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Let me preface by saying I'm new to the forums. I think I've posted this in the correct category, if not, my apologies!

We are a couple in our early 30's. Attempting to clean up our budget and currently  "fence sitting"  the idea of having children. I'd love to have some advice regarding our budget and debt pay off strategy. We aren't in terrible shape but I feel like we could do better. I'm starting to really research finances after a pretty serious pay cut earlier this year.

After taxes, retirement savings, and health insurance are covered, we net around $65,000 - $70,000 a year. OR $5000ish a month. However you want to look at it.

Here is a breakdown of our monthly budget:

Mortgage: $1090 ( $155,000 FHA loan around 3%. This payment includes homeowners insurance, annual property tax payment and unfortunately one year left of PMI. Our payment will drop $150ish after PMI is fulfilled.)  
Car Payment: $475
Car Payment: $0 (one vehicle is paid for. 10 years old but low mileage)
Electric: $170
Water & Sewer: $80
Trash Pick up: $15
Internet: $60
Hulu & Netflix: $18 (We stream shows. Dropped cable)
Auto Insurance: $170
Groceries & Household Supplies: $400ish (about $100 a week. I know I could do something here... )
Gas: $150ish (Husband commutes about 20 min. each way. Rural area. I have a company gas card. wooo hoo)
Gym: $150 ( I know, I know... this is high but its a special sort of gym with perks and produces results. I know this is not a NEED.)
Debt Repayment: $500 (We have about $15,000 in debt. Household repairs and just plain old credit card debt.)

Our income is looking pretty bleak after the pay cut and we feel like we are ALWAYS broke since we lost a lot of our disposable income. We have very little to no savings. I also feel like we are losing money to frivolous stuff we don't track. (like eating out and random shopping.)  
I'm also kicking myself for the credit card debt. Bad idea. We opened some lower interest cards for home repairs and I honestly felt comfortable using and paying off the credit cards each month when we had a more solid income. Cash is the way to go... The cards have already been destroyed except for the one emergency card.

I guess I'm wanting to know the best way to go about paying off that debt & if our budget is totally out of whack. The debt is spread over a handful of cards. Some with very small balances the bulk on one card $8000. Is the "snowball method" a good way to go? How do I eeek anything out for savings?

Also, I feel like children might be out of the question with the debt. Daycare is crazy expensive and I feel like we would be spreading our budget way too thin if we added in child related expenses. I hate to look at it that way but trying to be realistic. Anyone in the same situation?


 

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You really need to post the balances of all your debt accounts for people to give accurate advise. Also where do you live, and what types of cars? $170/month for auto seems high, but it all depends on where you live, what kind of cars, and your driving history.

If I add up everything you listed, I am coming up with $3278, which should leave $1722. You really need to figure out where all of that is going. If you can clamp down on the spending you didn't list here, you should be able to pay off all your CC/Household debt in 12-18 months. I don't know what the balance is on the car loan, so look at paying that off to.

Right now you aren't in good Financial shape to add a kid into the mix. Look at where the missing $1700 is going. Set a weekly budget for things like eating out, and shopping, and stick to it. Even if you each took $100/week in spending money, which would include all shopping/eating out/entertainment, you should still have an extra $900/month after you pay for everything. That would be enough to get you out of debt (minus the car), in under 17 months. Once you have adjusted to this level of spending, and get out of debt you will be in a much better position to be Financial ready for a kiddo.

You forgot to include your tithe budget.

We live in a rural area of Kentucky. Cost of living is pretty low.

I feel like our auto insurance is fairly high as well. Especially for people in their 30's with no accidents or tickets. Clean record and we get a small discount for having our homeowners insurance with them. We have a 2004 BMW and a 2012 Audi. My husband has the newer vehicle and takes care of the payment on that. I'm guesstimating he has $25,000 left to pay. I honestly don't agree with the newer vehicle. He is a "car guy" and it's sort of his hobby but I feel that is more car than we can afford... We have full coverage on both even though my vehicle has been paid off for quite some time.

We have about $155,000 left on our mortgage. About 3% interest.

The credit card situation:

1st Card $8700 (19%)

2nd Card $2500 (15%)

3rd Card $800 (Interest Free)

4th Card $1200 (18%)

The rest is scattered in a couple of retail cards with smaller balances. I could probably knock these out first if I really buckled down.

I think part of my problem with tracking our money is that I have my account, he has his account and then we pay our household bills out of a joint account. We each contribute to the joint bills and mortgage and the rest of our money is ours to keep and do whatever with. I don't really want to know every time my husband buys a pack of gum or lunch but I feel like we might have more money if we both watched our "extra money" a little closer. I know everyone does it differently but it might need some tweaking. Maybe contributing to a joint savings would be helpful for us.

