Friday, March 27, 2009


Yesterday afternoon Mr F called to tell me that we were officially a one car family. As in... finally... the volvo was sold and he had cash in hand to deposit at the bank.

For the last month or so Mr F has been compulsively looking at cars online to replace the volvo. This was a source of contention.

It's not that I think we should be a one car family indefinitely but I think we should be cautious about how we handle this money before we commit some of it to another car.

What I mean is... until we have paid off the appliances, the medical bills, and repaired the van & replaced the tires... we don't know how much will be left for another car.

We do know it will be less than $2000... or I should say I know it will be less than $2000. However, when Mr F is sucked into ebay world $2000 quickly becomes more as the fever of an auction winds down.

Mr F had to be schooled (yet again) on how REALLY serious our situation is. It just doesn't seem to be sinking in.

We haven't even settled our debts and he's ready to spend our windfall. And that is a pattern for him... and the reason I'm in charge of the finances. I'm not trying to be controlling... I'm trying to save us from our ruinous situation.

Mr F was in charge of our finances for the first several years of our marriage... and... it was (by his own admission) disastrous. Because of this very pattern of behavior. Mr F likes to round up our assets and round down our debts. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

So the car is just another example. Before he'd gotten the money from the buyer (aka maybe the car wasn't sold) he was ready to bid on a car that was well over our budget.

It didn't matter that just a few days ago we got a notice from our mortgage company that our monthly payment was going up $200 to cover some escrow issues. You may recall that our budget was EXTREMELY tight before we had to cover our own health insurance. Add this in and our monthly expenses just went up $900. That's more than 20% of our take home pay. Sadly Mr F did not get a 20% raise.

Mr F sees the cash in hand and thinks we *have* money. You probably know someone like this... and how frustrating for the money manager it is to keep breaking down why that money doesn't really exist. Over and over and over.

Sometimes I just want to yell "Why do you think we sold the car?!!!"

We had a discussion about how the replacement car will not be a car that he wants. (So stop looking at Saab wagons in PA (that you'll have to fly to pick up!) just because it's a really good deal... it's also REALLY over our price range.)

Are you sensing my frustration?

My proposition is that we pay everything off. We get the van completely fixed. THEN Mr F can look for a car with whatever cash is leftover. Doesn't that make sense? Because we are not in a position to cover even a $500 mistake right now.

I'm not even sure we're in a position to pay all our bills anymore.

So last night I called Mr F at work and said...

"There's a 6 o'clock bus. You get it about a block from your office. One stop and you're home. It's one dollar."

Get used to it.


Amy said...

Um, men. Much like the ski trip out West that my husband is taking even though we can't pay our bills either.
He got a free plane ticket? How could he pass it up?
Well? Lift tickets, a place to stay, food, etc--he could have passed it up.
They reall don't get it.

P/F said...

Mrs. F. - I have to applaud you for taking the financial reigns a couple of years ago. My husband is exactly the way you described Mr. F (always overestimating assets while underestimating debt). His ability to put a check in the mail or press send for an online payment on time is non-existent. Just because of finance charges, late fees, and piss poor money management - my husband has managed to QUADRUPLE our debt in one year. I've been asking to work with him to get the financial info in one place so that I can take over - and he put me off until I almost went ballistic. When he did show me the documents, I had no idea that we were in this situation - I thought that he had paid the debt off. Now, I've taken control - but I cannot see where we'll have our heads above water for at least 10 years.

As liberal as I am, I really was raised to defer to my husband; and it's been very hard expressing that I'm no longer going to do that. Part of which means that the personally rewarding (for him) business that we've sacrificed home, family, and financial comfort to help build with his partners may have to do without him so that we can sell our share to payoff debt. Is it crazy that I feel guilty at the prospect of taking his dream away so that we don't wind up penniless?

Mrs Furious said...

