Okay, I need some advice. DH and I are having some difficulties. The issues have always been there, but after 7 almost 8 years of the same problems I'm starting to get fed up with it all and am just tired of arguing over the same issues over and over again. This is how it starts. I get upset about a decision DH wants to make (usually involving how money is spent) and tell him my opinon about. Well basically, until I back down on the issue, its debated to death, he tells me all the reasons why he should buy this/that. Instead of fighting about it, I end up just saying "fine, okay, do it" DH then thinks that I'm okay with said purchase and its all fine in his mind. I am inside, fuming about it because I think it's a bad decision. I know not talking about it is my issue, but spending every dime of money we make is DH's issue, and he just doesn't see it that way. So after holding stuff in for a long time, I end up blowing up at him randomly one day and he gets all upset with me for holding stuff in and not letting him know how I was feeling. My problem with that is that I do tell him how I feel about things, and he tries to talk me into believing that his way is best, and I give up. It's not exactly fair! It's been like this for 7 years, but I just figured some day he'd see how extravagant he tends to be and would eventually actually you know, maybe save some money for the future. We have no savings..I take that back we have like 200 dollars, and DH's retirement. We have absolutely no excuse to not have a savings at this point. DH and I both worked for the first 6 years of our marriage, and then I started staying at home with the kids, and took over the finances. It was the first time in our marriage that I saw every dime in every dime out, and it frustrated me. I knew being in the dark wasn't helpful either, but pre-kids, I just did my thing with "my" money and he did his thing with "his" money and we were pretty okay with that. We have made some improvements though. We paid off a large credit card in January, but we have held a steady balance the entire time we've been married. DH never seemed to have any intention of wanting to pay it off and keep it paid off. I finally insisted upon it, and while it's paid off now, I know DH and guarantee it's going to have a balance on it in the next few months, because he just doesn't know how to wait for things. His sister is the same way, they are all about instant gratification, and want things "NOW!" so credit cards it is. I can't stand it and I wish he could see the error of his ways, and realize that living like that is deterimental to our future as a couple and our kids' future. To top it all off, we receive a large sum of money yearly from a family member as a part of inheritance, and it's been spent on stuff every year. never saved, never paid off a credit card, we've always found ways to spend it. So, I tell him we have no excuse to not have anything saved at this point and he gets mad at me.
it also makes me crazy that DH is always telling me to be cautious of how much I drive, cause gas is expensive and tolls, etc, but he goes and buys donuts and energy drinks on the way to work at least 3 days a week. Those little purchases add up too, hun! We live in the country and in order to get out of the house with the kids and do stuff, I have to use gas and spend money. it's not like we don't have it! I think he knows that but he comes off as hypocritical when he's spending money on stuff every day.
Whew..Okay, I know the underlying issue here is that we have communication issues, and unless we figure out how to communicate without hurting each other's feelings, or blowing up at eachother, I don't think we'll last. I don't want to give up on our marriage..I want to make it work, not just for the kids, but for us. I love him and want to be with him, but not if I don't feel respected as a decision maker in the family. I told him yesterday that if we can't work out our communication issues and make some changes, he's not going to be married for very long. I suggested marriage counseling. Not as a " you're bad, I want to fix you" but as a "we need help, and I want to make this work," He just gets pissy with me about it. He said he'll do it, but I wish he wanted to, and see problems I see. Of course we've barely spoken to eachother in the past 24 hours, aside from kid stuff, and I don't know how to break the tension and let him know I love him and want to work on it. While I'm left alone in my thoughts, the idea of leaving sometimes is tempting, all the "little" things that drive me crazy that he does start to sound like great reasons to leave and just do things my way, but that's not what I really want. I really want our relationship to last. I really do. We also have 2 young children, and I know the demands of caring for young children alone can cause more stress and tension, so I'm considering that as well. Thoughts? There are so many other little things that drive me crazy about him, but none of those issues necessarily affect our kids anything, just stuff I've learned to adapt to over the years, and aren't really dealbreakers. This is a big one though. We have to communicate if we expect to last til death!
Yikes! Money stuff is such an easy thing to bring out communication issues!
Just from reading your post, it seems like you guys had one pattern when you first married (you with your $, him with his) and now you are trying a different pattern where you are doing the finances. When you switched things about, did you have discussion about how things were going to be different, or did you jump into the new pattern? I can see how leftover behaviors would clash with the new expectations.
