Question: Husband bouncing checks/ job hours cut

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Question: Husband bouncing checks/ job hours cut
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 10:53pm

Hello All!

I posted on here about a year ago, and thank you so much for the responses!

I will try to make this a QUICK 'what would you do' question

Short Background

married 5 years, all pretty good except frequent stress as we are opposites about money.  Meaning, DH is the youngest in his family, never saved money, happy with blue collar jobs (which is fine!), doesn't care to plan for retirement, spends as he goes.

Me: oldest in family, career-oriented, I've made it a point to have a 401k, equity in my house, paid off my car, have good job

Dilemma:  About once a year DH runs out of money -- usually he'll not pay me for his 40% of the bills and I can handle it.  Once he forged one of my checks (he forged my name, and his reason was he was low on money) and that sent us to a marriage counselor.   He does a lot of housework and I appreciate it.    PROBLEM: His old company dissolved and the ONLY job he's been able to find is 16 hours a week.  He does look each day on line, but has recently run out of money - he is behind on child support to his ex, behind on his car pmt, and has bounced checks to me by accident.....he owes me $800 that he'd usually pay me toward our mortage/water bill/groceries...............THIS TIME around I am low in my savings account.  I feel bad he is only working 16 hours a week, but to be honest, he had years to save a little here and there and never does

I finally said to DH "I am out the $800 you'd usually pay toward bills the last 5 weeks and I am charging groceries and really stressed"  He said he'd borrow $ from his brother.  FINE with me as I've always had to wait for him to pay me whenever he is "low" -- I think either a personal loan or borrowing from his brother is necessary -- he could lose his car to non payment!  Five days has gone by and he says he can't reach his brother.  When next Friday comes, the amount he's behind on his portion of groceries/water bill/rent/power bill will be $1,100 -- I am really low on money -- I may have to cash out a 401k.

Of course, we pray he'll find another full-time job, or even a 2nd part time job, but he's been looking 2 months and still has just the one 16 hour a week job.  Should I bug him daily to ask his brother for money?  Should I keep charging gasoline, the water bill and groceries just to have cash for the mortgage? I FEEL HE THINKS I;LL MAGICALLY "be able to pay all the bills" - he knows my mom alwasy gives us $ at Christmas, I think he hopes I'll borrow from her.  Note: I have helped w/his job hunt, I helped re-do his resume, got him on LinkedIn, I've even went in some restuarants to see if they are hring part time

What would you expect DH to do if he'd "owed" you for shared bills in the past, and now owes you almost $`1,000 for shared rent, power bill, groceries...........My dad said dh should look into food stamps (?)


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

That is a good turnaround.  I hope you post again to say that he actually got the job.  I do think it's hard to turn someone who just spends all their money as they get it into a saver.  If this job does have any kind of a 401K I hope he takes advantage of it.  I have never had a job w/ a 401K and it's just so hard to take the money yourself & put it into an IRA--it's so much easier when it's automatically w/d from your paycheck. 

As far as the beer, it reminds me that when I was a kid, I always wanted my father to quit smoking and one of my tactics (which didn't work) was to calculate the cost of cigarettes for a year and tell my father how much he'd save if he quit smoking.  Yeah I can't imagine 5 beers a night--esp. going to work the next day.  Maybe he could just cut down to 1-2 but then if he has an alcohol problem he won't be able to stop at 2.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
((((((Yes, to the poster that asked - he is a drinker (shocker) ))))))

This may be the root of his troubles. Don't get me wrong, even people in recovery have personality traits that are just inherent, but you take alcohol away from a drinker and well, no wonder your DH has been so depressed and moody. You don't have to be a heavy drinker to experience withdrawals.

Five beers a night is not considered a normal or social drinker.

Anyways, won't get into all of that here. Just something for your DH to look at. Recovery won't make him do a 180 in his attitude aout money, but it does lend to more responsbile behavior.

Enough said. :smileyhappy:

p.s. I am glad he will be fully employed. The same issues are still at hand, so I hope you two can find something that works for both of you. Just be careful you are not talking down to him and again, ask for his input on what he thinks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 8:38am
Glad to hear of the job offers :smileyhappy:

RE: the marriage counselor ---
no, ...wouldnt be miraculously changing him into a "saver", but could work with both of you re: problem solving so that isally isnt left being the only one "concerned" re: finances and getting upset/etc when DH seems to be slacking re: being proactive re: finances.

Hope to hear more from you :smileyhappy:
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:13pm
PS - and the new job DH landed even pays well! I just can't believe it.

PPS - many of you noted "let things get turned off that matter to him - the heat, the cable, to inspire him to job hunt": well he did postpone a haircut and have to stop buying his beloved beer -- so that might have inspired a stronger job search - plus I bought more "boring " groceries so he'd miss having cash to go buy favorite foods
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:10pm

hi Serenity!!

You are very kind!  As I just posted, Dh got a good job offer. No joke, he landed the interview 48 hours after I posted.

