### Author Topic: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?  (Read 30424 times)

#### frugaliknowit

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2015, 10:48:55 AM »
Back of the envelope calculation (all, feel free to correct me...):

House value \$360,000
80% LTV needed to kill PMI:  288,000
Shortage (306-288):  18,000
Annual PMI:  311 * 12 = 3732

Return on paying off PMI today:  3732/18,000= 21%

If you simply lay off the maid and apply the \$260 per month toward the mortgage balance, you'll be at \$288K in around 69 months (5 years/9months).  Add in some of the great savings others have suggested and you'll set your self on fire!!

Tough Hug:  Cleaning lady?  When you've got PMI and a student loan?  I don't think so!!

#### Elisabeth

• Guest
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2015, 10:55:55 AM »
Maybe I am off the mark, but -

My western european ex boyfriend seemed to believe the future was much rosier than it was, because of his view of what the government "should" and "would" provide when he stopped working. Any chance your husband has an overly optimistic view of government-provided retirement benefits in the US?

#### DollarBill

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2015, 11:14:35 AM »
Back of the envelope calculation (all, feel free to correct me...):

House value \$360,000
80% LTV needed to kill PMI:  288,000
Shortage (306-288):  18,000
Annual PMI:  311 * 12 = 3732

Return on paying off PMI today:  3732/18,000= 21%

If you simply lay off the maid and apply the \$260 per month toward the mortgage balance, you'll be at \$288K in around 69 months (5 years/9months).  Add in some of the great savings others have suggested and you'll set your self on fire!!

Tough Hug:  Cleaning lady?  When you've got PMI and a student loan?  I don't think so!!

It would be less then that because your not counting for regular payments. But she did say it was done in 2017 because there was a 5 yr minimum for the PMI.

One way round it might be to pay down the loan to \$288K then do a refi.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 10:12:51 PM by DollarBill »

#### TrMama

• Guest
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2015, 12:06:18 PM »
Lots of good advice so far.

Have you tried meal planning? It's a super easy way to both bring down grocery and restaurant costs while simplifying your life with a new human. We also live in a HCOL area (I think your condo is cheap ;-) and I spend \$600/mo to feed 4 people.

When we had our first daughter, the restaurant and shopping expenses literally evaporated overnight. Who wants to go shopping (or be in a restaurant) with a little person who may begin screaming or puking at any moment?

As for the smoking, would it help you to be matched sooner if you were both non-smokers? I can't help but think that if I were a birth mother and had a big pool of similar sounding couples to choose from, that I'd be more inclined to choose a couple who didn't smoke. However, maybe my asthma and collection of family members with lung cancer and COPD make me more biased?

#### mm1970

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2015, 12:45:26 PM »
You can train yourself to be less slovenly. I  used to be the messiest one between my husband and me.

Now I'd say I'm the neatest of the four of us, because disorder drives me batty.

#### lifejoy

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2015, 12:55:21 PM »
Minimalist sites that I like: zenhabits.net, theminimalists.com, becomingminimalist.com

#### PloddingInsight

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #56 on: January 06, 2015, 01:12:16 PM »
Can you find another government job that you like, only in a different location?

If you are making \$87k and living in 750 square feet, you should have no problem with your husband becoming a stay-at-home dad in an area with normal property values.

#### Paul der Krake

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #57 on: January 06, 2015, 01:26:18 PM »
I agree that a house cleaner for 750 sqft is beyond ridiculous. I live in one and it takes me under 30 minutes to vacuum everywhere, dust, bleach the bathroom, reorganize the pantry, and drink my celebratory beer.

#### Pootie22

• Posts: 52
• Location: Los Angeles
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #58 on: January 06, 2015, 07:12:52 PM »
You mentioned he already has his medical prescription and is still spending \$230 a month.  Why not suggest to him to grow his own, it's perfectly legal once you have the prescription and it is EXTREMELY easy and would cost him next to nothing after buying a few supplies. If he already home brews some alcohol (which takes WAY more work) I think it would be easy to convince him to grow his own medicine.

#### Imustacheyouaquestion

• Bristles
• Posts: 286
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #59 on: January 06, 2015, 08:00:48 PM »
Can you find another government job that you like, only in a different location?

If you are making \$87k and living in 750 square feet, you should have no problem with your husband becoming a stay-at-home dad in an area with normal property values.

\$87k is a high step GS-11 or a GS-12 in the SF Bay area. Fed salaries have a built in locality adjustment, so the same grade position in a lower cost of living area would likely pay low-mid 60s.

#### Strawberry

• Posts: 34
• Location: SF Bay Area
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #60 on: January 06, 2015, 08:57:16 PM »
Can you find another government job that you like, only in a different location?

If you are making \$87k and living in 750 square feet, you should have no problem with your husband becoming a stay-at-home dad in an area with normal property values.

