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More on Checkbook Number 1

September 15th, 2010 at 02:39 pm

In our two-checkbook system, Checkbook Number 2 is used to pay the bills - monthly, bi-monthly and annual. Money for Daisy’s educational expenses is also put there. Checkbook Number 1 is used for groceries, gas, church contributions and everything else (gifts, yard and garden, clothing, trips to Starbucks, etc.). When I started this blog in April of 2008 Checkbook Number 1 was overspent by $100 to $500 pretty much every month. April was the point at which I realized that we had run out of savings and could no longer do that. Mr H paid the bills - I had dumped that on him about a year or two prior - but was uninvolved in most financial decision making. I finally got spending in Checkbook Number 1 under control in December of 2008. At that time Mr H was oblivious to the problems with it, and has continued to be oblivious to those problems.

Mr H was shaken out of oblivion in July. That's when he learned two things about Checkbook Number 1: if not watched carefully it will be overspent, and there are several hundred dollars extra in the account, not shown in the register balance, to help smooth the rough spots. In other words, while the checkbook register might be showing negative numbers, the actual balance in the checkbook isn't negative. His reaction to this discovery lead to some, uh, discord. But in the larger scope of our financial lives it was a good thing.

Last Saturday he came in while I was working on the spending plan for Checkbook Number 1. When I finished I showed him the numbers. On gas, groceries and church contributions we are doing okay for September. The everything else category is getting spent pretty fast though. Because we’d overspent Checkbook Number 1 in August the dollar amount in the everything else category is lower than usual for the month of September. We may end up doing some shifting around. I do my budget keeping manually, so it was easy to hand him the paper and explain to him how things were falling out. He even asked some questions. I think he is now on board with the issues with Checkbook Number 1.

People reading this blog might wonder, why didn't I ever tell him about this before? Why am I hiding this from Mr H? I have learned through the course of our marriage that unless something is personally affecting Mr H RIGHT NOW he generally doesn't pay any attention to it. He is also very easily overwhelmed and avoids hard things without easy answers.** He does spend money out of Checkbook Number 1, but until it impacted him (Daisy and I were gone for most of July and he was forced to deal with Checkbook Number 1 in our absence) he saw Checkbook Number 1 as my responsibility and nothing he had to be concerned with.

** Single readers, take note. These are hugely frustrating qualities in a life partner.

2 Responses to “More on Checkbook Number 1”

  1. momcents Says:

    Glad that Mr H is more engaged. As for my own marriage, the best thing that I did was sign us up for our parish-sponsored Seven Steps to Financial Freedom seminar. DH and I at least have a shared vision of our future, and he is much more in tune with how we spend money and no longer balks at my "add it to the list". Everything gets done, maybe not as fast as he'd like.

  2. Homebody Says:

    Hey I would not tell my husband either. No explanation on that needed! Ha Ha.

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