He looked on job websites he'll always checked, and out of the blue a good job was on Craig's List.  He does finalize paperwork to finalize the new job tomorrow (cross fingers).   It is a 40 hour a week job.....I am so happy and relieved.  (Not only for me, bu this Ex -- I feel for her getting zero child support the last 3 weeks, geez!)

One thing DH did that I am proud of...when he described the interview, I think he really sold himself.  Very happy he found a job.  He also is likely to get an offer from a company he interviewe with 3 days ago (the inteview had been set up 2 wks ago) ensure I avoid this stress in the future........and knowing that dh does tend to "run out of money" - I am going to have him pay me a week ahead, as a "cushion".   Then the next time he "runs out of money" I'll at least have $100 toward bills and have time to scramble.    Part of my anger was this time, he never said "I'm down to $500 in the bank" nor did he say "I think I may run out of money in a few weeks" - It was more like, his usual check for bills bounced!

Only other thing is marriage counselor -- I know he would go -- but I do not think any marriage counselor can turn him into a "saver" --- I also think that the fact that it took months to find a full time job....will motivate him to work hard at this new job and gain job security.  He did work hard at his last job, but he complained a lot -- to me, and even during dept. meetings at work - I think this time he will invest himself fully for job security.

Thank goodness for Craig's list --that's how he learned about both of these 2 jobs.  Thank you Serenity, you are wise and kind!!  Hugs!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:03pm
Hi Music!!
(Fyi if I really had to ask Dh to move out, I could, as the mortgage is in my name, and I got a pre-nup -only reason I got a pre-nup years ago, is ex-husband left me a one time sum and I wanted to protect it -- i've since spent it, but I have a prenup)
You guys will not believe this! My dh got a job offer and is CLOSE to getting a 2nd job offer.

The job offer -- is from a company that posted a job on Craig's List this past Saturday -- dh literally sat down for the interview about 48 hours after I posted --

so much has happned. It's a good job and some of the certifications dh had....the interviewer/ co-owner said dh is "almost a dream client" that the certifications are hard to find in a candidate. The job is 98% finalized, they just have to do a background check. Dh has passed several in years past.

THEN dh had an interview Monday or Tuesday that had been set up a week ago -- they may offer him a job - they have 3 positions open and expressed interest.

Dh has looked for a job (some :-) ) for 5 weeks and both of these jobs were listed Saturday. Like good luck. I feel so much less pressure knowing he'll soon be working 40 hours and he can resume paying his portion of the bills.

Also, I think his Ex is very angry he is 3 weeks behind on child support, so dh will probably ask to start the new job as soon as he can.

You guys are the best, most supportive posters. (FYI for those of u job hunting, neither of these jobs offers health insurance -- a sign of the times)

Ok, for me to do anything I can to avoid this situation, I think I'm going to have dh pre-pay me 1 week of bills once he gets steady paychecks. the past, anytime something would go wrong (i.e. he'd not get paid for sick days and get a small-ish paycheck), he'd always pay me less -- I am going to protect myself and say look, I cannot cover your share of bills --- and I'll tell him I need him to pay one week ahead. Then, if he ever gets his hours cut, exc, I will have a little cushion.

Yes, to the poster that asked - he is a drinker (shocker) He drinks 5 beers every single night. Even once when he had a FEVER. When he ran low on $$ due to his workman's comp injury, he drank ZERO beer for 6 months as money was tight. Lately, zero beer as money tight. But in general, he drinks beer every night. And if nothing else, that is not smart as he has high blood pressure. I will never be able to get him to "cut back", in case you guys are thinking that. He does not drive if had a beer. ......but now you know where hundreds of dollars went last year - beer.

GRATEFUL Dh has a new job and possibly a 2nd job offer. I will re-read all of your excellent and very smart advice. God Bless!! I truly appreciate it!!!! hugs!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I really think marriage counseling would be helpful here & if he won't go, then I think you should go yourself to sort things out about what your limits are.  I suppose you could say "I really need you to spend X hours a day looking for a job": but considering you are working yourself, how do you monitor that?  It puts you in the place of being the boss or the mom and he's still not really taking responsibility for himself.  In one way I can understand why he didn't stop watching his football on Sat. night to immediately apply for the jobs you had found--I am employed but looking for a better job.  Sometimes those online apps. are time consuming and you also want to send a cover letter that goes with that job & I find that late at night is probably not the best time to do that.  I applied for one job on Sat. & it took 1/2 hour to finish up all their stuff on line. Plus if it's a weekend night, as laurena said, I doubt anyone is there looking at the applications then, so it really wouldn't matter if he watied til Sunday--as long as he actually did send in the application.  He just doesn't seem to have a motivated attitude to do things on his own without nagging.  When my friend was out of work (and she had an executive job that paid over $100,000) even though she had received a severance package of a whole year's pay, she started her job hunt immediately & made it a full time job to look--she knew it would take a while to find that kind of a job--it did take her 6 months.  But she was divorced & had 2 kids in college so it's not like there was anyone else to help her out.

As a divorce lawyer myself, I also worry about you just asking him to move out--what if he says no?  You really can't kick him out until you're divorced and if he has no job (or lower paying) then you also might be stuck paying him alimony, depending on how long you have been married, so you need to investigate that aspect too.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Ahhh, okay.  It is starting to make a little more sense here.  No wonder money is one of the top reasons people get divorced. 

