Home > I make it; he spends it?

I make it; he spends it?

October 7th, 2008 at 01:30 pm

Well, you all know that I work and my spouse raises the kids.

You also know that he loves himself some electronics.

What may not come across, even in in my blog, is that I don't think my dh could be more frugal or conservative. Electronics are like cars. If you buy used or wait for an older model, you can get a pretty significant discount. My dh pretty much buys NOTHING else. & I mean nothing. & he would save $50/month for 5 years to afford some electronic gadget if he had to. (He did wait almost 10 years to buy his beloved HDTV after all. It cost 10% of, and was of much higher quality, than the first one he badgered me to buy in 1999).

Anyway, gamecock's last post made me think. I realized that I think people look at us and think I make the money and my spouse spends the money.

I would not necessarily realize this except my own dad told me this the other day. LOL!

We were all out to dinner (when we treated my parents a couple of weekends ago) when my dad mentioned something or other about how he knew I was pretty anti-debt, and he had raised my well, but what about my spouse? Something along the lines of he likes debt or something.

I started choking on my food.

"Dad! Dh does not even like my 0% credit card arbitrage. *I* am the debtor in this family."

It was so funny to learn that was someone's impression because my spouse could not be more anti-debt. The only reason we have a mortgage is because he is more anti-rent than anti-debt.

So now I learn I guess. I've always got the impression that people who don't really know us think we are in debt up to our eyeballs, simply because dh stays home and we live rather well. I guess my impression was not that way off. Somehow my parents thought maybe we were in debt with my dh's spending habits or something.


It's just so funny because the truth couldn't be further from that impression. & yeah, I thought my parents knew us a little better.


Anyway, yeah, my dh is the extreme anti-debtor. He might as well be Dave Ramsey.

He is also very anti-rent.

I have joked with him in the past that some of us have to live in the real world though. My dh has never been in a position to do anything but bank his entire paycheck. Yeah, not exactly real world. So, he is a little extreme even for my tastes.

His parents bought his first car. His parents paid for his college and let him live rent-free. Don't get me wrong, he has always worked very hard, but he has never had much in expenses. So as a teen and in college he worked and saved a ton. Then he married me and we banked his paycheck. So I would say he has never been in the real world, and it shows. He is an extreme saver, but I worry if he would have a clue how to budget. (Kind of a strange result).

As such, he would never take on a dime of debt. Which is noble enough. I know plenty in his situation who did not work, or who did not save a dime, and did go into debt. So I have no problems with his philosophy. I am rather anti-debt myself.

But my take is more of the "real world anti-debt" philosophy.

My parents did not buy me my first car and since I needed my car to get to work, I would say I had little choice but to finance my first car. It was "only" $1500, but it might as well have been $100k when I was 16.

I think this is probably where I come up with my personal one-year debt rule with cars. (Only buy something I could pay off within the year). I did have a lot of friends buy $20k new cars (& a lot of them wrecked their new cars). I figure I was young and a terrible driver (for lack of experience). The old clunker would do. I didn't want to start out life deep in debt. I drove it for 7 years.

So I understand it was a situation hard to do without debt. But I did pay off that car within the year.

My dh never would rent, but I was able to live in the most expensive city in the country for $400/month for a private room in a nice home. It would have made no sense for me to buy during my broke college years. So I am a fan for renting in the right circumstance. (I also house sat for 6 months before I rented). Dh had a free place to stay and all that but my parents had no desire to support me beyond 18 and frankly I couldn't live with them anyway. Love them; can't live with them.

I was lucky to get through college with no hardships, and was able to completely avoid college debt. But I do not sum it all up to luck. I chose a well paying career with a very cheap degree. There was a lot of thought put into my path. & no, I will never understand racking up $100k in debt for a job that pays $25k/year. People have seem to lost their minds when it comes to this area. & a lot of people have told me I am unrealistic to be so anti-debt. Well, no. My dad paid his way through college with no debt, and he really couldn't have been more poor. I managed to do the same. If you think it through and it is important to you (or you have no other choice like someone like my dad) well, you figure our a way.

I could very easily see an instance though where I would have resorted to debt. & I really wouldn't have a problem with that, because it would have been a small debt in comparison to my post-college income. I would have paid it off quickly.

But yeah, while most people believe it can't be done I was thinking "debt is not an option." I think you can sum a lot of it up to simply how you think.

Anyway, I have borrowed for more cars since my first, because my first car completely died just a month or so out of college. I probably could not have been in a worse financial position asset-wise. No debts, but no assets either. But I was starting to receive a decent income, so I borrowed $5k for a significantly nicer car, and paid it off within 6 months.

I paid cash for a car later on (downgraded to a older/safer car when I had BM - it only cost $1k and I sold my old car for $3k).

The last vehicle I bought was after we had both kids. I financed a small portion and paid it off within a year, though we could have paid cash. I did not want to drain the efund for a car. We bought the $1k car in the interim until we felt comfortable to buy the van. I drove that $1k car for 3 years. It was fine when we sold it for $500. We just wanted a bigger auto with the 2 kids and planned well enough for it. We didn't rush into it though we had the cash before LM. We wanted to wait and make sure the pregnancy went well and he was healthy, etc. Then we felt okay to spend the cash.

