so happy to have found this forum

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2007
so happy to have found this forum
3
Fri, 06-13-2008 - 12:15pm

Hi, all...


Like everyone else on here, I have money issues. Lurking on here and reading the posts has definitely made me feel better, so I thought I'd finally pop out and say hi.


My debt isn't as bad as it could be, I guess... $7,500 on one credit card, and that's about it. I don't have a car payment (although my car is old and is beginning to need regular pricey repairs). I live with my boyfriend, who has a mortgage, and I pay him $600/mo for rent and bills. My own belongings are in storage, which runs $165/mo and is auto-debited from my credit card (which makes the balance tick up a little every month).


We don't have student loans or medical debt, thankfully. He has a motorcycle, though, that he puts most of his extra money into upgrading. I have a budget that I try to stick to every month, but the cost of gas and the rising cost of other things has made my monthly gas and food budgets almost impossible to stick to, so I try to reshuffle the budget each month to accommodate the overages. It's a constant reorganization.


I guess my biggest stress is that my boyfriend isn't on board with budgeting and saving. I try to talk about budgets with him, but he glazes over or changes the subject (weird, because he's an accountant!). We don't have a household account that expenses come out of, and I find that I'm usually the one buying the groceries, simply because I get home before he does. He doesn't have savings, either. I have a Keep the Change account that I try to sock a little extra into every month, but it's only a few hundred dollars right now. I can only afford to put $400/mo on my credit card, which barely makes a dent in the balance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007
Fri, 06-13-2008 - 9:54pm

Welcome to

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2006
Sat, 06-14-2008 - 2:37am

I agree with Mary Ann that you need to try and get BF on board with the budgeting - however this may not be possible. What I have found sometimes helps in getting males on track is showing them what they can achieve if you as a couple were sticking to a budget.

If you have an issue with usually being the one to purchase the groceries, you need to talk to him about it. Also, the fact you get home earlier should not be a reason for you to be the one making the grocery shop.

A question with regards to your belongings in storage - how long have you been with BF? If you feel the relationship is stable and has a future, consider selling what you can - and either placing what you don't want to part with at home or with family members. The credit card is not going to stop edging up unless you get rid of this cost. Plus if you are no longer paying for the storage, you will have more money available to pay down debt.

The things that come up:
* Car repairs - do you have a routine maintenance schedule for your car? If you are aware of when you will be needing to take the car to the garage, you can budget to some degree for the fact that repairs may be needed. In having said that, sometimes the need to make repairs can be unexpected but an emergency fund can help.
* medical care for the dog when he broke his leg - the dog breaking his leg is something you can't have predicted so its exactly the situation where an emergency fund would help. However, any routine medical visits should really be being budgeted for.
* wedding/birthday/holiday gifts for people - Weddings are slightly more difficult to budget for as you never really know when friends or family will make the announcement that they are engaged. However, assuming you buy for the same people every year, birthdays are known about as are the holidays. Budgeting for the holidays and birthdays can be done in two ways - one is to budget for them when you know they are coming up, the other alternative is to figure out how much you are willing to budget per year and put aside a set amount per week so that when the costs come up you are prepared. Another thing to do to reduce the impact of these is to make a list of those who you give gifts to - once you have done this, prioritise the people in terms of those who have to be given gifts and those who you can stop giving to either permanently or temporarily until you are back on your feet debtwise.

In terms of having to adjust the budget for overages each month - two questions - Do you use (and stick to) a shopping list when you purchase food? It may seem simple but it does make a difference. Secondly, how long since you set your budget figures - if it is quite sometime, it is to be expected to have overages as food prices have gone up.

If you can either speak to your current card holder about reducing the interest rate on the credit card or investigate cards with a lower rate (be careful about how long that low rate is valid for tho). The amount of interest you pay has a huge impact on how much of a dent the payments make. Also, I know you say that you can only afford to put $400 per month on the card - however I have read on here that Mary Ann puts a few dollars or cents here and there on her debts when she can afford it. It can be as simple as putting what if left in your checking account on the day before pay day on to the card. It doesn't seem like much, but it eventually adds up.

You do say that you are not in that much debt with the $7500 on one card - but it is not the numbers that matter - if you are struggling to make ends meet, it wouldn't matter whether you are $100 or $100,000 in debt. We all feel the pinch at different places.

I know that this was long and hope it helps. I started typing the response and kept noticing parts of your original message that I felt needed to be addressed.

Lyn

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2007
Mon, 06-16-2008 - 2:36pm

Thank you both so much for the advice and suggestions! Don't worry, I have no plans to marry the bf anytime soon, and we keep our finances separate for now. I like it that way, since I can control at least my portion of things. We started talking last night about how to get rid of all the items in storage, and we decided to keep what we want, and then have a big garage sale (his stuff AND my stuff) to get rid of what we're not using and make some money back. Then I won't have that storage-facility monthly fee anymore, either. So that'll be a step in the right direction.


I'll do some research into alternative cards with lower interest rates. The car repairs are unexpected (it's a 10-year-old car, and while I keep up with the routine maintenance, the planned obsolescence is catching up with the many moving parts). The dog's routine medical care is budgeted, but the emergency stuff is not. The birthdays and anniversaries are budgeted, but weddings (and lately, more retirements and baby showers than usual) are not. I build some money into each budget for a general "gift fund" for these unplanned occasions, and usually, that helps.


I know we can handle this, and we're already taking steps to reduce overall spending. We carpool several days a week, we eat at home almost all the time (and pack lunches for the workday), etc. There's light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to stay focused and keep the bf on track with me. Thanks again for all the help!