Author Topic: Help me understand -  (Read 6667 times)

boarder42

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Help me understand -
« on: October 14, 2016, 01:27:43 PM »
This train of thought - and how those of you who used to have it over came it and how i can help my wife understand the difference.

First how we handle finances:
1. separate bank accounts do with our money as we please.
2. joint credit cards for agreed upon joint expenses - gas, grocery, the occasional night out, travel
3. agreed upon mortgage contributions based on our salary level etc.

anyways on to the story

So she has a budget - GREAT!

She has this amazing spreadsheet with every penny budgeted down to a gnats ass and every cost logged etc.

So you have your normal more or less fixed cost categories. (the fixed cost of living our lifestyle costs)
mortgage
utilities (i pay them all and just avg them monthly for her so its constant for her)
Food
gas
insurance

The variable spending categories is where i cant get thru to her or understand how or why she thinks this way.

example numbers are made up but you'll get the point

Clothes 1000 - i have to spend 1000 on clothes its what my budget says
Decorations - 500 - i have to spend 500 on decorations its what my budget says
Xmas gifts - 700 - i have to spend 700 on gifts its what my budget says.

how my brain works. - oh ok i have 2200 bucks there is a great deal on a new dress shirt on slickdeals i'll get it for 5 bucks yay.  i dont budget by categories i budget based on forced savings and then spend when i feel like i'm getting good value and save the rest.

how her brain works - i have 1000 to spend on clothes i'll get as many clothes as i possibly can for 1000 dollars.  no limit to whats reasonable or enough etc.

the issue is she is constantly stressed about finances.  b/c unexpected things come up and its not in the strict budget and what should be a flexible category she does flex but it super stresses her b/c she isnt saving cost on flex categories on a daily basis.

i know i cant force her to change and i've tried approaching it more from my side by saying hey lets spend as little of this as we can to get what we need.  and then the rest can go in a savings account incase unexpected things come up. 

then i came at it from the side of hey why dont we lower all these categories down and then try to keep it under that and then add the net difference to a savings account b/c if one does happen to run over you will have some savings there you can hit to pay for a small difference.

i dunno maybe its a lost cause.  she is all freaked out all the time and seems to live paycheck to paycheck - i mean she maxes her 401k and HSA but thats the extent of it.
c



hoping2retire35

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 01:59:20 PM »
sounds like combined you both have $1005 to save so that you don't have to work again.

in general, everyone needs savings they can 'touch' just in case.

whether $5 or $1000 do the clothes add value to your life? If you know one of 6 shirts (whatever number) that are for work that you keep in good condition will invariable get a hole/stain/faded so you proactively buy a couple of backups that you don't wear just keep stored, that makes since but buying something really cheap just because it is cheap is still adding unnecessary stuff in your closet. make sense?

I had similar thoughts walking thru the library sale yesterday. "all these books are really cheap, this is awesome" walked out with two big boxes knowing I would go to another sale in a month and that it will take me many months to read the ones I just got.

boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 02:04:23 PM »
sounds like combined you both have $1005 to save so that you don't have to work again.

in general, everyone needs savings they can 'touch' just in case.

whether $5 or $1000 do the clothes add value to your life? If you know one of 6 shirts (whatever number) that are for work that you keep in good condition will invariable get a hole/stain/faded so you proactively buy a couple of backups that you don't wear just keep stored, that makes since but buying something really cheap just because it is cheap is still adding unnecessary stuff in your closet. make sense?

I had similar thoughts walking thru the library sale yesterday. "all these books are really cheap, this is awesome" walked out with two big boxes knowing I would go to another sale in a month and that it will take me many months to read the ones I just got.

i didnt elaborate on my 5 dollar shirt but i spend around 100 bucks if that a year on work clothes and shoes in a white collar work place. all purchased through very cheap high qulity deals.  and it was more an example of how and when i choose to spend and the fact that my brain just naturally goes towards savings and if its something i've decided i need/want i put an alert up on slickdeals and wait for it to show up.

but still kinda beside the point of spending intentionally up to a cap b/c thats what the budget is.

DrF

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 02:05:54 PM »
Sounds like all you need to do is have her set up an unexpected shit column. She should work through on her own where that should be cut from. At the end of every month, have her transfer anything left over in the unexpected shit column to a brokerage account. The brokerage account is now off limits. Each month she starts fresh with a new deposit into unexpected shit column.

