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This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dinero

The worst part of losing my job last year was definitely going from being able to pay my bills to... not. I've had to put my government loans into deferment, which just means they're sitting there, racking up interest. I'm still paying on the Sallie Mae loans, and of course, I've got an absurd amount of credit card debt still to pay down.

Right now, I bring in just enough to pay my bills. I get just under $1400 a month from the Hospital, and then anywhere between $1000 and $1500 from my contract work and personal cases (before taxes). My monthly expenses come to about $1800 a month. That's paying all of our home utilities (gas, electric, water, cable and phones), as well as the Sallie Mae loans and credit cards. I usually pay my own car insurance and such, although Husband picked it up this past time.

Husband, on the other hand, pays our mortgage and Cora's daycare (about $1700). He usually picks up the expenses of food, although when he's working I pay for the food for Cora and I, and for my lunches. I also occasionally pick up dinner for him. He'll pay for other stuff too, and pays our health insurance. So, he probably pays around $2200 a month by the end of it. And that's fine, except he makes more than twice what I do.

So, it's been one of those issues bubbling under the surface for me, that whenever I suggest us budgeting our money (and it is *our* money), he balks. And whenever the conversation of childcare comes up, it seems to be me making the sacrifices, and him not having to pay anything. For instance, if we put the new baby in daycare, it will cost us about $800 a month for full time care. Part time care, unfortunately, doesn't cost much less. (About $600 /month). However, if I only work part time, and Husband watches the baby the two days I'm working, then we won't need daycare at all. But that means I will be losing about $1000 a month in income, for him to save $800. Which means that I can't make my credit card payments (credit cards that were only maxed out in the first place because I had to charge all of my stupid medical bills to them from the last pregnancy, and from me paying for Cora's daycare while I was in law school, which I had to charge to the credit card). The credit card payments are about $400 a month. So, I said, that's fine, I can just work part time, but you're going to have to make the monthly payments on the credit cards. He, of course, balked.

If I were smart, I would have had this shit settled, in writing, before ever conceiving. Because it's pissing me off. And let's be honest, if we joined our money and stuck with a budget, we could have the credit cards paid off and go back to making payments on the student loans. But, of course, that's all "my" debt, so why should he pay it, right?

So, yeah, I'm thinking I don't have a problem with the baby going to daycare full time right away, him paying for it, and me continuing to chip away at the credit card debt by keeping doing what I'm doing. I'm hoping to have it paid off by the end of 2012, that way I can start paying on my student loans again, even if I don't have a full time job by then.

10 comments:

divine angst said...

Did you see the Slate article on how couples manage finances? (CM posted about it not too long ago.) Do you keep your finances entirely separate or are they joined at all? I ask because I think once you have kids, it can be really difficult to divide up "kid" expenses since those are really the most joint expenses a couple can have.

ellen said...

So, am I understanding correctly that your husband is not helping you with your credit card payments which are a result of your medical bills from pregnancy??!?
When my husband and I got married, he had a lot of credit card debt and I had none (and made more than twice what he did). We pooled all of our money and came up with a budget to pay down his high interest credit card debt and then his higher interest student loans before tackling my student loans. Yes, that was his debt from before he even met me, but it just makes sense in the long run...what am I going to do? Tell him that he has to eat tuna fish and crackers while I go out to eat? Or tell him when I am 55 I get to retire, but he is SOL because he didn't make enough or save enough? It was not always smooth sailing, but I am glad we paid off the high interest stuff first. Seven years later, I still make a lot more money, but we have also saved a lot and I think pooling our money in the early days helped both of us have accountability to one another. It is whatever works for you as a couple, but it has to work for both of you or resentment will build...

Colleen said...

we've been "common potters" since the beginning, so your husband's response is completely foreign to me.

maybe enlist the help of a neutral third party on the budget issue? do you know any finaincial planner types?

Proto Attorney said...

I think a financial planner is in order. We need to start investing, and it's ridiculous to do that with all this credit card/student loan debt looming over us.

