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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???


He says, She says

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I loved when Adam and Emily did the “he says, she says” post. So fun to see their different personalities and spending-styles emerge. And like most couples, my husband and I don’t always agree on where to put our money (which currently is being thrown toward debt hand-over-fist).

Now, don’t get me wrong – husband is 100% committed to eliminating our debt. Most of it is mine and he agrees that it has to go (and he’s been involved in creating our budget and debt-reduction goals, so even though I’m primarily the one who writes out the checks and pays the bills, he’s totally involved in the process). However…..sometimes I find that even though he wants to be debt-free, he would perhaps prefer to do so at a slower pace that allows us more “free” money for spending, or adding money to our savings instead of putting so much directly toward debt each month (we put nearly $1700 per month toward debt when our bring-home is about $5,000 per month; so about 34% of our income goes straight to debt).

Side Note: You can see our full budget here, and our debts here.

Although I typed this up (husband isn’t much into blogging), this is almost verbatim transcript of a conversation we had the other day, so I think I’m representing him and his thoughts fairly:

Our Thoughts On Spending…

 

He Says:

Imagine going to the gym for months and months. You’re killing yourself by waking up early to hit the gym, eating clean, and passing by lots of opportunities for “fun” that could side-track your health and fitness goals. But then you step on the scale (or have your BMI checked) and you’re still in the exact same position you were in before starting your exercise regiment. Would you continue it? No way! You need to see results in order to be motivated.

It’s the same thing with money and paying down debt. Especially since my job is a very physical one. I go to work everyday and kill my body. I do it to provide for my family and improve our quality of life. If our quality of life isn’t going to improve for 5-10 years, then what’s the motivation? I need to see something that shows me my work is getting me somewhere. Be it a nice home, a new shirt, or a little family vacation. Those are the rewards that make killing myself at work worthwhile.

 

She Says:

I definitely see the analogy, but at the same time – the only way to true wealth is through being debt-free. Rewards aren’t on the short-term; they’re on the long-term. I never should have accrued so much debt, but it’s done now. And I think our focus should be on paying it back as opposed to continuing to spend money elsewhere.

 

So, what to do? The conversation had no real resolution. Just him stating his feelings, which I think is fair to do. He works very hard and his job truly is a physically exhausting one. It can be difficult to do that type of work and not see the fruits of one’s labor, since we continue to cut back more and more instead of gaining…I don’t know…wealth???

I listen to the Dave Ramsey radio show and LOVE the segments with REAL PEOPLE telling their debt stories and doing their “debt-free screams.” Dave always asks the same questions (what made you start this journey? what was the hardest? what was the secret to getting out of debt?) One thing I hear over and over is people say that it was absolutely crucial to be on the same page with their spouse.

I wouldn’t say my husband and I aren’t on the same page (at the end of the day, we both want to be debt-free), but maybe I’m one chapter ahead? Or I’m just reading the book at a faster pace???

 

What’s your money-relationship like with your spouse? Are you on the same page? What do you do to help motivate and encourage your partner?