Thursday, April 8, 2010

Talking about Money

From what I gather, money is the thing most couples in the US fight about, and I imagine that's true all around the world. Money makes the world go 'round, you see. They say that couples who can talk effectively about money succeed and those who can't, don't.

Here's what a typical conversation CW and I have about money:

One of the other: AHHHH WE HAVE NO MONEY.

The other: Calm down babe here's some right here.


The second: Sure we will lets do some math...feel better? Ok lets order some pizza, buy some whiskey, and get drunk so we forget about this until later.

And later, the second picks up where the first left off panicking about CREDIT CARD DEBT, or LOANS, or a CRAPPY, LOW PAYING JOB.

Hopefully, we're not alone. Not that I want anyone of you lovelies to live from paycheck-to-OMG WHEN DO I GET PAID like us. Or rather, like me. But that's what you get when you go into writing/journalism for a magazine and newspaper. Remember those things? With the pages? Exactly.

But I digress. I only mean that it would be comforting to know that other people do any of the following and that I won't be sent to personal finance hell for doing it myself:
  • carry a balance on their credit card(s)
  • spend too much
  • live almost beyond your means
  • pay half your income in housing and/or loans

And it would be nice to hear what you all do to talk about money in your life. Do you talk about it all? Just with you closest friends? What about your family?

I'm pretty sure everyone knows how poor I am. When it gets to the point that I turn down a fucking coffee at Starbucks cause I don't have any more cash to spend this week, its obvious to whoever I'm talking to that there is a problem. I like to think that the problem isn't so much how I spend money or that I spend to much, Because seriously, by the day before payday, I've got 30 bucks in the bank, one or two outstanding checks, and a strong hankering for a new bottle of whiskey. And a pizza. But usually I can find someone to split an order of Dominos with me. Thanks guys!

My big concern for myself is continuing to be honest. I've never lied to CW about anything and I haven't even stretched the truth to him about how much I've spent. But let me tell you: its HARD. The guilt over every dollar I hand across the counter when I know he's given me 50 bucks to cover an overdraft charge is intense. You can probably guess what he'd say:

"Money is there to be spent, and its all our money. I love you and I want you to enjoy yourself once in a while, so don't worry about it."

So honesty, certainly remains key. I can imagine he'd be singing a different tune if I'd been lying to him all this time.

What else? I'd say a shared opinion on values. It's hard to talk to anyone, let alone the person you have sex with, about money if you don't value the same things in life (maybe you shouldn't be having sex with that person?). Like, I value drinking whiskey and so does Chris and we both understand that. So if money is tight that week, I don't buy a bottle of tequila, but a bottle of whiskey we can share. Better example: we both value camping and want to make that a part of our lives. So we spend money on camping equipment that, to others, would be a complete waste.

That's really it, I think. And of course, the bottom line is everyone should remember that mone may make the world go 'round, but ti doesn't make it fun. Sex does that. And whiskey.

1 comment:

  1. I think this was one of my favorite posts that you have written MF. And to let you know, you are not a lone, I too am very poor and live by my pay check to pay check.

    I have co-workers in the Finance department that like to go to lunch every Friday for lunch, giving us a break from being in the office all week long. I tend to buy groceries for the week to save on costs but even doing that is usually $20.00 a week, which is about $5.00, but then you add in going out to lunch one time at about $12-$15, and possibly a couple of coffees throughout the week and you are looking at spending $40 a week on food!! Its horrible, because you should be able to afford eating three meals everyday, but you really have to question whether not you grab a cup of coffee or you go get a sandwich from Subway with the guys, because you know if you do, you probably will not be able to pay more than your minimum payment on you credit card that month.

    I think you are on track though, you cant lie. I would say that I have never lied to RV about how much I have spent, but everytime I spend $0.01 I feel guilty, like I am in trouble and I think given the fact that both of us make less (even significantly less) than our spouses, we do tend to feel guilty as we feel we are not pulling our part of the deal. I think honestly is huge and as long as you can keep open about these issues, I do not see a marriage ending by means of financial means.

    I think you also bring up an even bigger point as well, I mean honesty is obviously the biggest one, but I would say this point is on par with honesty, shared values. I myself have a couple different hobbies. I love football (obviously a Panthers Fan, possibly to much, but that is another comment for another post), but I also love working on family genealogy. These hobbies require money, like most hobbies do, but when your spouse does not have the same shared values or hobbies, it makes it hard to jusify spending money on those hobbies. It makes it even harder when your spouse does not have any hobbies either, because then you can not set aside money for each person to spend on their own hobbies.

    Money overall just sucks, we do not make enough of it and when we finally get a raise, we end up in turn spending more money and increasing our own standards of living, even though if we would just stay where we were, we would not have to worry about living from paycheck to OMG GOD, WE MIGHT LOSE THE HOUSE! :)

    Remember your not alone! I am right there with you!