Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For Richer, For Poorer

Today, I thought it would be interesting to see how my peers handle finances within their relationships. You already know I'm not the best when it comes to communicating with the hubs about money. I was curious to see if anyone else had the same difficulties or if I was the only one with my head in the sand. I gave everyone the same three questions to answer, but all the respondents have been together for varying amounts of time (names have been changed).

1. How did you view money before you were in a committed relationship/engaged/married?
  • "I would say my husband and I have always been "loose" with our money" - Gloria, married 1.5 years, together 7 years
  • "I was actually a better saver before...but I was also working two jobs" - Julie, married 6 months, together 5 years
  • "I didn't think about money that much, I would spend it like hot cakes. I didn't save much, or if I did, it was because I wanted something expensive." - Wes, married to Julie
  • "Back in the day I was probably the consumer who bought things without researching and double checking. I just did stuff without thinking about the future." - Sophia, getting married in August, together 1.5 years
  • "Prior to being in a committed relationship, I viewed money as something to spend on clothes, gadgets, going out, or vacations." - Dan, in a relationship 2 years
2. How has being in a relationship/engaged/married changed the way you view your money?
  • " When we first opened the joint account, it took a little getting used to, because we were both so used to just doing what we wanted all the time, and not having to worry about what anyone else was spending...But with the joint account, you have to know what the other person is doing so you don't overdraft. If we are running low in the checking account, I just give my husband a heads up so he can watch his spending until the next direct deposit is put in.  Neither one of us spends too frivolously... With big purchases, he usually just goes by my opinion since I handle the finances." - Aubrey, married 3.5 years, together 9 years 
  • "Before we got married, we settled a lot of debt and refuse to use credit cards except for 1 small one to build our credit- less than $500 limit... We have made a point to try to make all big purchases in cash... Overall, our relationship with money has been the same- what's mine is his and vice versa." - Gloria
  • "I think of everything WE need, for example if I want to buy a Coke for work, I think is there anything we need at home...Now-a-days money is the third thing I think about everyday!" - Wes
  • "As much as I make fun of him for making pie charts and talking in percentages... I have found myself looking at the charts and making sure that whatever I want is #1: necessary; #2: affordable... I used to spend money on crap that I really did not need- only because I didnt have a goal." - Sophia
  • "I've always been a saver, so if anything, I've influence my husband to be better with money." - Bridget, married 28 years
3. Do you find it difficult to talk with your significant other/spouse about money?
  • "Some times it's difficult to talk about money with my husband, especially after I splurged on something for the house or myself or even when the grocery bill gets a little higher than usual." - Claire
  • "It's very difficult because I never had to explain to anyone how I spent my money... We both have a love/hate relationship with payday because we know we have money but at the same time we know we need to sit down and talk bills..." - Wes
  • "No. We often have discussions about money." - Bridget
  • "There are no difficulties talking about money with my partner, we talk about it all the time, our goals, and how to spend and save." - Dan
It wouldn't be fair for me to ask others about their personal lives without discussing our own, so I sat down with the hubs tonight and made him talk about these topics (spoiler: he wasn't very interested).

1. Prior to dating, we were both spenders and we didn't think about what we were spending our money on.
2. The hubs said "it's easier to save now, but only because I make more money." He thinks he spends money on the same kinds of things he did before we were dating. Obviously, you all know I am trying not to spend the way I used to and (attempting) to save more money.
3. We both think it's difficult to talk with each other about money. He says it's because I "have my own ideas about a situation." I can admit I have trouble listening and/or seeing a different perspective other than my own. I feel it's difficult to talk to him about money because he can be very dismissive about what I see as a problem (for example, how much money should we have in savings).

Feel free to respond in the comments with your answers to the questions as well! I think it's so interesting to hear about others relationships. Must be the sociologist in me. Or I'm nosy. Probably both.

Day Thirty Spent: $0.00
Day Thirty Saved: $0.00

1 comment:

  1. This was definitely an interesting post!

    Even when I had only myself to answer to, I was good with money. I paid off my credit card in full each month, didn't spend more money than I had, I even opened an IRA my junior year of college, just to get an early start.

    When we first got married, we had a joint savings account and separate checking accounts, which worked ok for awhile. I was in charge of paying our bills, so Glen would "pay" me his share each week, so really things didn't change too much. It was actually when we started looking into buying a house that things changed. I wasn't comfortable making such a big financial commitment without having a good idea of our cash flow, so we combined all our bank accounts and I started tracking everything (income, expenses, and savings) on a spreadsheet.

    It's worked out really well - We both know exactly how much we're spending in various categories, and if we don't put enough into savings one month, it's there on the spreadsheet, staring us in the face, so I feel compelled to stick with our savings plan. And having everything combined makes it necessary to talk about money on a regular basis. The advantage to that is that we have lots of little money conversations, instead of infrequent big money conversations that are more likely to turn into arguments on account of us being on totally different wavelengths. ;-)