husband and "The List"....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DaisyFace, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good Morning, All--

    I love my husband very much, but I feel a HUGE fight coming on, and I'm not really sure the best way to handle it...

    A little background: Money is tight. VERY tight. And it has been for some time. We are still paying off medical bills from husband needing hospital treatment last summer.

    At any rate....husband has a "List"....a running list of all of the things that he wants and needs. Parts for the grill. Gym membership. Car stereo. Software. Lawn equipment. It goes on and on and on....

    And if he gets an item on the list--his response is usually "Great! Now all I need is {the next item on the list}...".

    At any rate--just last week we just spent $2300 we DON'T have to repair his car. We put it on a high-interest credit card and I have no idea how we are going to pay it off. It is causing me a great deal of worry.

    husband wants to simply forego paying the medical bills and instead put that money toward paying off the car repair.

    And, now that the car is fixed--is he satisfied? grateful? appreciative? happy? Nope! you guessed it....he is now whining about the next item on his "List" and he is very irritated at me because I have been saying "NO!!!".

    So clearly we are both very angry and frustrated at the other--and this could really blow up into something ugly...

    Any idea how I an handle this without heading for divorce court?


  2. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Think I would be making a list with medical payments, mortgage/rent, food, etc. (the necessities), and let him know these are on the "pay for first list" and frankly he has had his purchase for the year....... and by the way who is in charge of the money? It's not that you can't share the responsibilities, but it sounds like he is taking "his share" first................ hope you can head him off at the pass..... and the best way you can handle it is by NOT blowing up.... remain calm at all costs, then you appear to be the reasonable one....... let him throw the fit when you calmly say there is no money to spend on his toys...... now if he has things on there like a new roof, new furnace, etc. he may have a leg to stand on, but I'm thinking its toys......

    Good luck with the discussion and REMAIN CALM!
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Your husband is obviously a list maker. (used to be one myself) His problem isn't the list of things he wants/needs but the fact that he is putting off paying for important things in order to acheive each item on his list. My sister in law is also a list maker. BUT he puts aside spare change ect in order to make the things on his list come to fruit.....or easy child will put back money over a period of time and make one of them a gift.

    Since money is so very tight, have you contacted the hospital to see which bills from them can be consoladated and if the monthly payments can be lowered to where you can afford them more easily? You can do the same with deductables for docs and test ect too. It helps tons.

    Repairing the car can be important.....if it truly needs it to continue to run properly. Otherwise, it should have been put off and something else paid for (that was more important) in it's place.

    easy child is lucky in the fact that her husband will work an extra job if he needs/wants something on his list bad enough.....or he will trade/sell something he already has in order to buy it. He fixes up old motorcycles and cars and resells them for profit when he has the time. Gives him something to do and helps him gain that extra money for his list. They were just discussing this the other day. He's about to sell the rebuilt motorcycle in order to buy something else big......but he has to wait until the loan for the rebuilt motorcycle is paid off so it doesn't cause them to lose money.

    Having a list isn't a bad thing. But getting things on your list when the family is hurting is both unfair and selfish. (not to mention a tad immature) For both me and sister in law.....most of the fun is finding ways to make it happen as much as actually getting something.

    Don't know if this helped or not. I hope you two can reach a compromise the way easy child and sister in law did.

  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Daisy, I agree with Lisa. It's not so much that husband has a list, but that he feels a sense of entitlement about the items on it.

    Lisa gives some good strategies, selling items you no longer need or want, husband taking a part-time job if possible, etc.

    I wonder, though, what's at the root of it. Why does husband's list hold so much importance for him that he's willing to sacrifice necessities for toys. If you two can get at the heart of what the list really means to him, on a level that's deeper than just "the stuff", then maybe you can come to a resolution that doesn't involve you building resentment against each other, or digging yourselves into a financial hole.

    Money fights are the worst. Sending many gentle hugs your way.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    WhyMe and DaisyLover--

    You are both correct. He is putting his list of toys ahead of everyone's else's needs....AND he seems unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to finance all of this stuff. That's why I am so frustrated. I feel like I am trying so hard to be the "responsible one"....and he is looking at me like I am denying him the things that are really important to him.

    As far as the medical bills....we have paid off all of the smaller ones and are just down to making monthly payments on the last big bill--which is now down to about $1200. So we were sending $100 per month to the hospital. Which, he wants to just stop completely in order to put the $100 per month toward the credit card to pay for the car.

    I don't mind that he wants things.....but I don't understand why he doesn't seem to grasp that money does not grow on trees. {And that's why I do the bills every month. Otherwise, we blow the paycheck on pizza and toys and then have nothing left to pay the rent.}

    And I need to try and get through to him in a way that doesn't make him feel like I am being the "bad guy".

    Thanks for letting me vent about this....

