Author Topic: Case Study - Always Forward  (Read 6037 times)

Vindicated

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Case Study - Always Forward
« on: November 03, 2016, 09:22:45 AM »
**Sorry about the spacing.  I couldn't get it to line up**

Mustachians,

Super Short Bio - 32yo, married, 1yo son, live in Indianapolis, IN.

I've known for a while that I am terrible with finances.  Only recently have I stumbled across blogs such as MMM & Mad Fientist, which really opened my eyes.  I wanted to jump right in and say, "HELP ME!!", but resisted for the past two months to get a clear picture of my spending habits.

My first step was to sign up for Prosper, so I could easily track my spending.  It's very efficient, and I highly recommend it!

Now that I can see just how bad it really is (and it is really bad), I am ready to take the next step.  I am ready to put it all out there, and learn from the masters.  I'm envisioning this as the first post of a journey, which hopefully will lead me into the black, and beyond.

I titled this "Always Forward", because I can't change what I have done in the past.  But I can change what I do moving forward.

My case my be difficult for the feint of heart.  Please take a Pepto tablet in anticipation for the heartburn you're about to experience.

Budget Item                 Sep-16           Oct-16
Income                         $4,692                 $4,779             Income Fluctuates, but a "safe" income estimate is $4,200
Mortgage                          ($807)          ($807)            Could get a smaller house.
Utilities                          ($664)            ($531)            Includes Cell Phones ($190) & Internet/TV ($75).  Sep includes HOA ($100)
Car/Uber                          ($542)            ($545)            Car payment is $491, I usually pay even $500.
Car Insurance                      ($82)                 ($82)            Reasonable
Fuel                                  ($279)            ($279)            I drive a lot for work, but get reimbursed.  The reason why income fluctuates so much.
Student Loans                  ($248)            ($248)            I would have to pay ~$800/mo to pay off in 10 yrs, on IBR (Ironic for my income)
Groceries                          ($159)            ($212)            We definitely need to cook more.
Clothing                          ($229)                ($5)            Sept - 1st clothes I purchased for myself all year. Oct - shirt for my 1yo's costume.
Household                  ($137)              ($62)            Generally diapers, wipes, soaps, etc.
Business                                 $0                ($93)            Printed packets for interview (more money maybe, though it shouldn't be necessary)
Pets                                    ($60)                   ($55)            Dog Food, etc.
Fun                                  ($256)            ($279)            Golf, Day Trips, etc.  Went to Chicago for a 3 day weekend for Wife's bday.
Eating Out                  ($275)            ($359)            I typically eat out for lunch, and $15-20 for a dinner isn't uncommon.
Health                            ($20)                   $0            Dr Appt CoPay
Hair Cut                            ($58)                    $0            Wife nervous to cut my hair
Gift/Donation                    ($10)              ($44)            Birthday for friend's kids, or other
Total Expense               ($3,826)         ($3,601)
Betterment/Acorns          ($326)            ($416)            Acorns is typically withdrawn every few months to pay towards CC
Leftover                             $540                $762            Goes towards CC
      
Invested This Month      
401k (PreIncome)             $457                $305            3 Pays in Sept, 7% of Base Pay (Employer matches 2%)
Betterment                     $326                $297
Total Saved                     $783                $602
      
Investments      
 401k                          $8,258             $8,437
 Betterment                  $1,336             $1,746
 Investment Total           $9,594           $10,183

Debt Balance (CC)      
 Amazon                       ($2,022)         ($1,965)           18.9%
 Discover                       ($5,850)         ($5,150)            0% until July 2017 (Used for Wedding)
 Roomplace                         $0                    $0
 Lowes                                 $0                 $0
Debts (Big)      
 Car                             ($25,305)       ($24,839)            Upside Down, and must drive for work
 Home                   ($114,700)     ($114,263)
 Stdnt Loans              ($62,485)          ($62,547)            Average interest ~5%, Growing since I pay less than accrued interest

FYI - My wife pays Daycare, her car payment, car insurance, and her student loans.  She doesn't invest in anything but 401K, and isn't currently open to discussing money.  It "stresses her out".  She struggles with money more than I do.  My goal is to get my own finances on track, then help her do the same.

