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Browsing posts in: Money Disagreements

Teaching Financial Responsibility

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I have written many times about financial lessons and my children…How the Kids are Involved and Helping Kids Manage Money are just a couple of them.  But now we are dealing with a new situation and I’d like your opinion.

Background

Last spring, History Buff saved up enough money and bought himself a smartphone and has paid the data fee associated with it ($30 per month.)   At the time of purchase, he also bought a good, name brand protective case.  He ended up taking the case off the phone because it made the phone too bulky in his pocket.

My Observations

Over the last months I have seen him on several occasions, make the statement of how the phone is “shatter resistant” or “shatter proof” and then drop it on softer surfaces to make his point.  Multiple times, I told him this wasn’t a good idea AND that it would be wiser to keep the case on it.

Incident

At homeschool co op a couple of weeks ago, evidently, History Buff was doing the same show I had seen several times.  And a girl seeing this either knocked the phone from his hand or he handed it to her and she dropped it as well.  He claims the former, but the girl’s mom claims she saw the incident and that it was the latter.  I tend to believe my son is telling the truth.

When it happened, he called me crying.  I had two gut reactions: anger that this happened and what I see clearly at his part in it (not having the case on and his ‘demoing’ the shatter proof) and sadness that I was not in a position to financially fix it for him.

Follow up

I waited a couple of weeks hoping the girl’s parents would reach out to take responsibility or at least partial responsibility.  But I/we hear nothing.  I called the mom and she essentially said History Buff was lying about his version of the story and thus her daughter was not at fault.

I didn’t have a clue what to do.  I was torn between defending my son whom I believe and calling another parent/adult a liar.  So I called the administrator of the co op and asked for her input.  She called a couple of witnesses without speaking to my son and they compared their versions with what History Buff told her and there was no variation.  She is going to follow up with the other parent.

So Who Should Pay

Should History Buff bear the cost of repair/replacement alone?  Should the other student bear it alone? Or should it be split? Or ???

I voiced my opinion to the administrator that I felt that History Buff’s actions which I have witnessed in the past set a bad precedent and having the case off was irresponsible.  So I believe him to be at least partially responsible.

As soon as I said that, the administrator said “no, this is not his fault.”  We are great friends and I respect her opinion and view on the matter.  So we agree to disagree.

Current Status

My sister had an old phone that she is letting History Buff borrow until he can save the money to get his fixed.  We are still awaiting feedback from the other family, but I do not think I will pursue it further.  I just don’t want any bad blood in our tight knit homeschool community.

But am I doing a disservice to History Buff by not pursuing his side further and just letting it drop?  I value his honesty and want to reward that and I don’t want him to think I don’t have his back in these types of situations.  So what are your thoughts?


The Next Step, Part II

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This is a follow up post to The Next Step. There was an over-whelming consensus that this should be my next debt tackled even though people didn’t agree on how.  So here is my plan…

Because I have eliminated all other consumer debt other than this car loan…I have two lines of credit open with no balance.  I called and asked if the introductory offer still stood that I used last December…any transferred balance 0% interest for 6 months.  Wonderful news…it does!

So I have transferred the balance of HIS car loan to my line of credit, effectively paying off the car and I should receive a clear title.  Yeah!

That gives me a balance of just at $3,000 at 0% for 6 months…$500 per month to pay it off with no new interest.  Seems like a good deal to me.  He will continue paying $246 per month to me until the balance is paid, but I will have cleared it off my credit by early 2016.

(We have also dealt with his moving the car out of state…after research done with the state’s DMV in question and insurance company.  All above board when that move actually happens which I have no ETA on that from him, but I’m prepared for when it does.)


The Book is Closed on our Old Home

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So I am closing the book on the old house and many wanted to know the final chapter.  There is not much to tell, and this will be the last time I will bring it up here, but I didn’t want to leave you wondering.  So to understand it all, especially if you have joined us in the last couple of months, here’s a recap of the posts regarding my housing debacle.

Three Years, Six Moves – When I wrote this back in April, 2014, I said we were home.  Little did I know how quickly that would change.

