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Article Updates and Ideas

March 1st, 2007 at 07:10 pm

First I wanted to thank everyone who so kindly responded to my first request for help regarding the articles on computers, technology, and saving money. You all ROCK!!

Secondly, I wanted to go ahead and post a link to where the articles are being stored on PF Advice. I know Jeffrey is posting some in the forums, but there are different comments on the original articles than are on the forums, and I thought that some of you might find those useful as well.

Thirdly, I'm thinking about doing regular articles on neat places or tools online. What do you all think, would that be something to consider? If so, do you have a neat place or tool from the web that you'd like to see included?


A Funny, A Question, and Waxing Philosophical

January 6th, 2007 at 02:22 pm

A Funny
Baselle said I should kick K-Fed out the door and I almost peed my pants!!!! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHHAHAHHAh hHAHAHAHAHH AHHAHAHAHHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! If DH looks like anybody it's Santa but with brown hair and a goatee... So I started picturing kicking Santa out the door and that's when the laughs started!!! hehehehe!!!! Thanks for that, b/c it definitely lifted my mood.

A Question
This is a call to anyone willing to share their experiences. I don't know if it will come down to divorce or not, but I would like some tips on being prepared, if need be, financially speaking. Emotionally speaking is a whole 'nuther story...

OK, here's the facts Jacks.

There are 3 checking accounts total: DH's which has my name on it too, and my two which are in my name only. All bills are paid from my account. There are 2 savings accounts: 1 at the credit union in my name only with my checking accounts, and one online in my name only. DH has $550 direct deposited into my checking account every 2 weeks.

The only debt we have in both of our names is the house, otherwise our CCs are our own, the car and student loan are mine, and the hospital, Honda Card, and inlaws are DH's.

Currently all our money except for his allowance goes into my checking account and I handle it from there. After bills, allowances, and short term savings we have a $1300 excess each month. In ideal times this is used for long term and retirement savings and the rest for debt reduction, but since my job is tenuous right now we've already decided to stash it as a mini EF for the next few months anyways.

When it comes to household income including both of our personal allowances, DH makes 38% of the total brought in, I make 62%. I don't think we've been together long enough for alimony to be awarded (for some reason I'm thinking that's 4 yrs of marriage here but I'm not sure). Even if it were a question, SC doesn't require alimony be paid to an adulterer if that's the proven grounds for divorce.

Lately DH has been lobbying to be added to my credit union checking account since that's where all the household money is in case of an emergency. I had his name added to the actual printed checks but haven't yet added him to the account. I'm pretty sure that if I add him to that account he'll have access to the savings and both checking since they're all available online together when I log in.

So, with that: what're your thoughts?

Waxing Philosophical
What with this week's events and all the New Year resolutions flying around, I've been pondering a bit. Lots of you read my blog about weight issues, and the comments on that entry do a great job of pointing out one sad little fact: no seems to be happy with themselves. An 18 wants to bea 12, a 12 wants to be an 8, an 8 wants to be a 4, and a 4 just isn't happy till they're a 0.

I guess it's not really that folks aren't happy with themselves, it's more a dissatisfaction. And it's not just weight, of course.

Why can't we be satisfied with who we are, where we're at, or what we have? I say we b/c I do this too. I make good money, but there's a part of me that thinks it would be great to make more. I'm in pretty durn good shape, but sometimes I look in the mirror and think "I've gotta do something about this!"

I don't think this is a ladies only affliction, guys do it too just not the same way. Not satisfied with the gadget they have, or the car they have, or the wife/GF they have. And hey, ladies fall prey to all those too sometimes...

And I don't really think it's an age thing, even though there are they sterotypes of mid-life crisis and going through a forced 'rejuvination' (if you want to call it that). Along those lines, I stumbled upon a site about "quarter-life-crises". Real or not? Or just a bunch of dissatisfied people? Hehehehe... Maybe DH is going through a 'quarter-life' crisis *wry smirk*

What I don't know is: this 'whole not being satisfied with what we have and who we are', is this an American condition? Is this the result of living in a competitive, commercialized, disposible culture. Or, is this a human condition? Instead of houses it's huts in place A, and instead of cars it's mules or pigs or chickens in place B.