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No advice but I'm wondering if he's always been this way or if this got worse after money got so tight?
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You are so insightful. I think that there must be something more to this, too. What is it that he is trying to achieve? or what need is he trying to fulfill by constantly striving for more stuff? The clue is that he is not satisfied with whatever he gets and just goes on to the next item.

    From my seems that there is nothing in the world that I will ever be able to do, or buy, or achieve that will satisfy him. Nothing is ever enough. So I am thinking, that at its heart--it's really not about money (although it certainly feels like it!).

  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I think he has always been this way....but obviously it bothers me more when money is an issue.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    For me when money is very tight, I get very insecure and start to want to buy more stuff. Stupid yes but its like I want to reassure myself that I still can. Thankfully we dont have credit cards so I can only do but so much damage.
  10. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I think you hit the nail on the head there, DaisyF. And so many people think if they just get this one thiing they will be happy but the happiness only lasts a short time and then you are on to the next thing that will make you happy. It really has been proven that things don't make us humans happy but we continue to believe they will.

  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Crud. I have 'the list' posted on a white board by my door. My daughter, in her wicked sense of humor, puts a ton a check marks by each list. That didn't go over so well. (I guess the apple doesn't go far from the tree. At least she has guts.)

    H came home with his new toy yesterday to the tune of $1200. I couldn't believe it. WE DON'T NEED TWO NEW SPEAKERS!!!! We need to pay simple things like electricity and water. Hello? The list of toys goes on and on.

    My list? Milk, eggs, bread, wash the dishes, clean the bird's areas, etc, not new speakers.

    It's always been like this, though. It must be one of those 'guy' things. (Sorry guys, but you perplex us.)

  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Same thing here... husband got his back payment from the govt for injuries, about $1100. $500 on projector that plays DVDs since the family room TV died. $200 to me for bills. Heaven only knows what happened to the other $400. I'm scavenging for grocery money and we have a HUGE credit card bill from the dog hurting himself January 2 years ago.

    Yes, the projector is nice but we have two other TVs in the house!

    I think it has to do with upbringing. husband's family was never well to do. mother in law just spent a LOT of money on stupid stuff yesterday and next week she will be asking us to subsidize her groceries because she doesn't have any money. I don't know how father in law lives (they are divorced); he hasn't worked in nearly 2 years. At least he doesn't ask for money.

    HOWEVER back to the upbringing. Since they never had money they never had extras, so whenever he has any he buys whatever he wants. We have some bills that I think are insane but required, such as broadband for his business and we have to use a court-ordered website to communicate with biomom that is so intensive it's useless on dialup. Luckily my car is almost paid off (in July - bought before we were even living together much less married, I could afford it then!) so that $ will go to the credit card.

    Maybe you could make a list of everything that NEEDS to be paid, then add his WANTS, alphabetize it so it's random as to what it is, then both of you go through and put your priorities on it 1-5. So you both know you need groceries, he puts a 3 on it and you put a 1 - averages to a 2. His gym membership is a 1 to him, but a 5 to you - now it averages to a 3, which is AFTER groceries. Just a thought.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I liked your response. And I have the same reaction to lack of money if I don't hold myself on a tight rein. I grew up really dirt poor. Plus husband has caused us to do without so much that now if we are short of money one month.....the next I'll buy enough food to last 2 months even if we don't have the money to do so.

    Thank goodness I only do this with food. But it's like I go into panic mode. I guess my kids went hungry just one too many times. :(

    That's also where my list came from too. I had nothing as a kid...unless it came from salvation army or yard sales. Very rarely did I ever have anything new. My list developed out of a need to have a somewhat "normal" life. A decent car, nice furniture, bath towels that are not handmedowns from mother in law.......Odd thing though, once I figured out the WHY of it....I don't do it as much. I used to sit for hours with catalogues in my lap making lists......I haven't opened one in years. And as I've aged......I'm leaning back toward more used things that are still nice than anything new.

    by the took us 15 yrs to be able to mark the decent car off the list. And I had to get run over by a truck to finally get my own home. :rofl:
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    My husband was a lot like this for a loooong time. I think it was linked to his depression and his other mood issues. He's gotten a lot better now that he's on medications. We owe a lot of money right now, and he's been very patient and realistic about the fact that we have to pay off these things and have to be responsible with our spending. Five years ago, he would have said "screw it -- I want what I want and I want it now!" I hated being viewed as the "bad guy" -- the one who said no to everything he wanted. In reality, I was the "grown up"!
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh...I had to learn that money wasnt some weird thing other people had to talk about. My family was fairly well off when I was growing up and they never taught me about money...of course they never taught me anything about responsibility like chores either. I thought there was a clean clothes fairy, a cooking fairy and a cleaning fairy. Things just appeared in my My one big chore all through my life was emptying the dishwasher...oh gawd!