The Best Laid Plans

Why I Decided Not to Buy My Home

The Ultimatum

The Curse

The Next Step

The House is in Chaos

I Quit

Oh What a Feeling

The House Sold

Chapter Closed

So now that you are caught, I want to tell you how it ended.  As you know, in December, after several months on the market, I got what I thought would be the best offer on selling my van but the difference between my loan amount and the sales price was more than I had readily available so I had to make up the difference to make the sale happen. Needless to say, time was of the essence.

I had had several brief conversations with my dad without trying to pressure him, asking about the house, and he consistently said he didn’t have time to review it.  This time I called with a purpose.  I let him know the situation and asked if he had time to consider the house monies that he had said several times I would receive as this would be a big help at this point.

His words “well, if I was going to give you money, it wouldn’t be for a car.”  I was shocked speechless.  First, it was never my intent to ask for him to give me money.  I felt and he had indicated during several conversations that I would get some money from the sale of the house since I had paid all related expenses for four years, put the blinds in, paid for all the appliances (which were sold with the house,) added a patio, landscaping, etc. Essentially I treated the home as my own and incurred all relevant expenses including my own renters insurance and his owners insurance, etc.  Ok, you get my point, I was in no way asking for a handout.

He then went on in the same conversation to say that he had been thinking we could open a joint account, where we would both have to sign to get money out and he would match my savings toward a house with the money rather than give it to me.  If I wasn’t still speechless from the “give” suggestion, I was shaking in anger now.  Control.  He still wanted control.

I knew with no doubt that I was not ever going to consider that option and frankly, I let him know what I thought in no uncertain terms.  Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what he did four years ago after our two rental homes fell through, BUT my dad has ALWAYS used money to control.  He would take away my car when he didn’t agree with my decisions, he would threaten to stop paying for school when he didn’t agree, and that’s just me.  I am not in any way trying to bash my dad, I love him, respect him, but this is fact.

You see four years ago, when the second rental house fell through I put all my stuff in a POD as we began to travel as I figured out what to do.  The POD would have allowed me to move anywhere, sending for my stuff when I figured it out.  That was my plan, travel around for a while and then decide.  That was when Dad stepped in and offered to help me buy a house here where he and my mom lived. I know he was doing what he thought was best for me and my two kids at the time but it was also a control move.

So back to the final conversation my dad and I had about the house…I told him in no uncertain terms that I would NEVER, EVER get into a financial relationship with him again. And based on our conversation I would assume that he never intended to give me any money from the house.  I also told him that I thought he took advantage of me.  If he had been honest about the house money from the beginning I would not have put EVERY SINGLE extra penny into the house to get it ready to sell as I really needed that money for my family.  I have now totaled the money I put into the house to get it ready for sale plus utilities for the two months after we moved out, and I spent $4000 on that alone.

So no, my dad has never given me a dime from the house and I don’t expect he will.  And you know what, that’s fine.  I learned a very, very hard lesson.  My children have learned some really hard lessons.  And what ever happens next, we did that.  No man will ever have that kind of control over me again.

I am in no way male bashing.  I know there are some great guys, husbands, fathers out there.  I see them all the time with their children, with my friends.  But after my marriage and my brothers and my dad, I’m done, completely and totally done.


Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

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I’ve always heard that money issues are one of the top reasons for divorce in the US, but when I went looking for statistics about causes for divorce, I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a reputable source to justify this claim.

Sooo, who knows? But, I did find this law office (site here) that provided a Top 10 list of reasons for divorce in America. Don’t know how reputable it is (would have loved to see a Nation-wide survey done by someplace that is not affiliated with making money from divorce….like a Gallop poll or something), but here ya go:

Top 10 Reasons for Divorce in the US  (according to these guys):

10. Boredom

9. Careers

8. Inability to have children

7. Loss of Interest

6. Abuse

5. Lack of communication

4. Addiction Problems

3. Social Networks

2. Cheating

1. MONEY ISSUES

 

So there you have it.

I bring this up because my husband has just come off a 16-day work stint (yes – 16 days in a row with no days off). Right now we are lucky to be in a place financially that money is not a big issue. We have enough to pay all of our bills and put a hefty amount toward debt payments each month. If we really stay nose-to-the-grind, we’ll be debt free in just another 2-3 years! That’s fabulous, right? (especially considering when I started blogging in March 2014 we had almost $150,000 in debt!!!!)

