<rant> It was just that kind of day where bad decisions were made all around. We’ve once again reached the point in the month that our credit card balance is more than the cash we have on hand. Simply put, $700+ in plane tickets and my husband’s trip to Vegas were expenses we couldn’t afford. My husband called me this morning and said he was driving back with a friend. Why he couldn’t have done this in the first place and not booked a plane ticket a few weeks back is beyond me. He literally let money fly away. After that call, I decided to go out to eat with the kids. Sure, I could have cooked and saved money. But its hard to stay motivated when you are the only one trying.
I’ve tried to have conversations about money with my husband in the past. I think it boils down to the fact that he makes a lot more than I do. We both work hard, but his job and career yields more income into the family. We want different things and it seems like we are always fighting over what is more important. He believes we should spend money on experiences and making memories. He’s also pretty content with our house whereas I really want a new home. I just don’t know how to be successful in this! Ugh, I’m so over being stressed about money. </rant>
My husband was right; he did receive a bonus today. I check my bank accounts as part of my morning routine and was extremely happy at the semi-unexpected surprise. So filled with joy, I blew off work and went on a shopping spree! Just kidding! I am not THAT irresponsible. Over several texts, the hubby and I hashed out our plan to spend the money. The conversation went something like this: Me: “You did get a bonus. This is what I did with the money. Sound good?” Him: “Sounds good.” Now that’s a good man for you.
So what did I do? First order of business was to get our credit card balance to zero (yet again!) which was about 46% of the bonus. It feels great to be at zero again. Now I can focus on keeping it there and proper budgeting as opposed to worry about that debt and interest. 19% went into our savings for our emergency fund. That felt great! We decided to use the last 35% on a few non-pressing items that we have been putting off. These include: 1) car registration and emission test due on 2/15 2) my husband’s Vegas trip in early February and 3) one new tire for my car. If there is money left over after the Vegas trip (which I doubt), I will tuck that into savings as well. (And no need to panic about Vegas, we don’t gamble. My husband is competing for a national community service award, so he’ll be on good behavior.)
Overall, I feel blessed that a “crisis” was averted. I have been doing a lot of reading on personal finance (Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, etc.) and processing everything. I am not exactly ready to jump onto one particular plan just yet, but I’m getting there. On the way home from work, I found myself thinking, “Just pick up dinner. We can afford to spare a few extra bucks!” However, some where I found the will to drive home and get creative with what we had for dinner. Per their requests, my son has apple cinnamon oatmeal and my daughter had kosher hot dogs. I threw all the leftovers in the fridge together including pasta, rice, quinoa, turkey and sprinkled some shredded cheese on it. It actually wasn’t that bad; not wasting money (and food) is delicious!
I am very appreciative of the encouragement and feedback I received from my mini-meltdown post yesterday! One of my longest followers, theskinhorse, has been trying to convince me to go all-cash for what seems like years now! (One day!!) There was also a great consensus that a conversation with the husband was in order! It seemed like as I was posting my online rant, another blogger was sharing a hiccup in her personal financial situation. The serendipitous timing of two blogs being posted made me reflection on the difference between mine and hers. While I was complaining with no plan address the problem, she already was focused on her goals and the solution. I was in awe of her confidence and couldn’t help but ask myself, “How can I be more like her?” Probably the first step is to actually have a plan!
I did have a starter conversation with my husband about money. He did purchase hotel and flight for his trip, but we held out on the flight for the in-laws until we can afford it. Much is still left to be discussed, but he actually made some great points regarding our spending. He reminded me that we did pay off over $15K debt last year and our no-interest car loan will be done in November. We regularly give to charity and support members of our family. We both agreed that with little effort, this could be the year we actually begin saving again. In fact, if we just stop using the credit card, we would see a marked difference. And then he added, “Oh yeah, and I think I’m getting a bonus tomorrow.” How one does not know these things is beyond me. (But then again, I never get raises or bonuses at my job.)
I have got to develop a plan. I am looking to different online resources to find something that works for our family. Stay tuned! Better time are coming!