\$87k is a high step GS-11 or a GS-12 in the SF Bay area. Fed salaries have a built in locality adjustment, so the same grade position in a lower cost of living area would likely pay low-mid 60s.

Yep and my job is super location dependent. I can tell you that I am one of the highest paid people I know in my field. Most folks who do our job do it out of love and sacrifice a lot to make it work. My husband's salary is on the high side of typical as well. Did I mention how fortunate we are? Also, I think we could leave much more cheaply here. Yes, the COL is high but we haven't been trying all that hard.

#### Strawberry

• Posts: 34
• Location: SF Bay Area
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #61 on: January 06, 2015, 09:00:24 PM »
You mentioned he already has his medical prescription and is still spending \$230 a month.  Why not suggest to him to grow his own, it's perfectly legal once you have the prescription and it is EXTREMELY easy and would cost him next to nothing after buying a few supplies. If he already home brews some alcohol (which takes WAY more work) I think it would be easy to convince him to grow his own medicine.

Great idea and usually very satisfying for him as a hobby. He's been growing his own for about 3 years but this year he messed something up and it's not good I guess. I wouldn't know because I've never tried it, but he tells me it's no good. When he was successful at it, that expense was much smaller and completely eliminated in October-December. I'll keep encouraging his green thumb.

#### Strawberry

• Posts: 34
• Location: SF Bay Area
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #62 on: January 06, 2015, 09:04:55 PM »
Maybe I am off the mark, but -

My western european ex boyfriend seemed to believe the future was much rosier than it was, because of his view of what the government "should" and "would" provide when he stopped working. Any chance your husband has an overly optimistic view of government-provided retirement benefits in the US?

You're definitely on the mark here and he has a very generous defined benefit retirement to boot, so the European model actually works for him. AND, he has reason to expect inheritance so I think he just thinks everything will work out in the end. I'm more interested in FI sooner though.

#### Strawberry

• Posts: 34
• Location: SF Bay Area
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #63 on: January 06, 2015, 09:07:23 PM »

He did not have a housekeeper when we didn't live together. He actually used to come to my apartment and clean it when we were still friends (before we even thought of dating). So he has always despised my slovenliness. He just had more tolerance for it when he didn't have to live in it.

Strawberry :)  Your honesty is going to get you very, very far in your journey to advance your finances. It's a joy to read you. You're going to do beautifully, I believe!

Thank you so much! That means a lot to me and makes me want to succeed so I can come back here and tell you all about it.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 09:11:59 PM by Strawberry »

#### frugalfedmom

• Posts: 21
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #64 on: January 07, 2015, 01:11:33 PM »
Most people seem to be focusing on the cleaning service or prescription drugs, but if those are non-negotiable, I would try to shave another few hundred off of your expenses from other stuff (groceries, cash, clothes, etc), and adding that to your \$1400 "leftover" money, I would try to kill the \$16k student loan or \$18k mortgage shortage (or both!) to free up the extra ~\$300 (each) you're spending on those. If you're aggressive enough, you may be able to pay off one of them in less than a year, maybe both in 1.5 yrs. I echo what a previous poster said about paying down your mortgage and refinancing so you cut out that PMI before 2017. Even if you get rid of one of these payments before the baby arrives, it'll probably put you in a much better spot stress-wise.

As a fellow fed with a staggering amount of studen loans myself, I've been trying to put every cent into my student loan...it's hard especially since like you, I'm pretty new to this, and my husband is still a student (working toward going into academia...and not super mustachian although he kind of has to be now because he's a student...I guess we're actually very similar!) but I will be so happy to see those monthly payments gone and I can add that to savings!

I do applaud you for maxing out your tsp and already owning your home (those are two things I haven't been able to do yet)! However, you mentioned your husband hates his job and you'd love to have him be a SAHD once the baby comes - have you considered the following?

#### TerriM

• Pencil Stache
• Posts: 505
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #65 on: January 07, 2015, 01:43:53 PM »
I'm sorry to say this and it's going to sound mean, but I'm having trouble understanding how you made it through the home study.  Are you saying a real adoption agency would give a baby to someone that uses drugs as much as your husband does?  That's just insane.  Or did your husband lie to the social workers about his drug use?

In your shoes, I would stop and ask myself what kind of parent is he really going to be?  Based on what you have said, he's apparently a child himself.  I don't see him being much of a parent, no matter how "nurturing" you think his personality is.

If you adopt, you will likely be the only parent.  The child will be exposed to and will likely pick up his bad behavior.  If the baby is coming from a home with drug or alcohol issues, your husband will compound the problem that already exists.

In your shoes, I would not consider adopting until he starts acting like a responsible, non-addicted adult.  And if he does not get there, then either he or the adoption would have to go.

