Author Topic: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)  (Read 31723 times)

limeandpepper

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #100 on: June 04, 2013, 08:25:20 AM »
Well, majorly sidetracking now but I can see why people were offended by eil's comment. Of course, if we flip it around and he is also okay with his wife saying something like, "But I have a bit more leverage in my case because if we divorce he has to pay child support. Since I stay home to take care of the children, I get to make the rules regarding their lives, including taking them away from him as I see fit", then hey, they're obviously made for each other. But if he's not fine with that then it's just hypocritical.

Anyway, this discussion is moot for the purposes of helping the OP because Joet and his wife are both high earners and don't have kids.

tomsang

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #101 on: June 04, 2013, 08:45:33 AM »
Joet, I sorta skimmed the last 1/2 of this thread so I hope I'm not missing anything super important. But from what I can gather, you and your wife are not on the same page. In fact, if talk of split incomes or divorce keeps coming up, it sounds almost as if your relationship is, well, not very solid at the moment.

My wife and I are not on the same page when it comes to the saving/spending yet and I also get a severe reaction whenever I suggest that we should be spending our money (or rather, not spending it) more wisely. She takes it very personally because she perceives it as criticism against her. I have to spend way more time explaining to her that I'm not attacking her than we end up spending just talking about the financial stuff. But I have a bit more leverage in my case because I'm the only wage earner. Since I make the money, I get to make the rules on how it's spent.

A random question: Does you wife come from a well-to-do family? Did they pay for her education and do they continue to provide monetary "gifts" or other forms of financial aid?

What I would do in your place (given the limited amount of information I have on your situation) is read the book "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley and Danko. (And in true MMM fashion, you should check it out from the library rather than buy it.) You can skim through parts, it's actually a short read, but the core message is this: Those who spend like they are millionaires aren't millionaires, or eventually won't be. They also make the point that it's very difficult (indeed, almost unheard of) to ween someone off a high-spending lifestyle if they grew up accustomed to it.

Then, after you've read the book, I'd suggest having her read it. Make it a condition of your continued marriage if you must. After she's read it, have a talk with her about the book. Her responses may or may not inform your next decision.

You have a tough road ahead of you, but I do wish you luck.

I know there is controversy on this, but this sounds like something out of the 1800s.  You talk about how your wife and you are not on the same page, but you make all the finance calls because you make the money.(Basically discounting her role in taking care of the family, thus allowing you to focus on making the most money) You then basically ask, did she get a dowry or continue to get a dowry like that is relevant. Then you state that you would force her to read a book as a condition of marriage. To me as an outsider these come across as one partner in a marriage thinking they have control over the other. That does not come across as an equal partnership and sounds more like a partnership out of one controlling the other. I again would reiterate that marriage counseling may be helpful to Joet and it may be helpful to you as well if you and your wife are not on the same page.

Good luck

thefrugaltwo

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #102 on: June 06, 2013, 10:08:04 AM »
Not to be rude, but I'm a cook and I have no idea how your food bill is so incredibly high. What in god's name are you eating that you're spending that much on food? Unless you're eating caviar, scallops, and expensive wine every day I'm totally confused. I admit that I'm more skilled than many in the kitchen, and I am willing to spend time doing things myself, but even if I cut out all the things I do because of my skills, I can't see any two people needing more than $200 a month for all groceries. That would include more ready made and pre-made things than I buy. My partner and I spend about $80 a month on groceries in nyc.

aj_yooper

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #103 on: June 06, 2013, 11:34:08 AM »
Not to be rude, but I'm a cook and I have no idea how your food bill is so incredibly high. What in god's name are you eating that you're spending that much on food? Unless you're eating caviar, scallops, and expensive wine every day I'm totally confused. I admit that I'm more skilled than many in the kitchen, and I am willing to spend time doing things myself, but even if I cut out all the things I do because of my skills, I can't see any two people needing more than $200 a month for all groceries. That would include more ready made and pre-made things than I buy. My partner and I spend about $80 a month on groceries in nyc.

+1  thefrugaltwo  Do you get meals at your job?

Joet

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #104 on: June 06, 2013, 11:47:10 AM »
all I've got to say is... baby steps. I posted a receipt earlier and got ridiculed so I'll refrain, mostly it's that prepared/mostly-ready-to-eat stuff from trader joes/whole foods that you guys will ridicule me over, so I'll spare you the effort, self-face-punch.

athenap

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #105 on: June 06, 2013, 01:10:44 PM »
Joet,

Not much in a way of suggestions but wanted to say that I understand all too well and wish you luck. I decided to delurk from reading the blog and the forums to admit that we are roughly in the same situation (similar income, net worth and level of expenses albeit somewhat differently distributed), so I understand where you are coming from. While my "lofty" goal is to get our spending closer to 6.5K/month, including 2+k in childcare, every month that is below past 12-month average feels like another baby step in the right direction.