What is your retirement savings percentage? If it isn't the bare minimum to get company match, drop it to whatever the minimum is and put all funds towards the highest interest rate credit card.

Get a Mint account - put all of your accounts together and track where every dollar goes.

My wife and I are bad at that too - well, we know where it goes, but are resistant to making sacrifices of our discretionary income.

As daw4888 mentioned, increase the money going in to the joint account and reduce the amount of money going in to the personal accounts. It seems common to break down expenses by how much each of you make. So, if your husband's bring home pay is 3000 and your bring home pay is 2000, he would contribute a higher amount to the joint account.

Since he made the decision on buying the newer car, is he paying the car off from his personal account?

If you're not planning on buying a new house in the next year I would seriously consider a $0/0% BT offer card to move that ~9k to and knock the smaller balances out. You're paying more than $1500 per year to that CC company just in interest. If your new credit line can accommodate the smaller balances, move over the 15% & 18% ones too.

Regarding kids... there are people much worse off than you are having kids and they make it.  You should also consider what your budget would look like if one of you stays home longer than a month or two.  I expected my wife to be out of work for 6-12 months, but she hasn't had a career job in 10 years (PT here and there but not a serious job).  I think part of the problem was we had #1, then we had #2 on the way within a year so it didn't make sense in her mind to return just to have to take off again.  Unfortunately after that she wasn't interest in returning to the workforce.  Now that it's been 10 years since a real job she's struggling on finding something decent.  YMMV on the job market in your area, and or you or your spouse's pickyness of the next step.

Shop your insurance from a few brokers.  Don't be afraid to let them know you are making them compete for the best quote package for you.  You should be able to save 50-70 a month on that
Your electric seems 30-40 high unless you have electric heat, wrap your water heater hot pipe and get an adjustable thermostat to save some bucks over the month
What caused a pay cut?  Start shopping for new work.
If you want to have a kid waiting till your mid 30s increases risks to the mother and baby so do it sooner.  Can you afford childcare?  What do your retirement accounts look like?

My husband is paying for the vehicle our of his personal account. He has acknowledge that since it's kind of a luxury and a hobby for him, he'll pay for it.

We split the household bills fairly evenly. He pays slightly more in since he makes more. I think we originally figured out what we should each put in according to percentage so it would be fair for each of us. Luckily we make (or made) similar income.

I've thought about a balance transfer card but not sure which to choose or if I would get an offer that would accommodate that large of a balance. We each have good to excellent credit. Any suggestions on which CC company to go with?

mcgregg1 said:   After taxes, retirement savings, and health insurance are covered, we net around $65,000 - $70,000 a year. OR $5000ish a month. However you want to look at it.
 

I like your approach of expressing your net pay after these items.  Do the same with about $1,500 of debt repayment.  You seem to be spending everything that is left after the essentials, so lessen the amount that is left.  If you don't have it (and you've cut up the credit cards), then you won't spend it.  Sounds rudimentary, but it works.
mcgregg1 said:   currently  "fence sitting"  the idea of having children.
 

This is not a good idea.  You should also cut back on the booze, stop bike riding, and ditch the tighty whities.

Seriously, plenty of people are raising families on much less.  Sounds like you are planning to continue with two incomes and considering daycare costs, but be open to alternatives.  There comes a time when the cost of outsourcing your childcare just doesn't make economic sense.  I hate to see people sacrificing the desire for a family due solely to the finances.  You make plenty of money to raise a family; you just need to instill some discipline.  

DamnoIT said:   Shop your insurance from a few brokers.  Don't be afraid to let them know you are making them compete for the best quote package for you.  You should be able to save 50-70 a month on that
Your electric seems 30-40 high unless you have electric heat, wrap your water heater hot pipe and get an adjustable thermostat to save some bucks over the month
What caused a pay cut?  Start shopping for new work.
If you want to have a kid waiting till your mid 30s increases risks to the mother and baby so do it sooner.  Can you afford childcare?  What do your retirement accounts look like?



- We have electric heat. No gas bill. We set up an equal payment plan so we pay $170 every month even in extreme seasons so we have no surprise bills.

-Pay cut was caused by industry cuts and layoffs. We are not laid off but out pay was cut. We both work in fossil fuels...  Unfortunately we live in rural area with few job options and don't intend to move. We already have some of the better options  when it comes to employment in this area.

- I'd like to eliminate CC debt before we commit to child care. Again rural area. About $25-$30 a day here for daycare. I work in a family run office and they would be open to me bringing baby to work a couple days a week.

-I just started my retirement account so nothing much in mine yet. My husband has about $65,000 in his.


