Money changes everything
Money, money changes everything
We think we know what we’re doin’
That don’t mean a thing
It’s all in the past now
Money changes everything
Money. We all know that money can do great or it can destroy. I have never been really poor, but I have felt the bite of an empty wallet and bank account many times. My profession earns me a very comfortable living, but I have to stay sharp since it is all commission. It can be feast or famine.
Yesterday I worked on finishing my taxes. As I was going through some financial records, I realize how lucky I really am. There are my dinners, hair salon appointments, waxing, massages, trips, clothes. I have a really nice life, but I am ready to cut back. I need to overhaul and rein back my spending, so I can plan an exit strategy from this rat race.
Money has always been a bit of an issue for me. I had no role models or advice on how to handle it. Neither one of my parents was knowledgable about managing it. When I went through my Mom’s papers after her death, I found years of angry correspondence between her, my dad and my stepmom. It was all about money. My Ex was no better. His father was a “boom and bust” entrepreneur. They had very wealthy times and not so good times, so he had no idea how to properly manage money.
During our marriage, paying bills would put him into a funk, so I took over that job which resulted in me handling 90% of the financial matters in our household. I participated in the 401(k) plans that were offered, however, I should have added more. But I am a spender and if I am sad, I have a tendency to cure it with a bit of retail therapy. Since I was unhappy in our marriage, retail therapy was a constant solution.
When I moved out, I took very little with me. My Ex was the primary interior decorator so I wanted a clean start. With my new place, I have been careful about what I purchase, but over-spending still creeps in. I have had my best earning years lately and I have no savings to show for it. It has gone to furnishing this place, trips, sending my son off to college, clothes as I shed weight and who knows what else. I have found myself hiding or avoiding the money conundrum. When you have two strong wage earners, you can get away with that to a certain degree. Now that I am flying solo, I have to face this head on. This brings me to my discovery today.
The Hunter is deep in the woods as I write. Sitting on the kitchen counter is his pay envelope with his pay stub. Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked. He has told me what he makes, but he wasn’t accurate. He makes less than he said. I make about seven times his salary. Yes, seven times.
We have worked out our finances here. He buys the groceries and other household incidentals. I pay for the rent, utilities, cable, etc. I would be paying that anyway. However, he is a red-blooded, Alpha male, so when we go out, he wants to pay. This creates a bit of a problem. That means that my usual Saturday night trendy dinner is no longer viable since it will consume almost half of his weekly pay. Vacations or quick weekend trips are tricky because 1) he gets very limited paid time off and 2) the cost involved – he wants to pay. This explains, in my mind, why we spend a lot of time at home. He doesn’t have the cash.
I can write an entire post about the Hunter’s perspective and history with money, but today is about me. Suffice it to say, that 1) he has been dead broke and briefly homeless. 2) he freely admits to being a bad money manager 3) I am learning frugal tips from him constantly.
I am making plans to rein in my overhead even more over the next couple of months. As I wrote here, I am letting my housekeeper go. Next will be cable TV. I have some business expenses that my firm has agreed to begin paying directly. My goal is understand and lower my monthly expenses, so I can begin saving again. I need to control my money rather than have it controlling me. At the end of the day, I only want to work in this rat race for another decade, so I need to make it count.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if money becomes an issue in my relationship with the Hunter. Time will tell. I think the vacation situation will be most problematic. I do love a long vacation at the beach…..