Obvious targets of attack:
 1 - Credit cards:  Should I withdraw my "Safety Net" from betterment (~$1,400) and pay off the Amazon card, even though it'd leave me with only a few hundred dollars in my bank savings?  (Bank savings not listed above, but only $300)  I know the Discover will become important, but at least I have some time to pay it off interest free.  Of course, I won't touch 401k.

 2 - Grocery vs Eating Out:  I've seen a lot of people talk about brown-bagging work lunch, and cooking at home, but it's truly a foreign concept to me.  I don't have really complicated tastes, so I'd love some simple lunch ideas.  Dinner ideas/resources welcome as well!

 3 - Fun:  Change "Fun" habits to be less costly.

 4 - Earn extra income?  I've considered driving for Uber, or trying to finish one of the many short stories I've started, but struggle dedicating time.  I also considered reenlisting in the Air Guard.  It could mean an extra ~$300/mo for drill weekend, and bonuses.  I've already done 6 years, 14 more and I've have a bit of extra retirement down the road.

.
.
.

OK.  Now I'll say it.  HELP ME!!

Best Regards,
Vin
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 12:46:21 PM by Vindicate414 »

englishteacheralex

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 09:50:16 AM »
It's awesome that you're tracking expenses. The glaring thing in your own finances is the car, in my opinion.

But the wife piece is the actual big deal. You're married. You guys are a team. The financial picture is only half-complete, here. Keeping separate finances and having each other pay separate bills...oof, makes my head hurt. Not a recipe for a great marriage or an efficient household. Yeah, I know that's controversial and plenty of people will say that keeping finances separate makes their marriage stronger, but I don't see the benefit except in extreme cases of unequal treatment of money.

You need to get her on board and start pooling your resources and financial energy together. The basic way of doing that is to think big picture and dream with her about why you want to get better at handling this stuff. You need some goals and dreams as a family. Sit down with some wine and a nice meal, ask her some big picture questions, and let her talk. Showing her what you've done in terms of organizing your own finances ought to be impressive (this kind of financial tracking really blew my own husband's mind when we first started talking about finances during pre-marital counseling), but the big picture stuff is what gets people motivated.

Also, FWIW: as a working mom, the idea of paying for childcare out of "my" earnings just burns me up. No, daycare is on both of us. Our earnings go into a collective pot, and the childcare comes out of there. That way I don't have to justify my working in such stark financial terms. I work because I love my job, don't want to give it up, and this is the lifestyle choice we've made together. If the numbers really didn't add up for it, we'd reconsider, but the financial piece is actually a secondary consideration for why we're a dual-income family. The primary consideration is that I love my career and our work/life balance is fine without me staying at home.

Rubyvroom

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 10:21:02 AM »
Just my opinion here but... as a quick hit on the credit cards without any changes to lifestyle, stop putting money into Betterment (leave the balance as your oh-shit money), and reduce your 401k contribution to receive the 2% match, but no more. Take that money you were investing and pay down the Amazon card first, then Discover. You won't get a guaranteed 18.9% out of the market, so kill the cards first, then save/invest. I know Discover is 0% in the grace period, but after the grace period ends if you haven't paid it off in full you'll be regretting it (I'm assuming it's another 20%-30% card).

If you are making any additional debt payments towards your mortgage, car or student loans (you didn't indicate that you were but I still thought I'd throw this out there), don't make those additional payments until the cards are dead.

July 2017 is not very far away. Try to forecast how much excess cash you'll have to pay down that card between now and July. If you don't have enough to pay it off in full, try to reduce some expenses that are easy to control (eating out, fun, etc.). Those extra expenses will turn out to be very very costly if you get hit with interest on that card. Since it was used for the wedding I would assume both you and your wife would have an interest in paying this card off, but obviously that's up to you if you want to go there.

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 10:57:54 AM »
First, thank you both for quick responses!

Alex, my wife makes a bit less than me, so I pay the majority of the bills.  Which includes the mortgage and all home related items.  Even though she pays daycare, our shared expenses is more largely covered by me.  I hope to incorporate her finances into this to gain a more full understanding of our finances as a whole.  For instance, it would help to know how much she is spending on groceries and fun.

I also know the car is a problem, but I don't know what I can do about it at this time.  I think it would be best to continue working on paying it down (after CCs) and keep it until it dies.  It does get good mileage (over 40mpg) and I am required to drive a lot for work.

Ruby, thanks for your comments about the CCs.  I have thought about how soon July will be here quite a bit.  I'm confident I can pay it down if I can be good with the discretionary income. 