She needs to adjust how she sees the bins of money she has created for herself. Sounds like she's super rigid, so formulate a plan that works to that rigidness.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2016, 02:14:19 PM »
almost forgot.

the unexpected expenses always put me in a bad mood and I just refused to do a budget. Kept optimizing, now we typically just keep enough in our account to cover next months expenses and everything gets paid really early, then cut out savings until we are ahead again. just the way I keep my budget brain from freaking out. 

could do that way or cut discrecinary spending in half until there is a sufficient touchable emergency fund.

I'm finally getting less anxious, my try to soon look at one of those b-word things. or just track spending closer.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2016, 02:25:48 PM »
She doesn't have a budget. She just keeps track of her (significant) spending.

Budgets are only helpful if you stick to them and treat the budgeted amounts as maximums. She's acting like she's a department manager in December who "has" to spend $12,000 just so the powers that be will allocate her the same amount next year for her department. "New chairs for everyone! No, wait! We need a new copier!"

redbird

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2016, 07:48:50 PM »
Have her lower her budgets for all of those more optional categories. I'll go ahead and take your examples of clothes, Christmas gifts, and decorations. Maybe they don't need to be as high as whatever they are. If her budget is lowered for those things and then the "savings budget" is raised respectively, then she'll have more money for those unexpected things.

That's the easiest immediate thing to do. It'd be nice if she could get out of that mindset of spending 100% of her budget for things unless she has to, but that might take more time.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2016, 09:22:15 AM »
It's sounds like she's got a scarcity mindset. How was her upbringing in terms of spending? Try reading The Millionaire Next Door. There's a lot of interesting psychology in it that might be useful in this situation.

Also, try talking about *why* instead of *how.* Maybe it's not *how* to spend less but *why* she needs to spend everything. What does she feel will happen if this month she only spends $400 instead of the budgeted $500 in a category? Does she worry she'll lose that $100 forever?

Good luck, and please let us know how it goes.

Waterbug

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2016, 10:15:48 AM »

She has this amazing spreadsheet with every penny budgeted down to a gnats ass and every cost logged etc.
...
the issue is she is constantly stressed about finances.  b/c unexpected things come up and its not in the strict budget and what should be a flexible category she does flex but it super stresses her b/c she isnt saving cost on flex categories on a daily basis.
...  she is all freaked out all the time and seems to live paycheck to paycheck
c

Since she tracks every penny spent ask her how much has been spent on those unexpected expenses over the last few months. Suggest she set up a new category just for those and trim a little from each of the other categories to get there. Approach it as 'hey you were really stressed the last time xyz expense came out of the blue. I was thinking you could setup a fund in your awesome budget to set aside some cash for if and when something unexpected comes up so that way you don't have to stress about it."
After awhile she can adjust the unexpected fund to have more money if she is still stressed. If that fund starts growing try to keep her from allocating budget money back to the original categories. But she may just start coming up with new expenses to burn up the money in the unexpected category based on your description.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2016, 05:31:46 PM »
This reads and feels more like an OCD issue vs financial/spending habit.  Are there other OCD type behaviors?

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2016, 05:47:27 PM »
That is the way my sister and her boyfriend does it.

They each have a monthly min that they pay into the shared account, which is used to pay for house, bills, and anything else they agree on buying "together" like maybe a kitchen table, or a vacation, or going out to dinner.

newelljack

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2016, 07:33:03 PM »
I don't understand separate finances in marriage. I should stop there, but I won't. That just seems like it is asking for trouble. Does she ask for money from you when she has unexpected expenses? Do you give her a loan? My wife and I had separate accounts for the first few years but just because we were too busy [lazy] to open a shared account. We were constantly shifting money from one account to the other to cover things and it made it difficult to see how much WE were spending.

Now that WE have it combined, things are much simpler. She makes twice what I make but defaults to me for budget decisions and knows that the money WE spend is for US and our family. WE just celebrated 9 years and things haven't been better.

If you haven't yet, read the thread about converted your SO in fifty or so steps.

boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2016, 04:37:15 AM »
This reads and feels more like an OCD issue vs financial/spending habit.  Are there other OCD type behaviors?