    I was so ill-prepared for real life. I had no idea how to budget on a shoe string, I had no clue how to cook, clean or wash clothes. I was in for such a shock when I moved out. Did you know that when you toss dirty clothes in the closet that they dont wash themselves? LOL. I was astounded. I was also flabbergasted that you actually had to have money in the bank even though you have checks left. OMG. I couldnt believe it. But my parents had always taken care of that for Yes...I was spoiled.

    I had to learn that I could not live the way I had lived on my fathers salary when I was living with a man who just didnt make the same thing. I learned to live within our means. It took me some disasters though to get to that point.
  16. Jena

    Jena New Member

    that's a rough one, yet i'm with trinity it seems like it's not really about the list it's more deep rooted.

    maybe you could suggest to him to forego the list of toys, etc. for a list of things he'd like to do for him that could include you or not. a bucket list of sorts, ever see that movie??

    maybe this is more of a him being forfilled thing he's just giong about it the wrong way thinking things will fill him up?

    i wish you luck it's a hard thing to bring up.

  17. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I tend to be a list person. But there are multiple ones. We have the bill list. The food list. The house list (fixing and such). Then the fun lists. The one that I nurture the most is my book wants list. Most of the time I get used but I "indulge in a few periodically.

    Funny I grew up similiar to what Janet was talking about. But add in there that by the time I left home mom had me fending off bill collectors for her over indulgences and I didn't realize you couldn't do that the same way with little income.

    I agree there is probably an underlying reason. Good luck and calm is good. We are with you.

  18. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I was left with a list this morning. All I can say is I'll get 'a round tuit' when I feel like it. :) I actually DO have a wooden round tuit.

  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There's often a good reason why the family wasn't well off - because they didn't manage their finances properly; they probably had "a list".

    There are many kinds of poverty. Many of them are, in various ways, hereditary. Not in a genetic way, but in a social way - memes, not genes.

    You can have poverty where the family may well know HOW to manage their meagre finances, but due to ongoing expenses always cropping up, they never manage to do more than struggle on. In Australia we call them "battlers".

    Then there are the people who simply spend money unwisely, who have little idea of how to really manage. They are often influenced unduly by the advertising industry, which spreads the message that you CAn have it now, that it's unreasonable of anybody to make you wait for what you want. Advertising uses words like "you deserve it", or "you're worth it", "when only the best will do" and so on. Take note - how many of these phrases can you find? The more vulnerable among us, and often the more envious and resentful, will then act on the impulse to get what they want NOW, and justify it with these phrases. Anyoone trying to put the brakes on is like the childhood memory of poverty which, according to the advertising, was needless self-sacrifice or worse, niggardly, miserly stinginess imposed by others out of a desire to be mean because OF COURSE we all can have whatever we want, can't we? That's what credit is for!

    Inside a lot of people is the child who always wanted what the other kids had, who was placated with things instead of affection, who was taught early on that rewards are material. Often the lesson is taught by parents who felt the same way. Think "Gone With the Wind", end of the first half, Scarlett O'Hara clutching a handful of dirt and saying, "As God is my witness, I'll never be poor again!"
    Put that mentality into someone who hasn't got the financial wit to be able to actually ORGANISE their own finances sensibly and what you get is the sense of aggrieved entitlement, coupled with financial irresponsibility.

    You can overcome this and break the cycle but it takes a combination of therapy and financial counselling. Probably a whip and a chair, as well. You ned to dig deep and find out where the sense of entitlement comes from, deal with it and then learn the techniques for managing your finances sensibly.

    Too often we are fooled by the belief that it's so much easier for everyone else; nobody else is struggling as we are (because we all hide it from one another socially - how much do you REALLY know about your neighbours' financial situation? Think of the movie "Fun With Dick and Jane" and how they struggled to keep up appearances, how broke they were so quickly because although they DID earn good money, they still didn't plan well. And how they still did their best to cover up their dire financial state. Our sense of entitlement is often aggravated by the mistaken belief that only WE are doing it tough. But especially these days, many more of us have it tough. And when we finally have a change in our luck and things look up, we so quickly forget. And remember - those who forget the past are condemned to re-live it.

    I grew up poor, and resenting the apparent wealth of classmates. My best friend at the time WAS much better off financially. Where I was given a bookshelf one Christmas (which I had actually helped my mother to buy and then paint, thinking it was for my sister) my friend was given an in-ground swimming pool. When she was old enough her parents paid for her drivers licence costs, private lessons and then a new late-model car. My parents couldn't even cover the cost of my learner's permit. At school the noticeboard had the names of the scholarship kids and the bursary kids. It was good to be recognised for academic achievement, but those in control didn't seem to realise - the bursary, being means-tested, was an open announcement that those awarded a bursary were the poor kids. Those of us with our names listed as bursary holders tended to draw together in some sort of shameful and shamed camaraderie. There wasn't any real social stigma - just a personal sense of shame and embarrassment.

