Need some help brainstorming for 2013

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Need some help brainstorming for 2013
11
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 2:42pm

Most of you already know that me and my SO keep all of our finances separate.  He gives me one check every month for his half of the household expenses and half the groceries.  He lives in my house, so everything is still in my name.  We don't have any joint purchases.  The only thing we have together is our auto insurance.  It comes out of his account.  I write him a check for my part, although I am currently behind.  He has also been giving me more than his half the last couple months since things are so tight for me.

So, to my question...

I would love to have a real spending plan.   I have not really bothered with it, as I can get obsessive over envelopes and tracking things.  Also, and this is the real road block, is I know it would drive my SO crazy.   If every thing we did was determined by my spreadsheet or envelope, I think he would need a rubber room.  When we went to the grocery store before thanksgiving, I told him I didn't have much and would have to use a calculator.  So he just paid for the groceries that day. 

Not worrying about "tit for tat" seems to always work out for us, but if he says "hey, can you grab this or that for me today" and it is not in my plan, I am concerned it will just cause resentments.  Sure, it always evens out, but I don't think he will be too thrilled if I say "hey, I need that money back, it goes back into the grocery envelope"  every time I grab something for him that is not in my plan.

We have been more open to the idea of being a little more "jointed" I guess you could say.  We just aren't real clear what that looks like for us.  Avoiding resentments is a huge priority for us, so we tread lightly and slowly in this area.  (i.e.  what happens if we break up, what happens if one of us dies, etc. etc.)

Not much I can do until I get my income tax refund and get back to a level playing field and can get a clearer picture of what still needs to be done.  

So, even if you think it is silly, or outside of the box, or figure I have already thought of it, go ahead and toss your ideas into the ring. 

Thank you!!!

 

 

 

Serenity

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 3:22pm

One possibility is that he gives you a 'draw' account...an amount of money you keep separate from your spending plan money for things he wants that are outside the plan.  You keep that amount level, maybe replenishing to the base once a week or once a month.  Are you looking to set joint goals, or are you looking to just get yourself in better order so that you can set joint goals?  

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 4:11pm

I don't think this is a silly question AT ALL. 

I totally understand your concerns and I think you are right to think these sorts of things through very carefully especially since you know you have very different approaches and attitudes to handling money.

I can relate to you.  My hubby makes all of our money currently and is really laid back about how money is spent.  I can be obessive with things - money included. 

Almost a year ago, I decided to bite the bullet and just let myself be obessive about tracking money.  I didn't expect my h to participate, however. I don't do the envelope system, but I track every single purchase in a notebook, and I set a limit on how much a budget myself for "discretionary spending" which includes everything but my monthly non-discretionary spending.  So this fund must cover gifts, food, clothing, vacations, etc . . .  

I figured if I let myself go absolutely crazy on this sort of accounting I would eventually calm my mind down and be more reasonable with my obsessive tendencies.  And after a year, I can report that I am much better.  I use to review my accounting daily.  Now I do it once (sometimes twice still) a week.

But I make a point of doing this when H isn't around (like maybe you can do it on your lunch hour).  I don't want to drive H crazy with my craziness.

If I were you, I would make my discretionary fund a little larger than you think you personally need so you can cover some of your SO's expenses.  And then I would track these expenses.  You may have to cut back on your own discretionary expenses one week to cover his last week expenses.  But if you keep track, you should be able to do this without feeling resentful.  For example, I loaned a friend $70 a month and a half ago.  I kept a note in my notebook that she owed me this money (it came out of my discretionary spending which meant I had to be especially frugal to make up for the amount missing from my account).  Today, however, when I balanced my accounts, I found I had an extra $70 in my discretionary acccount (from being frugal since I loaned her the money), and so I just wrote off this loan and called my friend to tell her.  She, of course insisted she would pay me back someday, but for me if she does it will just be extra money.  I no longer feel like it's owed.  And so, I'm not going to have any resentment toward her, because in my mind it's a done deal.  