My husband has a prescription for a medication that is completely legal where we live. I think he will make an excellent parent and the social workers agree. We plan on being open about this with birthmothers as well. We certainly wouldn't want someone placing their child in a home where they were uncomfortable with our everyday lives. We don't expect it to be a huge issue.

OHHHHH. hahaha, I FINALLY put together the "organic outdoor grown pharmacy expense" with the fact that you mentioned weed once. I  kept thinking, "what kind of medicine is organic and outdoor grown? some kind of herbal remedy? I wonder if they could find it cheaper online?" even medicinal MJ is probably a million years away from being legalized in OK, so definitely not what came to my mind! :)

I didn't pick it up either.

Recommend he ditch the cigs if he's already smoking something else.  And if he doesn't need the weed, stop that too.

• Stubble
• Posts: 230
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2015, 01:49:33 PM »
As a fellow fed with a staggering amount of studen loans myself, I've been trying to put every cent into my student loan...it's hard especially since like you, I'm pretty new to this, and my husband is still a student (working toward going into academia...and not super mustachian although he kind of has to be now because he's a student...I guess we're actually very similar!) but I will be so happy to see those monthly payments gone and I can add that to savings!

I would consider paying only the min on the student loans since the balance gets forgiven after 10 years as a federal employee.

#### frugalfedmom

• Posts: 21
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2015, 02:32:11 PM »
Usually at 16k you end up paying it off way before you reach ten years. I plan to do this with my fed student loan of about \$100k but my hubs has a large private loan we need to kill first.

#### jbfishing

• Posts: 32
• Age: 51
• Location: Earth
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #68 on: February 04, 2015, 08:02:08 AM »
I think everybody has been too nice in their responses.  You've both developed expensive habits but roughly half of those will dissappear when your husband dies from a lifetime of smoking, and probably before the baby graduates high school.  Will you inherit his pension or some other benefit?  Frankly, from a financial and health standpoint you'd be better off.  There should be absolutely no excuse for smoking around the baby.  This should be non-negotiable.  You might even be one of the many parents of an asthmatic child and then you'll question whether the smoking caused it or contributed to it.

Your husband sounds very selfish in spending, health effects on others (you),  and in lack of planning.  Your pressing forward to bring a baby into the situation makes you selfish also.  This is clearly not a surprise baby so why has there been so little advance planning? Especially by your husband?  Is this a sign that maybe he's not into having a baby as much as you are?  Raising a child is much easier when you're working together as a team.  It is time for your husband to show some action.

Do wish you good luck and I hope your husband come around sooner rather than later.

#### CommonCents

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• Posts: 2375
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #69 on: February 04, 2015, 08:31:52 AM »
As for the smoking, would it help you to be matched sooner if you were both non-smokers? I can't help but think that if I were a birth mother and had a big pool of similar sounding couples to choose from, that I'd be more inclined to choose a couple who didn't smoke. However, maybe my asthma and collection of family members with lung cancer and COPD make me more biased?

Yeah, I would think this too.  I'll also say - those that might not care might be smokers themselves.  Not to say those kids don't need parents, but just FYI so you are prepared for a baby with those medical issues.

#### Stash Engineer

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• Posts: 523
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #70 on: February 04, 2015, 09:33:09 AM »
There are a lot of good responses here, so I'll try not to repeat too many of them.  It sounds like you have made some good progress, but I think you still have lots of opportunity to improve.

-I know the housekeeping thing has been beaten to death but I feel like I need to add this for emphasis:  Cancel the housekeeping RIGHT NOW and clean your own 750 sq ft house.  I'm a naturally messy person and my wife is the clean one.  In an effort to keep the peace, I help her clean our 1800+ sq ft house every Sunday morning.  It only takes a couple hours tops to clean the whole house top to bottom.  We also have 2 kids (1 and 5 yrs) and kids are just plain messy.  You need to make this a priority.  Write it in your calender if you have to!  Two people (even one person) should be able to clean a 750 sq ft house in NO TIME!  Stop making excuses and do it!  The suggestion to get rid of excess 'stuff' in your life is a good one and will speed up your housekeeping too.

-Simplify your life as much as possible.  That infant, when it does come, is going to flip your world and your routine upside down.  The less clutter you have in your life and in your mind, the better.

-You still spend too much on groceries for 2 people - especially with the \$ you spend on resturants.  I spend \$520/month to feed a family of 4.

-You spend \$4600 on clothing and \$1000 on books last year?  Holy #!\$%!  You must have the biggest closet ever or very expensive tastes in clothing.  I bet you have clothes hanging in your closet that still have the tags on them.  Do you really need more clothes anytime soon?  Excessive spending in general needs to drop dramatically.

-There's no reason you should have two cars.  From your posts, it sounds like there is an emotional attachment issue.  I used to be very guilty of getting emotionally attached to vehicles and being very irrational about keeping them and spending WAY more money on them than any normal person ever should.  Unless you can find a financial reason to keep both (highly doubtful), it's time to let one go.