And for what it's worth, I am coming from the same position as your spouse - I saw no reason to keep an eye on spending as long as all retirement account contributions have been maxed out, some amount put aside in taxable and we carried no debt.  So we didn't outspend our incomes or lived above the means but we have been pretty wasteful. This has changed as my  love for my job has slowly turned into a burnout (a startup I worked for was bought by a megacorp a few years back and slowly turned into a soul sucking circus). MMM opened my eyes to a possibility of FI/RE and while I am unlikely to ever get off the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy due to high levels of un-optimized spending, I stopped plugging the holes of general life dissatisfaction with random purchases and became a lot more focused on saving and reducing expenses in order to hit both targets of saving 2m in 6-7 years and dialing down the expenses to 6.5K/month (or 4.5K once the childcare is no longer an expense).

I never thought of myself as profligate (ha!), but have become all too firmly attached to bedpan and caterer lifestyle of throwing money at every inconvenience. Trying to ween myself now. All this to say that it's possible that your spouse will see the light and I wouldn't give up on it. I would have been pretty averse to money saving "talks" if my hubby initiated them (because I worked my tail off, brought in my share and felt entitled to spend it as I saw fit as long as there were no "obvious" issues with spending above the means or not funding 401ks/Roths.). Now that I have this burning desire to gain financial independence, I am a lot more receptive but the steps are still baby sized. Hedonic adoptation is a bitch...

FWIW, we have ours/his/hers money streams and earn roughly the same, so generally most money arguments have been avoided by one of us sponsoring our own spending that is not related to advancing as a family. This has been working pretty well for 13.5 years from the marital agreement perspective but it also leads to lack of analyzing whether the spending is meaningful in the big picture.

thefrugaltwo

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #106 on: June 06, 2013, 01:50:14 PM »
Nope I don't get food at work, although I used to! I actually work in an office at present, but I have worked in restaurants, kitchens, done professional level cookbook testing (yep, that's a thing), and gotten paid for food writing in various publications. Currently I'm working full time in an office instead of a kitchen for health insurance benefits. I can't wait to become more FI so that I can get my ass back in the kitchen full time, I miss it but I still get my kicks in by catering which is fun. I've toyed with the idea of a cookbook on eating well on $10 a week, after discovering this site I think there actually might be a market for it!

Little Brag:
I recently hosted a dinner party for 50. There were 10 different dishes, excluding appetizers. The base cost per person was less than $8.

chatsc

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #107 on: June 06, 2013, 01:55:42 PM »
I've toyed with the idea of a cookbook on eating well on $10 a week, after discovering this site I think there actually might be a market for it!

Little Brag:
I recently hosted a dinner party for 50. There were 10 different dishes, excluding appetizers. The base cost per person was less than $8.

yes!  that would be a great idea.  we are a fam of 5 and spend about 1000$ a month (CDN) and i have no idea how to get it lower.  I dont buy convenience food, i bake, i make stock from scratch, I am doing my best but still 1000$ is a lot of money.....i would buy your book in a heartbeat (or actually, get it out from the library!)

sorry for the interlude, everyone back to punishing poor Joet for his money issues....

SnackDog

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #108 on: June 06, 2013, 02:00:52 PM »
As long as you are saving as much as you need to and can retire when you desire, who cares how much you spend?

Joet

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #109 on: June 06, 2013, 02:27:33 PM »
As long as you are saving as much as you need to and can retire when you desire, who cares how much you spend?


Then there's that...


and thanks for the post athenap!! hehe :)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 02:33:04 PM by Joet »

limeandpepper

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #110 on: June 06, 2013, 03:24:40 PM »
As long as you are saving as much as you need to and can retire when you desire, who cares how much you spend?
Then there's that...

Yeah, but can you retire when you desire? It sounds like you'd still like to retire a bit earlier than the projected time you've got based on your current expenditure/savings.

MountainFlower

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #111 on: June 11, 2013, 09:43:33 PM »
Nope I don't get food at work, although I used to! I actually work in an office at present, but I have worked in restaurants, kitchens, done professional level cookbook testing (yep, that's a thing), and gotten paid for food writing in various publications. Currently I'm working full time in an office instead of a kitchen for health insurance benefits. I can't wait to become more FI so that I can get my ass back in the kitchen full time, I miss it but I still get my kicks in by catering which is fun. I've toyed with the idea of a cookbook on eating well on $10 a week, after discovering this site I think there actually might be a market for it!