I will try temporarily lowering 401k contribution, and pause the Safety Net for a few months to put that money towards the CCs.

I look forward to next month when I can post an update showing my overall progress!

Thanks!
Vin

chesebert

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2016, 11:12:23 AM »
Wait, are all your expenses indicated above 50% of the actual expenses?

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 11:16:29 AM »
Wait, are all your expenses indicated above 50% of the actual expenses?

I guess I hadn't considered this.  What is listed is what I spend.

I pay 100% of the home-related items (Mortgage & Utilities).

For items such as Groceries, Fun, Household, and Eating Out, my wife would have her own expenses, so those numbers are probably close to 50% of what the household spends.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 11:43:21 AM »
Wait, are all your expenses indicated above 50% of the actual expenses?

I guess I hadn't considered this.  What is listed is what I spend.

I pay 100% of the home-related items (Mortgage & Utilities).

For items such as Groceries, Fun, Household, and Eating Out, my wife would have her own expenses, so those numbers are probably close to 50% of what the household spends.

Yeah, see, this murkiness is just not conducive to running an efficient household. Do you never share your groceries/fun/household supplies/eating out? You guys need to get on the same page.

For the car, personally, I'd sell the thing on craigslist for as much as I could get for it and take the hit on its being upside-down (get a loan for the difference and pay it off quickly with the difference between the old and new payment). Then I'd buy something nice for around $8-10k and drive THAT into the ground. You want to impress your wife into getting on board? That's the kind of drastic, self-sacrificing move that would make an impression. Anything beyond a $10k car is unnecessary luxury, particularly to someone in credit card debt. By comparison--my husband and I have no debt and the combined cost of our two cars is around $5k. And we have to drive a lot for work, too. Used cars these days are surprisingly hardy.

nexus

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 12:11:17 PM »
Hey OP,

I agree with everyone else. You've got to get on the same page as your wife. Does she have her own set of credit cards with balances or student loans?

Also, I did something similarly with an ex. I made more than she did, so I paid for about 70% of our household expenditures while she covered the other 30%. After 12 months of doing this, she was sitting pretty with over $10,000 in savings while I was closer to $2,500 and nearly doing the paycheck to paycheck grind. Not fair. Enter some resentment. The math is trickier, but you could both put in 'equal' amounts proportionate to your income.

(Just a hypothetical example here) That way you're not spending 80% of your income on bills and she's only spending 30% of her income on bills. That leaves her with 70% of her income that she can blow on whatever. That'd be great if it was going towards YOUR WEDDING DEBT or your other debts, but is it really...?

I'd say its time for an overhaul. Ignoring her finances isn't going to make it any less stressful. Yes, it will be painful. You may fight, you may argue, but you love each other and you'll work through it together. I like the idea of a nice dinner and letting her talk that EnglishTeacherAlex mentioned.

Plus, [___] forbid, you get divorced. You put all that money into the mortgage and yet she still walks away with half, and maybe some of your debt. Tap into the amazing resource that is your wife, then work on the car issue and your other debts as a team.

notactiveanymore

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 12:16:05 PM »
1 - Yes, pay off those CC as soon as possible. I don't know that I'd take the betterment money out to do it, just buckledown your spending like your hair is on fire and challenge yourself to do it as fast as possible.

2 - do you guys make meals together or are your separate groceries & eating out completely separate? let's start with the low-hanging fruit of going out for lunches.

Easy lunches include:
  • Sides (pick 2-3 and add to mains below) - carrot sticks, apple/banana/organge, yogurt, pudding cups, crackers poured into baggies, etc.
  • Bagel & Cream Cheese
  • PB&J
  • Ham & Cheese Sandwich
  • Tortilla wrap
  • Can of storebrand soup
  • Cheese & Crackers
  • Freezer Meals (I get lean cuisines on sale for $1.88 each and leave them in the work fridge for days I'm running behind)

You can of course get much more economical and take leftovers or make a batch of something on sundays and take each day. I find cold lunches that don't require cooking preparation to be the easiest ones to bring and make a habit with.

3 - Eating out - I don't know how you and your wife handle this, but if you're serious about making a change, you've got to cut dinner out by a lot. We do $70/month for dates now that we're debt free. Before that it was $50. You've got to set a limit and actually cut yourself off when you hit that limit. Instead of going out to eat, plan for a picnic dinner date. Instead of just hitting a restaurant, learn how to cook a new dish for your family each week.