I'll echo what swick said about there being some underlying emotional/stress issues.  You and your hubby need to work out some compromises on a few topics and figure out some common financial goals to work towards.  Cutting costs is a tough enough by yourself, but when you are trying to make lifestyle changes that affect your spouse also, it is critical that you are both on board.  Maybe you are the one doing all the planning and tracking, but you don't want him to resent you for it.

#### davef

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• Age: 39
• Location: Wilsonville, OR
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #71 on: February 04, 2015, 02:10:26 PM »
I would focus your efforts on Shot term goals. Getting rid of your PMI would likely have a very good return on investment. Read the details of what you are locked into, make sure it is paid off by 2017. Figure out what extra monthly principle payment this will take and start making it (\$1400) at a time for right now. When the baby arrives try to cut back other places before touching this.

#### JetsettingWelfareMom

• Posts: 63
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2015, 11:24:40 PM »
I agree with the PMI as lowish hanging fruit...after reading some of the more judgemental views can I mention the elephant in the room? Which is this: If Strawberry is adopting a baby, the baby might have been taken from it's biological parents for exactly those things that her husband is doing...the difference being that she's a Fed, they're earning a lot more, and in theory their living situation has been checked out as safer.
But I want to point out the moral hazard here..and how this should be acknowledged in order to move forward here....

#### surfhb

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #73 on: February 22, 2015, 12:12:15 AM »
Pffsst!!!   I say you just cut out the cigarettes and keep enjoying your spending the way it is now.

I say this because if he continues to smoke he will die a slow and horrible death.... That's just a fact.    Not to mention the toll it's taking on you currently and your future child.

You guys make a decent living, have a good savings already.   Once he stops smoking and his lungs heal years from now, you can then start think of cutting cost and truly be badass.

This sounds awful but the odds of him being alive before your child graduates high school is somewhat slim If he continues to smoke weed and cigs.    It's time for him to grow up and you need to explain to him what you require in this relationship

Btw.... I used to smoke weed and cigs too :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 12:23:18 AM by surfhb »

#### JetsettingWelfareMom

• Posts: 63
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #74 on: February 22, 2015, 12:36:55 AM »
Pffsst!!!   I say you just cut out the cigarettes and keep enjoying your spending the way it is now.

I say this because if he continues to smoke he will die a slow and horrible death.... That's just a fact.    Not to mention the toll it's taking on you currently and your future child.

You guys make a decent living, have a good savings already.   Once he stops smoking and his lungs heal years from now, you can then start think of cutting cost and truly be badass.

This sounds awful but the odds of him being alive before your child graduates high school is somewhat slim If he continues to smoke weed and cigs.    It's time for him to grow up and you need to explain to him what you require in this relationship

Btw.... I used to smoke weed and cigs too :)

That's a little harsh...assuming hubby is in his 30's, that means he's dead by his early 50's. My aunt was a chain smoker and certainly cut 20-30 years off her life, but still made it to her late 60's...not that I'm encouraging smoking but why get all preachy cause a kid is involved?

#### Argyle

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##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #75 on: February 22, 2015, 12:50:04 AM »
You ask if anyone pays less than \$50 a month for car insurance -- I pay \$21 a month.  Old car (but not as old as 1991), minimal insurance, drive it less than 3000 miles per year.  But the biggest difference is that I only have one car.  Two cars doubles not only the insurance, but the taxes, the oil changes, the new tires when they're needed, the little mechanical things that go wrong...  Getting rid of one of your cars is low-hanging fruit there.

However, I do notice that with most of the suggestions here, you give lengthy reasons why you can't change that aspect.  I know many of those things feel unchangeable.  That's why you don't have more savings and more cushion.  Moving into a new realm of financial security means changing a number of the things that we may have originally regarded as non-negotiable.    The question is: which do you want more?  To hang on to those habits, or to have a good financial cushion?  The choice is up to you.

#### surfhb

• Guest
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #76 on: February 22, 2015, 12:55:42 AM »
She indicated he is 47 and has been smoking for 35 years.

I'm just laying out the facts for her to consider....but preachy is a better term :)

Btw..... When will there be time to smoke if he's a SAHD?    Is he going to put the kid in a carrier on the outside porch?     Really your only issue is the smoking.    The rest is just typical middle class spending....stuff people spend money on and retire comfortably in their 60s.    He won't see retirement if he continues.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 01:15:37 AM by surfhb »

#### KD

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• Posts: 239
• "Waste is a resource out of place."-Coors Mfg.
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #77 on: February 22, 2015, 08:17:10 AM »
Good on you for being here and taking it on the chin as the face punches have come.  I'd have to answer YES to your titular question, you are using spouse's untouchables as an excuse, and as you've already nicely admitted you responded in tit-for-tat type overreaction spending in retaliation.  Luckily you had the \$s.  And even luckier is you've seen the error of your ways and are trying to make a correction.  GREAT JOB so far.

