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More Talking

April 23rd, 2008 at 01:21 pm

More talking here in the onion patch. . . and that's a good, if sometimes frustrating thing.

Yesterday I decided to bring up something that was bothering me. Earlier this year DH took me out to a nice restaurant for my birthday. He did good too - choosing one that I liked and keeping it a surprise. But when the credit card bill came I was the one who had to figure out how to pay for it. Since this is typical of our life together I let it go. But in light of the other day's side-job revelations I felt pretty irritated about it and brought it up. Why am I trying to figure out how to pay for my own gift?

Apparently this was a surprise to DH. . . but it led to a larger conversation about our whole financial picture.

We discussed the spending-more-than-we're-making problem. DH took a "the sky is falling" approach, and I could see that we weren't going to be able to do any real problem solving so I just let him talk. He has a wish list of items he'd like (new truck - his is almost 16 years old, DVD player & TV, finish landscaping the backyard - his strong desire about them were news to me) but doesn't feel like he'll ever get them. He was convinced that we would run through what's left of the bonus money in the next four months. At current rates this is not mathematically possible. I did point that out, and in a nice way too, but he wasn't having any of it.

At the root of "the sky is falling" though, I think, is the recognition that his job situation is unstable. He has known this for a while. He could look for another job or try to improve the stability of the one he has but he has chosen not to act.

I just listened, and he suggested that we try to talk again tomorrow. So we'll see.

I have read many books and blogs, and have thought many times, "What a great idea! I bet we could do something like that!" Or "We could try that out, I bet it would help our budget." He doesn't seem to take that approach to life though, and that type of tunnel vision has been a real hindrance in problem solving.

Although I received much great information on discussing the mutal funds with DH, I think I'm going to have to wait on it.

6 Responses to “More Talking”

  1. merch Says:

    It may not seem like much now, but I can almost feel the corner turning for you. It sounds to me that you and your husband havenít had such deep conversations in a while. I truly hope this keeps up and the short term pain is worth the end result.

    If I were in your shoes, I would start the old stick and carrot approach. The goal being a new (or new to him truck). Thatís the carrot.

    How WE get there and achieve OUR goal of the new truck is the stick. In other words, he has to help with the budget (even if it is only looking over it and agreeing to it). I would also draw a picture of the truck and as you save for it, color in blocks of the truck. It may be a little cheesy but itís a visual representation of the payoff of your (collective) hard work and sacrifice.

    See what I did there. His goal is both of your goals and you are working together as a team to achieve it. And your goal of more financial responsibility and honesty will be achieved through the process to get to the truck.

    Oh and one last thing, I would talk about how WE should pay cash that way WE donít have a monthly payment. And that may be a used truck but not 16 years old.

    Good luck.

  2. sagegirl Says:

    Merch is right--it may be a small step, but the small steps lead to the goal, just as the big steps do. I think you have made progress in just bringing it up and trying to discuss things with him. Keep going. The ore you work on it the easier it will be for him to see the benefits/possibilities. You will get there. Good luck Smile

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    If it's any consolation, I'm on your side as well. And the fact that even he recognizes the unstable nature of his job only emphasizes just how important it is to increase stability with your own personal finances....

    That said, I can see his point regarding the truck though. If it's something for work and it's 16 years old, I can see how that's a necessary purchase. DVDs and TVs... not so much. Big Grin

    Well, either way, good luck. It always seem to be more to personal finance issues than just simple numbers.... I think you're really making progress though.

  4. miclason Says:

    I agree. At least you seem to be going in the right direction (he said you'll talk about it tomorrow; he didn't say he didn't want to talk about it....which leads me to believe he just wants to think about it!)

    Good luck!

  5. Petunia Says:

    Thank you all. . .
    merch - your step by step approach seems pretty sound. The trick is going to get him to go through the steps. I will need to help him get past the "sky is falling" stage. He has a tendency to avoid problems. As always, your continued optimism is uplifting.
    sagegirl - thanks for your encouragement. This conversation is like a thousand others DH and I have had. The main difference for me was to recognize that, until the sky stops falling, it's futile to problem-solve.
    BA - The truck isn't necessarily "needed" as part of his job, although it is helpful. DH's family borrows it and we also use it for camping. But I think having a truck is part of his identity. He's concerned about the price of gas, definitely.
    miclason - thanks for pointing out the distinction in what was said.

  6. baselle Says:

    I think you as a couple have turned a corner (one of many in the future).

    I've avoided bad fiscal things in my money past - it "works" only if, miraculously, you somehow avoid buying things, even things that are necessary. What turned it around for me was facing my fiscal issues. Its bad for a long time, but at least knowing is better than not knowing. Knowing is the first step in solving. Avoiding doesn't do anything except more avoiding, and in that case, even the avoider senses that bad issues get worse, not better.

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