Haha yes many. And interesting I haven't thought of it like that.

ender

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2016, 09:45:55 AM »
Can you just pick an amount and put it into a "monthly spending" category and not bother micromanaging it?

That might be far less stressful for her.

boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2016, 10:21:11 AM »
Can you just pick an amount and put it into a "monthly spending" category and not bother micromanaging it?

That might be far less stressful for her.

i cant pick anything we have separate finances.  i'm looking for tricks and ways to suggest how i can help her change her thinking. 

alot of good posts here targeting the root cause

1. she came from a family that just spends money so she has made it a long way just making these budgets and maxing these accounts
2. she has had some experiences in life where they had almost nothing
3. she does think she may be OCD or partially that way. 

some of each of those probably play into her thinking in multiple ways. 

she has been very very receptive to dropped hints on ways to do things if i jsut say it randomly over time eventually she will start to open up to something .... i dont want to be manipulative... but this is a very touchy subject every time it comes up.  and one of the biggest stresses in her life when it shouldnt be ... i mean we have insane networth for anyone at our current age we have 7 years left to work max ... less if i can get her a job at my company.  i mean i calculated the other day that we could litterally spend every single penny we make and we would with my work's retirement ESOP be able to retire at 45 if that was our only savings now. not counting the fact that we'd already saved in other accounts ... thats how good my company is.. but i feel like no matter our level of income she will always feel strangled by it b/c of the way in which she views her budget and how she spends. 

itchyfeet

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2016, 11:31:56 AM »
My sister and her husband have seperate bank accounts. I find it oddd. My sister is always complaining that her husband doesn't have a better paying job. She keeps going overseas with her children and he stays at home because he can't afford to go. They take family holidays camping, but rarely go overseas together, but my sister and my nieces are constantly going on overseas holidays together without him. My sister has a nice new car, my brother in law has an old beater. My sister has significant savings, but my brother in law can barely make his share of the mortgage repayments. This all seems unhealthy to me, as it seems to me that my my sister is intent on punishing her husband for not getting paid more, when she has been very successful in her career. But in the end they have been doing this for more than 20 years, so each to one's own. He seems perfectly fine with the arrangement, as he loves his job and has no intention of chasing a higher paying job at the expense of his happiness.

BlueHouse

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2016, 09:30:49 AM »

utilities (i pay them all and just avg them monthly for her so its constant for her)

i cant pick anything we have separate finances.  i'm looking for tricks and ways to suggest how i can help her change her thinking. 

Reverse roles on the Utilities.  Have her pay all the bills and then bill you at an average monthly rate.  She will learn she has to save money during spring and fall to pay for winter and summer. 

nobody123

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2016, 11:26:45 AM »
how my brain works. - oh ok i have 2200 bucks there is a great deal on a new dress shirt on slickdeals i'll get it for 5 bucks yay.  i dont budget by categories i budget based on forced savings and then spend when i feel like i'm getting good value and save the rest.

how her brain works - i have 1000 to spend on clothes i'll get as many clothes as i possibly can for 1000 dollars.  no limit to whats reasonable or enough etc.

Sound like me and my wife.  We agree on a budget and revisit it every 6 months or so, so we're on the same general page about our savings & expenses.  But if she sees that the "gifts" pile has a couple hundred extra dollars in it, she HAS to spend it.  We've been married for 12+ years and we just think about money differently.  There's no sense in trying to change her.  She trusts me to make sure we have adequate savings to cover the "oh shit" moments in life as well as the long term financial planning, and I trust her to do her best maximizing the discretionary spending.  Frankly, it's not worth the stress to judge why she had to buy her sister some bag she saw, or her nephew some t-shirt, or our kids some toy "just because".  As long as she doesn't overspend the agreed upon budget, more power to her. 

I find it easier to point out in aggregate that "Hey, we've spent $XXX in gifts over the past 6 months, did we really need to spend that amount?  Can we shave $100 off of that for the next 6 months so we can put it towards <some boring long-term savings goal> instead?"  If I tried to point out that her mom didn't need some "just because" gift then I'm questioning an emotional decision she made that technically fit in our agreed-upon budget, and there's no winning that argument.

catccc

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2016, 01:01:30 PM »
I hate to push a product as a solution, but YNAB classic has taught me that budgeting is flexible.  You might want to look into that.  Unfortunately, they have moved onto a cloud bases SaaS instead of a one time purchase software.  I suspect there may be similar products out there.  Or, just suggest she have budget "rebalancing" on a regular basis.  If she has $2,000 in her clothing account, maybe she can ask herself what new clothes will actually add value to her life.  If all she needs is a new pair of boots right now, than she can move some of the $ earmarked for clothes out to something else... maybe she wants a meal out with friends but there's only $10 left in her dining out category... so you just move the budget!  The budget is there to serve her and what will add value to her life, not restrict her and make her worry about money all the time!

