Different spending priorities

December 5, 2010 at 9:27 am (holiday, mr. maven, sharing expenses)

My bf and I are pretty sympatico with our socializing tastes. However, there is one main area in which we digress. He loves to throw dinner parties for people. Big meals that cost money to make. He has a very close friend that he wanted to have Thanksgiving with. Due to her having to work *on* Thanksgiving, he wanted to have it earlier, the Tuesday before, but due to the big snow we had, no one dared travel anywhere in Seattle and we cancelled it.

He still wants to have it and is planning on this Tuesday. Pumpkin chocolate caramel torte, Chicken roll with pancetta and mushrooms (he doesn’t like turkey), dressing, cranberry compote, vegetable of some kind, crostini with roasted garlic and carmelized onions, probably something else. Wine of course. At least 5 people are coming over.

This time around he is going to prep, buy and cook everything during the day, as he doesn’t have work this day. I’ll be working late since I have to close, so I should be home about the time people start coming over. This time around he is going to buy most of the items on his own, without me, so I won’t be responsible for paying for it. Is it crass to be happy that I am not stuck with the bill? It wasn’t my idea, and he wants to do it.

He is a middle-aged grandmother when it comes to holidays. He loves them. He loves buying the decor, putting up lights, buying ornaments and wreaths. Me, I like it too, but for holidays that are a single day, like Halloween, I don’t feel the need to go knee-deep (or chest-deep in his case) into celebrating. For non-xmas holidays, it’s pretty easy – if he wants to buy something, he does and I don’t pay for it. Just like he doesn’t buy home stuff when it is something I want to get.

Christmas turns into a different situation. There’s a tree, and lights, all of which I enjoy. He wants to get a big, real, extravagant tree. I want a tree, but maybe a little more modest (say $30 cheaper). I absolutely cannot bring myself to say I will only pay half of a modest sized tree and you get the rest (ie, pay for the upgrade to the large tree). So I pay half on the xmas tree (and only grumble a little in my head). After all, I will love it as much as him.

Due to us having 2 very young and very large cats, one of which is a feline version of an olympic athlete, we decided we would not have any dangerous ornaments on our tree. No glass, no ceramics, nothing that could fall/break and be a danger to eat or to lacerate paws. Last year his huge stash of red bulb ornaments was out so we had to get new ornaments and we discovered the woodland themed brush ornamnents (animals made out of natural materials). Non-breakable and oh so adorable! J bought a lot. I bought some. Same thing this year, he bought a bunch, but I didn’t buy any (I’m waiting until after xmas). We started to put up our outside lights yesterday, but he couldn’t find some of the lights we had bought last year. He bought an extra $35 in lights instead.

I consider a lot of his purchases extremely frivolous, though I would never say so to him. I also buy things I shouldn’t, if I am really going to concentrate on getting out of debt. But they are not things I want to give up (primarily art), so I haven’t. I’m paying off debt slowly and steadily, but my way. I’m not sacrificing every single thing for that extra $175 per month that all the Dave Ramsey families seem to do. I don’t have a second job, since I don’t think I could handle it. I like a mocha when I go sit at the bookstore to read a book (instead of buying it). I like getting a chunk of expensive cheese when shopping at the market. But I don’t want to buy someone else’s splurges, and sometimes I am able to avoid paying for them, but sometimes I can’t avoid it. This is the season that this is going to happen most. I think my gift/xmas fund is going to be more than I truly need for gifts, so I guess I’ll dip into it for the tree, dinners, etc. Wish I didn’t have to though, but I guess that’s part of being in a relationship/partnership with someone – compromise.

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Frustrated with the money conversation

November 17, 2009 at 8:26 am (sharing expenses) ()

Does anyone else feel like a bank for their significant other? Especially when you don’t choose to be one or even have the cash for it? I’ve been in a relationship for a year and a half now and it’s not equal, and it’s not by choice. Please keep in mind that I feel like a total ass for talking about this, but there’s no one else I can talk to in my real life, and I kinda need to vent a little. 

J makes less than I do ($3.50/hr less), and he works less than I do (he works a 4-day week, 32-35 hours while I typically work about 10 more than that, including some overtime). He’s not necessarily a big spender, but he does have projects he likes to do and he buys things for them all the time. He drinks a ton more booze than I do (which is not a cheap item). He also has a boat that he pays moorage fees for. This used to be his residence when I met him, and then he moved in with me. The boat is non-funtioning. It basically sits at dock so he can live there but he doesn’t currently, and it’s just a big money sink (in my mind). He has to spend quite a bit of  money to clean it up, scrape the hull and reseal it, and get the motor running, before it can even run. With all that, he is supposed to pay $300 in rent to me per month (only 1/3 – I pay $600). He originally told me it was all he could afford. We’re about to move to a new house, with the same rent, and he has committed to paying me $450/month in rent. Again, it’s all he can afford, and that doesn’t include any of the utilities that will be out of my pocket, or internet, which I will also be getting.

