Post # 1
My husband and I got married a couple of months ago, after combining finances 6 months before the wedding. It’s been a tough year. We had to move across the country for his job and I was unemployed for several months. I’m now making a low wage as an administrative assistant in a very HCOL city. The good news is that we are debt free. Also, although we aren’t saving, we don’t waste money on useless things and we can always cover our credit card payments. Still, I’m stressed every single day about finances and my husband isn’t at all worried. Right now, these are my issues:
- We have only 1 month of rent saved up. If he gets laid off or something, we have no emergency fund.
- We combine our finances, but aren’t actually on each others accounts. We have 5 accounts and over 20 credits cards which we use for travel points. This makes budgeting really difficult.
- My husband has a good job and has always lived really well as a single person. He buys quality clothes, nice tech, and can’t say no to a wedding invitation or bachelor party invitation. I’ve always had salaries under 40k and I’m used to wearing Target clothes and pinching pennies. I don’t think he realizes that if we continue his lifestyle, we’ll never have an emergency fund or save up for a house.
- We are planning to TTC soon and I want a savings account for security before we have a baby. Also, my maternity leave will be unpaid.
- I’m planning on going back to grad school to improve my career. I seriously hate my job. I can go at a discounted rate because of my current employer, but it sill still cost a few thousand a year.
- I’d like to own a house and we live in a very HCOL city. I’m already 31 and would really like to own one by 35 if possible. I know my husband shares the same goal, but he hasn’t started saving.
Everytime I try to sit down with him and make a spreadsheet, he can’t make time. He works long hours on weeknights and always wants to relax or go to the gym at night. On the weekends, we end up having so many social activities, that we still don’t make time to budget. I then get upset and start nagging him, leading to a fight. Any advice? Should I create a budget on my own and then ask him to edit it? Any good podcasts we could listen to on the topic?
In my husband’s defense, he’s really generous. It’s just…I think we need to start prepping for a baby financially– especially if I’m going back to school and going through an unpaid 12 week maternity leave. Any advice?
Post # 2
How the fuck do two people have TWENTY CREDIT CARDS?! Dear lord that is insanity!
Okay, advice. Book an appointment with a financial planner. If you have an appointment, he might be less likely to blow it off because of whatever reason. And it doesn’t seem like your suggestions (“nagging” most likely to him) are sinking in. He might listen to a professional/neutral third party.
Other than that, I would be cutting up many of those credit cards and reviewing every transaction from the last few months. You can bucket each expense. It’s impossible to start a budget if you have no idea where your money is currently going. That is where I’d start!
Post # 3
20 credit cards?? That’s insane. Schedule a time to talk to him over the weekend and give up a social outing if necessary. I used to do that before my husband retired. Make your spreadsheet and ask him to comment on it.
Post # 4
Oversimplified answer, but he doesn’t HAVE to be involved – he just has to respect the budget. It’s one thing if he is just comfortable with you doing all the work and he does other things around to help with the house. It’s another thing entirely for him to blow off money with trips to Vegas without telling you. But that’s clearly not who he is.
If you guys have no debt, you simply have bad luck in two situations. One, your job. And two, where you live. Your problem is not that he is careless with money, which is honestly the best thing about your situation.
My husband has never had anything to do with the finances. I do EVERYTHING. I hand my husband $40 in cash that he has for the week, be it for beer, for snacks, for an occasional diet coke at the vending machine where he works – anything. Gas is on our cards. My husband doesn’t touch money otherwise. That’s just how it goes, and it works for us. We only eat out if we’re celebrating something, like an anniversary or a birthday.
I highly suggest the “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey – it’s a brilliant book. You can even call into his radio show and ask for help. He’s a bit patronizing and says a couple things that make you wrinkle your forehead, but he is brilliant overall I think.
But bottom line, your husband doesn’t NEED to know every single spreadsheet of the budget, as long as you lay down his spending limits per week according to the budget, and he respects those limits.
Just please do not TTC until you have an emergency fund and a baby fund. Please.