 

  

mcgregg1 said:   My husband is paying for the vehicle our of his personal account. He has acknowledge that since it's kind of a luxury and a hobby for him, he'll pay for it.

We split the household bills fairly evenly. He pays slightly more in since he makes more. I think we originally figured out what we should each put in according to percentage so it would be fair for each of us. Luckily we make (or made) similar income.

I've thought about a balance transfer card but not sure which to choose or if I would get an offer that would accommodate that large of a balance. We each have good to excellent credit. Any suggestions on which CC company to go with?

  Great offers exist with Chase Slate... They're offering a $0/0% for 15 months.  You don't get any rewards on the card, but you're not accumulating rewards, rather going for the promo rate.

I've also seen personal offers sent to me in the mail from Citi and Chase for $0/0% for 12-18mos.  I'd sift through that junk mail and see if anything hits it better than Chase Slate.  I say you have a better chance of being approved through "personal offers" than the web.  If you have good credit it doesn't matter.

Your bills are on the high side for 2 people--your budget is similar to the one I have for my family of 6.  Is there any chance you would consider downsizing?  

How often are you eating out?  Are you utilizing the groceries you're spending $400 on or is any of that going to waste?  

Figure out what small changes you can make and take that money and pay it directly on your credit card so you don't accidentally spend it.  

We have a 2004 BMW and a 2012 Audi.

Expensive cars generally result in expensive car insurance. The issue isn't your $150 gym membership, which I can appreciate, I would be more concerned with the 40k in consumer debt as a 911 priority.

I also feel like we are losing money to frivolous stuff we don't track. (like eating out and random shopping.)

You probably are and it sounds like that is where a lot of your CC debt is going.

I saw nothing on retirement savings accounts or amounts put away for retirement savings. I don't think you are in any position to be thinking about bringing a kid into the mix when you guys can barely handle living with 2 people.

Is your husband on board with you financially? Are your goals/objectives aligned? Does he see having 40k in credit card and car debt as a problem or is he ok with it?

If you want to find out where that $1700/month goes, the next time you guys get paid put $1500 in a joint account and leave yourselves $100 each. Pay yourselves first.

We each contribute to retirement accounts. I just started mine. Not much in it. My husband has about $65,000 in his. I mentioned it at the beginning of my first post. Taxes, Retirement and Health Insurance are all automatically paid and not even included in the budget.

I'm not sure he would see the car as a 911 emergency since it's his. He is on board with eliminating the CC debt.

mcgregg1 said:   We split the household bills fairly evenly. He pays slightly more in since he makes more. I think we originally figured out what we should each put in according to percentage so it would be fair for each of us. Luckily we make (or made) similar income.
  "Fair" is 50-50. How is "fair" defined as "you make more, you should pay more" - makes no sense. Just saying this to keep perspective here. You're going to try to suggest changing your finances up and making sacrifices when your husband is already paying more than you. I don't know you, nor your husband, but just tread carefully here. Resentment comes on easily when dealing with money, especially in households where things are split "evenly."

I agree that fair would be 50-50 if we each made exactly the same income. We are close. However, we have defined "fair" by calculating our individual income and into the percentage we should each contribute based on what we make. Neither wants to leave the other with 0 lunch money. (so to speak) In the end, it's really all coming out of the same pot since we are married.

Nearly impossibly to find exactly the same paying jobs and then if one of us was in need of money we would just ask the other for it. Forcing one party into having 0 dollars doesn't make sense. What if I was an unemployed SAHM?

To consolidate and prioritize all of the great advice already in this thread:

1. Track spending
2. Reduce frivolous spending
3. Consolidate debt with a 0% balance transfer promo and put all your extra money towards it, you can easily pay it off in a year if you're successful with #2
4. Save a rainy-day fund (non-emergency unexpected expenses) and a six month emergency (lost your jobs) fund
5. Increase retirement savings
6. Have kid(s)

Somewhere along the line you should start getting much more frugal with expenses like the grocery, gym, and utility usage. IMHO, your goal should be to live entirely on one spouse's income (save the rest) to provide security in the case of job loss. This is especially true before you have kids; it's nice to go back to work because you want to, not because you feel you have to just to make ends meet. You're at an advantage because you have pretty good incomes in a low cost of living area, you should be able to whip your finances into shape pretty quickly as long as hubby's on board, too.

Thanks for all the advice! I feel like tackling this debt is achievable & I definitely feel more motivated to track, save, and cut the pointless spending.

Off to research BT cards and a good spending tracker. Discussing it all with my better half over dinner.

