Thursday, June 22, 2006

Carpal Tunnel made me do it...

I have to stop working. I swear, it hurts my hand to type stuff for work, but not for my blog. Weird, no?

Ok, I lied. Typing that last sentence still hurt a bit. Dammit.

I'm having a problem, folks. It's a problem with the boyfriend and money. We don't combine incomes, by any means. I'm a big fan of keeping separate accounts and all that good stuff, really. Everyone should be in charge of their own money they make, period.

At least, this is how I felt before the boyfriend moved in with me and I saw how he dealt with money, paying bills, saving up, etc...Or, rather, how he doesn't deal with it.

I don't know what it is about me...I know I'm anal, and I'm somewhat conservative with my cash, and I plan ahead when it comes to big purchases and working out how I'll pay them off, etc..., but I don't know if I'm unusual in this respect or not. (My finger really is bothering sucks quite a bit, lemme just say right now.) I grew up in a conservative home where money was pretty much not a problem by the time the Twin and I came along, but it wasn't like we were Paris Hilton, or whatever. We had limits, I knew the value of a dollar, I felt the responsibility to take care of myself was generally an impending doom as soon as the age 16 or 17 hit my life, and by the time I was 22, I was completely financially independent of my father.

I know everyone develops at different speeds. I know that not everyone handles money in the same way. But here's the thing I don't get: I MUST write every transaction occurring through my checking account down. If I don't, I won't know how much money I've spent, and how much I have left to spend on bills, groceries, toys, etc...

The boyfriend is one of those free-wheeling types. He looks at his online info every other day or so in order to see what kind of cash he has. While this is a somewhat good practice, I have to say it wouldn't work for me. For example, I wrote a check last week for $23 to a doctor's office (big shock) that hasn't been cashed yet. I'd forget about such a check if I didn't write it down in my check register, and go back over said register when my online info and the register's bottom line don't jive. (I balance my checking info about every 3 days, give or take a day here and there. I'm really, REALLY anal, I know. But, then again, I haven't bounced a check since 1992. Yep. You heard it right. Anal-retentiveness pays off now and then, eh?) If I'd forgotten about that check all together, I might freely spend another $20, thinking I had it to spend, and then the check would get cashed, and I'd spend another $3.85 buying a morning bagel and Diet Coke, and suddenly, I'd owe the bank $25 for an overdraft because I thought I was safe buying a goddammed Diet Coke for $1.50!

That, my friends, is not good home economics to me. AND I NEVER EVEN TOOK THAT CLASS, DAMMIT!!

The boyfriend gets these little notices from his bank every month, and they aren't statements, and they certainly aren't checks, or even thank you notes for being such a lovely customer. I know that he is receiving overdraft fees on a regular basis, and this is maddening to me. I would be OUTRAGED if $25 of my hard-earned money was taken from me because I did something as simple as forgetting that I wrote a check to someone and needed to account for that amount being removed from my balance in the near future. THAT'S MY MONEY, so HANDS OFF YOU FUCKING BANK PEOPLE!! That is how I feel about it. (Nothing against people who work in a bank...especially those helping to handle my money in particular. Seriously. I just don't like the ones that collect fees, is all.)

So I'm having a hard time reconciling the way I deal with money with the way he does, and isn't that the way of most relationships? Yep, I know I'm not alone.

But that doesn't make it any less frustrating, really. I offer to help build a budget...he says he doesn't need one. I tell him that even if he's only putting $50 towards his savings, it's better than nothing...he stares blankely at me. I remind him that, even though I make $3,000 less than him per year, I still manage to put away over $500 a month into savings...because I HAVE TO!...he starts to move towards the door to make a quick getaway to his next favorite thing in the world next to a room where discussions about money are taking place, i.e. work.

I just don't get it. And it's hard to deal with, and I hate it, and dammit, why do I even care since it's not MY car that needs to be registered, and it's not MY car that got in the accident with the Escalade last year for which someone owes $1,200 to the owner of now, and it's not MY mouth that needs pricey dental work that needs to be done and ohmygod it's only getting worse and it's only gonna keep getting worse and he's stopped brushing with any kind of regularity again and how does one stand the furry feeling on the teeth??, and oh yeah, it's not MY car that is making a funny sound because a belt is loose and the longer it takes to get it in the shop the more chance of having a bigger (and more expensive) problem to deal with once it DOES get to the shop.

But it is my boyfriend's car, and his teeth, and his car again. And I love him, and want him to be happy, and part of happiness, IMO, is being secure financially. And how can one be secure financially if they have absolutely no handle on their finances?