If, however,  your SO,s expenses become too large for you to feel comfortable with or to catch up to in your accounting, you can approach him openly and honestly and let him know what the figure is, and how it makes you feel uncomfortable.  Just let him know that it's become greater than the usually "tit for tat" you guys do.   And let him know how important it is for you to NOT build resentments.

I've been showing my H my accounting once a week.  He is sometimes mildly interested, and sometimes more interested.  He has told me many times over the year that he is really impressed with our progress and happy that I'm so obsessive about tracking money.  I would never, however, expect him to participate with me in the actual accounting.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is helpful to you, but this is what has been working for me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 6:55pm

I agree that being obsessive could not only destroy what was a good relationship, but also be a complete waste of time.  If you could use the obsessive time to find more gainful employment, it might be a moot point?

DH and I are in a second marriage, so we both had bills we paid.  When we came together I did my budgets and he just gave me a lump sum of what he had after he paid his truck payment, gas, any spending he did.  I learned to just live on what he gave me and have an emergency fund to back the months that were light. 

Sometimes I get $2,000 and sometimes $900, I just know it is a minimum of $900 every two weeks so I plan for the worst and if I get more, I put it in my emergency fund, pay down more debt or stock up on groceries or things we need.  I just make sure all the bills are being paid.

If it is an issue, I go out and try to earn more, or work extra.  I don't want to put any burden on him.

-Marie

#Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 7:03pm

I agree that being obsessive could not only destroy what was a good relationship, but also be a complete waste of time.  If you could use the obsessive time to find more gainful employment, it might be a moot point?

DH and I are in a second marriage, so we both had bills we paid.  When we came together I did my budgets and he just gave me a lump sum of what he had after he paid his truck payment, gas, any spending he did.  I learned to just live on what he gave me and have an emergency fund to back the months that were light. 

Sometimes I get $2,000 and sometimes $900, I just know it is a minimum of $900 every two weeks so I plan for the worst and if I get more, I put it in my emergency fund, pay down more debt or stock up on groceries or things we need.  I just make sure all the bills are being paid.

If it is an issue, I go out and try to earn more, or work extra.  I don't want to put any burden on him.

-Marie

#Marie
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 12:04pm

happysj56 wrote:
<p> Are you looking to set joint goals, or are you looking to just get yourself in better order so that you can set joint goals?  </p>

That is a really good question, Happy.  We are heading towards making some real goals together.  Which I guess you could say includes each of us looking at personal goals.  He has no debt, but no retirement plan, either.  So that has also been a topic we have discussed.   I do have a retirement plan here at work. 

I guess you could say the idea of joint goals are hindered right now with my debt.  We have ideas, but I can't execute my part just yet. 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 12:39pm

So you don't have a joint account at all? Perhaps it would be time to try it for household bills. I know I could never not have my own bank account again but the joint one for bills(and lots more now, mortgage, daughter's fund, savings accounts) has been really handy for many reason.

With online banking now and ease of transfers to different accounts could you both put money in this one account Could you find something with no fees? If it doesn't work out, at least you tried for convenience sake and you can always just not put money in it.

I understand the not wanting resentment. If it aint broke don't fix it. But it does sound like you have a bit of resentment when he asks you to pick things up and perhaps he does when he springs for pizza and things you say you cannot afford on the weekends because he wants to do these things. There is such a fine line in some of these areas, you want to help but don't want to regret it later. It is really hard to be a couple when things are so separate. But until you are willing to put him on the house and he put all of his money in an account with you then I don't see much changing in this area. I forsee things having to change quite a bit before each of these things happen like you earning more money to make ends meet and paying down some of your debt. I think your debt scares him a bit. Mr. I don't budget and know exactly what is in my account can't fathom the idea. Perhaps when you are totally done school? 