Easy and fairly cheap dinners you can learn to make:

4 - Make a plan of attack for the car. How far underwater are you? Are you looking at the value for a trade in or for a private sale? It's going to be hard for you to ramp up your debt payoff and savings without addressing the >25% of your income going to the car payment. You can't keep it. I'd probably wait until you pay off the CC so that you don't have so much unsecured debt out there, but you need to start looking at it.

5 - get on a budget for yourself and start talking to your wife about where you want to be in 10, 15, 25 years. You've got to start opening up that communication line so that you can plan together. Even if you decide to keep finances separate (not my rec.), you absolutely need to know what you want to do about life insurance, retirement, and your child(ren)'s future expenses. So start by just asking dreaming questions about what she envisions when she thinks of your retirement life and what she would like to do with helping out with your child's school or car in the future.

Good luck with this new phase! It is absolutely right that you cannot look back and only make changes for today. We spent 21 months paying off my husband's 55k in student loan debt, most of which was for a master's degree that is almost completely useless and which he has never benefited from professionally. We've all been stupid about something. But having peace about your finances and your future is totally worth the effort.

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 12:29:50 PM »
Elise, Nexus, Alex,

Thank you for the recipes!  I will definitely begin packing a lunch immediately.

We don't eat separately.  We just sort of take turns buying when we go out, or when we grocery shop.  It's not very scientific.  We should really have a shared account for these expenses.

The car is $500 of $4200, so not 25%, but it's still higher than it needs to be.  I've looked into selling it, but would be lucky to get $15k, and owe $24k.  As I said, I drive a lot, so the odometer is through the roof.  (~40k miles / yr).  I'll look into this again once the CCs are caught up, and I can consider this avenue of attack.

My wife doesn't have Credit Cards (thank ___) :).  She also has a lease on her car, and pays $400/mo, so that's another item to address.  She does have some student loans.  I'm not sure the exact amount, but I think it was ~$14k a few months ago when she mentioned it.  My debt is largely due to my Masters, which I also don't use currently.  Live and Learn... Always forward...

honeybbq

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 12:37:21 PM »
no phones or cable?

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 12:42:48 PM »
no phones or cable?

Cell Phones, Internet, and basic television are included in Utilities.  Which is why Utilities might look high. 
To break it down, Internet & TV is $75/mo, Cell Phones for the two of us is $190.

I hadn't considered phones either.  Perhaps we should switch to Sprint or something?

**Modified Original Post to not Cell & Internet as a Utility**
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 12:47:18 PM by Vindicate414 »

nexus

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 12:49:32 PM »
$190 is too much for phones! Research Google FI or any of the MMM articles on cellular use. Do you or your spouse have any corporate discounts/perks you can utilize by switching carriers? Can you drop your data usage a bit?

Cut that cable bill too. Streaming Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime are all much better values. Any other shows, I literally just do a web search for "watch ____ online free" and usually putlocker has it the day after it airs. Just make sure you have something like the adblockplus extension on your browser and you're golden. I plug the HDMI cable from my laptop to my TV and viola! Been watching American Horror Story that way lately. I spend $50 for internet and like $9 for Netflix.

I also just happened to post this thread earlier this morning. There are some great responses by others already on how the SO has affected their FIRE goals. (for motivational purposes)
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/so-fire-goals/

economista

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2016, 12:59:47 PM »
My wife doesn't have Credit Cards (thank ___) :).  She also has a lease on her car, and pays $400/mo, so that's another item to address.  She does have some student loans.  I'm not sure the exact amount, but I think it was ~$14k a few months ago when she mentioned it.  My debt is largely due to my Masters, which I also don't use currently.  Live and Learn... Always forward...

Good Luck on your financial journey!  I think the single biggest thing standing out is the lease on your wife's car.  I know she isn't currently open to discussing finances, but leasing a car is insane, especially with a $400 per month payment.  On the bright side, she might come around to the idea after awhile.  My fiance used to be the same way and he would clam-up whenever I tried talking to him about finances.  After a few months of making remarks here or there and talking about my budget, my savings rate, etc with him, he is now completely open to talking about joint finances, budgets, and goals.  I also think he eventually saw that there are other ways to manage finances besides just ignoring them and hoping things worked out.  I hope your wife gets used to it quickly as well.