I agree with you that the bigger issue is communication-does he see this as a problem as well? Would your DH be open to discussing this with a trusted 3rd party (like a counselor, pastor or trusted mutual friend?) It is easy to see how frustrated you are, and it doesn't seem healthy for you to continue on this way without some changes.
On money, DH and I did Dave Ramsey's Total Money Make Over plan (though we didn't follow it exactly, which I know TTMO people see as a incredible violation). I am reading Your Money or Your Life right now, which has been great so far, but I think you are right, that you won't be able to really get a grasp on the $$ issue till you get the communication there.
I do hope you can work this out with your DH-hopefully this will be a catalyst to help you get closer in the end!
So, after 2 1/2 days of barely speaking to eachother, last night was Valentines, and of course the kids and I did something special for DH..I wasn't about to get all pissy and not do Valentines because I was upset..I made him his favorite dinner, and DS and I dipped strawberries in chocolate..and we made a craft for Daddy. He came home with roses and chocolates for me and we enjoyed dinner together. We still weren't talking much and I finally said "we need to talk about this at some point," and he said, okay lets talk. So we did...for about an hour and a half. Turns out he apologized for some things he's done in the past and basically agreed not to rack up credit card debt. He told me he was perfectly fine with saving money now that the card is paid off and admitted to being more spendy with money when it's there. I didn't blame him for everything either since I am partly to blame for spending when we have it, but I mean, that's our nature..less mine than his, but still. I also found out that he has actively been trying to be home earlier and work less so he can help out more at home. He has been coming home earlier lately but I just thought it was because he ran out of work(he's on commission), turns out he just wanted to be home more with us. See, these are the things I don't know because we never communicate well with eachother. He has agreed to meet with our pastor and his wife soon so we can discuss ways to help us communicate better. Also he told me that if I disagree on a purchase, he'd rather me just tell him no, then be wishy washy about it. Something I would have never guessed he'd be okay with, so yay. We're making progress :)
That sounds like really great progress.
This is a really tiny point, but I thought it would be worth adding anyway. If you feel up against a wall again with him wanting you to agree to some purchase he wants and you don't, you could say "I don't think we should get it, but I won't stop you." The idea is that you end the back and forth (where he will try to convince you to change your mind) without "agreeing" to it. Hopefully you guys won't even end up going there again, but I know that it's hard to break out of a pattern and thought an alternate response might help.
I think TMMO and other Dave Ramsey stuff are very motivating. If he is willing to read them, or listen to his radio show, he might be wiling to look at money in a different way and get on board with you. I don't even care about the details of Dave's plan; he is overall just really good at motivating people to get out of debt slavery (or, in your case, lack of savings).
Also, a lot of couples have agreed to a certain amount of money (per week, month, or pay period) for each spouse to spend, no questions asked. So your DH can feel like he can buy stuff for himself without feeling guilty or having to ask "permission" or convince you - but there's a limit to it. And if he wants to buy something big, he is free to save up his amount for a few weeks or months or whatever. A lot of couples give the same amount of money to each spouse, but some feel ok giving more to the spendier spouse. It's really about what your particular needs are.
Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.
Reading your second post made me so happy. You're right - it really is about communication, and him being able to tell you what he's trying to do for you goes a long ways towards mitigating other annoyances with him. I think talking to your pastor is a great idea, and I think you have a positive and realistic attitude and approach. You're handling this before it leads to passive-aggression, and that speaks loudly to the idea that you guys CAN solve this problem and be successful.
On the savings issues, perhaps you guys should budget for savings. By which I mean, bill yourselves. "We will put $100 from every paycheck into savings." Force it, even if it means having to pinch pennies on groceries, eat leftovers instead of buying lunch, skip the energy drinks, etc. Do it as a team with a goal of achieving a certain amount at different intervals along the way.
To curb his impulse buying, perhaps he can put items he really wants on layaway, carving out little amounts here and there to contribute. This way, you're not saying NO, you're saying "only inasmuch as it fits into our budget". I liked laohaire's suggestion for an alternative dialog about purchases you don't approve of. Another idea along those lines is "I have listened to your points, but I'm not persuaded. Let's just table this for two months and then talk about it again. Maybe I'll feel differently, or maybe we'll be in a better financial position to buy by then."