I can see where, on Darwinian terms, the urge to take the net step up and out would be beneficial. Satisfaction leads to stagnation and complacency, which leads to being the next dinner for a lion, tiger, or bear (Oh My!). So, I can see the urge to move onwards, upwards, and forwards being 'hard wired' so to speak.

But is it really that bad everywhere outside of America? From what I can remember of Argentina, they weren't like this to the extreme so many Americans are. Well, they are in certain ways: apparently plastic surgery down there is like getting braces up here! Seriously, 2 of the reps working part-time had just gotten nose jobs, it's that common.

But in so many other ways, they were content to just be content. Small houses, used cars, lots of shopping and plastic surgery. A weird amalgam of the old-world Europe and rat race USA stereotypes.

So, what do you think? Can we actual be satisfied, or is it human nature to think the grass is always greener on the other side? Is it really possible to be content with just being content?

Replies to Comments: Should I be the Budget Bad-Guy?

November 7th, 2006 at 03:48 pm

*** UPDATE ***
Last night, DH asked if I could send him a 'financial report' every month. This is what he got today: wonder if it'll help?



YAY, FEEDBACK!!! I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my rants and then go through the effort of organizing and thoughtfully sharing your input. And yes, I am being serious...

On a side note: apparently my rants about DH are even more popular than the ones about StarCrooks, as yesterday was the new biggest ever for pages viewed. Way to Rant, TinaP!!!

Since I got so many comments, questions, and suggestions, I wanted to place my response in a new post in hopes that everyone would be able to follow-along and offer more help if possible.

"LuxLiving Says: My first thoughts are to save this as a last resort measure. "

Oh yea, this is definitely a last resort measure. I was even leery of putting it on the blog since there are thoughts DH is reading this as we 'speak'. But, I promised I wouldn't censor myself, so I laid it out there!

"LuxLiving Says: ... Once he gets a taste that you're trying to cover all the bases don't you think he'll come around?"

Well, I've tried that to an extent. He's seen the spread sheet & therefore knows that there's money left over after I save for the quarterly, semi-annual, and annual bills (plus holidays & gifts). It's what to do with the 1100 leftover that's causing issues: I have no retirement plan at work so I'd like to fund a Roth, plus agressively pay down existing debt after creating a baby EF. It's not that DH is against any of these things, but he has no qualms about using that money for something tangible in the here & now. Retirement to him isn't tangible, and he doesn't want to pay the debt aggresively. His view is "it'll get taken care of eventually". My view is: add up the car, the house, and what we pay each month in other debts, you get over $1000. If we could pay of our debts and keep our current income, we could have over $2000 each month to save and enjoy. But that's in the future, it's not now and it's not tangible.

"yummy64 Says: Slowly make the savings a bill - it comes out of the account automattically when you are paid. Money sitting around in accounts is money to be spent - see it spend it..."

Actually, we already have a 'savings bill'. $150 goes out the 3rd and 18th of every month (3 days after I get paid) to cover the quarterly, semi-annual, and annual bills (plus holidays & gifts). Plus I'm sending $200/wk to the online savings account. It's the money sitting in savings that is so tempting to DH. We have themoney, it's right there 'not being used', so why not use it to buy X?

"Lynda Says: ... It's easier to not spend money when you feel like you are getting something of value for your efforts. Maybe seeing how one level of savings has him working until 60+ and another has you both free and clear and done with work in his 40's would be a way to become more united on your savings goals...."

This ties back to what I mentioned earlier: retirement isn't tangible to DH and therefore I don't think he finds planning and saving for it as emotionally rewarding as, well, stuff.

"PRICEPLUS Says: Tina, I like the idea of making savings a bill. It is sooooo important to save before kiddies come around!"

Savings bill (1100 per month) is already done. It's just that he wants to tap into it whenever something fun/new comes along. As for kiddies, we currently don't intend on having any. We both like kids and are very good with them, but DH's very open about the fact that he's selfish when it comes to both me (i.e. not wanting to share his time with me) and money. He's even broughtup the V word...