" His ability to put a check in the mail or press send for an online payment on time is non-existent. Just because of finance charges, late fees, and piss poor money management - my husband has managed to QUADRUPLE our debt in one year."
Oh I can really relate to your situation.
I took over the $ after Mr F finally confessed to having amassed close to $40K in debt in a couple years... due to the most part in just poor bill paying. It was not uncommon for us to have $100 a month in bank fees because things weren't deposited on time. Carrying small balances on credit cards that could have been paid off, etc. Just not paying attention.
When I took it over we got a home equity loan to cover all the bills. I took away his credit cards... he had one for his business, store cards... all with balances I did not know about. It took awhile but we did pay that loan... thankfully at the time we had about twice our current income.
But it took him years to admit there was a problem and it only came out because he was in therapy and his therapist urged him to come clean (thank God).
I think it is really hard to change the money roles. I had guilt about not making him give me control sooner (I had suspicions of how bad it was but honestly didn't want to know) and he had guilt and defensiveness about messing up so badly.
You have to do what you have to do to turn the situation around. If you can pay off the debt by opting out of the business that makes sense to me.

Oh it's like the ebay cars. I was like "okay so there'll be the price of the ticket to get there and the price of gas to get home... that already raises the price of the car SEVERAL hundred dollars"!

Christy said...

Sometimes I am that person. Kudos to you for sticking to your guns. It's much easier to just give in to the person.

las dos manchas said...

Good for you. I hope Mr. F enjoys the bus. It's great to have alternate ways to get around. My husband has been riding the bus for a few months now to save parking fees on campus. He said it gives him time to think and relax.

This winter about a month after he started riding the bus he texted me that the bus had been in an accident on icy roads but everyone was ok. I was extremely happy he wrecked in a bus instead of our car!

- heidi

Andrea said...

I Finally caught up with posts. I'm glad to hear ya'll are better and I swear is it all men I told Chris the other day your worth is not measured but how much shit we can own geez stop buying crap Ive been on a serious stuff purge lately and not buying things and donating or throwing out tons of stuff we dont need it feels good.

hicktowndiva said...

How frustrating! You are totally right about wanting to take the Volvo money, pay all bills and fix up the van. TOTALLY RIGHT.

Okay, Mr. F, no Ebay for you. Unless you plan to Ebay your fancy bike and spend that $ on bus fare...(hee!)

P.O.M. said...

MY BIL is exactly like that. It makes me so nervous and scared for my sister. She used to be incharge of all the bills, but since she is a SAHM now, he thinks he should handle it. They are making a HUGE mistake right financially and everyone sees it. I think my sister even sees it, but she said "he makes the money." Oh it pisses me off to no end. I wish she would read your blog and see how you handle it.

Mrs Furious said...

That is exactly how I did handle it at first. I wasn't working and he was so I didn't think I should pay the bills. It just made sense that he would manage the money he was earning. Plus he was older than I was and I just assumed he knew how. I was wrong.

"Unless you plan to Ebay your fancy bike and spend that $ on bus fare...(hee!)"
I like the way you think!

"your worth is not measured but how much shit we can own geez stop buying crap"
I was definitely like that for a while there. And I don't know if we hadn't had all these financial things come up if I would have been able to stop buying... I was very good at justifying stuff.

" I was extremely happy he wrecked in a bus instead of our car! "
Good point. I hadn't even thought about that. On two fronts really... I imagine a bus accident is typically less dangerous for passengers than a car accident... and no car damage to pay for!

If it were the subway he'd be into it... he's having to kind of *get over himself* to ride the bus ;)

Haley said...

I hope he ends up enjoying the bus -- I don't know what the bus is like down there but I LOOOOVE riding the bus in new york -- far more than the subway. The subway's great if you need speed, but when I have time I love to just sit back and look out the window and veg... he may never want to go back to driving. ;)

No hubby around here yet to mess with my finances, but I've already told Adam that if we get to that point I'll be taking on that realm. Not that I don't trust him, I just trust me more...

Torey said...

public transportation is statistically very safe. busses are large and easy to spot, and travel at low speeds. for the safest ride, he should sit towards the center of a bus, in a forward facing seat.

thank you safety Torey!

Missives From Suburbia said...

When one of our cars was totaled in an accident late-last year, my husband considered flying to Chicago to look at a replacement he and a buddy found online. I was due with a baby any day at that point, and he was talking about buying a car we couldn't afford and sticking me with a toddler and labor pains. I seriously wonder if the male chromosome has some inherent malfunction.

CM said...

Quote: "Mr F sees the cash in hand and thinks we *have* money. You probably know someone like this..."

I DO know a person like this. Her name is Jennifer Granholm.

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