We both walked in hoping it wouldn’t be as ouchie as the previous one (which was one of the most painful we’ve yet had, by far), but knowing we were probably going to get grilled in some way. The therapist, who to my knowledge has never taken DR but has done a lot of work helping married couples with financial disputes, sort of laid it on the line last night and told DH that he can’t manage “his” money by himself anymore, and he can’t hoard financial information anymore, because it’s not “his” anymore. It’s “ours”. Our joint responsibility and our joint management and our joint ability to vote on where the money goes. I can’t be shut out of those decisions and those management tasks. Could have come right out of the FPU or TMMR books, first chapter. She also told him he can’t pay the mtg out of savings anymore; if we’re ever going to have a balanced budget, that bill MUST come out of our checking just like everything else, and then we budget around it. I was hard pressed to keep from cheering.
But I have my homework assignments too. The farm has GOT to start making more money, and more consistently. We’ve had lumpy sales scattered through the year, and those sales amounts are each going up. But they’re not enough to offset all the costs yet. And bringing those costs down another notch is on the list again too. I went through a major cost-cutting exercise late last year and early this year, but I’ve sort of been coasting since then. One of DH’s main stressors apparently has been this notion that he’s still carrying the farm’s finances, and was simply expected to do so into the distant future. Um, no, that was never the expectation, but it’s time to back up that sentiment with action. So this morning I’m going back to the drawing board to see either how to cut costs, bring in more income, or (preferably) both. My rather steep goal is to find a way to generate several hundred $$$ of new income, every WEEK, by the end of this month. Yea, that’ll be a challenge, but it’s a challenge with a lot of nice benefits. So we’ll see what I can come up with.
We’re also going to start having him do the budget, as of this month. In the past, I’d do the budget based on my actual numbers and his estimated numbers. That’s been one of the bottlenecks, that he would never give me his actual spending amounts. One of the things he said last night was that he had a gut feeling that the farm was costing us more than we realized, and that his spending was “fine”. To which I replied that I had actual numbers for how much the farm costs, and earns, every month, vs his “gut feeling”. And the therapist agreed that in this instance, she was more interested in the actual numbers than in “gut feelings”. So now he can’t hide behind all those excuses anymore. He needs to come up with actual numbers for his own spending, balance that against the actual numbers for my portion of the ledger, and make it work. And then run it by me and I get to vote on this-or-that adjustment. Another task for today is prepping my own spending numbers to send to him so that he has all that information in time for our budget meeting this weekend. Love it love it love it.
But we clearly still have old habits to change. One of my tasks has been to pay the mtg each month. I would pay for the upcoming mtg payment online each month, but it would always come out of his accounts. Per his instructions he’d give me which account number to use, and for awhile now it was his savings account. Lately I’ve insisted that he pay the mortgage, so that I’m not the only one who knows how to do that. He’s resisted that too, but last night he sat down at the keyboard and I walked him through (again) how to take care of that task. When it got to the point of which account to pay from, he stubbornly refused to take it out of anything other than his savings. Again. I told him we could delay the payment a few days without penalty (up until the 5th) to give him time to have his paycheck come in. We could even wait another week, in case his paycheck came in next week rather than this week, but no. That was simply unacceptable. So he took it out of savings again. To which I said “ok, as soon as that paycheck comes in (and I have no idea whether it comes in this week or next), we put at least half the payment amount BACK into savings”. He grumbled about that, but I didn’t have to tell him that I’d take it to the therapist if he refused. He knows I will. So I think he’s very much a creature of habit and doesn’t like learning new tricks, but we’re on our way. One grudging, resisting, “I shouldn’t have to and I don’t want to” step after another.
Off to go dream up how to make $500 more every week, starting ASAP. I think once I tackle that, I’m going to tackle some slightly less demanding goal, say, conquer illiteracy or world hunger or cold fusion or something similar. You know, something easy.