My dh on the other hand, bought his last car when we both worked. He paid cash for a pretty new car and so nothing in his mind has changed over the years. I have certainly had the worse luck (my car dying when I couldn't have been more broke. But willing to take on the debt because I had the income. If I had been still in college I would have gone for another clunker for much cheaper).

& then there is the mortgage. But these are the only things I have financed.

So there you have it. Dh is Mr. Extreme Anti-Debt and I am more "I live in the real world" Anti-Debt.

We bought a lot of really used furniture and appliances over the years. (As an aside how we have avoided consumer debt).

Now that we have built up some decent assets and income, no, I do not expect to ever take on debt again. We are also kind of straying from the very used purchases. It is a little Ramsey-esque. Standard of living just improves with time and stability. But if we had to take on debt, due to hardship or anything like that, I would just be careful about it. Dh simply thinks this would never happen.


Anyway, yeah, you should have seen how insulted dh was by this impression. Completely and totally insulted. !!!

So yeah, I have to wonder how many friends are thinking, "poor Monkey Mama." How I slave away to support dh's expensive tastes.

(Truth is I love my job and dh takes care of the household so I have a fair amount of leisure. Dh does not run up debt, at all. No complaints here).

The only truth to that impression is dh is used to having a fair amount of disposable income. As such, I think he puts a lot of his purchases in front of saving more for retirement and stuff like that. I often joke I wish he had the same passion for his ROTH as his electronics. But yeah, he would never buy any of this stuff if it involved DEBT. So that is the funny part, that someone so close would even think that. I think some people do pick up on his priorities though. They are the priorities of the spoiled. One who is used to spending a very small amount of income on electronics and banking huge amounts in the bank.

& I am sure people who did not know us at all would think perhaps he is taking advantage of me. (Particularly people who do not understand how much work it is to run a household. I have no interest in all that work, so it works well for us).

& fact is, most of our financial stability comes from when he worked. So things are just not as they appear all the time.

9 Responses to “I make it; he spends it?”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Hehe, that is kind of an amusing point.

    I didn't blog this, but I recently picked up a Xbox 360. Ahem. It was, in some ways, quite excruciating. On the other hand, I've been eyeing at one since... 2004/2005 I think. I finally jumped in, but only because Microsoft slashed the prices very recently.

    Actually, I am enjoying it quite a bit. Very little buyer's remorse. In fact, I don't even have a DVD player.. until now that is. That and it allows me to play games with my friends that are quite far away, which is what makes this really worthwhile.

    However, it was tough getting myself to shell out that amount of money at once....

  2. monkeymama Says:

    When I said "I could hardly think of anyone more frugal" I actually thought to myself, "well, BA." LOL.

  3. gamecock43 Says:

    I got ya- people assume that it costs 'you' the same amount of money it costs 'them' to live. And if they are living comfortably with a two income household- how can 'you' afford to live comfortably in a 1 income household unless you guys have tons of debt? And if you have tons of debt then DH is 'lazy' because he wont get a job and help you out. (light switching on in my head)- yes- people get weird perceptions because they judge based on almost no information.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Ha ha ha. Well, you know what? I'm going to take that as a compliment!

  5. scfr Says:

    Yea - I hear you too. It is sad when close family members can't see the whole picture of your SO. I am sorry to say that my own mother pretty much just sees my DH as a money-making machine. It used to make me mad and now it just makes me so sad for my DH, because even tho I have never mentioned it to him I know he gets it too. She has never appreciated his sense of humor, his ability to understand people, his loving kindness to me & our dog, and how incredibly enlightened it is of him to pull his own weight with the housework & cooking given his cultural background.

  6. Ima saver Says:

    Well, I have not worked full time in 18 years, but I try and save the money my husband makes, not spend it! so, I get where you are coming from!

  7. monkeymama Says:

    gamecock - I think you are right on! It is all getting clearer - hehe.

  8. baselle Says:

    People get weird perceptions because they usually project how they handle money onto other people. If you are a saver, you can see how things can happen if you save. If you go in debt and don't save, you only see that things happen when the plastic is slapped down.

    Also think that good debt-bad debt is not a good model for how someone should think about debt. It should be necessary debt or strategic debt.

  9. monkeymama Says:

    Those are good words Baselle. I think education debt is one that can be very bad but since it is labeled as "good," people don't think about it. Heck, you can see mortgage debt has been very bad for very many people.

    I was just thinking I had never tied moral values to debt (it's clear to me that most non-strategic & non-necessary debt is due to financial illiteracy. I've never thought, "That person is bad because they have debt."). So I was wondering why it was perceived as such. You point out why - because we label it "good" and "bad." & more people like to label any debt as "bad." It's taken me a while to move past that myself.

    I think I will have to change my vocabulary in regards to debt. I'll have to remember that.

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