When Spending = Love!!
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|Fri, 07-15-2011 - 12:52am|
I just wanted to say hi and tell my story. My hubby and I have been married for 10 years and have 4 children under 4. We have a very happy and wrinkle-free marriage overall. However, we are very spontaneous and irresponsible in a lot of areas of our life, including our financial life. Over the years we have saddled ourselves with serious debt - $115k in undergrad and grad student loans, $6k car loan, $13k in back taxes, $1.2k furniture loan. We had a home foreclosure and bankruptcy several years ago and as a result have no credit card debt. Basically, we are making good money (around $80k combined) and yet have nothing to show for it, and are living paycheck to paycheck due to our irresponsibility. I seriously don't want to know how much we've paid the bank in overdraft fees over the years of our marriage...ugh.
Recently, I've read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and I've started to get serious about making some changes in our financial life. I've realized that a major problem I'm facing is the culture change in our marriage. My hubby is very spontaneous and fun, and a spender. He can rationalize almost any purchase. Not that I'm a saint - I've been right there approving all of these purchases, but I tend to spend less on myself. My big splurges are frequent Starbucks and groceries. Also, we eat out (or take-in) a lot.
While he is there with me in theory, and likes the idea of fixing our finances, we're definitely experiencing some major new tension as we figure out what that looks like. The culture shift to frugality and responsibility is really a difficult one, because somehow over the years spending money, especially on food, has become part of our language of love for each other. Seriously, we call a night together after the kids are in bed and I've gotten us fast food and we watch shows on Netflix an "evening of Love!" lol. I have to admit that I have a hard time being the bad guy who tells my husband that we shouldn't spend - I hate watching the light go out of his eyes. But I'm slowly realizing what an enabler I've been and I'm trying to man up and accept that this is what it will take to get our family onto firm financial footing.
The steps I've taken so far:
- Set up ING accounts to start saving for Emergency fund ($100 in there so far using the "snowflaking" technique.)
- Set up ING sub account for taxes, so we won't be hit like that again ($300 in there so far.)
- Started paying off furniture debt, because it was 0% interest and will hit us with it if not paid of by September.
- Started using the "zero sum budget" idea to allocate where incoming money is going. (This is the hardest part so far. Haven't really stuck to it as far as eating out goes. BUT, I have managed to prioritize the tax and Emergency fund savings, and debt payment, so I'm trying to forgive myself that.)
Anyway, I just wanted to post on here to introduce myself and hopefully get a bit of encouragement and wisdom/insight.