Johnez

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2016, 01:18:19 PM »
In her budget spreadsheet is there a column for "Emergency Fund/Surprise Expense Fund"? Have a set amount of money budgeted go in per month, and then sweep the rest of the leftover money ya didn't spend from other columns into it. If that fund gets too big you can split it in half, other half can be "Fun stuff" column for random fun things ya see come up.


boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2016, 02:03:42 PM »
In her budget spreadsheet is there a column for "Emergency Fund/Surprise Expense Fund"? Have a set amount of money budgeted go in per month, and then sweep the rest of the leftover money ya didn't spend from other columns into it. If that fund gets too big you can split it in half, other half can be "Fun stuff" column for random fun things ya see come up.

tried this approach already.  was met with Does not compute / "My mind doesn't work that way"

scantee

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2016, 02:33:29 PM »
As others have said, you're unlikely to change her overall approach to spending so I suggest that you accept that this is her way, that it's not necessarily worse than yours, and find additional ways to save within this established framework.

With that in mind, how about suggesting she reduce her variable budget categories by a set amount, across the board? For example, if she currently has budgeted monthly $200 for restaurants, $100 entertainment, and $200 for gifts, suggest she pick a reasonable percentage to reduce each category, say 5-10%, and don't change anything else about the ways she spends money. A small percentage reduction in each category shouldn't be too limiting for her, she can continue to be able to spend through each category, all the while increasing her savings. Over time, once she's accustomed to the new normal of the lower budget amounts, she can reduce the categories even further.

With this kind of approach I think it is actually better to have a lot of budget categories because cutting down by a small amount in several areas is often mentally/emotionally easier for a lot of people than cutting down the same exact amount from one larger bucket category. Using the example above and assuming a 10% reduction, your wife could very well feel that spending $20 less on gifts and $10 less on entertainment and $20 less on restaurants is not to big of a change to her current spending habits, whereas $50 from a general $500 fun money fund might seem like a big sacrifice.

scantee

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2016, 02:59:08 PM »
I now see that you already suggested lowering all of the categories, missed that in my first read through. Is there a specific reason that didn't work the first time?

I second catccc's suggestion about YNAB. I've introduced a few spendthrifts to it and using it was successful in changing their financial mindsets in a way that personal finance information alone was not.

Johnez

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2016, 05:26:34 PM »
In her budget spreadsheet is there a column for "Emergency Fund/Surprise Expense Fund"? Have a set amount of money budgeted go in per month, and then sweep the rest of the leftover money ya didn't spend from other columns into it. If that fund gets too big you can split it in half, other half can be "Fun stuff" column for random fun things ya see come up.

tried this approach already.  was met with Does not compute / "My mind doesn't work that way"

Her mind doesn't need to work any way for it to work, lol! Does she even have an emergency fund set up? This is like have a knocking sound in the car and simply complaining about it but refusing to get under the hood or having a mechanic fix it.

Hmm, perhaps a different approach will yield results. It sounds like you've tried a fair bit of solutions, and we all here know there is a problem to every solution when people are afraid of change. I'd suggest giving it a rest for now, completely drop the topic. When people are defensive they'll bat anything away, and anything that might have worked will be tossed aside for being a "threat."

The next time an issue arises, and the opportunity to discuss budgeting comes up, tell her you've been wracking your brain for a solution and haven't found one-does she have any ideas?! Give her the floor and see where it goes. Maybe you'll be surprised. If it sucks, whatever. You guys aren't dead broke it seems, give something she suggests a shot anyway. It might just work, and if it doesn't she might give your ideas a shot.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2016, 05:54:12 AM »
just tell her to open a taxable account and put $500 there every month, because "It's a good idea." "You never know." "It is money." don't even give a reason.