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2016, 01:00:34 PM »
$190 is too much for phones! Research Google FI or any of the MMM articles on cellular use. Do you or your spouse have any corporate discounts/perks you can utilize by switching carriers? Can you drop your data usage a bit?

Cut that cable bill too. Streaming Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime are all much better values. Any other shows, I literally just do a web search for "watch ____ online free" and usually putlocker has it the day after it airs. Just make sure you have something like the adblockplus extension on your browser and you're golden. I plug the HDMI cable from my laptop to my TV and viola! Been watching American Horror Story that way lately. I spend $50 for internet and like $9 for Netflix.

I also just happened to post this thread earlier this morning. There are some great responses by others already on how the SO has affected their FIRE goals. (for motivational purposes)
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/so-fire-goals/

I was just reading that.  It's really inspiring to see so many that are already well on their way to a FI Stache. 

For cell phones, we already have a discount.  Hard to imagine, right?  I think it's even like 15%.  Anyway, I will definitely address that ASAP.  I've heard good things about Sprint, plus Sprint gives free calls from Mexico & Canada, Verizon doesn't.

For Cable/Internet, AT&T said that having just internet would be $60/mo, and we don't watch TV much.  $15 is a small amount, but still something to target.  My Wife and I do both have Netflix accounts, and she also has Amazon Prime.  I'll talk to her about cancelling one of our Netflix accounts.  Just one of the many things I need to cover during our upcoming discussion.

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2016, 01:03:25 PM »
My wife doesn't have Credit Cards (thank ___) :).  She also has a lease on her car, and pays $400/mo, so that's another item to address.  She does have some student loans.  I'm not sure the exact amount, but I think it was ~$14k a few months ago when she mentioned it.  My debt is largely due to my Masters, which I also don't use currently.  Live and Learn... Always forward...

Good Luck on your financial journey!  I think the single biggest thing standing out is the lease on your wife's car.  I know she isn't currently open to discussing finances, but leasing a car is insane, especially with a $400 per month payment.  On the bright side, she might come around to the idea after awhile.  My fiance used to be the same way and he would clam-up whenever I tried talking to him about finances.  After a few months of making remarks here or there and talking about my budget, my savings rate, etc with him, he is now completely open to talking about joint finances, budgets, and goals.  I also think he eventually saw that there are other ways to manage finances besides just ignoring them and hoping things worked out.  I hope your wife gets used to it quickly as well.

Thanks Economista!

I've also been making comments, if not nightly, then several times a week.  I've sent her a few FI blog posts too, and she said she didn't read them because it makes her uncomfortable.  I don't blame her.  That's how I got to where I am.  Ignoring the details and just hoping I'll have enough.  Well, I no longer just want to have enough.  I want to be debt free, and working towards FI!

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2016, 04:35:21 PM »
The wife thing stands out.

You cannot really make this work with your finances separate and you both going in opposite directions. 

Why not deposit all of your money in a joint account and make financial decisions together?  Then her student loans and such get paid out of the same account as yours and you can track your family's progress for real and not worry about whether one of you is paying more or less than his or her fair share.

You are in a marriage together, and this is something you really need to work on together.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2016, 04:36:00 PM »
For items such as Groceries, Fun, Household, and Eating Out, my wife would have her own expenses, so those numbers are probably close to 50% of what the household spends.
  Sigh.  Why?

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2016, 04:41:26 PM »
Cell phones - I pay $46.52 with fees and everything. 

MMM recommends Republic Wireless, which he says is $10 monthly here http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2016, 05:36:13 PM »
For items such as Groceries, Fun, Household, and Eating Out, my wife would have her own expenses, so those numbers are probably close to 50% of what the household spends.
  Sigh.  Why?

We just have always taken turns purchasing things, and not tracking who spent what.  Which is likely how we got into this position. 

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2016, 11:21:59 AM »
Which is likely how we got into this position.
  Bingo!  I was thinking the exact same thing, but I am glad to hear the thought has crossed your mind. 

I would make addressing the separateness of your financial lives a top priority. 

I wish you luck whichever way you decide.

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 04:25:08 PM »
When i brought it up, she got defensive.  "Why do you need to track my spending?"

I explained that it wasnt that I wanted to control her spending, just that I thought it'd help both of us to be transparent, and work together towards savings, and it might encourage us to spend more conservatively.