Well, yes. It’s certainly a good thing. We haven’t had an argument about money in a long, long time. We may have disagreements (like, he wants to put more toward savings and I want to put more toward debt), but no actual “fights.”

But you know what we’ve had a couple arguments about lately? Time. I was originally going to title this post “Time versus Money” because those feel like the two options we’re having to select between.

Husband’s business has been crazy busy lately (he owns a small wood flooring business). This is an awesome thing because he could unexpectedly have a solid week off work if a job were to cancel, or there’s subfloor issues that need to be fixed, etc. etc. etc. We can never “count” on the next job so his motto has always been that he must work while there’s work to be had. Things always traditionally slow down around the winter holidays. No one wants someone ripping up their floors and making a mess over Thanksgiving or Christmas, ya know?

So the issue is this:  time or money. What’s more important? I’ve been feeling like a single Mom a lot lately. I do it all: cooking, cleaning, yard work, taking care of the dog, the kids, household chores and errands, etc etc etc. Meanwhile, hubs has been working basically all day, every day. He usually works doing flooring from 7am-4pm, then he might come home for a couple hours, and go back out again in the evening to do bids. Then he comes home and takes time to write up and email out estimates. Plus, the phone calls are incessant. ALL.THE.TIME he gets calls from customers, his employees, the stores he sub-contracts through, etc. It’s endless. So I’ve been feeling a bit neglected and sorry for myself. And when I bring it up, the question is always the same:  Would you rather me work less and make less money???

Phooey.

Knowing that this is not how things will be forever I just grit my teeth and bear it. But it was certainly interesting to see “careers” listed at the #9 reason for divorce. I think this whole time-issue that I bring up could certainly fall under the career category.

Anyway, this is just something I’ve been thinking about as of late and wanted to bring it up.

Between the options of time or money, which would you select and why? I’m sticking to our debt-reduction goals and picking “money” right now, with the knowledge that inevitably we’ll have more time down the road when business slows down a bit. But it still doesn’t make the present very fun!


The Ultimatum

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This is the 3rd of what I hope will be a 4 part installment today.  You can read the second installment here where I described by reasoning for not buying my home.

Continuing on my dad and my conversation from my last day in Texas….

I’d love to report back that he was impressed by how much I had thought things through with my plan for finishing out the school year here while putting the house on the market next spring.  I’d love to say he jumped on board, supportive every step of the way.

He didn’t and he wasn’t and he isn’t.

I can’t presume to know what he was thinking or feeling. And I won’t repeat much of the conversation as it was private and not just my story to tell.

But what I can say is that with his credit on the line (since the house in financed in his name,) and the refinance looming just over a year from now, he was not willing to wait until next spring to put it on the market.

And we both agreed that getting a house ready to sale with the 5 of us living, working and schooling here, not to mention the 3 dogs and a cat…well, that’s really impractical and maybe impossible.

Writing this it makes it seem like it was so civil and clear.  It was not, I cried, he cried, we both fought for what we believed was right from our own perspectives and positions.

In the end, as is his right, he gave me an ultimatum…we are to be out of the house by October 1. And that is where things stood as we finished our time in Texas and began our trip home.

Turns out as I finish this 3rd installment, that there will in fact be 5 parts to this story, and even now at 12am this morning as I’m finishing this one, the 5th one’s content is not known to me, but the 4th…well, that I do know so stay tuned this afternoon.


The Best Laid Plans

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To sum up what’s happened in the last two weeks I offer this quote: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

In actuality so much has happened in just the past week that I cannot wrap my mind around putting it out there succinctly.  So today you will be getting a multi-part story broken up into bite size pieces so we are all on the same page on what’s coming next.  And all this while I’m still trying to figure out what comes next.  So here goes…

I went to Texas. I had a great visit with my family, saw all four of my siblings and my nephew.  It was a eleven day stay.  On the morning of the 10th day, my dad and I took the time to talk.

I started with an apology for my financial position, owning all of the decisions which have led me to this place.

I thanked him for his selfless generosity in helping me get into a home four years ago when our lives were in such chaos. (You can read that story here.)

And then I told him my decision to NOT buy the house from him.

And then I told him my plan to live here through Christmas as we have been, and then do everything needed to get the house on the market for the spring.