I can't imagine spending so much on a car with high interest debt. Hobbies are cool, but that seems very excessive - the costs are roughly equal to the monthly debt paydown, especially factoring higher insurance costs. And such a high ratio to your mortgage costs too. I couldn't tolerate it, though I live in a pretty high cost of living area with good alternatives to driving, so my ratio is probably far on the other side of the bell curve too.

I'm with you on the car payment/ car situation. I feel it's too high for our current situation. We've actually discussed him selling or trading and getting something a little more reasonable. I do feel a certain level of guilt because I know he enjoys it. We certainly don't argue about it but I think he also realizes that it isn't the best choice.

Pre pay cut and pre debt, it didn't seem so extreme but I feel like we need to reevaluate, especially since we are considering the possibility of children/childcare expenses sometime in our future. The car payment would also = a month of child care...

mcgregg1 said:   The car payment would also = a month of child care...
Maybe where you live, but you might want to verify that.  Infant care in some parts of the country easily runs $1,500 or more per month.  

dcwilbur said:   
mcgregg1 said:   The car payment would also = a month of child care...
Maybe where you live, but you might want to verify that.  Infant care in some parts of the country easily runs $1,500 or more per month.  

  Rural area. One of the poorest states in the US. The daycare in my neighborhood runs $25-$30 a day. One of the only perks of country living... If childcare here ran $1500 a month I wouldn't even consider having children. That's almost the entire amount of our "left over" cash every month.   

And might i add, more than some (a lot of) people make in a month in this area. 

mcgregg1 said:   I'm with you on the car payment/ car situation. I feel it's too high for our current situation. We've actually discussed him selling or trading and getting something a little more reasonable. I do feel a certain level of guilt because I know he enjoys it. We certainly don't argue about it but I think he also realizes that it isn't the best choice.

Pre pay cut and pre debt, it didn't seem so extreme but I feel like we need to reevaluate, especially since we are considering the possibility of children/childcare expenses sometime in our future. The car payment would also = a month of child care...

Make a deal with your husband to only buy cars you can afford to pay for with cash in the future. That will prevent you from buying a $50K car on your budget, which is a huge mistake and way beyond your means regardless of how much he enjoys it. I would *enjoy* private jet travel, but I've never done it because it is way beyond my means.

OP, congrats on trying to change your situation. As others have mentioned, it would be great if you can rollover the CC debt to a 0% account. If not, paying off the highest interest rate first makes the most 'math' sense. But, a lot of people get a feeling of success by paying off the smallest account first. This gives a quick 'win' and encourages you to continue.

Dave Ramsey has some good info on getting people out of the red. You might check out his baby steps.

Is your husband as enthused with getting out of debt as you? That's a lot of money he's driving around in, plus the added expense of insuring it.

I'm not fond of having separate funds/accounts in a marriage. I just feel it could create a mine/your way of viewing money. Which is probably what got him his car. We view our incomes as a family asset and work toward common goals.

If my math is correct you should have over $2k of discretionary income each month. Where's it going?
BTW, I don't see cell phones on your list of bills. Perhaps you have company phones.

I do feel a certain level of guilt because I know he enjoys it. We certainly don't argue about it but I think he also realizes that it isn't the best choice.

Not sure why you feel guilty. He's the one that is screwing you guys financially. Being a "car guy" while I can understand novelty purchases and so forth can REALLY be an expensive hobby. I'm a gun guy and have way more guns than I could carry if the dead started walking tomorrow. When my collection got to that point, I decided to sell a few. I probably need to sell a few more.

I would look at it as an either/or situation. You could have 100k+ in savings vs 60k now, when you consider the car payment, plus expensive gas, plus expensive insurance, plus the opportunity cost in the market, or you could have your current situation, which is a declining asset with increasing costs, higher insurance, higher gas cost, and higher interest expense.

I'm not sure he would see the car as a 911 emergency since it's his. He is on board with eliminating the CC debt.

I get the feeling you guys aren't aligned financially. He seems more of a spender and you more of a saver, which is probably why everyone is wondering where this phantom money is disappearing to. Something like $1500-2k per month is going somewhere and you guys have no idea. I'd call that a 911 emergency.

One other idea, each of you contribute 750/month or whatever you guys agree to do to credit card payments that equal +1500/month and you should have your cards paid down in about 10 months. I don't think it is some big mystery about where or why this extra spending is going. Who cares. You two are collectively spending $1500+ on discretionary stuff that could/should be going to debt reduction. Just stop doing it and pay down your debt then roll it into savings a year from now. My guess is eating out has a lot to do with it.

If he won't do that, you two have some issues to work out at that point.

codename47 said:   I do feel a certain level of guilt because I know he enjoys it. We certainly don't argue about it but I think he also realizes that it isn't the best choice.