I am clearly not explaining the benefits correctly.

Also, this is my first mobile post from my new cheap Sprint phone.  Monthly savings of $130!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 06:34:33 PM »
Maybe start tracking your own spending, first, and start showing her? Use those little graphs on Mint and show her what percentage of your income you're spending on things, and then be humble about the fat you'd like to trim?

And again, don't start with "how", start with "why"--you want to have a closer relationship and you've read that couples that share their money and talk about it in a constructive way, making decisions as a team, have happier marriages? Ask her what she wants out of life and encourage her to dream about things like a comfortable retirement and a paid-off house, the ability to stay home with children if that's what she wants, the ability to provide children with college if that's what she wants, the ability to travel, help family, whatever makes her heart excited--and then talk about how you guys can accomplish that TOGETHER.

For us, we set a goal of how much we wanted to save every month and then worked backward on our budget to see if that was realistic. Over the years we've been able to tamp down spending more and more because it was so fun to watch our savings go up. It's a process, but we started with several talks about the end goal FIRST.

GreenShirt

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2016, 07:33:47 PM »
Maybe start tracking your own spending, first, and start showing her? Use those little graphs on Mint and show her what percentage of your income you're spending on things, and then be humble about the fat you'd like to trim?
I'll second this approach. If she's being defensive about her spending, this might be a good way to show her the positives that tracking your spending can have.

Another benefit: sharing finances also makes it A LOT easier to manage your finances. Before my wife and I were married, we had an unofficial "split 50/50" rule that required us to have two transactions at the checkout - half on her card, half on mine. We didn't budget back then but I can say that it's much easier now that we've combined our finances, even with budgeting added to the mix. Personal/fun money is the one exception that we have to this rule. I often don't agree with the way she spends her money and it would drive me crazy if I had to track that stuff down to the penny, so our solution to this is a monthly personal allowance.

                                      |---> Her personal account
Shared Account --------|
                                      |---> My personal account

At the beginning of every month, we transfer a set amount to our own accounts. The only tracking we do on this money is to say that we've spent $xxx on personal things.

Also, this is my first mobile post from my new cheap Sprint phone.  Monthly savings of $130!
Congrats, that's awesome! As someone who wants to investigate better cell phone plans himself, if there any gotchas associated with terminating your old plan (like fees, a new phone, a new number, etc...), how did those affect your decision?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 07:36:00 PM by BinaryMetropolis »

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2016, 05:03:46 AM »
Thanks Alex and BM. 

I am going to not bug her about it for a month or two, then I'll show her how successful I've been, and hopefully that'll encourage her to join me.

As far as the cell phones, Sprint pays off the contract as a thanks for switching.  However, you have to buy a phone, or bring your phone over from your previous provider.

My wife said she had to keep her iPhone to make the switch, so I'm nervous to see how much we owe on it, since we'll have to pay off the difference to Verizon.  It was on payments. 

For me, I went with cheapest option they had available, which my Galaxy S7 easily paid for, plus some.  I got the LG Tribute.  It works fine imo. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2016, 05:45:07 AM »
A short suggestion for lunch. I you cook at home, you can easily cook an extra portion. I have often a left over portion that goes into the freezer for another occasion when one of us is home alone. Why not take that portion along to work. Keep in a fridge until lunchtime og buy some cooling blocks that you can put around it. If you don't have a suitable portion, you could bring those sandwiches in the brown bag.

And about eating dinner out. That is typically something you do together. If you tell your wife that you don't want to go, I suggest that doesn't go either. I see going out for dinner as a treat we we do this a couple of times a year. It sounds like you do this as a normal situation. What about just reducing it to once a month for a starter?

slb59

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2016, 05:51:41 AM »
My husband totally clams up about finances, he is 100% in the "everything will work out if I ignore it" camp.

What worked for me was the "hey, I see you're stressed about this, but why don't we try having me take care of if for a bit and see what happens. If it doesn't work, we'll just go back." We already had combined expenses, but he had been managing the money and it was causing him a lot of stress, which also seems to be the case with your wife.