"PRICEPLUS Says: ... The "MY" money and "YOUR" money idea is fine if you decided it before marriage! You and hubby are a team and the operative word is "OUR" money...."

It always has been 'our' money, but so far that's going over like a turd in a punch bowl. Pardon the phrase, but the picture is clear.

"PRICEPLUS Says: ... The Mine and Yours gambit should only be used when the financial house is teetering and there is no other choice. An allowance of mad money should be set aside for both of you and the rest into savings or reducing debt!..."

DH already gets an allowance, as do I. His allowance is 11.90% of the household income, mine is 9.52%. It's what to do with money above and beyond, the actual monthly surplus, that's causing friction.

"frugalmomof1 Says: ...Have you showed him the newly formatted budget? When he sees that your surplus is nearly 10x's more than his, maybe his tune will change."

I haven't shown him the newly formatted budget b/c I'm not sure if it's appropriate. It really does make it look like my money versus his money, as opposed to 'our' money, which I'm trying to avoid if at all possible.

"Broken Arrow Says: ... Having said that, if he is comfortable with it, and if he's willing to agree with it, the simplest solution is to for you to give him a (percentage) cash allowance every pay period. This is his "car gas/play money". In return, he doesn't have to worry about any bills or debts anymore, provided that he's not going to push for more money. Oh, and he would also have to surrender his paychecks to you...."

We've been doing this for about 2 years now, actually. To give you a picture of what it was like before I took over the finances: a year and a half ago DH was carrying 2 check advances and owed his sister for a title loan on her car. I managed to wipe those out in a few months, and put him on an allowance. He has no car payment, gas bill, or cell bill as all those are covered by work. His allowance is truly fun money...

"Broken Arrow Says: ... Specifically, we split all the bills down to whatever we knew we could handle."

Sadly, the bills are all in my name b/c DH has/had bad accounts at all the major utilities. Most have been taken care of by now, but the utilities were established in my name long before he could get accounts.

"janh Says: ...After the accounts build up, would you have to remind him that it is for a specific thing or would he want to spend it on something else? I guess I wonder this cos this is my DS to a "T." I think he is beginning to come around and negotiate more for things they each want--him a toy, her saving for something..."

Unfortunately, that's the difficulty. DH doesn't want to save for a specific thing. 'The money is right there in savings, why not just use it: that's what money's for, right?'. Last night he wanted to research what it would cost to go to one of the Racing Experience schools at a NASCAR track (it's actually less than we thought, but prices range from $200-5k!!!). I told him that if it's what he wants we'll save up for it, just give me 6 months and I can make it happen. We could even make that his every-event present for 2007 and go big on it. First thing he said is: "Why not just use my tax refund? That would cover most of it, and we can do the taxes in Feruary and get the money more quickly!"

"pjmama Says: ... Make sure you tell him why you feel it is so important, and perhaps he will come around."

I don't know if he will come around: I'm thinking of future stability and paying past debt, and he's very much in the here and now. =/

"baselle Says: ... I think you'll have to make your debt reduction, savings goals, and emergency fund replenishment additional line items in your budget and rebalance your individual budgets so that each of you will have about 10-15% discretionary."

Well, we do already have discretionary budget, and we've alraedy talked about what our tolerances are for an EF (which was a nice discussion, very adult and honest and all that jazz). Debt reduction is the big issue: he doens't see the point. When I told him I could pay the car off in 2 years and save 6k in interest he actually said "But you don't need to think of it like that, think what you could do with that $300 every month". ACK!!!!

"baselle Says: ... The other chat you need to have is the 'want' chat. Ask DH to list out his Christmas list. Are they things that only he'll enjoy or things that you'll both enjoy? Will it possble that by waiting you'll get a better deal or that you can combine wants? If DH digs electronics, that happens quite a bit. Ask DH how he (or you both) will use his wants..."

I've been telling him for abotu a year "put it on the list!", but he thinks I'm kidding! Sometimes it just feels like DH wants everything, all at once. Sometimes his desire for something passes, sometimes the desire passes after the purchase is made (like the canoe he's "wanted" for 20 years that's currently in the den).