I'll touch on two things as everyone else has already given you good advice if you'll get out your HARD LOOK glasses and put some numbers on paper for you and your husband to go over.

1)The age difference - those not in one of these marriages may not consider that PERHAPS you are acquiescing way too easily based on his more advanced age & supposed maturity.  I fell into that trap myself in a May/December-ish type marriage - ours is a 13 year difference.  I deferred my opinions to his 'more mature' viewpoint a few more times than was fiscally responsible.  Money is emotional and in marriage we often don't want to rock the boat.  Figure out HOW to bring him forward in a way that works for him AND YOU.  If that means he needs to see the numbers written down, do it.  Give him 3 differing budget scenarios to look at and go over with you.  Your need to plan is important to you.  Just as his to drink/drug/smoke is to him.  Into every life a little rain must fall.

I would come at it from the angle of his getting to Retire WAYYYYYYYY Earlier if he'd make some sacrifices now.  It appears that you are in more need of the security of Financial Independence?  ...as it appears you want to continue in the workforce to full retirement age?  Define your own mission.  Draft a proposed one for him, let him correct you on points you are mistaken on.  Perhaps he is relying on that inheritance money?  If he came from a wealthy family perhaps he needs a re-adjustment of his money habits?  Here you may point out that an inheritance is a possibility, not a certainty, and that you need to plan for a fall-back position as if it never came through.  Combine the 2 mission statements into a family one.  Written, that you can both agree to and revisit at ongoing family financial meetings.

2)Smoking - my Hubs used to smoke.  He used 'Ondamed' to quit.  It sounds all hocus-pocusy to ME, however, it worked for him at a relative minimal cost and he'd smoked about 40 years.  He did have to go back in for multiple treatments (maybe two or three altogether) but it did work.  He just passed his 5 year no-smoking anniversary.  Do a google on it - worth traveling for if not in your area.  Mine smoked outside after giving me bronchitis several years running.

Good luck and let us hear how it goes!

#### green daisy

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• Posts: 107
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #78 on: February 22, 2015, 09:19:39 AM »
Is your husband at all interested in quitting smoking?  My husband quit when our daughter was an infant after having smoked since he was 15.  He used Chantix, which was brand new on the market at the time.  It worked really well and he has now been a non-smoker for 10 years.  He had tried a few other methods previously and failed.  But in his case, he had a strong desire to quit.

I don't have any experience with smoking weed, but with regards to him being a SAHD, wouldn't that affect his ability to competently care for a child?

#### mm1970

• Walrus Stache
• Posts: 9470
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #79 on: February 22, 2015, 05:19:19 PM »
Pffsst!!!   I say you just cut out the cigarettes and keep enjoying your spending the way it is now.

I say this because if he continues to smoke he will die a slow and horrible death.... That's just a fact.    Not to mention the toll it's taking on you currently and your future child.

You guys make a decent living, have a good savings already.   Once he stops smoking and his lungs heal years from now, you can then start think of cutting cost and truly be badass.

This sounds awful but the odds of him being alive before your child graduates high school is somewhat slim If he continues to smoke weed and cigs.    It's time for him to grow up and you need to explain to him what you require in this relationship

Btw.... I used to smoke weed and cigs too :)
My dad smoked as long as I knew him.  Lived to be (almost) 82 and died of an aneurysm.  Pretty quick and out, only a few hours before he was gone.

#### wtjbatman

• Handlebar Stache
• Posts: 1309
• Age: 38
• Location: Missouri
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #80 on: February 22, 2015, 05:50:11 PM »
Maybe he has quit smoking cigs and weed within the last month and a half since she's posted.

#### Rosbif

• Posts: 77
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #81 on: February 23, 2015, 01:56:33 AM »
The only bit I caught from this whole thread was that an ITALIAN doesn't want to be seen on a BICYCLE. A FUCKING ITALIAN?? The country of Bartali, Coppi, Gimondi, Moser and Cipollini? He should be ashamed...

But more seriously, you are clearly headed in the right direction, and you're getting loads of good advice (especially about not smoking). My contribution is on the housekeeper. If a housekeeper is the only way to ensure peace reigns at home, then fine. I'm happy working another two years to ensure that every one of the many years between now and then is a peaceful one!

(we have a weekly cleaner for 700sqft)

#### Strawberry

• Posts: 34
• Location: SF Bay Area
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #82 on: June 28, 2015, 11:03:40 AM »
I think everybody has been too nice in their responses.  You've both developed expensive habits but roughly half of those will dissappear when your husband dies from a lifetime of smoking, and probably before the baby graduates high school.  Will you inherit his pension or some other benefit?  Frankly, from a financial and health standpoint you'd be better off.  There should be absolutely no excuse for smoking around the baby.  This should be non-negotiable.  You might even be one of the many parents of an asthmatic child and then you'll question whether the smoking caused it or contributed to it.