Hang in there, until something major changes, this will be hard to make better for the both of you.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 1:57pm

marketingvirgo wrote:
<p> If you could use the obsessive time to find more gainful employment, it might be a moot point?</p><p></p><p>-Marie</p>

Not sure if I should laugh or be offended.  Wink

Been down that road before and I just ran myself into the ground.  However, I have not lost sight of the importance of increasing my income.  My goal is to be able to afford my mortgage on my own if SO disappeared tomorrow. 

Going off of Gayle's formula of Total Housing (Mortgage, taxes, insurance, & utilities) being under 35%, I would need to gross $3,170.  Full-time here would put me really close to that.  But, as you already know, that won't be happening unless my bosses' daughter decides to leave.  I am taking any extra hours I can though.  The catch here is that I make $17.50 an hour, boss pays the health insurance premiums for entire family, and I have a retirement plan.   Some degree of overtime is expected during our two busy seasons.  So you can see why I am still here.  Oh yea, and I am spoiled.  Innocent

You did give me an idea, though, Marie.  In my direct selling career (which I still do) I used to track my sales goals by subtracting my sales from goal so I could always see how much left I needed to sell in retail products.  My SO has encouraged me to grow that business, but I don't think he realizes that means focusing like I would a job.  It is one thing to say "I have to go into work today" and a different thing to say "I will be in the home office today, so just pretend I am not here."  Men are as bad as kids sometimes.  Anywho, I could go on on about the work that would entail. 

Point being, I think I can track my sales goals and income goals without becoming overly obsessive.  So thank you for the reminder! 

 

 

Serenity
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 2:36pm
Karen, I am always impressed at how much you remember about my story. It was almost like "hey, do she know us in real life?" Yea, after two divorces myself and his divorce after a 20 year marriage, there are some very real concerns we have moving forward financially. He walked away with just his personal belongings and even though I got the house, I also kept some marital debt. Neither of us ever want to repeat that. You make some valid points. Which is one reason I like posting this kind of stuff. I may not get a black and white answer, but it always makes me rethink things and evaluate. We bank at the same bank, so one joint account for household bills is not a crazy idea. It wouldn't be free, through. But the $10 a month may be worth it if it helps to prevent resentments. Thanks again to all of you. You have given me a lot to think about.
Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 3:57pm

One thing the experts say time and time again is that when two people in one household are not on equal footing when it comes to income, you can each contribute the same percentage of your income to the expenses. I don't know if this would help in your siuation with making sure there is no resentment at any point now or in the future......does that make sense? And if you went for the joint account, your equal percentages could be deposited into that. very fair!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 4:05pm

When I my DH I had a private retirement fund for $15K, $200K equity paid off my home & $25K in cash. He had $13K in debt and nothing else. So initially I INSISTED that we keep everything seperate. I did all the finances and he just gave me X amount every month to cover his expenses. When he stopped working, I sat down with him and insisted that he still bring in at least X amount. He ended up doing some very hard & dirty jobs to come with the money. More importantly than the money I need to know that he would do what he needed to do for me & later his family. Kind of a build up of financial trust in our r/ship. 

When we got engaged, I paid off all his loans with my money. I used money to start a business with him. That turned into a disaster...lol...BUT he worked his butt off to make sure that we got way more back than we invested. He just realized he didn't have the personality to be his own boss. We still do it as a hobby now that we have all equipment and it brings in extra money occasionally.

After all this, we now have complete trust in each other. So everything we have is joint. I obsess over every penny but I don't share it with him. That is where this board comes in handy ;) I do up all the budgets, print out monthly spreadsheets of expenses and ask him to write amounts/dates/chq# when he pays them & all the long term financial planning. I also give us both a small amount of discretionary spending that is completely up to us to spend whatever way we want.

So my question to you would be - how can you build up that trust w/your DH & yourself? What things can you do right now to take a step in that direction?

Another thing, you wrote "spending plan" and I have to wonder if that was a fruedian slip? I always think "budget" because that includes my expenditures AND my income. My plan included cutting back on spending but it also included increasing my income. I have spreadsheets that go to Aug/2014 with all our income increases so I can see how much need we have to do more there.

Good luck,

Dee

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