Monday, January 23, 2006

It was just a suggestion!

In our family, we have an agreement. Bizarro Dad makes the money. I pay the bills. We spend money on other stuff that we feel we need, or would like to have, or would like for the girls, whatever. But lately, we're having a problem with this arrangement.

My husband is having trouble controlling his spending. I get that he makes more money now than he did when he was in the military, so he feels he should be able to afford more luxuries. And I agree. Our luxury is called an auto loan. It is what pays for our minivan, which we had to get when our Daewoo died a horrible death. And the payments that he agreed to? More than I told him we could afford. That's our damn luxury.

But does my husband understand this? No. He does not. No matter what I say, no matter how many times the checking account gets down to a zero balance, he Does. Not. Get. It. He just goes on, spending money on stupid stuff that we don't need. I tell him "Okay, honey, you can have a $40 allowance each month." He spends the $40. Then he spends another $60. Then another $60. And what does he have to show for it? A stack of movies that he'll only watch twice, and another stack of movies that he's rented from Blockbuster and kept past the due date, and some other random crap that he can't even account for the day after he's bought it. And that doesn't even include all the meals he buys for himself when he's at work. Dude? They're called sandwiches, and you can make them at home. For free. And when I tell him, "Honey, you've got to stop. How are we supposed to afford our life insurance premium?" he just says, "By me not spending so much." Then goes on to spend some more two days later.

So I thought about this. I thought about the stress of being the one who has to remember when all the bills are due, how much they are, and which paycheck they'll come out of. I thought about how much it sucks to sit there and wonder if the increase in local gasoline prices will affect what kind of groceries I can get this week. And I decided that in order for Bizarro Dad to understand the importance of not spending money like it's made of nothing, he needs to understand the burden of being responsible for actually writing the checks and mailing them out. The decision to tell him this did not come easily, as I am not normally one to relinquish control over something as important as financial security. I put it off all last night, until finally we were lying in bed, about to go to sleep.

Me: I think you should have charge of the checking account....just for a month.
Him: (immediately) No!
Me: Come on. Just for a month.
Him: No.
Me: Would you just think about it?
Him: I have thought about it.
Me: Really? When?
Him: Just now. No.
Me: Why not?
Him: The bills would never get paid.
Me: You wouldn't pay them?
Him: I'd forget ALL about them. We'd go broke!
Me: We're gonna go broke anyway if you keep spending money the way you do. You might as well learn how to deal with paying bills.
Him: No.
Me: Come on. Please?
Him: No.
Me: *sigh*
Him: ...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

1 comment:

Cowboy said...

When my wife and I were married, my spending habits left a lot to be desired, so my wife took over the budget at that time.

We deal mostly in cash for things, and keep them in a system of envelopes in our budget folder. Only so much cash for groceries, so much cash for gas for the cars, so much cash for entertainment, and when it's gone, it's gone. Sometimes there's justification for borrowing a bit here and there, but only for true needs. Like groceries, or gas for the car, but never on entertainment.

I dunno if that helps or not?

We've found that this is particularly effective for us, anyway, cause anytime we take money out of an envelope for things, we always see how much is left.