Your husband sounds very selfish in spending, health effects on others (you),  and in lack of planning.  Your pressing forward to bring a baby into the situation makes you selfish also.  This is clearly not a surprise baby so why has there been so little advance planning? Especially by your husband?  Is this a sign that maybe he's not into having a baby as much as you are?  Raising a child is much easier when you're working together as a team.  It is time for your husband to show some action.

Do wish you good luck and I hope your husband come around sooner rather than later.

Back with an update and since you're one of the most straightforward about the smoking, I've quoted you. My husband has no plans to smoke around the baby, but I've convinced him that even the smoke on his clothes is harmful. He has never smoked in the house (gross!) and I find it odd that people assume that he does. Do people really do that? Anyway, I think he's really trying to quit these days and has cut down substantially.

Update 1 - We got rid of the housekeeper at my insistence and the house is MUCH cleaner these days. I've apparently changed in the last 6 years and am able to pitch in when I know I have to. He's happy and seems more willing to go all in for this FI thing since I've stepped up.

Update 2-  I'm pregnant for keeps this time, so the adoption will come AFTER bio baby. For those of you concerned about children being taken from drug-using homes and being placed in ours, we were not planning to foster adopt. It would be domestic infant adoption and we would obvoiusly tell the birth mother about what goes on in our house, since she would have a long-term relationship with us. There would be no way to hide the weed habit, nor any desire to do so. He's not ashamed and neither am I.

Update 3- We have consitently gotten our groceries below \$500/ month since I've taken over grocery shopping.

I appreciate everyone's advice a lot. Some folks are judgemental, sure, but I tend to agree with a lot of it. My husband should really quit smoking, but (I may have mentioned this before) his family is super long-lived and its hard to convince him he's going to die early. Both his grandfathers (and one grandmother) smoked their entire lives and lived well into their 90s. I watched my gandmother die of lung cancer at 69 and I can't imagine going through the same with my husband. I hope he's right about this and I'm wrong. In the event that I'm not, of course I get his pension and his life insurance and his inheritence, which I would give zero shits about at that point. I love him way way more than I desire financial independence.

#### arebelspy

• Senior Mustachian
• Posts: 28503
• Age: -999
• Location: Seattle, WA
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #83 on: June 28, 2015, 01:45:21 PM »
As to the smoking, have him look into the effects of third-hand smoke. My daughter was born premature, and at 2 years old, my husband is still not allowed to hold her if he has a cigar. After reading up on third hand smoke, he gave up all smoking until our kids are 5 years old. Third hand smoke applies to all smoke (tobacco, weed, fires). They are all bad for developing lungs.

Sorry, can't let FUD stand without commenting, cause that's how ignorance spreads. Medical research is dubious that second hand smoke is even damaging.  "Third hand smoke" is definitely *.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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#### little_brown_dog

• Pencil Stache
• Posts: 912
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #84 on: June 28, 2015, 02:04:19 PM »
good for you with the changes and congrats on the pregnancy!

you are moving in the right direction with the food expenses. for groceries, as a couple also living in an expensive area, we spend about \$325-\$350 a month, even now with me being major preggo and eating more than usual.  This budget allows us to include organic fruit and veggies, almond milk, cereal, cheese, yogurt and other expensive foods. I'd say >50% of the food we buy is organic and/or humane certified which is important to us. Honestly, the biggest keys to our success in keeping our costs relatively low and still buying organic, whole foods is eating vegetarian and meal planning. If you are meat eaters but aren't attached to a meat-heavy diet, try limiting meat dishes to a couple nights a week for savings (it shocks me how much even cheap meat costs, let alone high quality meat from responsible farms). Try writing out all the meals you want to make Sun-Sat. Only plan meals that use ingredients you currently have, or require you to buy the fewest ingredients, and stick to that ingredient list (it's easy to blow \$25+ on random snack items). Eye recipes critically - if the recipe calls for 3 types of spices/herbs and you already have 2 of the 3 on hand, do you really need to buy that last spice? Probably not. Don't be afraid to substitute similar ingredients - if a recipe calls for summer squash but you have a zucchini on hand (or if zucc is cheaper at the store), use that instead.

#### scrubbyfish

• Guest
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #85 on: June 28, 2015, 03:24:18 PM »
I love when people update! I think that's very respectful of the people who put time and thought into responding to an OP, as well as encouraging for readers in general. So, thanks for doing so, and I was delighted with the contents!

Great work on resolving the housekeeping matter without keeping a housekeeper. An excellent point you made in there about how we change, so it's worth regularly checking in on our "necessities" (and even wants).

