Monday, July 21, 2008

Money... or rather a slight lack thereof.

We do fine financially, generally speaking. We pay our bills, we own our home, have decent cars to drive. Nothing fancy-schmancy, but we're comfortable enough. I often feel like we don't manage our money as well as we should though, and looking back on our years as DINKS (double income no kids) makes me absolutely cringe.

In any case, I'm the financial planner/record keeper/money manager of the family. My husband would stink at it and I wouldn't be able to handle not knowing what's going on in the checking account, so it's a job I'm glad I have. But I am rather sick of being the one to say, "We're X dollars away from being over budget, so if you could just spend $5 for the next two weeks, that'd be great. Thanks."

I'm trying so hard to get us caught up and not overspending, but it's freaking hard. I hate that half my paychecks keep going to catch up our checking account for the overspending of the month before. We actually have plans for the money I make (like paying off our stupid credit card and saving for the inevitable hospital bills we're going to incur because we're insane enough to want another baby), but my budget spreadsheet keeps changing every month as more of the money I make goes back into the checking account.

Unfortunately, my husband has no concept of managing our money. The last thing he thinks about when he whips out his debit card is, "Do we have the money for this?" That question, if it comes up at all, is a far cry from what he does think, which is something along the lines of, "I want that," and "Where's my wallet?" Even when I tell him explicitly how much money we have left for things like eating out (like, none), and gas (not enough with these damn gas prices), he'll still find a way to "need" something at the store, or grab dinner on the way home from work.

But I don't mean to complain about my husband. At least not entirely. I'm not innocent in this either. I bought a new purse today that I certainly didn't need, and although it was half off (and wasn't expensive in the first place - I'm not a designer purse kinda gal), it's still one of those things that brings us further from hitting our financial target this month.

I just wish we could do well financially for the first half of the month so I didn't spend the second half cringing whenever my husband comes home with a plastic bag in his hand or suggests we grab dinner. I hate feeling like the old stingy crumudgeon - the one who's always reminding him that we don't have the money for that. I feel like I've always done that, even when we had a lot more money than we do now (aka, when I worked full time). Even back then I was always trying to get us to stick to a budget and failing pretty miserably at it. Now, our budget is much more realistic, in that it's something we honestly could stick to without too much trouble, but also much more necessary, in that I don't make nearly as much money as I used to and we're a family of four now. Which puts me in the perennial position of the money police.

Yes, we go over the budget together. Yes, I update him regularly about where we are relative to our goals. I try to keep us on the same page. Maybe I need do get better at that part and it wouldn't be as much of an issue. Either that or he'd do his guy-listening thing - you know, when they totally act like they're paying attention, even ask relevant questions, and then claim to have no memory of the conversation. "You never told me we only had $x in the checking account!" Right.

I realize things could be much worse. We don't stress (much) about paying our bills, or our mortgage. We have things like health insurance (man, that's expensive) and reliable transportation. I'm just tired of always being behind. We're hardly saving anything for our retirement, and someday that's really going to bite us in the ass.

Maybe I'll start buying lottery tickets.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

((hug))

What you said is a huge part of the reason that I have a debit card and my husband doesn't. There's a set amount at the beginning of the month that he takes out. It's much easier for him to evaluate how much money is left vs how much month is left, in terms of what he can spend on a discretionary basis, when it's right there in his wallet. If it's gone, it's gone.

We don't think of it as an allowance because that just wouldn't feel fair, especially in our situation, but it helps us stay a bit better on track. I still have to reel him in sometimes when I'm trying to be better about spending and he says "let's go out."

I just stocked our freezer with some meals and last night he said he wants us to go out as a family tonight, because of the surgery. The practical side says no, the emotional side says yes, and I struggle with that. Yes, it's only one meal, but...you know there will be more take out meals while I'm down than usual.

*sigh* Money sucks. Actually, lack of money sucks.

Big hugs, my friend.