Saturday, September 24, 2005

Money & relationships

I know that the #1 cause for divorce is money problems. So I am kind of worried about moving in with my boyfried. We've never had any issues with money before because we've never really had to split bills before or make decisions together. Now that we are moving in together those days are over. He's already driving me crazy because he just doesn't get me. He is one of those people that would rather pay the extra money to avoid the additional effort while I am the total opposite. I would much rather get a better deal and incur a little bit more inconvenience.

Exhibit A:

He doesn't want to bother looking around for cheap/free furniture on Craigslist or at yard sales. He would rather spend a lot of money on furniture that looks nice and will last than search for a good deal. I really don't see the point in spending tons of money on furniture until you buy a house you are going to stay in for a while. Why? Because we may need to move again and I don't want to worry about having to find a place that will be perfect for our furniture or worry about trying to sell it if it doesn't fit or whatever. I would rather feel comfortable just getting rid of it if something did happen.

Exhibit B:

He doesn't think that a savings of $10 off of our cell phone bill is a lot of money and is not worth the effort of switching.

Exhibit C:

He wants to buy a brand new car instead of buying one that is 1 or 2 years old simply because he can't say that it's brand new. I don't understand why you would rather pay thousands of dollars in depreciation rather than own something that someone else has already driven.

Exhibit D:

When we go to the grocery store he will grab the first thing he sees instead of comparing brands to see which is cheapest or what is on sale.

Eventually I think it will drive ME insane that he doesn't care where his money goes and it will drive HIM insane that I am always looking for a way to save a buck here or there. Aye carumba! What am I getting myself into?

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Liz said...

Hello, regular reader from Malaysia here!

I think you really have to sit down with your boyfriend and tell him that this is how you deal with your money, and try to get him on board with this or else it'll be difficult.

I know! I may not stay with my boyfriend, but I stayed with my sister. My sister was the frugal responsible one while I was the one who would buy anything that sparkles (or makes cute noises).

I cannot count the number of horrible rows we had over money. My sister was frustrated because she was the responsible one trying to save money while I was the one incurring unnecessary debt (by paying the house bills late or forgetting about them, to name a few foibles).

I've since come to my senses, and we keep a single file where we deal with our expesnses - at the beggining of the month, we delegate the bill paying business to each other and record it in the file.

So .. yeah, I'd really advice that you two are on the same page on this one. Or else frustration and quarrels might ensue.

Karen said...

I agree - he needs to understand this is you and when you live together, you unconsciously/unknowingly sign on the dotted line that all flaws and personality traits will be accepted. If not, problems are likely. Especially if both of you are strong willed people.

lottacatts said...

It's important to communicate, discuss your differences, and both be willing to compromise. Give and take. Money may be important but it isn't everything.

abileneblues said...

I don't think of it so much as money causing relationship problems as differing priorities and personalities causing them. I think it is probably more visible with money issues because a) everybody has bills/income/expenses and b) money gives a common way of measuring just how far apart those priorities can be. In fact, you almost added up the differences in your article. Your differences go anywhere from a $10 difference on the phone issue to several thousand on cars.

Now that you've accounted for the differences, can you live with them? Or can he? Apart from some transforming event, neither of you will likely change much. Over the years you may get closer on some issues, but there will likely still be some difference between you.

Barring that life-changing event, there are probably 3 outcomes that will play themselves out over and over. First, you will often be frustrated as he blows your budget. Second, he will be frustrated because you often "nag" him about how much things cost. And third, you have many arguements that lead to compromises neither is happy about and, over time, perhaps money issues become the issue you both avoid. In other words, nobody is happy.

Rather than just be negative, however, and make it a go/no-go situation, I'll offer this idea. If you guys can agree up front on dividing some of the money issues up based on each person's strengths, you could come up with a win-win situation. For instance, if he has the discipline to file papers and pay the bills, he does that while you make out the budget. If he can cook and doesn't mind doing it, you'll do the shopping for it. Then he gets the ingredients he wants and the convenience of not having to shop for them while you get the peace of mind knowing that you shopped around and got the best deal and your supper cooked for you.

That may not work for everything, but it may alleviate enough of the issues to where you have a chance to build a healthy relationship together.

Jose Anes said...

Bad omen for the relationship.

KEEP SEPPARATE ACCOUNTS ON EVERYTHING :) Maybe a common spending account for petty cash.

Money And Investing

mmb said...
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mmb said...

Wow, you must be the lucky girl who got my ex. Seriously though, it's not like I do all the things on your list either but when you are with someone who has such different priorities and outlook as you it's difficult. I agree with Jose about the separate accounts but even then it will drive you crazy when he drives into the valet lane with perfectly good parking just around the corner or hires a stretch limo just to go to the NY MOM. You two need to sit down and come up with some compromises that you can both live with.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I are the decade-older version of you guys! LOL

We have a joint checking account into which we deposit our halves of the monthly expenses--rent, utilities, groceries. We each maintain the individual checking accounts we had before our relationship. He pays double what I pay for cellualar because he signed on to one plan and that was it; I analyze my minutes usage and buy the plan that suits me. He buys a mocha everyday at Starbucks--twice on the weekend. I make tea in the morning and sip it from my thermos on the way to work.

Maybe it's because we're older and because I've been married before, but don't let these things eat away at you. It's tough because you're so diligent about getting out of debt and he's more laissez-faire, but as long as he's paying his share of the expenses and he's contributing toward the down payment for your house together, don't sweat how he spends his 'blow money' (to paraphrase Dave Ramsey). Think about what that's dollars not spent at couples' therapy and in the value of your sanity and happiness.

iva said...

There is a definate connection between the two!!!