One step forward, two steps back... (Long)
I have a DH who grew up on the 'instant gratification' household.
Our finances were a mess until the beginning of 2006. I have not work since Fall 2001 and only started working again in January of 2006. For the whole time I was not working, he was managing all of household finances. I must say that one income and a little help from my parents were where just about breaking even (or so I thought) until last May, when we decided to pull both DDs from the daycare and hire a nanny. We knew if would double our childcare expenses, but he assured me that he found a little extra in the 'budget' for it and plus we knew that I will be working again come January 06.
For the past four years, I knew that everything was not as great as he has been presenting it to me, but I have never actually lood at the money myself. Why? I don't know. I think it might have been 'I don't work, I don't have a say' mentality on my part, but who knows. We have had our share of money fights over the years as well.
In any case, in November 2005, I basically told him that I am taking over household finances for the next three months. If we both feel that I am doing a better job then he is that I will continue with it. If we both are not satisfied with my management, he can take over again in February.
So I have been managing household budget ever since.
When I started here is what I found:
1) We missed three months rent payment during 2005. The good thing is that we are renting from my parents, so there weren't any kind of late fees and stuff, but still extra three months of rent had to be paid for a total of $2,600.
2) We had $2,000 in credit card debt that I knew of, and $4,000 that I did not know of. So another $6,000 that had to be paid.
3) Our rent went from $700/month to $1100/month as of January 2006 when I started working. My parents were helping us with $400/month while I was not working, but I knew that in advance.
4) We had $30 (THIRTY) in the savings account.
5) My credit score, that was 785 in September 2004 dropped to 670 due to some medical bills that were not paid and went to collection. Why or why did he not pay this stupid $200 bill? I must add that DH's credit score went from 425 in January 1999, when we met to 680 as of March 2006, but is still not high enough.
In any case, now, 8 months later, we are saving 23% of our GROSS income towards downpayment, We have ZERO debt, we have reduced our spending by a lot, and I have established a $200/months allowance of mad money for each of us. I am solely responsible for household budget, and I don't hear any protests from DH. Yes, it was stupid of me not to be a part of household finances prior to this, but all I can do is do a better job from now on. Now to a problem at hand.
My DH's birthday was in May. I have budgeted $50 to spend on the gift of his choice. However, he decided that he wanted a new digital camera. (I agreed that we could have used a new one.) He found the one he wanted for $200. After thinking about if for a while, I decided that he has been very good about his spendings lately and decided to reward him with a new camera. FIL told me that he will contribute $50 to DH's gift. So, I figured if I cannot find extra $100 in the budget that month, I will cover the difference from my own savings of my mad money.
The long story short, after I agreed to a new camera ($200), he tells me that what he really wants is a professional digital camera. So he priced them and said that he can get one for $600, but that he was going to cover the difference ($400) from his mad money savings. He said he had $250 saved, and that he was going to wait until he had the rest to buy it. I figured that as long as it doesn't cost more of household money then originally agreed upon ($200), I don't care what he does with his mad money. I figured that at his savings rate he should be able to get his camera by September.
Imagine my shock when two days later he came home with a new camera. He charged $806 on the credit card to buy it. I was livid and completely blind sighted. After not talking to him for a day, I told him that I need to know right now how he is planning to pay for it. So his first response was to return it, but that was not feasible, he already opened the camera and the memory card and nobody was going to take it back. So he basically handed me $200 and said that this was his mad money savings toward the price and that he was going to pay off another $80 per months until it is paid off (mid-September). When I asked him where another promised $50 was, he said that that was money from his dad (FIL). To me that was a misrepresentation. Since he said the day before that he had $250 of his own money, and now tells me that he counted his dad's money into that amount. I must say that FIL is very flaky and even though he did contribute that $50, it was not a given just because he promised. (I could have covered that amount from my savings as well if was necessary). Basically, at that moment, I felt like I was blind sighted all over again. Fast forward to today, DH is paying back the difference and I make sure he only get $120 a month of allowance instead of $200 until that is done.
However, there is a bigger problem. I am finding that I do not trust him anymore when it comes to money. I constantly double check everything and question him about every single purchase outside of allowance. And that bothers more then money. I am in the process of trying to straighten out my credit score and every time I think about, I get mad all over again. Because my score dropped so drastically and so close to the purchase of the home, it will very negatively affect our ability to get a good interest rate on the mortgage. We may end up in the position where my Mom might have to get involved and either co-sign the mortgage or take the mortgage entirely in her name. The good part is that my Mom will be more then willing to do that for us and her credit score is 820.
I guess I am asking what I can do at this point to build up that trust again. Every time I think I might relax a bit, I am afraid that he will do something stupid and expensive again.