Post # 5
pianoplayingbee : my husband hates budget meetings too. So I make the budget and run it by him and I’m mostly in charge for lack of a better term. My husband has big dreams and lots of hobbies. I’m the wet blanket on things like vacation homes, etc and when he gets frustrated I point to all the money he spends on other stuff. We have personal fun money budgets and I save most of mine while he spends most of his. Which is fine! But don’t spend it and then complain you don’t have it.
Post # 6
I’m a big fan of You Need a Budget. (No need to pay anything to learn the philosophy!) I haven’t listed to the podcasts, but your husband could try them: https://www.youneedabudget.com/podcasts/ I liked this better than Dave Ramsey, but Ramsey is very popular.
Twenty-two credit cards is crazy, and I am HUGE on accumulating credit card points. It makes more sense to apply for one card (same account for you and your husband), get a big sign-up bonus, and put all your spending on it. After a year or few, do the same thing again with a different card. Why have 22?
Post # 7
That’s an insane amount of credit cards even if you’re churning, IMO.
I’d have a come to Jesus talk. You each get x amount of money to spend each week and when it’s gone it’s gone.
I absolutely would not TTC without a decent savings. You never know if you’ll have a preemie or need bed rest, etc.
Post # 8
Is he fully on board with TTC soon? How soon is “soon” to each of you?
I ask because a man who is used to spending his money like a single guy might be in for a rude awakening when he discovers how expensive babies are, and how rough unpaid maternity leave will be. He might need a “come to Jesus talk” about finances, and if he really wants to start a family, hopefully he’ll be willing to sacrifice some bachelor parties, fancy clothes, and expensive tech in order to build an emergency fund for his growing family. (If he isn’t as excited as you are about starting a family, then that’s a whole different can of worms.)
Can you guys start an automatic savings withdrawal from your main checking account (such as $100 or $200 into savings every pay period) so that you can start building up an emergency fund? Having the savings automatically deducted from your checking account into a special savings account can help make savings routine, but in order for this to work, he’d have to knowingly make an effort to lower his spending each month so that you don’t end up unable to pay your bills without dipping into the savings. Can you talk to him about the need to cut back on expenses in order to make saving a priority?
Another idea: would he consider switching to a “personal spending” allowance (such as each of you getting $100 per month in a “discretionary spending” checking account to cover clothes, hair/nails, savings toward tech purchases, outings/parties with friends, etc)? You could agree on a monthly amount and put it into a separate checking account, and he would hopefully realize that he might need to save his up for a few months in a row in order to afford some piece of technology, or for attending a bachelor party. Having an agreed-upon limit on discretionary spending for each of you would force him to prioritize which parties and luxuries that he wants the most. (The downside of this plan is that you’d need to be willing to pay for personal discretionary spending from cash or debit cards linked to your discretionary checking accounts, so you wouldn’t be able to use that spending for points on your travel cards. Getting your finances in order is worth sacrificing the points.)
Post # 9
Have you sat down and worked out what and how much your essential expenses are? I think it would be a good start to go through your last three months of bank statements to see how much money you’re actually bringing in and then working out what you’re spending it on so you know where you financially stand.
Once you’ve done that you can then have a think about your saving goals and look at where you can reduce your spending so you can meet those goals then you can sit down with your husband and get his input.
Post # 10
You have TWENTY credit cards between you!? That is absurd. You need to start closing some of them. Sure, travel points are great, but 20 cards is ridiculous, and honestly, probably hurting your credit scores by having so many open accounts. Plus, budgeting will be way easier when you don’t need to account for TWENTY cards.
You need to seriously talk to your husband about budgeting. If you want a child, and will have unpaid maternity leave and possibly a daycare payment after that, you need to have a better safety net. God forbid your husband loses his job and you have a child to support with basically no savings.
Careful with employer funded grad school – generally you must commit a few more years after you finish to “pay off” their investment in you. If you hate your job, this might not be the best option.
If you want to buy a house and have a baby and you have no savings…you need to have a real come to Jesus with your husband. Your financial situation doesn’t line up with your goals. He doesn’t sound “generous” to me – he sounds foolish with money.