When my hubby do something thoughtful for me, it always makes me more willing to go out of my way for him. This next idea is an outgrowth of that, and a reaction to your hubby taking the initiative to adjust his work schedule to make things easier for you. To curb his morning spending habit, perhaps you could create a morning ritual: send him on his way with a fresh hot coffee and a baked good. You could bake up large batches of muffins and such and freeze them individually so that you can pull one out and toast it each morning. The money that's being spent on those treats now could go either towards his layaway purchase, towards gas, or towards your new savings goal...
It makes it much easier to say "No, we can't afford that yet with the saving goals we both agreed to, but we can afford it in N months/weeks."
And going further, you may want to have a set amount of money a month for each of you that is splurge money that you can spend on anything without needing to check with the other. If you don't spend your splurge money, you can save it up for a larger purchase for yourself. This can work really well to curb folks that tend to be spenders.
And that's another thing to keep in mind that a 3rd party perspective may help a lot with, people all have different levels of comfort with saving and spending, your DH sounds like a spender and that you are more of a saver. My DH is a spender and I am a saver and it took us quite awhile to figure out how to work our finances to where we were both happy. I need a significant savings account plus additional retirement beyond our work retirement accounts. He sees the value in those too, but until we agreed on certain $$ per month, we weren't contributing anything as he would spend pretty much whatever was around. And I agreed to certain things I was comfortable spending-wise for both of us as he feels (and I think rightly so) that we should be able to have some fun things and nice things as we both work hard and make good money. So each of us gave a bit and got a bit and I think we ended up both better for it. I know I shed a lot of my ridiculous guilt about buying things for myself that I didn't really need and he is a lot more aware of how much he is really spending on all those purchases.
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
Glad to hear things are going smoother. DH and I talk A LOT, but sometimes with the really heavy stuff, one of us kind of has to warn the other that we want to talk about it, then we can give each the other time to react w/o blowing up, calm down, and then talk.
I never read celebrity books, but I did read Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. It was good, but something that totally stood out was that she pointed out that sometimes women have a tendency to make statements in the form of questions, rather than be blunt. I totally do that, and get wishy-washy, too. I am working VERY hard at being straightforward with DH, rather than ask pointed questions or hem-haw about important things now.
We totally put ourselves on allowances. Our income fluctuates depending on if we have foster kids in the house, and when it is just DH's income, things are very tight, but we prioritize this and it really helps out. DH always saves his for big purchases, mine always disappears in the form of junk food (doubly embarrassing because I get on the natural-food soapbox often...).
Really glad to hear you were able to open up the discussion!!!!
I'm glad to hear that you're talking about it. Dh and I have different ideas about spending/saving and it's the one thing we consistently have issues over.
One thing that might help too, is to get a separate 'spending' account that you can set up and put a certain amount of money in every month (or every 2 weeks, depending on how often he's paid). Then he gets the debit card to that account and leaves the credit card at home. That way, you're not monitoring his every dime. If he wants donuts and coffee every 3 days, fine. But if the 3rd week of the month comes and he doesn't have any money in that account, then he'll have to do without them for the next week. It might help him see how his 'little spending' adds up.
Do you have a budget? You need one. Sit down TOGETHER and outline the expenses that must be paid every month: housing, food, health/home/car insurance, car, gas, phone, some money for clothes, money for car repair, money for house repair (if you own a house) and SAVINGS. Once those things come off the top, you can then add into the budget the discretionary spending -- dinner out, movie rentals, cable TV, internet connection, and anything else that you share. After that, I'd divide the money into 2 pools. He gets to put his in the spending account and do what he likes. You get to put yours in your account and do what you like (including saving it). If he wants something outside the budget, you can say "do we have that money in our discretionary budget?" While it's good for you to learn to say "No, I don't want to do that." If he's constantly wanting to spend, it can get a bit old.
Our budget is just $60 per person per month, and we have an additional $120 set aside for eating out/entertainment. It isn't much, but it works for us. This works for our budget even when things are lean on just his. I like the suggested; to go over the whole month and determine how much $$ is left after everything is paid, then divide that. Seems like a good way to work around a fluctuating income.
How do you make a set spending amount for each person when your income fluctuates so much? He's on commission and most weeks he makes enough to cover our comfortable budget, that includes everything, even spend money, but what do we do when he doesn't have a good check?
My dh's income varies considerably too. We make a budget based on his average income for the lowest 3 months. When he makes more, we put part into savings so that we can have a little cushion. Now, dh isn't the sole wage earner in our family, so we don't have to be so strict. My income is rock steady for 9 months of the year. Dh really only has to be able to save enough money to get us through summers.
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