New and want to get back above water....

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
New and want to get back above water....
3
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 9:38am
In the past few years, I had always considered myself responsible when it came to finances. Bills were paid on time (consciously) and I budgeted the rest. That was before DH and I bought a house, had a baby, and I stayed out of work on maternity. Now I have the GIANT problem of not wanting to come to terms with my debt. It has been 1 year since we bought the house and I've never paid it late--great, but that $900/month wipes out one paycheck and no other bills can be paid. Then I have the car payment (which is always paid on time), utilities (not paid on time), credit cards (not paid on time), hospital bills (not paid), dental bills (and this is WITH insurance--those are just the copays), etc., etc......

I didn't pay attention to bills coming in the mail; I would just set them aside and I would decide if we could pay them next pay day. If we couldn't, they would sit, unopened as I didn't want to know when they were due, balances, late charges, etc. I have been so stressed working full time, being in the Army Reserves, parenting ALL the time(DH works until DS is in bed AND on weekends), cooking/cleaning, recent surgery, and my lack of sleep. I didn't want the added stress of finances so I just ignored the problem. Too bad the problem got so big it bit me in the butt! Now, I don't remember when I paid anything last, don't even know when the bills are due until too late, have HUGE balances, and have gotten my first disconnection notice for my telephone.

Finally today, after a night full of avoiding calls from creditors, I examined the damage. We don't have a HUGE amount of debt, but it is enough to keep us drowning. Together, DH and I make around $50,000/year. With house payment, car payment, gas, diapers, formula, clothes for DS, food, household items, etc., it is almost impossible to make even minimum balances. DH is a spender and takes out about $20/day (not including bank surcharges) and I've REPEATEDLY discussed the matter with him. I even took his card away, but always give it back because it's his money too. He got into some legal trouble and we are also having to pay his legal bills ($100/month) which is adding to the stress. He is a wonderful husband and father and I don't want to divorce him or anything, but I can't get him to see that what he is doing is irresponsible. I make him lunch so he will spend less money, but he always forgets to take it.

With everything, it just seems that there isn't any way to get out of this.

My Mom is a bank manager, and I will be going over there tonight to learn how to budget. It is humiliating because I want my Mom to be proud of me--not look at me like I can't make it.

Right now I am regretting buying the house. I know how many people would kill to own their own home, but for me it is such a HUGE expense and I won't even see anything out of it until we go to sell it as I REFUSE to take out an equity loan NO MATTER WHAT!

HELP! Anyone have any tried and true tips that worked to climb out of debt?

Sorry so long, but sooooooo depressed today. :( Thank you all for listening.

Michelle
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 9:48am
(((Hugs))) and Welcome!! The first step is to recognize that there's a problem, which it sounds like you've done but your DH hasn't. The next is to cut out all unnecessary spending. I'd sit down and make a list of EVERY single thing you spend money on in a month, especially including all those withdrawals DH is making. Maybe seeing it in black and white will shake him out of his stupor and he'll realize it has to stop. You might also contact a debt consolidation company to help you. I've heard quite a few ladies here mention using them with great results. One step at a time Sweetie; you can do it!

~Jodi

SAHM to Justin (7), Kyle (4) & Alicia (2)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 10:05am
I so understand what is going on with you!!

I used to be a big spender but I cured myself before having kids I was raised by real cheapskate (my Dad) and evnetually all those years of drilling into my head about needs/vs wants sunk in

Dh however is not as frugal he is a spender his mother has always had HUGE credit card debt and when I say huge I mean HUGE BUT she always pays her bills on time and always has another card waiting in the wings to take over a balance she is a whiz with credit cards her son thought he had learned her tricks but he did not take into account that his mother has had great credit all her life and had an awesome job before she even started buying things on credit

at one time we were over 50 grand in credit card debt NOT counting the house second mortgage utilities kids in private school etc (we have three kids 2 were in private school for a while)

we pulled the kids out of private school put them in public school I took away DH's credit cards did not let him have access to our checking account and I gave him an allowance of 10$ spending money a week (yes a week) that was for any extras he wanted IF he wanted to eat lunch he had to take it to work NOT buy it gas for the car I paid him cash for that and insisted on a reciept and change back I told him that he got us into the mess and I would get us out he took on a total of 4 jobs 3 part time one full time to work toward paying off the debt I cooked everything I could from scratch made lots of meatless meals and made everything strech as far as I could after doing that for 7 months we paid off about 7 grand in the debt