Not sure why you feel guilty. He's the one that is screwing you guys financially. Being a "car guy" while I can understand novelty purchases and so forth can REALLY be an expensive hobby. I'm a gun guy and have way more guns than I could carry if the dead started walking tomorrow. I would look at it as an either/or situation. You could have 100k+ in savings vs 60k now, when you consider the car payment, plus expensive gas, plus expensive insurance, plus the opportunity cost in the market, or you could have your current situation, which is a declining asset with increasing costs, higher insurance, higher gas cost, and higher interest expense.

I'm not sure he would see the car as a 911 emergency since it's his. He is on board with eliminating the CC debt.

I get the feeling you guys aren't aligned financially. He seems more of a spender and you more of a saver, which is probably why everyone is wondering where this phantom money is disappearing to. Something like $1500-2k per month is going somewhere and you guys have no idea. I'd call that a 911 emergency.

One other idea, each of you contribute 750/month or whatever you guys agree to do to credit card payments that equal +1500/month and you should have your cards paid down in about 10 months. I don't think it is some big mystery about where or why this extra spending is going. Who cares. You two are collectively spending $1500+ on discretionary stuff that could/should be going to debt reduction. Just stop doing it and pay down your debt then roll it into savings a year from now. My guess is eating out has a lot to do with it.

If he won't do that, you two have some issues to work out at that point.

  I actually asked him where his discretionary money was going. I'm not sure he knows. He seems to have no interest in tracking it and claims he never spends and knows where all his money is going. I'll honestly admit to not being as careful as I could be with my discretionary funds either so I'm not trying to point fingers BUT I am interested in becoming more disciplined with it. Him, not so much. He typically claims I'm the main spender of money with shopping. I try to tell him we each spend but in different areas and we both need to be accountable. While I do enjoy a nice pair of shoes and dinner out.... he's spending $150 at the gym, $475 on a car and eats lunch out at work everyday to the tune of $200 a month. I think he feels his spending is acceptable because it's not "at the mall". He typically justifies it at he needs a car to drive to work, food to eat and it's important to stay healthy... I'm actually more frustrated with the whole situation that I've let on.

I proposed a "No Spend Month" challenge next month and he had no interest. I was hoping it would be an easy way to track and realize our discretionary spending. I suggested we put all our funds on freeze after our fixed expenses were covered and then each of us get $100 for the month... He was not interested.  

We do eat out (together) but it's not overly excessive. I've tracked it before and I'm never shocked by the totals. We typically go out a couple times a month for a date night. We've really cut back quite a bit. However, once you add in his daily lunches it is excessive. I pack my lunch or eat leftovers and I've tried to entice him into doing the same.

Looking4morecents said:   OP, congrats on trying to change your situation. As others have mentioned, it would be great if you can rollover the CC debt to a 0% account. If not, paying off the highest interest rate first makes the most 'math' sense. But, a lot of people get a feeling of success by paying off the smallest account first. This gives a quick 'win' and encourages you to continue.

Dave Ramsey has some good info on getting people out of the red. You might check out his baby steps.

Is your husband as enthused with getting out of debt as you? That's a lot of money he's driving around in, plus the added expense of insuring it.

I'm not fond of having separate funds/accounts in a marriage. I just feel it could create a mine/your way of viewing money. Which is probably what got him his car. We view our incomes as a family asset and work toward common goals.

If my math is correct you should have over $2k of discretionary income each month. Where's it going?
BTW, I don't see cell phones on your list of bills. Perhaps you have company phones.

  We each have company phones. Thankful that is not an expense.

We've discussed joint accounts. We do have one that we pay mutual bills out of. We were both older and established with our own banks so we just kept our accounts. There was really no reason other than we were comfortable and happy with both our banking situations prior to marriage. Our joint account offered us a small discount on our mortgage if we opened one with them and paid our mortgage payment through it.

Also, I've definitely been scouting Dave Ramsey's articles and advice.

Looking4morecents said:   OP, congrats on trying to change your situation. As others have mentioned, it would be great if you can rollover the CC debt to a 0% account. If not, paying off the highest interest rate first makes the most 'math' sense. But, a lot of people get a feeling of success by paying off the smallest account first. This gives a quick 'win' and encourages you to continue.

Dave Ramsey has some good info on getting people out of the red. You might check out his baby steps.

Is your husband as enthused with getting out of debt as you? That's a lot of money he's driving around in, plus the added expense of insuring it.

I'm not fond of having separate funds/accounts in a marriage. I just feel it could create a mine/your way of viewing money. Which is probably what got him his car. We view our incomes as a family asset and work toward common goals.