#### johnny847

• Magnum Stache
• Posts: 3188
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #86 on: June 28, 2015, 05:09:22 PM »
As to the smoking, have him look into the effects of third-hand smoke. My daughter was born premature, and at 2 years old, my husband is still not allowed to hold her if he has a cigar. After reading up on third hand smoke, he gave up all smoking until our kids are 5 years old. Third hand smoke applies to all smoke (tobacco, weed, fires). They are all bad for developing lungs.

Sorry, can't let FUD stand without commenting, cause that's how ignorance spreads. Medical research is dubious that second hand smoke is even damaging.  "Third hand smoke" is definitely *.
Yup. The research I've seen is that detrimental effects of second hand smoke have only been shown in indoor environments or standing right next to a smoker outside over a period of years (close to at least a decade)

#### Mr Dumpster Stache

• Stubble
• Posts: 139
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #87 on: June 28, 2015, 07:03:32 PM »
Quote
Update 2-  I'm pregnant for keeps this time,

Congratulations! Babies are awesome. :)

#### JetsettingWelfareMom

• Posts: 63
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #88 on: September 17, 2015, 05:08:55 PM »
I think everybody has been too nice in their responses.  You've both developed expensive habits but roughly half of those will dissappear when your husband dies from a lifetime of smoking, and probably before the baby graduates high school.  Will you inherit his pension or some other benefit?  Frankly, from a financial and health standpoint you'd be better off.  There should be absolutely no excuse for smoking around the baby.  This should be non-negotiable.  You might even be one of the many parents of an asthmatic child and then you'll question whether the smoking caused it or contributed to it.

Your husband sounds very selfish in spending, health effects on others (you),  and in lack of planning.  Your pressing forward to bring a baby into the situation makes you selfish also.  This is clearly not a surprise baby so why has there been so little advance planning? Especially by your husband?  Is this a sign that maybe he's not into having a baby as much as you are?  Raising a child is much easier when you're working together as a team.  It is time for your husband to show some action.

Do wish you good luck and I hope your husband come around sooner rather than later.

Back with an update and since you're one of the most straightforward about the smoking, I've quoted you. My husband has no plans to smoke around the baby, but I've convinced him that even the smoke on his clothes is harmful. He has never smoked in the house (gross!) and I find it odd that people assume that he does. Do people really do that? Anyway, I think he's really trying to quit these days and has cut down substantially.

Update 1 - We got rid of the housekeeper at my insistence and the house is MUCH cleaner these days. I've apparently changed in the last 6 years and am able to pitch in when I know I have to. He's happy and seems more willing to go all in for this FI thing since I've stepped up.

Update 2-  I'm pregnant for keeps this time, so the adoption will come AFTER bio baby. For those of you concerned about children being taken from drug-using homes and being placed in ours, we were not planning to foster adopt. It would be domestic infant adoption and we would obvoiusly tell the birth mother about what goes on in our house, since she would have a long-term relationship with us. There would be no way to hide the weed habit, nor any desire to do so. He's not ashamed and neither am I.

Update 3- We have consitently gotten our groceries below \$500/ month since I've taken over grocery shopping.

I appreciate everyone's advice a lot. Some folks are judgemental, sure, but I tend to agree with a lot of it. My husband should really quit smoking, but (I may have mentioned this before) his family is super long-lived and its hard to convince him he's going to die early. Both his grandfathers (and one grandmother) smoked their entire lives and lived well into their 90s. I watched my gandmother die of lung cancer at 69 and I can't imagine going through the same with my husband. I hope he's right about this and I'm wrong. In the event that I'm not, of course I get his pension and his life insurance and his inheritence, which I would give zero shits about at that point. I love him way way more than I desire financial independence.

Congrats on the pregnancy! Thanks for the updates even if I'm slow responding I always like to see how things are when I take the time to put my two cents in. :-P We know smoking is bad but I think it's really overly vilified in the USA...people in European countries smoke more yet have better health overall. I think stressful environments, prescription drugs and fast food are bad for babies too but folks here are oddly more silent on those things.
I'm really happy that you want open communication with the birth mother if and when you do adopt--it's something I always wanted to look into. I've sometimes considered being a foster parent but the more I read about it, the more the slow grinding wheels of bureaucracy turned me off. It sounded a lot like my husband's visa where a lot of big promises on how quick and easy it was going to be would turn into a seething hornet's nest. So my comment about your husband's smoking marijuana wasn't an indictment of his habit so much as it was an observation of how ass backwards things in the USA can be sometimes...I think it's better than any of the alternatives for pain but glad you stand by him...
A child will change your habits and your budget in profound ways. Enjoy the journey!

#### eliza

• Bristles
• Posts: 377
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #89 on: September 17, 2015, 09:15:52 PM »
I'm sorry to say this and it's going to sound mean, but I'm having trouble understanding how you made it through the home study.  Are you saying a real adoption agency would give a baby to someone that uses drugs as much as your husband does?  That's just insane.  Or did your husband lie to the social workers about his drug use?

