Of difficult child's, budgets, husband's, and ironic timing...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ok, so I posted Monday asking for information about budgeting. Guess you can all deduce accurately that I am trying to improve our financial situation with this information.

    I make decent money, but since July, when husband started paying child support out of his check, he has contributed nothing else financially to the budget. Occassionally, he has even had to ask me for money to get thru the week to payday. Gas prices are killing us both, but repeated attempts to talk to him about needing help, both physically and financially, have fallen on deaf ears. So, I decided to refigure our budget based solely on my income, and make changes as necessary to make it work. This is something I have been working on for at least a few months. I spent a couple hours Monday night pushing pencils with the budget info you all found for me, trying to make this all work, but the key thing I want to point out is that I have been looking to ME to correct the problem, not anyone else, tho I can certainly take issue with husband's spending habits if I try.

    That said, a long-time friend called last night. He owns a successful game farm that DEX and I helped him get off the ground years ago. He holds annual field trials, and for the past 3 years, has held a national championship. It falls on a weekend that husband helps his cousing butcher beef, so he can't watch difficult child, so I haven't been able to help with the hunt for the past 3 years, which is something I truly enjoy doing. The hunt is this weekend and my friend wants to borrow my banquet tables and chairs. In exchange, he'll let the kids go up and hunt for free on his land or give us some pheasants to eat, or whatever. Its what I've been able to contribute the past few years, and my hope is to keep the connection alive so that I can still be a part when difficult child-dom allows me to return. So I told my friend I'd bring the tables and chairs up. If I don't, he'd probably have DEX come get them, and that's not acceptable to me. Besides, I'm getting a free $200 hunt for our kids and however many dressed pheasants I want out of the deal.

    Anyway, backtrack to Monday night. husband needed gas and was out of money, so he asked me. I, myself, am dipping into what itsy bit of savings I have stashed. Knowing he had spent $15 for breakfast and lunch that day, as well as at least 2 days of the previous week, I told him I was cutting it pretty close myself, he could put 15 gallons of gas in to get him thru the week, but I really couldn't spare anything more. Then, as luck would have it, difficult child's old horse had an obstruction in her espophagus Monday night and I had to take her to the vet Tuesday or risk losing her - dipping further into my itty savings, but husband saw it as me having money and just withholding it from him... (which I guess I really kinda did).

    So, (sorry so long), I had an evaluation yesterday to determine if I need a root canal on a tooth. I broke it off last October but was out of dental benefits, so have babied it along until this year to get it fixed. difficult child 2 had his appointment with the behavior therapist, and somewhere in there, I needed to get a horse to the vet and the trailer had 2 flat tires, the air compressor at our house is broke, and my portable air tank went missing this summer and has never been seen again... I asked husband to bring a portable air tank from his folks' house Monday night, which he forgot. So I asked him to take off at 3:30 to help with the appts - he said he we needed the money worse than he needed to take off for those things.

    So I was not angry, because we do need the money, and I managed to get it all done - made my dentist at 1, fixed the trailer and made the vet at 3, and difficult child's appointment at 4. Got home at 7 and hadn't eaten a bite all day. And that's when my friend called and asked for the tables. I said I'd bring them up, and husband got upset. He said my running up and down the highway does not benefit us and is costing us our financial security.

    I about blew a gasket. I waited until I calmed down and tried to talk to him, but all he can seem to see is where we are RIGHT NOW. Which is I didn't have money to give to him, but I have money to buy gas to drive 45 miles to deliver tables and chairs for my friend, which, according to husband, does not benefit us (and by the way, we aren't getting any of the beef husband is helping to butcher this weekend, either).

    In a sort, husband is right, I've got a little bit of money, but certainly not enough to support him as he wants for the rest of this week without putting myself into the red. If I gave husband the money, he'd fill his tank and continue with his $15/day eating, which is what I can't afford, and I'd have the gas in my tank and nothing more. Heck, I usually eat a 59cent can of soup for lunch at my desk because I think its silly for me to spend any more than that. Every once in a while I'll get Subway, for 3.49....

