Vanquishing My Debt

I'm 29 and trying to get a handle on my finances so that, one day, I can buy a home of my own. I've been reading personal finance blogs recently and decided to start one chronicling my own struggles and success (hopefully). I am lucky, considering the amounts of debt and tales of tragedy I've read about... but I am making some positive changes and moving in the right direction.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Changing your partner's habits

Has anyone here tried to bring their significant other along on their journey to a debt-free existence and more frugal lifestyle? Did the significant other go kicking and screaming into this new way of living? Did they flatly refuse and go shopping? Or did they take your hand and skip happily into the sunset with you?

My fiance, R, is very supportive of me trying to change my habits. He's interested in the books I've been reading and we talk a lot about the most interesting ideas I come across. He's very encouraging... we've been talking about mixing store-bought holiday gifts with homemade ones and he was pretty dang excited when I found a recipe for cheap homemade drain de-clogger and it worked. And yet...

...he seems to see these changes as something *I* am doing, not so much something *we* are doing.

Let me explain our financial situation. I have a job I've had for 8 years next month, and I've been increasingly feeling that I may be on the verge of unemployment. My department does not have a lot of work right now, due to my boss taking on the job of salesman himself. And he doesn't like making sales calls. Enough said. R is working as a temp for a nearby city department of water and power, hoping to get a permanent job there soon. Recently he was between assignments and went for 4 weeks without a paycheck, which caused quite an upheaval (and panic) in our home. R also has a small home business (I can't go into a lot of details about it because I rather like being anonymous online) which is not making any money... it's losing money every month due to website expenses. So I've taken over paying all the bills and rent while he stashes his paychecks away to pay for an upcoming convention we'll be going to for his small business. This convention is pretty much the only way to make a profit this year, so we almost have to attend and purchase a booth. This means purchasing the booth itself, liability insurance, and more merchandise to sell. Since his job is always up in the air, he is supposed to be saving all of his income and spending it only on business expenses.

Our finances are separate, althought that will change once we're married. Even though our finances are kept separate, we both still see everything as our money... keeping things separate just makes bookkeeping easier.

So... this brings us back to the dining out issue. I am trying to cut back to maybe once a week. I'm trying new recipes, cooking more often, and it's wonderful seeing the money I would've spent still in my checking account or going to a credit card payment. So when he (it's almost always him) mentions the possibility of going out to eat, I always say that we should go home and have dinner there. Because he likes my cooking, I also usually mention what we're having, just to sweeten the deal. Sometimes he'll persist and tell me that he'll pay for it. Like that changes things!

In most cases, we'll end up going home to have dinner. But it bugs me that he hasn't yet fully grasped the idea of saving money, even though he thinks he has. It bothers me because he is the one that is recovering from bankruptcy and has terribly bad credit. He should be trying just as hard as I am to adjust to this lifestyle, if not harder!

But I guess it's a different process for all of us, right?

In all honesty, I don't even see this adjustment as difficult for me. I think the most difficult thing was changing my habits... not checking out Ebay for clothing I like, not going shopping after work "just to see what's on sale," and planning meals for the week. But I certainly don't feel deprived. I love seeing my credit card balances go down, and I feel in control.

What experiences have you guys had with getting your significant other to see the light?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I'm you. My husband doesn't quite "get it" yet. I hope he does.....soon.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

"...he seems to see these changes as something *I* am doing, not so much something *we* are doing."

This pretty much describes how I feel in my own situation. My DH makes twice what I make and pays all bills except groceries and my credit cards (he has his own). I have us on a grocery budget and I feel like I'm constantly fighting to stay within that budget.

We talk about paying off ALL our CCs but I feel like I'm the only one doing so.

8:38 PM  
Blogger The Divine Miss M said...

I guess it's like that old saying about leading a horse to water, but not being able to make him drink, huh? I hope we all have some success making our significant others see things differently!

7:58 AM  

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