"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Money Changes Everything

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

Cyndi Lauper

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…..

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Comments on: "Money Changes Everything" (9)

  1. I’ve had the similar review of my own expenses after my split. My ex and I valued some very different things and we also each believed the other was largely to blame for our overspending. The reality is that now I have nobody to blame but myself. I’m making some different choices but also spend more than I think I should.

    It will be interesting to see whether money becomes and issue with you and the Hunter. It’s such a common sore point with couples.

    And I’m getting rid of my TV package as well… I’m too busy writing to watch much TV!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All my money thoughts came to the forefront this weekend as I wrap up my taxes. Cash flow for the first quarter, just like last year, was virtually non-existent plus I paid a tax bill that put me in a funk for days (I need to remember I was fortunate that I had enough money put aside so I was able to pay it). Now the cash flow is easing substantially, however, I need significant reserves for future fluctuations. This has all contributed to my stress level for the past 45 days.

      I am grabbing the bull by the horns today. I just re-bid my auto insurance to see if I can get any savings (surprisingly no). Plus I am paying bills so I can see what I can do for some retirement savings (and tax deferment). Sigh. One more hour and then I can go outside and play!

      I have always found it interesting that money is one of the most delicate topics and not only in relationships. Polite conversation does not include a lot of talk of spending, income (God forbid) or investments. Fortunately I have been pretty open with my kids and they seem to have a good handle on the finances. Time will tell.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I always felt burdened by being the main earner in my previous relationship. Ultimately it was something I couldn’t live with. In my case, the ex was like a little boy wanting his toys, but never responsible enough to get a regular job. You can’t hope to be a rock star forever. Hopefully since you’re acknowledging it early on, and he seems very earnest, you’ll be able to work it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He does not seem to want to be a “kept man” but time will tell. He is very proud and very hard-working, but his ambition has waned after some hard knocks. He says I inspire him to want to do better with his employment. We shall wait and see.

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  3. Money is the death of us 😦

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  4. Ah, money!
    I have seen both sides: My mom who had to deal with it, balance it, with a husband who didn’t care whether there was enough this month, if he wanted to go on holidays, he should be allowed to go, and my own situation where I wasn’t allowed to work most of the time, and even when I could, whatever I made was peanuts compared to what my ex made. Add to that the fact he never really wanted to tell me where we were financially and I wasn’t included in most money decisions, and I am now broke, with little idea of how to deal with my money. (I may exaggerate slightly when I say I am broke, I do have some savings to my name, but I’d rather keep them to eventually buy a home here, so I don’t want to have to dig into them).
    Now, my ex of course considers that I did nothing for the past 20 years, when I followed him around the world for his career. Of course, the fact I wasn’t allowed to work or couldn’t build a career because of our constant moving doesn’t count in his mind, it was my choice to stop working (only half true) and he doesn’t owe me a dime. Plus, money is his way of controlling me still.
    For us too the wages amount are hugely different. I make maybe 10 times less than he does.
    To say that he has more than enough to live comfortably is a simple truth. And the fact he is supposed to pay for me to keep having a similar lifestyle to the one I had when married… an atrocity in his mind.
    I hope you solve your issues with money, and that it doesn’t come between you and the Hunter. It is always difficult.
    For the vacations though… Maybe you could set up an account where both of you save a portion of your income every month. That way he would feel like he contributed too and you would still be able to enjoy the holidays you want and deserve?
    I know it’s not a perfect solution, but it could work, if you communicate about it properly. And you two seem to communicate quite well πŸ™‚

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  5. Money will likely not be a problem for you two. He’s eager to carry his weight. He’s a proud man. You need to be patient and give him time to live up to your and his expectations. It could happen.

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    • The money isn’t a dire issue at this point. I am aware of it but not overly concerned. We have been able to come up with work arounds. Today, for example, we used my monthly massage place to get a couple’s massage because I had an extra one pending. He took care of the gratuity. That worked out great. But my monthly massage may be part of my expense cutting….

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