    Anyway, I just had to get this off my chest. Obviously, there's a lot I left out, but it just needed to get out. husband is a good guy. He is good with difficult child most of the time. Last night, they played Lego's. He's not worth ditching just yet, but since the new crunch of gas and rising costs related it (groceries, etc), we're going to have to work thru some issues. Just wish I knew how to get his attention besides this.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Sending hugs, Shari. I posted the other day about using what I have in the house to make meals rather than going food shopping. Ironically, H hasn't said anything about the strange (not really, just different) meals we've been eating. Last night was leftover night and we had beef stew I made over the weekend. I didn't have any biscuits so on the way home I picked up a can of 5 biscuits for only 99 cents (I should have made them but didn't have time). H was thrilled with dinner - a first in a long time.

    It's gotten very difficult to stretch our dollars this winter with the cost of gas/fuel through the roof. There was a letter from a resident in the paper today who was outraged because most fuel companies here will not allow you to purchase less than 150 gallons at a time. The going rate here right now is about 3.20+/gallon for home heating fuel, so that amounts to almost $500 in one shot! For an average family, that's tough. I know I am hoping we can make it until the end of March before we need oil and we're down to 1/2 tank.

    I understand your H's point about driving the 45 miles up there, but in the LONG run, you will be getting those pheasants, etc. Will you have to drive back up to get the pheasants or will your friend deliver them to you when he/she returns the table? If you're bringing the tables up and then going up again to retrieve the pheasants, in my opinion, that's not worth the gas. But, hey, your kids will also get to hunt for free, so maybe it's worth it to you. I think that your H should ask if he can have some cuts of meat if he's helping to butcher it up!! Why isn't he already getting any? Is he getting paid to help butcher it up?

    Also, my H takes a lunch everyday. He packs a sandwich, a snack, and a fruit - he buys a drink. He eats cold cuts and tuna. I hate tuna and I can't really eat all the cold cuts (too many sulfites) or I begin to get wheezy. So, I stick with low cost lunches, less than $5 and I don't alway buy. I often bring leftovers to my office so I can heat them up in the micro or I bring salads. I have been skipping my morning coffee from Dunkin Donuts and instead have an extra one at home (I don't do travel mugs).

    I've been scouring the net to find ways of living more frugally and on the cheap without sacrificing healthy eating and living. It's tough and it's a time when the whole family has to pull together.

    My H is notorious for leaving every freakin light in every room in the house burning. If he leaves the kitchen, he will just leave the light on. I came home last night from a meeting and all the lights in the basement/laundry room were on, the kitchen light, the living room light, the hall light, the outside light, the bathroom light and my bedroom light. Where was H? Lying on our bed reading a book. I asked him why he left all the lights on and he said, "I didn't". Ummm, there was no one else home and when I left the only lights on were in the kitchen so he is full of it. I think he believes if he says it ain't so, it ain't so! This is an ongoing argument because I pay the utilities. He is also supposed to keep the wood burning stove going to save us fuel, but he refuses to do it during the week. We'd be fighting about it all the time. Instead I just go around the house turning off lights. Thank God he goes to sleep at 8:30. He calls me a vampire. I call him wasteful.

    Sorry this turned into my own vent - I hear you!!!
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Shari -

    Just sending hugs your way. With all husband's hot air - why would you need an air compressor? -

    Hang tough - hope the horse is okay.

  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    That's ok, JoG, I understand I'm not alone, believe me! lol

    Yes, friend will deliver the pheasants, and the hunt, to me, is worth the rest. Pheasant hunting is not legal where we live (we are too far south) and it is something we would never get to do otherwise - its a special treat for the kids, and they all like to hunt.

    The going rate for a pheasant is around $6/head live. These will be dressed, and he usually gives me 20 or so. And not many places I can get meat for 20 meals for $9.

    But I'm mostly just irritated that he can contribue nothing financially to the budget, yet point at me, first, for any problematic spending without even being able to acknowledge that perhaps spending your last $15 for 2 meals when you're tank is empty and you have 4 days til payday wasn't too bright to begin with...