If my math is correct you should have over $2k of discretionary income each month. Where's it going?
BTW, I don't see cell phones on your list of bills. Perhaps you have company phones.

  
I was going to post my own, then decided the above captured almost everything I wanted to say.  

Addition:  You have a 0% card already?  You should look at a BT to it first before getting a new account.  
 

mcgregg1 said:   
codename47 said:   I do feel a certain level of guilt because I know he enjoys it. We certainly don't argue about it but I think he also realizes that it isn't the best choice.

Not sure why you feel guilty. He's the one that is screwing you guys financially. Being a "car guy" while I can understand novelty purchases and so forth can REALLY be an expensive hobby. I'm a gun guy and have way more guns than I could carry if the dead started walking tomorrow. I would look at it as an either/or situation. You could have 100k+ in savings vs 60k now, when you consider the car payment, plus expensive gas, plus expensive insurance, plus the opportunity cost in the market, or you could have your current situation, which is a declining asset with increasing costs, higher insurance, higher gas cost, and higher interest expense.

I'm not sure he would see the car as a 911 emergency since it's his. He is on board with eliminating the CC debt.

I get the feeling you guys aren't aligned financially. He seems more of a spender and you more of a saver, which is probably why everyone is wondering where this phantom money is disappearing to. Something like $1500-2k per month is going somewhere and you guys have no idea. I'd call that a 911 emergency.

One other idea, each of you contribute 750/month or whatever you guys agree to do to credit card payments that equal +1500/month and you should have your cards paid down in about 10 months. I don't think it is some big mystery about where or why this extra spending is going. Who cares. You two are collectively spending $1500+ on discretionary stuff that could/should be going to debt reduction. Just stop doing it and pay down your debt then roll it into savings a year from now. My guess is eating out has a lot to do with it.

If he won't do that, you two have some issues to work out at that point.

  I actually asked him where his discretionary money was going. I'm not sure he knows. He seems to have no interest in tracking it and claims he never spends and knows where all his money is going. I'll honestly admit to not being as careful as I could be with my discretionary funds either so I'm not trying to point fingers BUT I am interested in becoming more disciplined with it. Him, not so much. He typically claims I'm the main spender of money with shopping. I try to tell him we each spend but in different areas and we both need to be accountable. While I do enjoy a nice pair of shoes and dinner out.... he's spending $150 at the gym, $475 on a car and eats lunch out at work everyday to the tune of $200 a month. I think he feels his spending is acceptable because it's not "at the mall". He typically justifies it at he needs a car to drive to work, food to eat and it's important to stay healthy... I'm actually more frustrated with the whole situation that I've let on.

I proposed a "No Spend Month" challenge next month and he had no interest. I was hoping it would be an easy way to track and realize our discretionary spending. I suggested we put all our funds on freeze after our fixed expenses were covered and then each of us get $100 for the month... He was not interested.  

We do eat out (together) but it's not overly excessive. I've tracked it before and I'm never shocked by the totals. We typically go out a couple times a month for a date night. We've really cut back quite a bit. However, once you add in his daily lunches it is excessive. I pack my lunch or eat leftovers and I've tried to entice him into doing the same.

  
Yeah, listen.  You're going to have a hard time doing this alone.  You see the issue right?  You're both doing your own thing, but then having trouble together.  I don't see how you're going to make a joint budget you can stick with when you're using separate accounts, separate spending, and (especially) separate ideologies.  

As I've said in another recent thread, I don't see how separate finances work.  If it worked for you, as it does with many people, then fine, do that.  But, it's not working for you, so do something different.  All was well and good when you had more money than you could spend, but now the picture is different.  


 

It's time for hubby to grow up and act like a financially sound man, otherwise you will always have money issues. You guys shouldn't be seeing the inside of a restaurant unless you work there. Good news is, your hole is small and you have a big shovel. (To be read while thinking of Ramsey's arrogant voice.)

With the debt you have built up, I would assume you have close to $2,000/month in random spending. Point that out to him. Then agree that you will disclose all of your "Mall" spending and compare it to all of his "food/car" spending.

If you don't get a handle on this soon, it will only get worse as your incomes increase. People tend to spend all the money they earn if they don't have a budget. Just ask him what he thinks is an acceptable amount of money for you to spend out shopping in a given month. If its less than $300, then tell him that works, and you agree to do that as long as he agree's to keep his spending to under $300 a month. Once you get him locked into a number, then make it a point that both of you put all of your money in the joint account, except the amount you each get for your monthly spending. Use the additional funds put in the joint account to pay down all your outstanding debt. Once that is paid off use the additional funds to save up for an emergency fund, and child expenses.

You might even tell him that your monthly fund should be $475 greater than his to account for his "car guy" lifestyle.

