that mean that I should place a higher priority on that than the things that really matter to me? I'm going to go with "hell no."

Like I said in my first post, I'm only now taking my first steps toward fiscal responsibility. And it's only thanks to a real understanding of myself and my values, not some trite set of "steps to financial freedom" from some mass-market paperback, that I've been able to even start the process. If I was still trying to live up to all the things the books tell me I should be doing, I'd be no farther ahead than I was 20 years ago.

And that's pretty much exactly what I said earlier.

So, what books have you read? List them here in this thread.

Did you finish them all?

maestrowork
05-28-2008, 06:15 PM
Right, the spending ten dollars is illustrated to the extreme, I definitely agree with that. But the savings is absolutely true. I read in another article that if you start at age 25, save $250 a month in a 5% interest savings, by the time you turn 65 you're a millionaire.

Make it 45. ;)

Of course, I'm counting on the 8% average ROI and a monthly savings of at least $500.

Now, who wants to marry a millionaire?

icerose
05-28-2008, 06:18 PM
Make it 45. ;)

Of course, I'm counting on the 8% average ROI and a monthly savings of at least $500.

Right, you're saving double as well as have a higher interest rate, so you will obtain the goal faster. I was just saying even poor off families if they take care of their finances well, they too can pull themselves out of the ditches with just a small amount of savings each month. Next year we'll be able to save 200 a month. We're really looking forward to it.

sassandgroove
05-28-2008, 07:04 PM
I think pconsidine makes a good and valid point, and it doesn't matter what books he has or hasn't read. I find it to be true with any self help book. I pick and choose what makes sense to me and what i feel applies to me and leave the rest. There is not a right or wrong way to budget. There are budgets that work for you and not for me. I think what pconsidine is saying is that he hasn't found a book that completly applies to his life style, world view, morals, needs, what have you. I would go further and say there never will be ONE book, but we can gleen from ideas from a myriad of sources to come up with the best plan for ourselves.

James81
05-28-2008, 07:06 PM
I think pconsidine makes a good and valid point, and it doesn't matter what books he has or hasn't read. I find it to be true with any self help book. I pick and choose what makes sense to me and what i feel applies to me and leave the rest. There is not a right or wrong way to budget. There are budgets that work for you and not for me. I think what pconsidine is saying is that he hasn't found a book that completly applies to his life style, world view, morals, needs, what have you. I would go further and say there never will be ONE book, but we can gleen from ideas from a myriad of sources to come up with the best plan for ourselves.

I was just asking to see what he's read. Personally, I've read some pretty great books on finances and thought I'd share if some of them aren't what he/she has read.

My own personal rule is that if a financial book has the words "How to" or "Get rich quick" or something like that in the title, it's probably pure trash.

pconsidine
05-28-2008, 08:03 PM
So, what books have you read? List them here in this thread.

Did you finish them all?Whether intended or not, this reads as awfully condescending and paternalistic to me, so you'll forgive me if I choose not to answer. Otherwise, sass summed up my point pretty well. Real progress only comes from understanding what's really important to you, not what someone is telling you should be important.

Bubastes
05-28-2008, 08:09 PM
Real progress only comes from understanding what's really important to you, not what someone is telling you should be important.

Exactly. One thing I've found in most personal finance books is that the jump right into the "how" of money management without ever tackling the "why." It's difficult to develop financial discipline if you don't have a compelling reason to do so. Once you figure out the "why," though, implementing the "how" is easy because you have a goal that is more important to you than buying a new whatever.

Yeshanu
05-28-2008, 08:35 PM
Just about every book on the market begins with a set of assumed values that don't always apply.


So, what books have you read? List them here in this thread.

Did you finish them all?

Personally, I've read a lot of financial books, and the one major assumption they make that hasn't been true in my case is the assumption that you're actually earning enough to pay for your basic expenses, and that you're drowning in consumer debt. They advise, quite rightly, to cut out the "latte factor" and use it to pay down the debt.

But those are actually huge assumptions, and the books do no good at all if you're not earning enough to cover food, clothing and shelter (at basic rates), and if you don't have any "latte factor" to cut.

Namatu
05-28-2008, 08:49 PM
Like I said in my first post, I'm only now taking my first steps toward fiscal responsibility. And it's only thanks to a real understanding of myself and my values, not some trite set of "steps to financial freedom" from some mass-market paperback, that I've been able to even start the process. The important thing is that you're dealing with it. One of the biggest hurdles to overcoming financial problems is figuring out how to do it. The debt can be so overwhelming it doesn't seem possible to get rid of it.

