Advice needed please.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2007
Advice needed please.....
Mon, 10-12-2009 - 8:37am

I've been reading on here for a while, but this is my first post. Not really sure where to start, but here goes....

After ALL our bills are paid, we SHOULD have over 1200 per month left, we live paycheck to paycheck EVERY single week. We have nothing in savings and run about a month behind on cable and power bills. Our problem is that we eat out all the time. Normally, we spend an average of 200 per week eating out. I have a hard time convincing my DH to eat at home, he say's that's all we do for entertainment, and sees no problem with it. He also blows tons of money stopping at gas stations to get cokes or snacks during the day while he's at work.

DH wants to go and do things every weekend, he's not content just being home. What do you guys do on your off time? Or what could we do for fun, but not blow 1200 a month doing so?

Thanks to anyone with any advice!


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2005
Mon, 10-12-2009 - 4:56pm

Hi Christy,

your DH sounds ALOT like mine. Quick question, do you have any money budgeted for fun? Set aside a certain amount of fun money per pay period and tell DH he HAS to stick to that number, once it's gone he's done. No pulling out the debit card for this or that.

Also, has he seen the numbers? Does he know exactly how much his/your joint habits are costing you guys? It's harder to bury one's head in the sand when looking at black and white numbers.

Is there a concrete goal you two want/have? Owning a house? Taking a vacation? Maybe that can help curb spending if there is something to work toward. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2003
Mon, 10-12-2009 - 5:10pm

Perhaps before every weekend, scour the local paper and find free activities.

    Miss Stepmom

Advice, tale

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2007
Mon, 10-12-2009 - 5:40pm

Thanks for the responses so far. To answer some questions, our home is paid for, but I want a bigger one and he does not, we only have 3 bedrooms and 3 kids, so our boys are sharing a room and there's a 7 yr age difference. He wants a $20,000 truck and I think we need a bigger home before spending so much money on a vehicle.

We can't agree on where to spend our money, so we have no reason to save it, that's the way he feels, I feel like we should have a certain amount to save monthly, no matter what.

We don't have an actual amount we agree to spend on entertainment, but honestly we do something every weekend, it is very rare that we are home except for at night. He will not look at where our money is going, he refuses, but then gets mad at me when I tell him we are out of money.

I don't mind cooking, but I get no help from him. I work 6 hrs a day and own a consignment shop that's just getting started and it's open every evening and Saturday mornings. So, it would be nice if he would just help either cook or clean up, because right now I'm exhausted.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2008
Mon, 10-12-2009 - 8:42pm

Hi! Welcome to the Budgeting board.

Looking at your posts, I see a lot of budget-busting habits: eating most meals out, buying brand new cars (I assume the truck would be new), shopping at convenience stores (by chance, does he pick up cigarettes, beer, and/or lotto tickets, too?)... Over the course of your working years, these habits can cost millions of dollars that you could otherwise grow. I'm not even exaggerating.

It's great that you are interested in changing, but you can't do it alone. My advice is to educate yourself on how these habits will cost you in the long run, and then share the actual amounts with your DH. But, you can only do so if you know the facts. Figure our how much you would have by retirement if you put $1200 into savings every month, with compound interest.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2005
Tue, 10-13-2009 - 8:13am

You need to make your husband aware of the problem. He needs to see that you are both spending money you don't have. Especially if you are consistently behind in your bills. You are living beyond your means here and it's important to make him realize that you have to get control over where the money is going.

You can still have fun, go out to eat etc.. but not to the tune of $800 per month on average.

I would first consider giving dh an allowance for buying those cokes at the filling station. Or better yet, pack him cokes and snacks so he doesn't feel like he has to stop all the time. Much cheaper to buy at the grocery store than to purchase at the gas station.

As for entertainment. How you spend your free time will depend on your interests.

Free.. Our local library has a small theater so we see movies once a month there for free. We can also borrow dvd movies from the library as well. We enjoy taking walks and we live within 1/4 mile of a trail head that opens onto 325 acres of wooded walking/hiking trails. Mostly we spent time at home. We enjoy being in our home and spending time just with each other. We will pop popcorn and sit out on our porch at night and play chess or listen to our son play guitar. We'll get a fire going in our fire pit an sit outside under the stars and just talk. We play cards and occasionally watch tv.

Inexpensive fun: Dh and I live in a small city with it's own community theater and symphony. Tickets to these shows and concerts are very affordable and we are able to have a night out for less than $30. We also enjoy going to art museums and gallery openings. Gallery openings are usually free of charge (just dealing with gas to get there) and we take advantage of library passes to art museums to keep cost of going there low.

Occasionally we will drive up to the mountains or to the sea coast for a day trip (1 1/2 hour trip on average) Cost is mostly for the gas to get there. We will pack a lunch and we will stop for coffee on the way home.

County fairs and seasonal festivals are also fun and have a low cost of admission. We plan for these and pack lunch so that we are not throwing away good money on junk food.

From a financial stand point. This is where I would start.

1. Get current on all your bills.
2. Save $1000 to have as an emergency fund so that you are not reliant upon credit cards.
3. Pay off your credit cards. I know you didn't mention them in your post but if you are behind in basic bills then there is a good chance you are carrying a balance.

You need to have a plan for your future.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2008
Tue, 10-13-2009 - 2:18pm

Hi, Christy!

Thanks for sharing your story with us! I think the hardest part of budgeting is getting on the same page with your DH/SO. Have you sat down with him and talked numbers? I definitely agree with the PP, you need some fun money budgeted.

The cokes and snacks and eating out really adds up. Maybe your DH would be willing to compromise a little and just cut out a few painless ones to start.

Please let us know how everything goes for you! I am so glad that you posted and shared with us. Please feel free to jump in anywhere you are comfortable - ask questions, vent, share ideas, etc. We'd love to hear it!

Hang in there!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2007
Tue, 10-13-2009 - 9:38pm

Thanks for all the great ideas! Now, I've just got to get up the nerve to talk with my DH about this. Every time I bring it up he gets mad and there's an argument that follows.

We really don't have much credit card debt, we only owe $800 on a card and we're not behind, just paying a little more than minimum. As far as packing him drinks and snacks, I've tried and he feels like I'm trying to control him or something. He either forgets to take them or ends up buying extra stuff at the stores. He does dip, but no cigarettes or beer or anything. So, that's his excuse for stopping all the time.

Thanks again, I'm going to work on him!


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2008
Wed, 10-14-2009 - 6:35am

"Every time I bring it up he gets mad and there's an argument that follows."

Hey - this guy's good! What a great tactic to get his way! My little nephews are good at that, too.

Don't let a fight stop you. Just keep your cool and come from a place of love. Try to visualize what he will say first and be prepared with patient replies to keep things on track.

My DH dipped too and it cost about $60

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2004
Wed, 10-21-2009 - 3:47pm

it's a toughie... very similar situation to that between me and my ex (no, the divorce didn't happen because of money, so don't worry:)

How about BUDGETING your savings in - may be automatically transferring $600 or something into some account that neither of you can easily tap into? Then you can party on whatever is left over.

Also, it sounds to me that the issue may not be purely financial - it sounds like he is angry over something, and is deliberately trying to be uncooperative - whether to exert control over the relationship, or reinforce his sense of manhood, or stick it to you for something, I don't know... Marriage counseling might be something to consider!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-13-2007
Thu, 10-22-2009 - 1:47am

I definately agree with zvershka.