This is basically how me and my wife have set it up. We each have a set amount of money to spend each month on anything we want. Then we have a set amount to pay the household bills and to increase savings/trips/kids expenses/ect.. This way each person knows exactly how much they have a month to spend and can make decisions on the best way to spend it. Anything we want to buy that's outside of this we talk about, and agree on.

I'm actually more frustrated with the whole situation that I've let on.

Um, no. I felt your pain through your words. I could kinda tell you weren't happy with the situation. One of my buddies is in a similar situation with the roles reversed. He is a saver, and she is a spender. He isn't happy, at all. This is a major issue for them, bordering on divorce due to her high life spending.

As I've said in another recent thread, I don't see how separate finances work.

I think it works just fine if the parties are aligned and in agreement on what the desired end state and path to get there looks like. The problem is that in many cases the partners sharply diverge or just have no interest/don't care about money. That would be a show stopper for me. I wouldn't even THINK about bringing a kid into this situation. You probably need to figure out if this is the person you really want to be with or if being just above broke is an acceptable thing for you. As stated, this doesn't get better with time or more money.

I proposed a "No Spend Month" challenge next month and he had no interest. I was hoping it would be an easy way to track and realize our discretionary spending. I suggested we put all our funds on freeze after our fixed expenses were covered and then each of us get $100 for the month... He was not interested.

My buddy's wife is the same way. She has the same DGAF attitude about money. When he tries to lay out a plan/path to an end state, she just rolls her eyes, mentally checks out and then does whatever she wants to do regardless of what they talked about. He obviously doesn't see a problem with the status quo and you do. Everyone has a justification for what they do. While a car might be necessary, an audi isn't.

You NEED to point fingers as he isn't going to. Let me guess, you guys don't talk about money much? Financial Plans? Retirement?

OP, if you need to go to extremes with this, here's a thought. It's way outside the box, but if you have to. Maybe take on a side job for a while. Something like McDonald's for minimum wage, work ALL the holidays. Then when you don't show up for dinners, holidays, birthdays with your family and the in-laws you can proudly tell them you are working a side job to pay off "our credit cards and his car".

Like I said, thinking outside the box. I've had co-workers in similar situations, they did nothing, they are still frustrated, for 10+ years.

IMO, couples need to work together. Throw a kid in the mix and then you really need to be a team. When our kid was a year old my wife got $25 a month to spend as she wished. $25 had to cover haircuts, make-up, clothes. We got through it, it was VERY tough. Today the kid is in college, he will have little or no student loan debt. Our house is paid off. We have both worked since high school. Today our monthly expenses can be covered with one of our incomes with money left over. We very rarely eat lunch out at work. Exercise is done at home. The most we've spent on a car was in 2012 and we spent $15k to get my wife a 2010 Toyota Corolla. We paid cash for the Corolla.

Living way below our means has been a real blessing for us. But I have to admit. I work for government defense contracts and when times are peaceful for America I am prone to getting laid-off. This has kinda brain-washed me to being ready for hard times.

One last item, $25.00 in 1996 had the same buying power as $38.52 in 2016.

You guys have so much financial power if you work together. You can be millionaires if you work together.

OP it sounds you are pretty smart but your husband is sorta dumb. He is lucky to have you trying to set him straight, hopefully he follows your advice.
You said he has a 2012 car because he is a "car guy". Just so you know, a guy isn't a "car guy" unless his car is very old but looks/runs like new. A guy isn't a car guy unless he changes his own shocks/struts and does all front end work (except alignments). Jay Leno is a car guy. The people selling cars on Mecum auctions on TV, they are car guys. Guys who buy way too much car who have way too little money don't get to call themselves car guys. They are just guys with cars, but they aren't special because we all are guys (or gals) with cars. So don't take that "car guy" horsefeathers.

Like I said, thinking outside the box. I've had co-workers in similar situations, they did nothing, they are still frustrated, for 10+ years.

This. These are deep behavioral habits that people have and have developed over years. This isn't going to change with extreme conduct by OP. I think you need to accept the situation or change the situation. Changing your partner is REEALLLLLY difficult.

OP and her husband can be millionaires, but they won't be due to bad spending habits.

I wouldn't characterize the husband as dumb, he just makes different lifestyle choices. One of my buddies works for Amazon, makes big money and is always broke because he spends beyond his means. He used chewing tobacco for the past 10+ years and claims he spends $1500/month on food to live "healthy". Different lifestyle choices.

Listen OP, here's the thing that made me really turn around because I'm ALLOT like your husband. It matters to my wife that we save, like REALLY matters. We have separate finances in that we have separate bank accounts. I typically pay the mortgage and all the bills, that includes our discretionary spending and her check goes into our Roths and savings accounts. We're early in this journey but here's why it's important.