You can probably tell from the opening of this post, that my plans definitely did not meet with his plans, but before I spell all that out later today stay tuned for the next post going up in a couple of hours that lays out my decision to buy my home.


Prices are a’rising

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This is nothing new. Happens every year, am I right? You get the letter from (insert name here) and you discover that the prices are rising.

I just got this letter from 2 different companies.

The first is my water company. They instituted a price-increase that was effective July 1st (thanks for letting me know after-the-fact). Since this is a basic utility and we only have one service provider to choose from, there’s nothing I can do about the price aside from simply trying to conserve (which is difficult in summer since it seems like grass and plants need extra water in order to survive the terrible death-heat in Tucson).

The second letter was from our cable company. All of the rates are being raised across the board. When I first started blogging this was one area that everyone said we should cut entirely but I stood my ground that we were going to hang onto our cable. This is mostly for my husband’s sake (he’s the real cable-watcher in the family), but I also mentioned that the price wasn’t too bad when you consider that internet, alone, was costing us $55/month and our combined package (cable & internet) cost $85/month, so it was really only an extra $30/month. Not a big price to pay for the marital happiness. But now we’re looking at closer to $95/month. And, on principle, the price-hike makes me angry.

I called the company, 100% certain that if I called and complained they’d surely lower my rate. This is standard practice, right?

Apparently I was WRONG.

Not only will they absolutely not touch my price, but I was also informed that my personal price is about to get a huge hike because we were locked into some 1-year promotional package that expires the end of this month. Come August, we’ll actually be looking at a price of $115 (not $95. If this is confusing – as it was for me – the “promo” price was being raised to $95, but my promo was set to expire so I’d be getting the “normal” price of $115).

Shut the front door.

So suddenly the $85 that I was barely okay with paying is about to morph into $115. I just can’t swallow that type of bill.

I talked to my husband about it and – sigh – the man really, really, really wants to keep his cable.

So what should I do? Here are what I feel my options are:

  1. Say “too bad” to the hubs, cancel our cable, and go to war with each other over the issue.
  2. Cancel with our current provider and try to find a new provider (although, the only other service provider in our area requires an initiation fee, a 2-year contract and only does TV so I’ll have to pay through a separate company for internet, eliminating any “bundle” savings)
  3. Try to go into the cable office to talk to someone face-to-face and see if that will make a difference in trying to get a reduced bill.

For obvious reasons related to marital happiness, I would like to avoid option #1. My preference would be to stay with our current provider simply because it would be the easiest option of all. But I also can’t stomach paying $115/month, so I could only do it if I somehow talk them into giving me a price-break (which, the customer service rep on the phone made seem like would NOT be happening. Period.) We’re also renters and currently have cable (Comcast/Xfinity), so if we have to switch to a dish provider, I’d have to talk to our landlord regarding whether we could even mount a dish somewhere.

I know the popular option is going to be canceling our cable all together. I totally agree that this is the most cost-effective and obvious choice for a couple trying to get rid of their debt. But let’s also take the marital relationship into consideration.

Update: I wrote this on Sunday and today I called (again) to try to get my bill lowered. Lo and behold, apparently it all depends who you speak to because last time the woman swore up and down there was nothing she could do. This time the guy knocked a flat $5 off my bill (from the monthly cable box fee) and said he would lock in a rate (no contract required) for $89 after our current promotional rate ends (side note: apparently our promo rate is actually $79, but with taxes and such it amounts to about $85….so I’m assuming the $89 rate will come out to closer to $95ish). It’s still more than I want to pay, but much better than the $115 (before taxes & fees) we were looking at. So I guess I’m happy with the situation and it looks like I won’t have to be switching cable providers.

What do you do if you and your spouse/partner disagree about finances? How do you settle things?

This is an area I would tend to “pick my battles” and let my husband win simply because it clearly means a lot to him. Also, we rarely (if ever) go out – can’t remember our last date, trip to a movie, etc. So this is one of our only paid forms of entertainment (we also get a Redbox probably once or twice a month). Still…..I know its not a popular idea to keep cable when you’re trying to cut expenses and pay down debt. What are your experiences with balancing cutting expenses and keeping a partner happy???


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