"baselle Says: ... It sounds like he chaffing under the bit, perhaps feels a bit "whipped". Is he getting teased?"

Actually, DH tells anyone he can how good I am with our money, and freely admits he's better off with me taking care of it than he would be doing it himself. He just told me last night how proud he is of how I handle our finances. I don't get it!!! As for his friends: most of them come to us for loans b/c they 'know' we're in a position with some liquid cash on hand. No teasing that I'm aware of...

"LuckyRobin Says: ... Price--What is it they say, something about if you really want to catch flies, use a dead possum. I've seen that posted somewhere around here. "

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!! Needed that!


"LuxLiving Says: Tinapbeane - Here's the sentence I use (very nicely - not snidely) with The Hubster and my kids: "And how are you planning to pay for that?" WAIT... WAIT..... WAIT FOR IT.... 'Oh I hadn't even thought about THAT!" GEE Willikers Peeps!! I always wag my head about then!"

The response I've heard is something to the effect of "How can I pay for anything if you're the only one with the checkbook?"... Feels like DH is happy w/ how I handle finances when it gets bill collectors to stop calling him and when it reduces our overall debt-load, but unhappy with how I handle finances when it keeps him from buying what he wants when he wants it. Don't know if that's true or not, but that's how it feels.

"LuxLiving Says: ...Could you work with him on making a list of the things he wants? At some point you might be able to convince him that he can't have everything he wants. None of us can...we wouldn't have anywhere to put it all. Could you post a list on the frig "Hubby's Want List" with the numbers 1-5 already listed on it and no room on the paper for a number 6 or more? Tell him you'll help him save to get his wants fulfilled but if he comes up with more than 5 that something else will have to be crossed off the list...."

Like I said earlier, I don't think he believes me when I tell him "put it on the list!" Big Grin And I do think it's a good idea (esp since it makes gift buying so much easier...), but at the same time DH's wants are running about 500-1500 a pop. I don't think I could afford to save for 5 of 'em!

"LuxLiving Says: ...We all have to learn to prioritize at some point, maybe this is a skill he hasn't quite yet mastered?..."

I dunno. He's parents are not well off and are very frugal in their own way. At the same time, he was the youngest and the only boy and got treated like an only child in a lot of ways. I think that's what hasn't been outgrown...

"LuxLiving Says: ...Once you've explained that there is no money left for play because all of these OTHER things have to be covered then it is easier for folks to understand why there are no $$'s today to play with...."

And that's part of the issue. After all current needs & obligations are meet there's 1k that burns a hold in DH's mental pocket. I want to use some of that for my retirement fund (he just set up his 401k at work, whereas my work doesn't offer one), and some to pay off debt. These apparently are in no way a priority for DH. At least, he doesn't act or speak like they are.

DH has even decided to use some of his allowance to got througha credit rehab program where you pay $100 and they promise X many points up in your score blah blah blah. It's a load of crap: you know this, and I know this, and I've told him this. But, I've also told him if that's what he wants to do with his allowance it's his money. My question is: Why not just pay your old debt? You owe the money, and we have money that I'm offering to use for that specific purpose?

This is where my confusion lies. DH says he wants to pay down our debt and not owe money to his parents or his Honda Card or the hospital or whatever. But he's not willing to see me send any more out the door to try and reach that goal, he wants the money here where it is in theory usable. My perspective, in contrast, is that since we owe X many people/companies money, our 'extra' $1000 per month is really ours right now, it belongs to the people we owe money to and the grown up thing to do is give it to them.

Again, I appreciate your time and feedback, and I welcome even more in this next round of Tina the Budget Bad-Guy.

Question: Should I be the Budget Bad-Guy?

November 6th, 2006 at 11:34 pm

Loyal readers, I'm turing to you for advice and/or suggestions.

As some of you might have gathered, my DH is not the most budget minded person *g* While he is making progress, the list of 'I would really like to have's is getting longer and longer. I feel I have the budget under control thus far, but I'm also preparing myself for when/if things get stickier.