My sister and her husband have seperate bank accounts. I find it oddd. My sister is always complaining that her husband doesn't have a better paying job. She keeps going overseas with her children and he stays at home because he can't afford to go. They take family holidays camping, but rarely go overseas together, but my sister and my nieces are constantly going on overseas holidays together without him. My sister has a nice new car, my brother in law has an old beater. My sister has significant savings, but my brother in law can barely make his share of the mortgage repayments. This all seems unhealthy to me, as it seems to me that my my sister is intent on punishing her husband for not getting paid more, when she has been very successful in her career. But in the end they have been doing this for more than 20 years, so each to one's own. He seems perfectly fine with the arrangement, as he loves his job and has no intention of chasing a higher paying job at the expense of his happiness.

Sounds like your BIL has got it made. She takes the kids out of town for a week or two and he just gets to piddle around the house on his projects. He probably is supper mustachian and has a huge savings account, might not even work anymore. "Ok Hon, going to uh um, work, see you later...I mean at 5;30."

Frugalman19

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2016, 07:51:58 AM »
This train of thought - and how those of you who used to have it over came it and how i can help my wife understand the difference.

First how we handle finances:
1. separate bank accounts do with our money as we please.
2. joint credit cards for agreed upon joint expenses - gas, grocery, the occasional night out, travel
3. agreed upon mortgage contributions based on our salary level etc.


Many have said it and it seems obvious. You both are not on the same page financially, why not combine finances? I think you would be hard pressed to find a marriage councilor that says you should keep separate finances from your spouse. It just seems like youre asking for trouble. It is the number one reason for divorce, and obviously it is already causing conflict. Dave Ramsey has some great stuff on talking with your spouse about your monthly budget as a team, I would check it out.

Youre looking at trying to fix a symptom(your wife's budget ideas), when the problem is what should be addressed, your problem is youre not working this through with her. Marriage is about being a team. If my wife was upset about finances and I wasn't, there is a serious issue.

Depending on where you live, what's half of yours is hers and what's half of hers is yours.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2016, 08:50:18 AM »
And to take that comment further...

1) Can you imagine a marriage where the couple "split up" like estate planning?  ("Okay I'm having a will/POA/trusts for the kids done but you just go do your own thing.")

2) Or where they "split up" decisions like where the kids go to school? ("Okay I decide Sarah goes to Mt. Pretentious but you can decide where Tommy goes. If it's Public School 450, that's fine. Your call.")

3) Or where they "split up" religion? ("Okay, Mrs. Catholic, you can take them to Mass every week and then, as Mr. Atheist will  spend the rest of the week convincing them religion is a pile of BS")

Marriage, IMO, is about making TOUGH decisions WITH another person. And in most cases, I think "you do what you want, and I'll do what I want" is just kicking the can down the road and waiting for a car accident (extending the "car" and "road" metaphors).


boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2016, 09:24:41 AM »
And to take that comment further...

1) Can you imagine a marriage where the couple "split up" like estate planning?  ("Okay I'm having a will/POA/trusts for the kids done but you just go do your own thing.")

2) Or where they "split up" decisions like where the kids go to school? ("Okay I decide Sarah goes to Mt. Pretentious but you can decide where Tommy goes. If it's Public School 450, that's fine. Your call.")

3) Or where they "split up" religion? ("Okay, Mrs. Catholic, you can take them to Mass every week and then, as Mr. Atheist will  spend the rest of the week convincing them religion is a pile of BS")

Marriage, IMO, is about making TOUGH decisions WITH another person. And in most cases, I think "you do what you want, and I'll do what I want" is just kicking the can down the road and waiting for a car accident (extending the "car" and "road" metaphors).

you're all taking how separate finances work quite far.  we do talk and agree on mutual things that affect both of us as far as finances.  but when it comes to discresionary spending our leftover money can be used at our own discresion(just trying to help her in this side so she has less stress).  saving or spending and how. 

but on the other points i see nothing wrong with number 3 it was actually how i was raised. my mom took us to church and my dad stayed home, and isnt religious.  you dont have to agree to 100% of the things in your lives to be married.  My wife may infact take our kids to catholic church while i dont go. 

would shared finances make it easier yes.  are we going to do that. highly unlikely. 

as i said i'm just looking for ways to help her help herself in her finance world and some of the suggestions have been fantastic.  at the end of the day its not really a major issue in our lives.  and we'll have piles of money to the point we wont know what to do with it all. 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 09:35:39 AM by boarder42 »

