09 Nov
We are Drowning in Bills and My Husband is No Help!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I got engaged in February, just two weeks before my boyfriend (now husband) got fired from his job. We got quickly court-house married so that he could have health insurance (we’ve been together over three years and still plan to have a wedding ceremony next year so it wasn’t that last-minute).

I’ve become the breadwinner while we slowly drain our house fund/his savings for monthly bills. At this point, I’m drowning in bills I had before we were married, plus the extra cost of all the groceries (we used to go halfsies), insurance and other things (lots of beer).

There is little I can do to make more money or save more money but HOW do I lessen the moment-to-moment terror I feel about my situation? I have heart-wrenching anxiety whenever I look at a receipt or my banking website.   Help me.

Signed,

This is Not Life with Prince Charming

_____________________________

Dear This is Not Life,

First of all, I’m so sorry for your financial problems and anxiety. This sounds like a really rough time for you. Take some deep breaths. (Yes, I promise my advice will get better than just telling you to breathe.)

You are anxious because you feel like you have no control over your financial situation. You need to immediately sit down with your husband and make a budget. Even if you are eating into your savings, it will make you feel better if you know exactly how much you can spend on groceries, gas and yes, even beer (although I do think a cheap bottle of Sauvignon Blanc is a better investment).   Now stick to that budget. If you are not of financial mind, find a friend who is good with numbers to help out with this.

Also, allow yourself one hour a week when you focus on your debt. That’s the time that you pay bills, look at your budget, drink wine, cry and stress out. Then do your best to let it go until the following week.

I would also recommend making time in your life for anything that might relieve a bit of your stress… a jog, watching a movie, writing, bubble baths, dancing like a maniac to “She Works Hard for the Money.” Whatever works.

I assume your husband is job hunting. Is there any kind of part time work he can take on temporarily to just bring in some cash? Because you are clearly feeling a heavy financial burden. Try to keep in mind that this is a temporary situation. Your husband will work again. The economy will get better. Life will improve.

But right now, feel free to vent to the Mouthy Housewives because you need to express all of these feelings. And we are the kind of ladies that will always listen.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Kelcey, TMH

13 Responses to “We are Drowning in Bills and My Husband is No Help!”

11.09.11#1

Comment by Cate8.

No chance for unemployment? It was a red flag to me that he got fired…..yipes!

11.09.11#2

Comment by Karin.

The company my husband worked for closed their doors 3 days before we got married in a lovely (read: expensive) ceremony AND I was pregnant and planning on being a SAHM. It’s not a great way to start a marriage – stressed about money. He had made more than double what I made and my salary just barely covered my expenses much less his.

I agree with Kelcey – you need a budget – but want to add that you both need a bit of money that isn’t tied to a budget line item – an allowance of sorts. It takes the stress out of money=power.

The red flag to me was that you have line item for beer – is that under control?

Karin Reply:

Just wanted to add that my husband did eventually find a job – it paid significantly less than his old job but was stable and he enjoyed it – and we have been married for 10 years now. We’re still recovering financially (we had minimal savings, I graduated from college the year prior and was paying student loans so we put a lot – usually gas or groceries but never alcohol – on credit cards when it got rough) but we’re almost in the clear.

11.09.11#3

Comment by this side of typical.

its tough economically for lots of folks right now, which may or may not be a comfort. But, hopefully, it means, as a society, that we are changing our priorities and what is important to us.

to reiterate the previous commenters–MAKE A BUDGET. WE work on the envelope system where i have a couple envelopes for certain things (grocery, drugstores, thrift stores, etc) and monthly i put in an amount of cash. And that’s it. If i get to the end of the month and there’s no more money in the envelope, i make due.

we also coupon, which takes a little time to get started–but once you’re organized, it can really be a money saver. I have a small stockpile that i can choose from when my envelope budget runs low. It doesn’t have to be crazy like that stupid show–but it CAN be a great way to save on your budget. THere are tons of websites out there to help.

good luck–and breathe!

11.09.11#4

Comment by S Club Mama.

Oh sweetie. Life is hard, but seriously, you need to be sure he’s looking for work (without nagging – so hard). Then, yes, do ask him to file for unemployment. That could help ease your burden. And lay off the things that are necessities (yes, beer).

11.09.11#5

Comment by Impatiens.

I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. What a stressful time! But I agree completely with all of Kelcey’s suggestions! To save a bit of money, I have recently started couponing. While I’m nowhere near the extreme measure, there’s something comforting about being able to get a box of mac and cheese for only 50 cents!

If you don’t coupon, I really suggest getting in on it. I go to Dominics where I live, and they have a huge coupon site within their website as well as all their savings for the week plus the value card. Sign up for one if your grocery store has them! They are worth it, I swear. Only buy things that are on sale and if you can double up a coupon, do it! I had a $200 grocery bill and was able to knock it down to $130 and save $70! It was an exhilarating moment! And any extra money saved stays in your pocket. Cut out the beer and buy some cheap wine instead!

Good luck!

11.09.11#6

Comment by Meredith L..

Oh, honey, we’ve *all* been there. My husband was in law school for a while and I had a crappy pink collar job, so we had to learn how to budget the hard way. Here’s what we did:

We figured out our average expenses every month: utilities, rent, groceries, medications, and anything else we did on a weekly or monthly basis. We wrote down all those numbers. Then, twice a month when my paycheck came in, we would add my pay to our ledger, then subtract every single necessary expense. What was left was the money we had for the next two weeks. If we had $50, then we had $50. For two weeks. And we had to live with it, but that helped us make sure we never got behind on any bills and so didn’t ruin our credit.

We also found a cheaper supermarket than the one close to us, and though it was a schlep, we went there every week with a strict list of items we needed in order to eat all week long. That helped, too, and those nights when we really wanted to order in we’d say, “But we already spent money on these groceries!”

Now we use Mint.com, which helps us keep track of our monthly budget for everything and tells us when we’re off course.

Good luck, and remember that this does not have to be a permanent situation.

11.09.11#7

Comment by Tonya.

Such great advice! Yes, definitely a budget is in order. It’s also important to remember that we have all either been there or are currently there. It does get better. And working together toward a common goal can make marriage even stronger.

11.09.11#8

Comment by kokopuff.

Just to clarify: you are all suggesting that her HUSBAND is the one who sits and looks through all the circulars and websites for the coupons and then does the grocery shopping, right?

Lisa Reply:

Unless doing it gives her a feeling of control and helps her feel better about her sitch.

11.09.11#9

Comment by Poker Chick.

Another thing that helped me save in addition to the suggestions about is using cash for almost everything. You think twice about buying even a $50 shirt if it means no beer (or in my case, cupcakes) for a couple of weeks.

11.14.11#10

Comment by Tami.

Why is your husband not working? There are always jobs to be had. It may be flipping burgers or working odd jobs at a temp agency. He should be doing something. If he’s “over qualified” it will be chacter building. I supported my ex husband for the first 2 years of our marriage and it is hard and stressful. I am sorry you are having hardships and I am certainly having my own but I just feel he should not be too proud to work anywhere. Work is work. Money is money.

12.29.11#11

Comment by When Money and Marriage Don't Mix | The Mouthy Housewives.

[...] the two of you when it comes to control over money. Am I reading too much into your question? Every couple works out their money differently. Some share funds. Some keep separate accounts. Some drive to Vegas and spend it all there. [...]

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