At this moment, he owes me $420 from the past 2 months. Anytime we go shopping, unless he’s there to pay half at the time, I rarely if ever get reimbursed for his share. I will say how much it costs, and ranging from hinting “it cost x” or asking him to pay me outright, I get no response, no “I can pay you next week,” no “let me give you a post-dated check,” nothing. He completely ignores it. I have tried bringing the subject up and it just shuts him up, makes him tense, angry, and defensive. Money is his most difficult issue to deal with. He’s always been bad with it and doesn’t seem at all interested in trying to change. Gosh, I’ve certainly tried! So I’m getting stuck with the short-end of the stick.

He’s 11 years older than I am (he’s 50), he has virtually no savings (if he does it’s around the $500 mark), has the same amount of debt, owns his own car that will shortly need to be put out to pasture, and owns no significant items of worth. He seems to have settled on the idea that he will always be on the lowest strata of the working class and doesn’t seem like he wants/deserves/cares to do better. He does have job prospects. He’s about 1-2 quarters from finishing paralegal studies, but he seems to be dragging his feet on the finish and it’s been about 9 months since he took his last class. He has been avoiding the resume portion of applying for his required internship (writing is another problem, and even offers of help have not resulted in much).

To balance all of this, he has a generous spirit and is not a pennypincher unless he’s completely broke. He works hard, and he’s a super nice guy. He has worked odd jobs and made extra money lots of times when he’s been in a pinch (he went through a period of unemployment over a year ago). I’m just tired of the money inequity. At the moment, I’m trying to live frugally so that I can pay off debt, and expect to be this way for at least 3-4 more years.

Tonight, I forgot my wallet and we had to go to downtown for a company meeting (we work together). We (and a friend) decided to go out for a drink and a nosh afterwards. I said that I couldn’t pay, since I had forgotten my wallet. Not a problem. He paid our portion. He also had to buy me lunch today (supermarket fixins for sandwiches) and so I got away with him buying some of that. This has been one of the few instances where he will pay and I won’t. About 80% of the time I pay and don’t get reimbursed.

I also have to admit that bringing up the subject is also difficult for me. I don’t like discussing things that I know cause tension. I tiptoe around it and won’t bring it up. I know I need to but just haven’t found a good time and I’ve basically been avoiding it myself. 

My latest strategy has actually benefitted my debt journey. Rather than just go and buy things that I think we need at the time, and have to pay for all of it myself, I’ve been avoiding shopping. If he can’t come, or doesn’t have the money at the time, then we just do without. We eat a lot out of the fridge. I eat a lot of things that I don’t otherwise want to, but it’s available, and here, and I don’t have to buy new stuff to make, so I make do (who cares that I wanted steak for dinner, we don’t have it!). I don’t offer to get him things and have him pay me back later, since I know he often won’t. This process has made me much more frugal, and I spend less because of it. We rarely go out to eat. I think we went to a movie like 6 months ago. We rarely go away, and never go for expensive entertainment. I guess that’s the silver lining – he’s a great partner while I’m living within/under my means.

I know all of you are going to urge me to have a conversation with him and I know I need to. I just needed to vent a little right now. Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with a money inequity in your relationship?

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Household of 2

November 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm (sharing expenses) (, , )

I’m in a relationship, we live together, and share expenses. That’s great, but there’s an element of stress involved when it comes to divvy-ing up the expenses. Here’s the scenario: I think ahead, know we need x+y+z from the store, petfood, etc, and go get it. Then I come home and bring up that I spent money on xyz +lmn. Here’s the total, he owes me half. He looks like he’s thinking about it, but he doesn’t say anything, and he doesn’t respond. I know he heard me, but there’s no reaction.

Should I be asking for cash in advance, cash when I get back, or what? I hate having to ask again, plus, it makes it a bitch when it comes to budgetting – I mean, I have a receipt for $60, but really only $30 of my own money is going towards it. Do I put the total or half the total down on my budget sheet? And then I have to go and ask again. He looks almost annoyed, but what can I do? We needed it and he’s going to use half of it…

I know, I know, I’m stuck on the details, but how do you handle this???

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