My life pre-wife was just choc full of debt. I didn't have an issue with it, don't misunderstand, but i was DEEEEEP in debt. When i decided she was the one i sold my toys, bought a crapper car and came into this marriage on equal grounds.. I.E. no debt. MAN that was tough. But now that we are a single unit, i know having a large car payment or even just a liability like an expensive car puts stress on my wife financially. I don't do it because of that. Yes I'm a huge car person, and YES i want one someday. But that someday will come, in the meantime i have a happy and content wife who feels financially secure and we've agreed when we're in a cash rich and financially secure place (think 1 year emergency fund and fully funded Roth and maxed 401k) and i can pay cash for my car we agreed I can get it.
I'll clarify that her savings is "OUR" savings and anything anything over emergency fund counts towards my total 

This is called compromise and every good marriage is based on it. You have to let your partner know this is absolutely important to you, a priority. If you don't take it seriously, why should he?


Jesus, i didn't realize i went on a soapbox.. My bad, and good luck OP.

Look at Fatwallet link
https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1485925/ 
The idea is to make some money picking up a couple of new credit cards. Success depends on your FICO score. Some families do separate applications for each spouse and do NOT link the other spouse to the new cards for a period of time.
IMO, choose cards that pay a bonus for $500.00 of spending and only use them for purchases already in your budget. Some of them give you a reward for the grocery or gas spending you are now doing .... just keep track of which is which.
That can defer some portion of the monthly payment requirements up to a year. Up to the last few months of the deferred interest, you can pay minimum payments. The idea is to buy some breathing room with the idea, one of you will improve the income situation within the next 12 months.
Alternatively: do the required spend and pay that off. Collect the bonus as a statement credit. ONCE that is paid in full, BALANCE TRANSFER for a fee the higher interest credit cards. That cuts out the interest for a year or more. Once you do this, treat these cards as a LOAN ... do NOT use them for any purchases. Make it a goal to have them paid off by the time the credit card interest applies again.  The $1200 card and the $2500.00 cards are ideal for the balance transfer.  Consider moving a portion of the $8000+ card also.
Alternatively, look for advertisements from your bank for loans in the 6.00% or less APR and move the $8000.+ card to the cutting the interest rate by over half.  It could be a line of credit.  Take a pinkie pledge not to make new debt in this time period.
This only works with discipline.

mcgregg1 said:   My husband is paying for the vehicle our of his personal account. He has acknowledge that since it's kind of a luxury and a hobby for him, he'll pay for it.

We split the household bills fairly evenly. He pays slightly more in since he makes more. I think we originally figured out what we should each put in according to percentage so it would be fair for each of us. Luckily we make (or made) similar income.

I've thought about a balance transfer card but not sure which to choose or if I would get an offer that would accommodate that large of a balance. We each have good to excellent credit. Any suggestions on which CC company to go with?


Why do you get married and live like roommates, splitting bills?

No wonder you can't figure out where the money is going. IMO that's your #1 problem. Until you get that figured out you, the rest of the discussion doesn't matter.

I know some married couples are able to do the separate accounts thing, but I think most are like two ships passing in the night.

rascott said:   
mcgregg1 said:   My husband is paying for the vehicle our of his personal account. He has acknowledge that since it's kind of a luxury and a hobby for him, he'll pay for it.

We split the household bills fairly evenly. He pays slightly more in since he makes more. I think we originally figured out what we should each put in according to percentage so it would be fair for each of us. Luckily we make (or made) similar income.

I've thought about a balance transfer card but not sure which to choose or if I would get an offer that would accommodate that large of a balance. We each have good to excellent credit. Any suggestions on which CC company to go with?


Why do you get married and live like roommates, splitting bills?

No wonder you can't figure out where the money is going. IMO that's your #1 problem. Until you get that figured out you, the rest of the discussion doesn't matter.

I know some married couples are able to do the separate accounts thing, but I think most are like two ships passing in the night.

  
Bingo.  I'm married; call me traditional but the idea of contributing towards basic expenses like food each from our own accounts, according to ability to pay, would feel so bizarre to me.  Logistically, how does this even work?  Does one person may the CC bill and the other cut a check/give cash to the spouse?  It sounds so complicated and needless.

Skipping 20 Messages...
My husband and I use Tiny Bank to keep track of our transactions. It helps us know where we are spending our money each month. We find the envelope method hard, because some months we have unexpected expenses and we were always taking money out of another envelope to cover it. Which kind of ruined the point. With seeing all our transactions in one place and being able to categorize them easily, it makes choosing not to spend money in a certain category much easier.



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