    Since I am running a household on my income alone, things are kinda backwards right now. Our bills were built on 2 incomes, but since July, I've only had one, so I pay the fixed things first even tho they're things I need to be getting rid of (and am looking at getting rid of things like cable - but for now, I pay it alone). Anyway, I generally have about $150-$200/week after all fixed expenses are paid. That covers gas, food, clothing (for all), household incidentals such as shampoo and cleaning supplies, food and care for the animals, any extra costs for school field trips and book orders, etc, car repairs (I do my own mechanic work and our newest car is 12 years old), taxes, license fees, and anything "extra" that we do. He brings home about $200, also, and it pays for whatever he does with it. And most times, what I ahve to buy is already laid out before the next check comes. Like this week, difficult child's shoes are way too small, he's curling his toes at the ends, so he'll have to have new shoes. He's also out of pullups. There's $30 already spent. (and I've tried to get him to get rid of the extra horses and his parents cattle so we don't have to buy feed for the animals, but he doesn't want to - he sees the initial cost of aquiring them as the only real cost in keeping them, even tho we've had to buy feed for some this year because we don't have enough grass to support them all).

    Thanks, Star. The horse is not out of the woods, but I've done all I can do, given the situation, which was to file her teeth so they're effective at grinding food again, restrict what she eats to very leafy hay, and keep her and her water warm. Its up to her, time, and nature now, but she feels good, dives into her hay, and acts as spunky as ever right now, so that's a good sign.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Shari, that's a difficult situation to be in, and it brings to mind a few questions... I may have missed something in the earlier posts, but I am wondering...

    - Why does husband not contribute to the variable expenses of the household? Why are you carrying all of the expenses?
    - Why, if your H needs money to pay for gas can he not use his $200 per week to do so. It's all about choices. If he knows that he's going to need gas, then he can't afford to eat lunch out.

    I know that each family's circumstances are different, and that you may have come to an arrangement that worked for you and husband until now. But...if you're fighting over money, then it may be time to rewrite the rules a bit.

    If you're doing everything you can to be frugal, and your family is cutting out things like cable to trim a few more $ from the budget, then it makes sense that husband do his share by cutting back on discretionary spending too.

    Maybe I'm missing some key information, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

    All the best,
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Trinity -

    I left out a lot of pieces, there's no way I could fill in all the details leading up to this... But to answer your questions, I'm not sure how it came to pass that he doesn't contribute. Before everything skyrocketed, I was paying down a lot of old debt, and would occassionally ask him to pitch in when I was short. At the same time, he paid for any dinners out, a good portion of our outings (we go camping a lot and he'd pay the camp fees, etc), occassionally some groceries, etc. When we started taking his child support out of his check, that stopped and he basically does good to cover his own expenses. I make more than he does, so it didn't overly bother me to pay the brunt of the bills, but I always knew he had my back. Now, tho, he not only doesn't have my back, he has turned to me several times to cover his. And I'm glad to when I can, but having had no contributions for 6 months, I can't support us all on my income without letting go of a few things, which hasn't happened so far other than personal cutbacks I have made. I don't use the dryer anymore to dry clothes (saves an average of $50 a month), I changed garbage service to pick up once a month instead of weekly (saves $20 a month), I buy all the groceries at a bag-it-yourself, cash only grocery, and have started clipping coupons. I canceled my gym membership, things like that. I could cut out a few more things, but I'm basically down to the few things I do to save my sanity, one of which has been to try to increase contact with friends.

    I went thru the last 3 months of checks today and figured up where pretty close to everything went. There's not much more "fluff" that I can cut out myself. He's going to have to step up and manage his money better, cause I can't support 5 on my income.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    So, is his child support excessive? Or is it the usual 17% of his income? Is it for one child? Was he not paying support before last year?
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    No, its not excessive, its the standard child support for this state and he doesn't pay anything except in the case of medical emergency (its excessive when you realize that she doesn't pay for anything for the child, her parents pay for everything (including her house, car, and maintenance on both), but that's a different can of worms). It is for one child. Before it came directly out of his check, I was paying it out of our checking account, thus, he'd contribute here and there and it wasn't a big deal.
    He started paying support in early 04, about 18 months after he and his ex split, which was about 6 months or so after we started dating (and before we had a joint account). But that was when gas was 80 cents a gallon, too. It sounds like a long time, but he did try to pay sooner than that...his ex was using lack of support as her justification to keep him from seeing his daughter, so he was actually the one who filed to pay support thru the court. She continued the court case repeatedly and refused to cash any checks he sent her to keep it that way. He's got a large legal file to prove it, but it took about a year to get it thru the courts.
    He has a decent job, and I'm really wondering if he's ever had to manage money in a "pinch". He's never been rich, by any means, but I'm not sure its ever been this tight for him, and I think reality might have to be biting him in the hiney here real soon...cause this isn't dress rehearsal.