In your shoes, I would stop and ask myself what kind of parent is he really going to be?  Based on what you have said, he's apparently a child himself.  I don't see him being much of a parent, no matter how "nurturing" you think his personality is.

If you adopt, you will likely be the only parent.  The child will be exposed to and will likely pick up his bad behavior.  If the baby is coming from a home with drug or alcohol issues, your husband will compound the problem that already exists.

In your shoes, I would not consider adopting until he starts acting like a responsible, non-addicted adult.  And if he does not get there, then either he or the adoption would have to go.

My husband has a prescription for a medication that is completely legal where we live. I think he will make an excellent parent and the social workers agree. We plan on being open about this with birthmothers as well. We certainly wouldn't want someone placing their child in a home where they were uncomfortable with our everyday lives. We don't expect it to be a huge issue.

I want to both reassure you and offer a word of caution.

I don't think that smoking (weed or cigarettes) makes your husband a bad father.  My own father was known to smoke a bit of both as a child and I like to think he didn't screw me up too much.

But, a word of warning, although medicinal marijuana may be legal under state law (I'm unfamiliar with CA law in specific, but am assuming that he is complying with all state rules), it remains illegal under federal law.   The DOJ has chosen not to pursue prosecution in most cases where a grower, distributor, or purchaser is operating in compliance with a state law (Cole Memorandum), but that is policy not law and could change based on the political climate.  And, as a federal employee, you are prohibited from indulging (it sounds like you don't, anyways) as a condition of employment.

My personal opinion is that the risk is low for a purchaser or for someone growing for personal use only, but it is still a risk and it would be smart to consider back-up plans in the event something goes wrong.

#### eliza

• Bristles
• Posts: 377
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #90 on: September 17, 2015, 09:27:43 PM »
Back with an update and since you're one of the most straightforward about the smoking, I've quoted you. My husband has no plans to smoke around the baby, but I've convinced him that even the smoke on his clothes is harmful. He has never smoked in the house (gross!) and I find it odd that people assume that he does. Do people really do that? Anyway, I think he's really trying to quit these days and has cut down substantially.

Update 1 - We got rid of the housekeeper at my insistence and the house is MUCH cleaner these days. I've apparently changed in the last 6 years and am able to pitch in when I know I have to. He's happy and seems more willing to go all in for this FI thing since I've stepped up.

Update 2-  I'm pregnant for keeps this time, so the adoption will come AFTER bio baby. For those of you concerned about children being taken from drug-using homes and being placed in ours, we were not planning to foster adopt. It would be domestic infant adoption and we would obvoiusly tell the birth mother about what goes on in our house, since she would have a long-term relationship with us. There would be no way to hide the weed habit, nor any desire to do so. He's not ashamed and neither am I.

Update 3- We have consitently gotten our groceries below \$500/ month since I've taken over grocery shopping.

I appreciate everyone's advice a lot. Some folks are judgemental, sure, but I tend to agree with a lot of it. My husband should really quit smoking, but (I may have mentioned this before) his family is super long-lived and its hard to convince him he's going to die early. Both his grandfathers (and one grandmother) smoked their entire lives and lived well into their 90s. I watched my gandmother die of lung cancer at 69 and I can't imagine going through the same with my husband. I hope he's right about this and I'm wrong. In the event that I'm not, of course I get his pension and his life insurance and his inheritence, which I would give zero shits about at that point. I love him way way more than I desire financial independence.

UGH.  This is why I should read all the way until the end of the thread instead of most of the way before replying.

1) Congratulations on your pregnancy.  I wish you and baby a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
2) Good job on getting some of your spending under control.
3) If you have the time and inclination, I encourage you to post an updated budget and financial snapshot.  Now that a baby is imminent, there might be more helpful suggestions folks on the forum can make as you continue to optimize your financial situation.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 09:29:22 PM by eliza »

#### MrsPete

• Magnum Stache
• Posts: 3513
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #91 on: September 18, 2015, 07:57:49 AM »
In short, yes, I hear lots of excuses.  You seem willing to consider them for what they are, and that'll help you get rid of these problem spots.
When you are evaluating purchases/services a really great way to look at it is by using Eric'as chart. It is simple but a great way to get to the "why" behind your spending decisions.
http://www.nwedible.com/2012/10/mini-money-challenge-occupy-your-brainwhat-you-want-isnt-really-what-you-want.html
That's a nice chart!  Could be useful with teens in helping them to think through the motivation behind their wants.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2015, 08:13:09 AM by MrsPete »

#### Bracken_Joy

• Walrus Stache
• Posts: 8937
• Location: Oregon
##### Re: Reader Case Study – Am I using spouse's untouchables as an excuse?
« Reply #92 on: September 18, 2015, 12:02:08 PM »
What an awesome update! You're making great changes. And congratulations on the pregnancy! How very exciting.