With This Herring

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2016, 09:57:50 AM »
In her budget spreadsheet is there a column for "Emergency Fund/Surprise Expense Fund"? Have a set amount of money budgeted go in per month, and then sweep the rest of the leftover money ya didn't spend from other columns into it. If that fund gets too big you can split it in half, other half can be "Fun stuff" column for random fun things ya see come up.

tried this approach already.  was met with Does not compute / "My mind doesn't work that way"

*snip*
i dunno maybe its a lost cause.  she is all freaked out all the time and seems to live paycheck to paycheck - i mean she maxes her 401k and HSA but thats the extent of it.

I do not think the way your wife does, but maybe this will help.

If she is maxing her 401k and HSA, it looks like paycheck deductions are working for her.  She can stick to a budget.  It sounds like she just has to see the money go somewhere.  So, what about another paycheck deduction to a saving account?  OldJob let me send my direct deposit by amount or percentage to multiple bank accounts.  This could work for your wife, and she can rearrange her budget around the remainder of her pay.

Thinking a little further ahead:  You two are intending to retire soon.  Have you two thought about how spending is going to look in the future?  Boarder, you will probably be fine just taking a chunk every year or so, but your wife might need biweekly or monthly deposits into her checking account.  Would you prefer not to have little pulls from investments each month?  It might be best for you to take out the year's worth for both of you and then have an automatic transfer each month/two weeks from your checking to hers.  You two might want to talk about this now and figure out what will work best for her personality and her budget.

I also find it odd that you two keep separate finances.  It seems like it would work well for you two to combine finances, and then each have a total amount of $X per month that you can use for discretionary things go to your individual checking accounts.  Her budget would just encompass her spending goals for discretionary items.  Then you, Boarder, will pay for car surprises and other unexpected expenses from joint funds.

Dezrah

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2016, 10:13:54 AM »
Have you ever tried getting her to think about her budget like a nutrition guide?  The labels say that x grams of fat is y% of your daily recommended value, but this is more realistically an upper limit for most of us.

Things like clothes are like fat and sugar, a little bit is fine (even necessary) but it's probably for the best if you don't go up to the hard limit every day.

If you wrote a strict meal plan where you bumped up against that limit, you'll get in trouble when you realize the leftovers have spoiled early and you have to eat a ham sandwich for lunch instead.

The analogy isn't perfect, but maybe this is the kind of trick your wife needs.

BlueHouse

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2016, 10:30:51 AM »

as i said i'm just looking for ways to help her help herself in her finance world and some of the suggestions have been fantastic.  at the end of the day its not really a major issue in our lives.  and we'll have piles of money to the point we wont know what to do with it all.

Have you asked her if she *wants* your help?  Maybe you're focusing too much on a few hundred dollars that SHE spends rather than the thousands that you spend on the boat or the mclakemansion or whatever.
I don't generally care about separate finances, but it sounds like you have more resources than she has. Maybe you're not being equitable in your saving and spending profiles. Just a thought!

Or, maybe she wants to pay off the mortgage - quelle horrible! 

ender

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2016, 02:18:59 PM »
Would she go to a Financial Peace University?


hoping2retire35

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2016, 02:44:06 PM »
If your financial goals are this different it may be a bad idea to meld your finances anyways.

if you want to fire in 6 years or whatever and she wants to spend $1500 a month on stuff then you will have completely different goals.

if you fire and she keeps working(because she spends all her discretionary money) and you two have kids you, mr boarder, will, by being a primary caretaker/carpooler/whatever, continue to subsides the excessive spending.

Perhaps if you both agree to only spend($300* each or other 'moderate' amount) on discretionary stuff. even if she spends all hers and you save most for some fun activity once FIRE'd or whenever. At least that way you will both be in a similar situation and perhaps she will come around and eventually lower that amount.

maybe save your discretionary money for some gear or experience that is more to your liking but she would still be willing to go along with.