    Something that helped me - was learning to "get over myself" and not waste time on pointless pride. There are times when survival is more important than pride. At this point I began to let go of comparisons with others, with worrying aboutwhether I had enough possessions to keep up appearances and instead to focus on what I needed, to get by. And how I could get it, with spending the minimum. When I was younger I wouldn't have been seen dead in a second-hand clothing place. But I happily accepted my sister's hand-me-downs. Crazy. Some second-hand things people have "standards" over. My mother would never allow any of us to wear second-hand shoes. As for anything we wore close to our bodies, such as pyjamas or underwear - NEVER! Beds - we could pass mattresses around from one family member to another, as long as we kept it quiet. But never touch something that came from an unknown source.

    The day I scavenged an old mattress from the side of the road, so I would have something to sleep on that night - that was the day I realised that it was time to forget about appearances and focus on urgent needs.

    If you're really hungry, you'll eat out of a bin. If you can afford not to, that's good. But if you can't prioritise effectively, the day will come when you will be sitting by the side of the road with your new speakers, hungry.

    A gold brick is something a lot of us would love to have. But if you're alone on a desert island, that gold brick is useless. A fishing rod with an effective lure is worth many gold bricks, in that situation.

    priority. common sense. Forgetting the sense of entitlement and recognising that we ALL pretend to be better off than we are and we should simply stop trying to compete - it's something to aim for.

    I have friends who refuse to eat leftovers. They waste an awful lot and seem to think this is how everybody lives, how everybody SHOULD live. The thought of eating leftovers nauseates them, it would be to them an open admission that they're not doing their job financially. People have lost touch with how pioneers had to live, with how you cope when your survival depends on it. We forget our responsibilities to our past, to our upbringing, to the environment, to conserving resources, to society... we need to re-educate society.

    husband & I used to do party plan sales. We did the best business in the poorest homes. We found the wealthiest clients bought the least while the poorer people, the battlers, seemed to have the most disposable income. It was in the Housing Commission homes, the subsidised housing occupied by people on welfare, that we saw the latest hire-purchase goods, the newest gadgets and the most up-to-date fashions. The women all had their hair professionally styled once a week and we got our biggest orders in these homes. Because the party plan system meant that we'd get more party bookings from each party (again, especially on the poorer areas) we would often meet the same people on the same circuit of friends. We 'worked' the same areas for several years and watched their lives. We finally got out of the business for a range of reasons, and felt relieved to be away from what we felt was immoral exploitation.

    As I said before, some people are poor because they simply have had a run of bad luck - it can happen to anyone. Some people are poor because they are trapped in a poverty cycle. And some people keep themselves poor because their habits are wasteful, irresponsible and self-perpetuating. We learn these habits (good, bad or indifferent) as children and we carry them into our adult life. How well we manage to change our wealth situation is dependent on the sort of habits we learned, combined with how well we can make good use of whatever fortune comes our way.

    If you have been raised to be irresponsible, it won't matter how much fortune comes your way, it will never be enough.

    That is why you can't ever solve poverty by throwing money at it. You need to include counselling and education too. Always.

  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Afinal quick word on the subject of teaching poverty and relativity - I tell my children stories but I also SHOW them stories. Do you know the story of Stone Soup? It is one of the Storyteller stories (the Jim Henson ones).
    In summary, a wanderer knocks at the door of a miser's hut on a cold winters night. The wanderer wants a bed for the night, some food and some shelter. The miser is infamous for never giving away anything.
    The beggar says he wants nothing, but will in fact provide the meal. All he needs is a pot to make his soup in, because he has a magic stone which makes soup out of plain water.
    The miser likes the sound of getting something for nothing. He lends the pot (grumbling about wear and tear on his utensils) and the water. Over the evening, the beggar asks for a bit of seasoning. Then any vegetable scraps (carrot peels, beetroot tops, an old potato perhaps). A ham bone to stir it with. You get the picture - and the smooth round stone in the pot is working its magic on the miser; he wants the stone. He covets the stone. The soup is served, the miser is impressed. Now he MUST have the stone and he barters away his bed for the night, in exchange for the stone.

    Next morning the beggar leaves, a full stomach at the miser's expense, a good rest in a warm soft bed and even some newer clothes than the ones he'd been wearing. All in exchange for the stone he used to make soup. The miser waves him off then hurries back into his cottage to make more soup. Once the door is shut, the beggar-no-longer stoops to the garden and picks up another stone... and walks away along the road, to his next destination...

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 makes stone soup. She has learnt the cooking principles and uses them, but also has learnt the underlying message - you make do with what you can put together with what you have, and you "sell" it to whoever you need to, yourself first and foremost.