Post # 11
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
I agree with the PP who suggested YNAB (You Need a Budget). I actually paid for a subscription to it because I liked it so much, and I almost never do that. I am a budgeting crazy person, with spreadsheets and apps galore, and YNAB is by FAR my favorite, BUT it does take some getting used to, since you only budget the money you HAVE and not the money you WILL HAVE. One of the goals is to get to the point where you’re using last month’s paychecks to pay this month’s expenses, because you’re an entire month (or more) ahead.
In our home, I deal with the budgeting, because I know a lot about it. My wife and I each contribute a percentage of our incomes each month and I budget it all out to make sure everything gets paid (including us…aka savings). I’ve also drawn her up her own budget to use for her personal spending money, because she asked me to. However, even though I personally do the budgets, she is 100% in the know and respects the budget I have set up. We have regular “budget meetings” around here, especially when we have a big goal coming up – we just bought a car, for example, and that required a couple of meetings hah.
Could this potentially work for you? As in, you lay out the budget, sit hubby down and discuss it, and have him agree that he will respect that budget when it comes to spending?
Also, that is a LOT of credit cards for 2 people. You may want to consider closing some of them and consolidating them down to just a handful of cards!
Post # 12
20 Credit Cards!?!?
WHY DO YOU HAVE 20 CREDIT CARDS!?
Cancel 19 of them. Keep the one with the most rewards.
Post # 13
Don’t cancel the cards but pick 1 or 2 that have the best points value (assuming you pay them in full every month. If you don’t pick the ones with the lowest interest rates and see if you can get 0% interest balance transfers to move your other balances onto your 1-2 cards). Take all the other cards and put them in a safe. DO NOT USE THEM. But don’t cancel them because closing your long-term credit lines will lower your FICO score. You need a good FICO to get a mortgage.
Your husband doesn’t have to be involved in the tedious task of building a budget. BUT – you do need to have a “goals” conversation where you agree on your financial priorities such as 1) save a 3-month emergency fund this year, 2) save to cover your maternity leave next year, 3) save a home down payment over the next 3 years.
He needs to understand how much money needs to be saved every month and some options of where it will come from – ie, “X” dollars from you and “Y” from him need to be automatically transferred to savings every pay period. And he needs to be 100% on board on doing this, if he is not, it will never work and you will constantly fight about money.
Good luck- spenders spend. It’s a very hard habit to get them to change.
Post # 14
First off, I highly recommend signing up for a free online service like Mint or Personal Capital to which you can link all of your accounts and see the big picture of your spending and savings in one place. My husband and I really like Personal Capital for this, but I’ve used Mint for budgeting before too. Especially if you have many accounts (which I agree is ridiculous) this type of site is really useful for aggregating everything into one place.
Second, I understand the pain of trying to get your husband to stick to a budget. I haven’t been able to get mine to adhere to one either; he doesn’t like being restrained and he also has a higher income than I do so I think our mentalities are different regarding spending.
BUT we do agree on savings goals and working toward them together. And as I’ve been tracking our spending and savings, my husband has seen how much our savings has climbed. So, while I do wish my husband would listen to my logic of how much he could save if only he’d pack a lunch, at the end of the day that is a battle I can lose because we are still in agreement about building our savings for a home downpayment.
I suggest talking with your husband about your short and long term goals together and the numbers you would like to see in the bank for an emergency fund, downpayment fund, kid fund, etc. for those things to happen. Obviously the budget conversation is in service of those bigger aims, but I think people respond better to the more positive approach of “what do we want to work toward together, and how do we get there?” instead of “this is the limit you can spend.”
Post # 15
pianoplayingbee : Open lines of credit aren’t necessarily bad, as long as you don’t keep large balances. Keep your credit to debt ratio down: don’t charge more than 10% of any card limit. Pay it off monthly. Use the card with the lowest interest, and the most rewards, and leave the others alone. Don’t carry them with you so you’re not tempted to use them. Close the ones with annual fees (if any). Keep in mind when you close cards, your line of revolving credit will shrink, and your credit score may drop, so I wouldn’t advise closing all of them. You want to keep your score in the excellent range if you plan to purchase a home. I keep 6 credit cards with hgh limits, and use only one of them. My credit is excellent.