There are a lot of "how to" books out there, and those can't apply to everyone's situation. A basic understanding of debt and managing personal finance can be much more instructive.

icerose
05-28-2008, 10:16 PM
Personally, I've read a lot of financial books, and the one major assumption they make that hasn't been true in my case is the assumption that you're actually earning enough to pay for your basic expenses, and that you're drowning in consumer debt. They advise, quite rightly, to cut out the "latte factor" and use it to pay down the debt.

But those are actually huge assumptions, and the books do no good at all if you're not earning enough to cover food, clothing and shelter (at basic rates), and if you don't have any "latte factor" to cut.

We don't have the "latte factor" in our lives either, we're living pretty lean. Most of our troubles have been from low paying or inconsistently paying jobs with a combination of medical bills, we're sorting both out right now and doing better than we ever have. What's important is that as we climb out, we don't add the "latte factor" and instead save what we used to spend on bills, which is what we're working on doing.

stormie
05-28-2008, 10:23 PM
This is for if you have a credit card. Stop using it. Pay double the mininum monthly payment (if possible). If you have decent credit rating, you can call the credit card company and ask if you can get a lower interest rate.

sassandgroove
05-28-2008, 11:01 PM
I'm torn about something.

When we use cash for groceries and eating out, we do better with our budget. But if our cash gets lost or stolen, it is gone, whereas with a debit card, the bank refunds our fraudulent charges. I was trying a system where I keep a ledger with and subtract charges from grocery column, eating out column, etc as well as from the bank balance, but I'm inconsistant with updating it. WIth cash, it is gone and it is easy to see it is gone and that there is only $25 left in eating out, or whatever. We've been setting aside savings and don't spend money until we pay the bills and the savings, so the money we're spending isn't hurting us, but we could still be better and come to thursday before payday with more than a zero balance. I don't know. I'm rambling at this point I guess.

I know that Dave Ramsey says that the possible cost of losing $200 cash is better overall since using cash helps you stick to your budget and overtime you'd lose more in overspending with the debit card. Shrug.

icerose
05-28-2008, 11:06 PM
I'm torn about something.

When we use cash for groceries and eating out, we do better with our budget. But if our cash gets lost or stolen, it is gone, whereas with a debit card, the bank refunds our fraudulent charges. I was trying a system where I keep a ledger with and subtract charges from grocery column, eating out column, etc as well as from the bank balance, but I'm inconsistant with updating it. WIth cash, it is gone and it is easy to see it is gone and that there is only $25 left in eating out, or whatever. We've been setting aside savings and don't spend money until we pay the bills and the savings, so the money we're spending isn't hurting us, but we could still be better and come to thursday before payday with more than a zero balance. I don't know. I'm rambling at this point I guess.

What you do is divide the cash into four parts, equal amounts for each week. You put them in a safe place, whether you have a grocery jar, or whatever. A safe place. Then you only have one weeks worth of groceries and you have it in a secure item, i.e. purse. That way the risk of losing it is much lower and how much you lose is lower.

sassandgroove
05-28-2008, 11:10 PM
Maybe it is because I am not used to carrying a lot of cash, but i get nervous when I have more than $20 on me. Is that weird. My parents are the opposite. They pay cash for everything except gas, so they can pay at the pump. They don't trust Debit cards, and use a credit card for the gas which they pay off monthly. I view the debit card as more secure and they view cash as more secure. I don't know how to get comfortable with cash around.

icerose
05-28-2008, 11:55 PM
I used to do everything with cash, it was so much easier to keep track of. Now I use my debit card because I haven't gotten back on track with the whole pay with cash thing. When I have cash I save it better than when it's a number in an account.

Siddow
05-29-2008, 12:11 AM
Sass, if you think you can keep in budget, look for a cash-back CC. I keep money in the bank and use my Amex for gas and grocery purchases, and pay the bill online. I end up earning about $400 a year that way, for stuff I would buy anyhow. Not recommended for folks who would go over budget.

sassandgroove
05-29-2008, 12:21 AM
I think i would go over budget.

Namatu
05-29-2008, 12:28 AM
Don't carry all your cash with you at once, Sass. Set next week's allotment aside. If you know you're going out to buy groceries, bring that money with you. I have never lost my cash. :D

pconsidine
05-29-2008, 12:29 AM
Maybe it is because I am not used to carrying a lot of cash, but i get nervous when I have more than $20 on me. Is that weird. My parents are the opposite. They pay cash for everything except gas, so they can pay at the pump. They don't trust Debit cards, and use a credit card for the gas which they pay off monthly. I view the debit card as more secure and they view cash as more secure. I don't know how to get comfortable with cash around.I've had to get used to a certain amount of discomfort since I've gone to a cash-only lifestyle. I only ever have enough cash for the day on me, so a major emergency could be a real problem. But since, as you said, it's much easier to stay on budget if I only use cash, I'm placing a higher priority on that for now.

I guess there's no real answer. It's just a question of naming your poison.