Thanks for the advice!

Shan said...

You poor thing, that is so stressful! I'm dealing with similar issues, only mine are more "I'm in law school and husband has lost his job WTF do I do now?" I hope you guys get it worked out.

Googie Baba said...

In some ways, I understand how you do things because Jen and I have always kept everything completely separate. But she makes three times as much as I do. She always has. At one point, I just got very frustrated with everything being 50/50. I pointed out I didn't have the capacity to pay as much as she did. We now have a very informal arrangement where she pays a little bit more than I do towards our finances. It's hard though, because I really feel like I am the financial drain on the household. But I guess that is what we get for going to law school. Crazy us.

Hanah said...

I just don't understand this at all. Married people should have finances in common. That's the meaning of household.

CM said...

I understand that there are reasons to keep money separate, but your medical bills from pregnancy are "your" debt that he refuses to help pay off? I won't say "no offense" because I'm about to be offensive -- this post makes your husband sound like kind of an asshole when it comes to money. I hope seeing a financial planner together helps.

Proto Attorney said...

No, no, no. It's not that he *refuses* to pay it, he just thinks he can't afford it and is all like, what?!, how am I going to come up with that, OMG, and freaking out. Like, um, if I've been paying it all along with less than half your income and roughly the same amount of expenses, then, yeah, it shouldn't be an issue. I think he's just clueless about the whole of our finances. To be fair, me getting stuck with the medical bills was part of our bills division, only I wasn't being realistic about income to debt ratio when in law school, and charged most of the expenses towards the end. It was either that or take out even more student loans from Sallie Mae (which are not discharged in bankruptcy, and were higher interest rate at the time, before the economy imploded, so yeah, no way). But I probably should have pushed us into budgeting better and saying, hey, we shouldn't be charging all this stuff, like the daycare, like the gas bill, we need to start eating ramen instead. But I had a good-paying job lined up, and also thought I'd still have a job at this point, so, whoops.

And I think Googiebaba summed it up nicely. It's the guilt of not making enough to "pull my weight," and still feeling the responsibility of paying my share. Then feeling bitter because it's like, wait, what the hell, I'm barely scraping by, and you have an extra couple thousand at the end of the month budget-wise, what's wrong with this picture. Even if he picks up the tab when we go out and stuff, it's not like he's bankrolling my spa days and shopping sprees. And I mean, he had some debt to pay off too, from Christmas and car repairs, and charging expenses when he was off work studying for his boards. So, he's not had a bunch of money to play with since he started his new job last year. But still, by September, it shouldn't be a problem. And of course, his idea of being supportive is to be all, well, I'll make sure it's paid, even if I have to get a second job. Like, seriously? Crawl up on the cross much? We have the total income, I think we'll manage without any drastic sacrifices. :P

Anyway, I've never liked the idea of combining incomes, because I don't want to be told what to do with my money, and I don't want to tell anyone else what they can do with their money. I like the autonomy. And it always worked for us... up until now when I'm faced with having no income for a certain amount of time because I have no paid leave since I don't have a real job. Then I want to know, what a minute, if you seriously think you can't afford this, what's the problem here? Which is why, in general, I like to keep our finances separate, because then, we don't have anything to fight about. Aargh.

Jessica said...

I can sympathize with the guilt thing. When I moved and gave up my great job to finally live in the same state as my husband, I took almost a 50% cut in my salary. As a result, he now makes about 3 times what I do. But our finances are combined and we contribute as much as we can of that toward my student loans (he didn't have any) knowing that it will benefit BOTH of us in the future to have freed-up income from paying them off. Also, even as modern as we are, the lady of the house more often than not contributes a greater share of "sweat equity" to running things...particularly if she's a mom! So in the sense that I take on more responsibility for household biznass (cleaning, cooking, organizing, scheduling, running errands, and other things that free up his time), I don't feel quite so bad about bringing home a little less bacon. Hopefully that philosophy will help alleviate your guilt trip as well, and maybe give Hubby a bit of perspective too!