Monday, June 30, 2014

Raining dollar bills

Last week I found out my friend, who had been seriously dating her boyfriend for almost as long as I've been with Josh and was moving towards getting married, broke up with him out of nowhere. It was kind of shocking for everyone finding out. We're trying to stay friends with both of them - Josh went out with the guy for drinks; I had my friend over for brunch this morning.

When Josh and I compared notes, we came away honestly surprised they've lasted as long as they have. Basically he's Irish and traditional and wants a wife who will stay home and pop out babies. She's in law school. Yeah, neither will change their mind. It makes me feel outrageously lucky that Josh and I are almost completely on the same page.

The two things we disagree on are having kids and handling money. I could become a trillionaire and still will never be able to spend the way Josh does. He has gotten a thousand times better but Josh will never be able to think of cost and respect money the way I do. Right this very second, there is a stack of bills totaling $660, in a loose pile on the couch next to me. Josh took $800 out of the ATM last week. I would bet you $660 that he has no idea what he spent that $140 on.

When I go to bed tonight, that money will come with me because we have too many people coming in and out of our apartment to sit out in the living room. If someone took a few bills Josh would never notice. This is how he is with money all the time. I bet I could find money in the kitchen, in the hallway (a few times I've found dollar bills being used as bookmarks in books), everywhere.

Every cent of my money is accounted for. I know exactly how much is in my bedroom, and in my workbag. Josh has talked about blending our money when we're married. As a poor girl I know that's supposed to be like, my ultimate wish. But if I saw "our" money keeping the place in a book, or strewn in random places, it would make me crazy. I don't want to break up like our friends did. I don't think Josh is ever going to change.


Karen said...

No, he will not change. The question isn't who will change, it is what problems will it cause? Many couples keep their money separate for their own peace of mind. In my marriage, we have blending our money in most ways, but my husband is self employed and will not show me his books. He probably would if I asked, but I don't really want to see them. If I saw them I'd probably be horrified at the chaos. As long as he pays his quarterly taxes and gives me his schedule C at tax time, and makes his deposits into our joint account as needed, I'm ok. Sometimes he hasn't been able to meet these goals and I get mad, but overall this works. You guys are already living together and planning together and spending together. What needs to change if you marry?

gazzard said...

I agree with Karen. My husband and I have been married for almost a decade and still keep our money separate -- and it avoids a world of conflict. Like you and Josh, I keep track of our money and long term financial goals and my husband... doesn't. In most ways, we act as if our money is blended -- we don't at all keep track of who spends what on our common expenses -- but it helps immeasurably that when my husband makes a purchase I'm not totally on board with, I can feel like it's "his" money and isn't coming out of what I've been putting aside towards our future home, etc. Works for us!

Karen said...

I think it is widely known that in many relationships, one person will be a spender and one a saver. The trick is to figure out where the conflicts are going to be, and then map out areas of control to minimize each person's misery.

Sometimes I get tired of managing my family's finances (almost 22 years of marriage, 2 kids, two home purchased, one home sold, two major remodels....). Once my husband asked if he could share the work and I thought for a moment about how I'd feel getting all those late payment notices because he just doesn't seem to care, and I said No Thank You. On the other hand, he is much more generous than me with "our" money and he is usually right about that so I generally just say go ahead when we need to buy a gift or make a vacation plan.

Anonymous said...

Gazzars's system works for us too--25 years. I'm the saver and I work too.


Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

I keep track of our money, but we each have a personal account that I put money into at the beginning of the month, and that money can be spent however we please, with no accounting to the other person. For other categories we have a monthly budget (you can spend up to $50 a week on lunch, etc). My husband also bounces/overdrafts left and right so I set up his accounts to give him a daily balance, automatically text him when his account is under a certain amount, etc.