DH's finances have been melded with mine since we started living together. He admits money isn't is strong suite and asked me to take care of it. I happily accepted. When we got married, I took 'for better or worse' to include, among other things, the fact that I was now responsible for debt other than my own. So was he, of course.

After I started my new job and drafted a new budget, the finances worked in such a fashion that all our needs and obligations could be met on my pay alone. DH's contribution to the household kitty (everything other than his allowance and our benefits) could then be used for saving, debt reduction, what-have-you. I think the mistake I made is phrasing it to him in exactly this fashion, and now somewhere in the back of his mind is the thought that we can make it AOK on just my salary and therefore his money can be play money if 'needed'. I don't know if that's the case or not, but it's what I think.

So, I have sat down with our budget and divided the expenses. Splitting shared items (house, utilities, groceries), and alotting our individual debts, well, individually. For instance, I'm allotted the car payment and its property taxes b/c it's in my name, we split the auto insurance b/c it covers both of us, that sort of thing.

After looking at the budget in this fashion, DH's salary covers his expenses with $100 to spare, mine are covered with $950 to spare.

The quandry I am in: if DH pushes the 'we have money let's spend it' argument in the future, should I bring up the fact that he's actually wanting to spend my money? Would it be appropriate for me to offer to give him his surplus every month to do with as he sees fit (i.e. take responsibility for it, good or bad) as long a I get to save my surplus as I see fit?

Lemme know what you think, readers. My inquiring mind wants to know!

I have a sinking suspicion

October 18th, 2006 at 01:38 pm

You know the one, that you're being taken advantage of? Yeah, that one...

I'll just start by saying I love DH and I know he loves me. But we're all grown, and we know that loving someone doesn't mean you always treat them the way you should, and doesn't mean you don't take them for granted.

So, with that being said, I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a pretty crappy deal aroud my house, and I'm about fed up with it.

Monday I got home from work before DH. Actually,he'd been off work a few hours and was at my dad's cigar store, but whatever. I got home, built a fire in the wood stove, started dinner, put laundry on, yadda yadda. He gets home, sits down in his chair and says something to the effect of "There's a fire going and dinner's cooking, all I need are slippers and a drink and I'll be happy."

I looked at him and simply said "You know, I thought the same thing when I got home from work."

ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!!!!

I know the example above may not seem like much, but it is as they say the straw that broke the camel's back. We both work full time, we both do our own personal laundry, but that's where the equitable split of labor ENDS, and I'm getting fed up with it.

He cooks once every other week or so, but hasn't washed a load of dishes since we bought this house in July. Washes his own clothes, but dirty towels and sheets could sit around and moulder to rags without him thinking to put them in the wash. Likes to snuggle the cats, but hasn't touched their litter box in a year and a half. It goes on and on an on...

I get home around 6p during the week and have 5 hours before it gets to be bed time. I start dinner, do dishes, put on laundry, clean the cat box, fold laundry, sweep the floor, take out the trash (!!!), put on more laundry, and DH will yell from the den "Hey, whatcha doin'?" WHAT? What the hell do you think I'm doing?

Long story short, I'm starting to feel more like a single mom than a married woman with no kids. It's been annoying for a while and it's starting to move towards creepy. I have to remind him to take medicine, I have to remind him to collect days worth of dishes from around his chair and at least bring them in the kitchen. I go to the fridge and find out he's left an empty milk & OJ container in their rather than setting it out on the counter (or heaven forbid even rinsing it out and putting in the recycle bin).

I've asked him nicely to help, that didn't work. I've broken down in tears about this, that didn't work. I made up a chore list (because he asked for one saying he didn't know what needed to be done), and that didn't work. I'm running out of options and it scares me. I found out he almost cheated on me about a year ago, and he said it was because I was tired all the time. Well what the #$*^!@ do you expect when I work 8 hours and then come home and work 4 more?!? No wonder I'm tired all the time...

At any rate, I'm getting more and more frustrated and, as you can probably tell, I'm starting to seriously resent my DH. Any practical suggestions would be greatly appreciated.