Like I think Laurena said, it is more about his attitude than it is the dollar amount.  And I would have to agree that he sounds a bit depressed.  If you don't mind me asking, is he a drinker? 

My mind is all over the place thinking of different ways you could approach this.  It does kind of depend if he is truly depressed (which unless there are clinical issues, is really self-pity) or just flat out lazy.  What was his mood, and your R like, in the past when he was working full-time?  Where did he live and how did he support himself before you got M? 

Obviously, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt here and hope some of our ideas here, or counseling, will help the two of you. 

Oh, and what ever you do, don't touch that 401K!! 

I don't know what you should do when it litterally comes to your marriage, but now is the time before you go bankrupt.  Don't wait to seriously address this.  You will regret using your CC for groceries under these circumstances.  The resentment will just keep growing and growing. 

I am in CC debt by my own doing, not because of anyone else. 

My second xH was an alcoholic and meth addict and also a compulsive gambler.  (I am sober 15 years now myself) and I loved him through every detox, every treatment and every glimmer of hope.   Yes, he was sick and yes, he needed help.  But even someone who is sick needs to take their "medicine" and he chose not to.  You can hand that sick person the pill and glass of water, but they have to be the one to take it. 

Well, enough out of me.  I hope there was something helpful in there and I just didn't confuse you more.  Only you know what your marriage is like as a whole, money aside. 

Keep us posted!


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 10:11am
late at night, I'll apply tomorrow" He was going into his 4th hour of watching sports on TV.

Are you paying for TV? (cable/dish/etc?) ---might be a good service to cut right now........put that $$ towards some of the things that are going onto your credit card

"I don't care anymore, I can't sh-T money" yikes, it's his attitude that's a dissapointment

He sounds depressed,...which would be understandable for someone in his position.......................and, you sound stressed/anxious---which would ALSO be understandable for someone in YOUR position.

Doesn't Feel Like applying for a job on Saturday night? I don't get it. It's not like he worked today. Wouldn't you be "hungry" for a job?

I think what's coming out here, that *his* issues (depression/non-motivation/allowing you to take all responsiblity for $$ issues/whatever) is what is motiviting (or, rather, not motivating) him---------------caring about your feelings is NOT what he's thinking about, (i.e: "gee, it's late and I dont feel like filling that out tonight---they arent going to be hiring anyone tonight anyhow, I can fill it out tomorrow" is his thought, and what he ISNT thinking of/considering, YOUR FEELINGS----"they arent going to hire me tonight, but Isally will feel better if I just fill these out, and it's not that big of a deal to do, so I'll just do it"). I think that's where alot of the anger/disrespect in this entire situation is. You/he cant control the economy/lack of jobs/etc. That part is true. HOWEVER, he *could* say to himself, "gee, there's no need to fill those applications out tonight, EXCEPT that isally will feel alot better about things if I do this, ....and (important here): ITS IMPORTANT TO ME FOR ISALLY TO FEEL WELL, AND SINCE I LOVE HER, I'D LIKE TO DO THINGS THAT MAKE HER HAPPY IF/WHEN POSSIBLE." ------*that* , I think, is the underlying issue..........

I mean, my SO is neurotic about some things........and, honestly, if I can say/do something that will alleviate these feelings for him, (eg, he generaly wants to leave on time/early for things we go to---I just make it a point to be ready earlier than he tells me he wants to leave, so that he doesnt need to worry I will be late---it's not that big of a deal, and makes him feel better/less anxious.. That type of stuff. Doesnt hurt me to do it---like it wouldnt have hurt your DH to fill out the applications that night---but he would be doing it because he cared about your feelings, and doing so would help relieve your anxiety that night.

How does that play out in other areas of your relationship? Do you feel as though he cares/is respectful of your feelings?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sun, 10-07-2012 - 9:46pm
......THa'ts the bulk of my anger. OK so he never has savings.....ok so he is behind on all his bills -- then why not job hunt HARD and show me, and his ex, and his brother that he owes...that he is determined and responsible. that's my concern.....

(IMO)....because that's not "who he is'.

UNFORTUNATELY ( IMO, again)...."who he is" is someone who's NOT a "team player" re: your household finances,......AND is someone who is perfectly willing to let you solve all (joint) financial issues.........

RE: forging your checks and saying he "didnt realize" (?? ?? ) it was a *big deal* ?? !! !! !! ------Unreal! ....what world is HE living in? ?? !

I dont have much time to write tonight, ....but I just want to validate that I, too would be angry if in your shoes.

Asking him to move out wont get this months bills paid any easier,..........but (IMO, again), *who* he is isnt going to be changing significantly in this lifetime, you've got some hard thinking ahead of you.....

There are financial counselors (BOTH of you need to go), and marriage counselors..............(again---IMO), my guess is he wont want to participate (my guess re: problems he handles them by one of two methods:
1. deny there is a problem
2. leave you to solve for him.

(((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))) for tonight!

"IMO"="In my opinion'