Then we ran into a problem my Dad got really sick I made DH quit one of his jobs we could afford for him to be home more but then I had to start paying my Dad's bills because he was not able to work I was running him to doctors appointments etc and back and forth to the hospital he died in June of 2002 he left me everything he had and with it I was able to pay off all of our debt DH got a job transfer and we moved to an area we had always wanted to live in our house is larger (for the same amount of money) and we now live in the country with a lower cost of living

WELL moving and getting all the cards paid off I gave DH back his credit cards ON THE CONDITION that ALL purchases were to be OK'd by me he was to lower the available balance on his cards so we did not get into as much trouble and he was to close 2 of the accounts (he has 4 cards) he did not close any accounts did not lower any balances and we are ONCE AGAIN 30 grand in the hole with the credit cards because he "had to have" things for the new house and our land(we now own 4 acres so some of the purchases are ok but I would have rather waited and saved and paid cash for them)

We pay 750$ a month to the credit cards that is more than our mortgage we also recently got into some legal trouble (Dh got a drunk driving ticket) so there goes what little savings we had and I have to borrow some from my oldest DS's savings account I told him this is the final straw that I am OUT of relatives to die and leave me money to pay for his screw ups I once again took his credit cards away

I do not know how to wake up a DH who acts like a child except to tell him that if he continues to do so he will be treated as a child take away access to the money make a budget cutting out all the extras like cable phone extras cell phone(if you have one) call all of the creditors and work with them to pay them something every month pay the doctors bills say 5$ a month something shows a good faith effort to at least attempt to pay toward it

I am making DH sell some of the "stuff" he thought was so nessisary so we can put it toward the cards (and pay DS back) I am also looking for other things to sell myself perhaps stuff I can make

I wish you lots of luck I know it is hard and depressing how old is your DS ? does he still need to be on formula or can he switch over to milk? can you cloth diaper(cheaper than disposable) look at what you purchase for food every week make a menu and stick with it use food completely till it is all gone by remakeing leftover dishes into caseroles or soups our food budget is where I was able to make the biggest cuts

Take care

SUE

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-1998
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 11:04am
Welcome to the board, Michelle.

You sound really frustrated, but remember that you are recognizing the problem and are willing to fix it- that's the first step in anything.

Making a budget and a plan is a great first step. Get that help from your mom, even if it means swallowing your pride. Stick around here too and you will get loads of neat ideas and great support.

I agree that the real challenge you will probably face is getting DH on the same page about budgeting. Some people have had great luck showing their DH how nickle and diming adds up. You said your DH takes $20 out everyday- if only on work days, that would be $100/week. Taking holidays into account vaguely, that adds up to about $5000/year. That's a lot of money to not have accounted for- as a matter of fact, it's almost 6 months worth of your mortgage. Did you realize that it added up to that much? Do you think he does? Do you think maybe he would look at it differently if you shoed him how that adds up?

You said you don't want to take your DH's card away from him because it's his money too, but really, *which* money is his money too? The stuff you *don't* have to pay the bills? Certain basic things have to be paid for the good of the family unit before any individual gets something. If the bills aren't paid, then DH doesn't have any money of his own- that's JMHO.

Have you checked out The Complete Tightwad Gazette? Fabulous book for getting ideas. You can probably get a copy at the library. At first some of the ideas in the book may strike you as very odd, but you will probably find many you can use to help save money, which can then be applied toward other bills.

I hope you stick around and get lots of great ideas and support.

Best of luck making a plan and getting DH on board with it.

~Vickie