*I cannot imagine having that much money just for whatevs. blows my mind thinking about it.

boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2016, 02:49:02 PM »
at this point i'm going to drop subtle hints.  she has caught on by me saying things and eventually she comes around.  its how i got her to make a budget in the first place 4 years ago when she was saving nothing outside of 401k match.  She's already come a long long ways from where her roots are with her parents.  she does have some categories where the excess does funnel into savings like for our future baby room.  the numbers in the spreadsheet are INSANE.  i mean i probably can get it for 1/4 the price of what is there seeing as we will have 9 months to collect all those baby needs. She just "doesnt" want to feel surprised by the cost and wants to plan for the worst possible case.  Same with her budget for diapers etc. which i can optimize b/c its what i do.   i'll recommend a vanguard account and after each purchase comes in under it can go in there.  Maybe seeing that stash grow will help her see all of these things. 


boarder42

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2016, 02:54:30 PM »
If your financial goals are this different it may be a bad idea to meld your finances anyways.

if you want to fire in 6 years or whatever and she wants to spend $1500 a month on stuff then you will have completely different goals.

if you fire and she keeps working(because she spends all her discretionary money) and you two have kids you, mr boarder, will, by being a primary caretaker/carpooler/whatever, continue to subsides the excessive spending.

Perhaps if you both agree to only spend($300* each or other 'moderate' amount) on discretionary stuff. even if she spends all hers and you save most for some fun activity once FIRE'd or whenever. At least that way you will both be in a similar situation and perhaps she will come around and eventually lower that amount.

maybe save your discretionary money for some gear or experience that is more to your liking but she would still be willing to go along with.

*I cannot imagine having that much money just for whatevs. blows my mind thinking about it.

yes keeping separate finances helps separate goals.  though my plan to FIRE at 37 easily includes the amount of extra money she wants to spend. 

yeah dual engineering incomes no kids and being good at optimizing what are typically higher expenses for people helps us have lots of extra discresionary income.  I take pure joy in figuring out how to make something cheap or free by churning CC's or scapling tickets etc.  which increases our level of fun money and stretches it for miles. 

incognito

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Re: Help me understand -
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2016, 04:05:25 PM »
This train of thought - and how those of you who used to have it over came it and how i can help my wife understand the difference.

First how we handle finances:
1. separate bank accounts do with our money as we please.
2. joint credit cards for agreed upon joint expenses - gas, grocery, the occasional night out, travel
3. agreed upon mortgage contributions based on our salary level etc.

anyways on to the story

So she has a budget - GREAT!

She has this amazing spreadsheet with every penny budgeted down to a gnats ass and every cost logged etc.

So you have your normal more or less fixed cost categories. (the fixed cost of living our lifestyle costs)
mortgage
utilities (i pay them all and just avg them monthly for her so its constant for her)
Food
gas
insurance

The variable spending categories is where i cant get thru to her or understand how or why she thinks this way.

example numbers are made up but you'll get the point

Clothes 1000 - i have to spend 1000 on clothes its what my budget says
Decorations - 500 - i have to spend 500 on decorations its what my budget says
Xmas gifts - 700 - i have to spend 700 on gifts its what my budget says.

how my brain works. - oh ok i have 2200 bucks there is a great deal on a new dress shirt on slickdeals i'll get it for 5 bucks yay.  i dont budget by categories i budget based on forced savings and then spend when i feel like i'm getting good value and save the rest.

how her brain works - i have 1000 to spend on clothes i'll get as many clothes as i possibly can for 1000 dollars.  no limit to whats reasonable or enough etc.

the issue is she is constantly stressed about finances.  b/c unexpected things come up and its not in the strict budget and what should be a flexible category she does flex but it super stresses her b/c she isnt saving cost on flex categories on a daily basis.

i know i cant force her to change and i've tried approaching it more from my side by saying hey lets spend as little of this as we can to get what we need.  and then the rest can go in a savings account incase unexpected things come up. 

then i came at it from the side of hey why dont we lower all these categories down and then try to keep it under that and then add the net difference to a savings account b/c if one does happen to run over you will have some savings there you can hit to pay for a small difference.

i dunno maybe its a lost cause.  she is all freaked out all the time and seems to live paycheck to paycheck - i mean she maxes her 401k and HSA but thats the extent of it.
c

My suggestion would be to put savings at the TOP of the budget list. Decide on a healthy amount of savings (like 40% of income) and pay yourself first. Then deposit that amount into investments before the month begins. Even better, set up the investments so they automatically come out of the bank account just like a mortgage. Then the spending on clothes, decorations, gifts, etc comes after that. Right now, she's doing the opposite.