Little Brag:
I recently hosted a dinner party for 50. There were 10 different dishes, excluding appetizers. The base cost per person was less than $8.

You should do it and publish it in kindle format on amazon for $2.99.  Seriously! 

Hadilly

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #112 on: June 12, 2013, 01:24:16 PM »
thefrugaltwo: Seriously, $10 per week per person? That's less than two dollars a day.

happy

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #113 on: June 12, 2013, 08:32:59 PM »
@thefrugaltwo,
could you write us a post? or even better a manifesto like IP Daley on phones?

kiwibeach

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #114 on: June 13, 2013, 12:52:41 AM »

+1 :-)

Mozactly

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #115 on: June 14, 2013, 01:43:57 PM »

Stop nagging her as much as possible. If she's spending and not going into debt, she probably feels justified. Spend more time with her. Sometimes women shop when they're sad and lonely. Don't expect changes to happen immediately - as you know, things can take time.

Good luck and best wishes :)

I second this. What non-costly activities could you plan for the two of you each day? Make finances OFF LIMITS during those activities.

A walk through your neighborhood. Visit an art museum. Volunteer with a group in your town. Help walk dogs at a local shelter (it sounds like she likes animals a lot, so this one might be the best idea).

When I was feeling down, I used to shop as a way to pick myself up. She might not realize she's shopping to fill an emotional need. Try to fill that need elsewhere.

You may find some of your other fights are resolved because you have something else to talk about instead (like: how cute is that three-legged pit bull at the shelter?)

Purple

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #116 on: June 14, 2013, 10:42:55 PM »
Hi Joet,

Without knowing you guys I reckon you can both pull together and build a brilliant marriage - part of which will be working together on shared financial goals. You both seem like strong, creative, honest, trustworthy and energetic people. You express your love for your wife and seem to have faith in her capacity to be a good life partner. This is a very good start.

Marriage is hard ... and I reckon it is really hard in today's day and age when both man and woman have so many lovely, high-status choices but someone still has to change the toilet roll. Money can help soothe the short-term conflicts of the self-actualisation of both parties - but of course, like any drug, it merely covers up the initial problem.

I can't recommend highly enough Wallerstein and Blakeslee's book 'A Good Marriage' which talks about some of the particular challenges of modern marriages.

About 5 years ago my husband and I were almost competing and over-spending on whatever might bring us happiness amongst our separate objectives to do x, y and z. We were pulling in different directions and it took us quite a while to align and work to a rhythm together. These days, we are still the same people trying to do too much - but we are both much happier, in control and working together. Over the years we have settled on how we manage our household and found ways to support each other's objectives. It really was the process JamMcCain described in his brilliant post.

The key turning point was when we started praising each other and appreciating all the good stuff the other was doing - and also having compassion for the difficulties each of us face in our quests to do x, y and z. My husband was the first to start this and I will be forever grateful to him - it took me a few months to warm up and I probably am still more likely to get prickly about perceived criticisms where none were intended.

Get the virtuous circle of appreciation going and it will speed up over time. Banish bitterness - it is the enemy of a good marriage.

Thanks also for being so honest Joet. You help many by posting your situation and opening yourself up ... we would have been much worse than you at our worst.

 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 11:00:44 PM by Purple »

anastrophe

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #117 on: July 22, 2013, 01:02:57 PM »
Hey Joet, where'd you go? Did you leave for the South Pacific to go surfing permanently?

footenote

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #118 on: July 22, 2013, 01:36:03 PM »
Hey Joet, where'd you go? Did you leave for the South Pacific to go surfing permanently?
He has deleted his registration and is now G(h)uest.
Current conspiracy theory on another thread is that he either showed his wife some of his MMM posts or she got wind of them. Ka-Boom "Joet" on MMM.

anastrophe

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Re: I could use another face-punch (re: household finances)
« Reply #119 on: July 22, 2013, 01:57:38 PM »
Hey Joet, where'd you go? Did you leave for the South Pacific to go surfing permanently?
He has deleted his registration and is now G(h)uest.
Current conspiracy theory on another thread is that he either showed his wife some of his MMM posts or she got wind of them. Ka-Boom "Joet" on MMM.

I see. I could actually believe that--I mean, inasmuch as you could believe anything he said (personally, I'm still trying to get over the dog-walker thing). And here I was nearly convinced he wasn't actually a troll...