He was skeptical at first, especially when I put a hold on our going out to eat, but now calls me the "budget master" and is thrilled with how much we've saved. The big goal for him was being able to feel financially secure, and that's what I've been focusing on. There were some things, like buying a modem instead of paying $10/month to lease one, that he was really against switching up. When I dug a little deeper (in five minute increments over two months), it turned out he just didn't want to mess with what worked even though it cost us more. I told him I'd take care of any hassle, and just did it. I'd really prefer to approach our finances as a partnership and talk through every little detail together, but that's just not his personality. We still talk about the big stuff and I check in with him regularly (and quickly) about where things stand and our goals, but mostly I just handle things and tell him his budget before he goes to the store. We're both happier for it.

Anyway, depending on your wife's personality and your relationship, you might be able to sell this as a way to reduce her stress. Of course, tread lightly because if some man tried telling me he didn't want me worrying my sweet little head about finances he might just end up with a black eye :)

Heroes821

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2016, 06:51:30 AM »
My husband totally clams up about finances, he is 100% in the "everything will work out if I ignore it" camp.

What worked for me was the "hey, I see you're stressed about this, but why don't we try having me take care of if for a bit and see what happens. If it doesn't work, we'll just go back." We already had combined expenses, but he had been managing the money and it was causing him a lot of stress, which also seems to be the case with your wife.

He was skeptical at first, especially when I put a hold on our going out to eat, but now calls me the "budget master" and is thrilled with how much we've saved. The big goal for him was being able to feel financially secure, and that's what I've been focusing on. There were some things, like buying a modem instead of paying $10/month to lease one, that he was really against switching up. When I dug a little deeper (in five minute increments over two months), it turned out he just didn't want to mess with what worked even though it cost us more. I told him I'd take care of any hassle, and just did it. I'd really prefer to approach our finances as a partnership and talk through every little detail together, but that's just not his personality. We still talk about the big stuff and I check in with him regularly (and quickly) about where things stand and our goals, but mostly I just handle things and tell him his budget before he goes to the store. We're both happier for it.

Anyway, depending on your wife's personality and your relationship, you might be able to sell this as a way to reduce her stress. Of course, tread lightly because if some man tried telling me he didn't want me worrying my sweet little head about finances he might just end up with a black eye :)

Is your husband my fiancée because they sound so similar it's scary. Of course I have been told she doesn't care if I just 100% handle all the financials...sigh. Hopefully she'll get on board for FIRE in a few years

Vindicated

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2016, 06:56:37 AM »
And about eating dinner out. That is typically something you do together. If you tell your wife that you don't want to go, I suggest that doesn't go either. I see going out for dinner as a treat we we do this a couple of times a year. It sounds like you do this as a normal situation. What about just reducing it to once a month for a starter?

Lunch is the easy bit.  I pack my son's lunch every morning, so now I just pack 3 lunches.  As a backup plan, I have some bread, peanut butter and jelly, and other lunch items I keep at work.  Also, there is a grocery very close to work, so I can pick something up easily if I forget lunch.  I just have to pass McDonalds, Arbys, Long John Silver, and 2 pizza places to get to it.  It's like running a gauntlet!

Our plan is to eliminate dinners out as much as possible.  We will MAYBE go out once per month.  The only problem is remembering to prepare for cooking at home.  It's a new habit I'm forming.  So far, so good!

Anyway, depending on your wife's personality and your relationship, you might be able to sell this as a way to reduce her stress. Of course, tread lightly because if some man tried telling me he didn't want me worrying my sweet little head about finances he might just end up with a black eye :)

Your husband does sound a lot like my wife.  Maybe, rather than asking her to "let me in" on her finances, I can just offer to pay all of the bills that she pays, and have her pay me half of that each pay check.  The left over from her pay, she can do with as she pleases, but I'll do my best to encourage her to save as much of it as possible.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case Study - Always Forward
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2016, 07:05:22 AM »
Maybe, rather than asking her to "let me in" on her finances, I can just offer to pay all of the bills that she pays, and have her pay me half of that each pay check.  The left over from her pay, she can do with as she pleases, but I'll do my best to encourage her to save as much of it as possible.
  Vindicate414, this all seems rather strange to me, so please forgive me for my bluntness.  Have you tried asking her just to have one joint account?

"Hey, since we are married now and all, in this together, I think we should have just one joint checking account.  What do you think?"

And see what she says.

She might even like the idea.

You two are married.   Tell her you would like to act like it.

"Hey, let's pretend we're married and have a joint checking account."

There is no "control" issue there.  It is a joint account.  She can spend the whole thing on a new couch, and there is nothing you can do to stop her, so if she raises some issue of control that would be just silly.