It's frustrating. So keep that in mind, all of you who choose to rely on the power of your memory to help you through the month with your finances. If you're able to pull it off, you must be a genius and a very lucky person. But if not...if you owe money to places, and you barely have living expenses that you can't even keep track of to pay properly, and you STILL receive overdraft charges from the bank and you're over the age of 20? Learn the lesson...get on it now. It takes me about 3 minutes a day to review the charges I've made against my checking account, and I'm much more secure because of it, seriously.

Now if I could just figure out how to help the boyfriend without scaring him out of my life, I'd be golden. *sigh!*


lyn said...

you are way anal retentive about your finances. it's always made me laugh but at the same time it is very admirable.

you need to have the boyfriend watch suzy ormond or something so he gets it...

Paul said...

Sorry, I couldn't get past the furry teeth comment.

Xavier Onassis said...

I think I can help.

1. Have him order Duplicate Checks instead of regular checks. For every check you write, you leave a "carbon copy" (sorry for the dated reference...I'm old) in your checkbook. That way, even if you go for months without balancing things, you still have a record of every check you wrote. Memory problem solved.

2. Keep every ATM receipt and keep them in the same place you keep your check copies! Same thing with debit card purchases.

This last one is The Bomb!

3. Round up your debits, round down your credits. Just keep track of whole numbers. You deposit $1376.12 in your account? Only record $1376.00. You write a check for $12.37? Debit a check for $13.00 (record the ACTUAL amount of the check, but subtract the rounded UP amount from your balance).

Don't forget ATM Fees!!!!!!!!
Round them up too, where possible. "I withdrew $40.00, they charged me $1.50, deduct $42.00 from my balance).

You would be AMAZED at how much "buffer" money you accumulate in your account.

You can use it to offset overdraft fees. Or you can calibrate it every six months or so and transfer the accumulation to savings.

It's simple.

It's easy.

It works.

After several years of doing this without making any adjustments, I was amazed to discover that I had over $500.00 in my account above and beyond what my official ledger displayed.

This method has the advantage of appealing to the lazy (like me), and accumulating cash without a lot of thought about it.

Sorry for the long comment. Just trying to help

FaithsTwin said...

nevermind. I am in a seriously bad mood and all sorts of hasty things were being written. Have a nice day.

Xavier Onassis said...

Uh oh.

Faith said...

I second that, XO. Uh-oh, indeed.

And thanks for the suggestions, man. He does have the duplicate check thing (I think all checkbooks come with them automatically these days, don't they? If not, then they should, dammit...), but I don't know how much it helps. We talked a bit last night about it...I just need to remember the whole "not my car" thing, and I should be ok. Because, really, I'm me and he's him, right? Right.

Cheri said...

Money is what the #1 thing couples fight about?! I feel for ya but have no idea how to help. You are a much better gf than I would be because I doubt I could deal with it. My thought would be - yes it's his car but who's gonna be stuck driving him around when it finally breaks down?? I guess as long as he's not asking you for $ and he's paying his fair share then it's all good. Minus the teeth thing, I'd have to put my foot down on that one. :-) Good luck. Hopefully just venting about it helped some!

Anonymous said...

Your boyfriend seriously doesn't brush his teeth? That's disgusting... How do you kiss him?

Faith said...

I kiss him with my mouth, anonymous. If you've been reading my blog for the past few months (the past 12, almost) then you know a bit about my relationship with my boyfriend-hopefully-future-hubby. If you haven't, go back and read some of the posts from those months, and it should explain how, why, and when I kiss him.

He's one of the human beings on this planet that have NOT been blessed with a very nice set of choppers. I'm one of the lucky ones - few cavities, even teeth, not too off-color, etc...But his teeth hurt him so bad sometimes, he doesn't wanna brush them. If it gets to the point where I can't stand to kiss him, I say something. In the meantime, I can only suggest that he brush his teeth, and he has to choose to do it if he wants to.

And yes, Cheri, venting about it did help. We talked about it a bit last night, and hopefully, we're on the right track now. :)

Cheri said...

Why I prefer the men of the small variety - as in children. I get to boss him around all I want. lol

I love your answer by the way... I kiss him with my mouth - DUH!! lmao

Xavier Onassis said...

I started to post a constructive comment about the whole "you're you, he's him" thing before I remembered that I've been divorced twice and probably don't have goddamned thing to say that's worth the time it would take to read it.

So I won't. :)

Anonymous said...

The money aspect is muy importante... You can't let it slide and you can't be made to believe that it doesn't need to be dealt with. If you mean to marry this man, his financial woes will immediately become yours, and wouldn't that be lovely? It's one thing, like you said, to be 20 and in college and not really know what to do about money. But if you have an adult who you're considering marriage with who won't take control of his finances, you will not convert him after the fact. Rather, he will ruin you, because you will feel compelled to love and take care of him despite his behavior since every other part is so great. Maybe this sounds dramatic, but you know about opinions and a-holes. Also, sorry for posting anon. I don't read here much, so I just popped in.

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