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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Work Hard for My Money

        Last week I promised I would write about a control freak and her money.  I really had forgotten that and was going on to some other hot topics of control issues.  Then I opened my email and saw one from Consumer Reports thanking us for renewing our subscription and asking for the $44 fee.  Hubs walks in from the bedroom and my first words of the day to him are, "I see you have renewed Consumer Reports for $44!"
      Wonk, wonk, wonk.  I immediately sense that Donnamo the control freak has stuck her foot in it AGAIN.  My husband and I have had A LOT of money issues in the past.  We have been "rich" and we have been "poor" and we have had issues either way.  I just realized they probably have come from my control freakishness; when all this time I thought it was just because I was right. Arrgh!
      Growing up, as far back as I can remember I had an allowance.  I even have the ledger book I used to record my financial dealings.  Like...allowance $.50.....spent .15 cents for a cherry coke at the drug store......made $2.00 babysitting....spent 25 cents for notebook paper etc...
      My father also had a Christmas Club for each of us.  For those of you under the age of 65....... a Christmas Club was something the bank had where you deposited x amount of money each week and when it was Christmas you had y amount to spend.  A Savings Plan.  Only Dad did the saving for us and gave us each an amount to spend at Christmas for presents.  Yes, I have the records of what I bought for who and how much I spent.  Really it was good training and something Hubs and I do today except we put away x amount each month for gifts so we have money to fund Christmas and birthday presents for our family.
     I also took a class in high school called Home Management.  There I learned how to set up a budget, balance a check book etc..
     The rubber met the road as soon as Hubs and I got married.  He had charged a lot of things for the house he was remodeling for us to live in, clothes for the wedding, the honeymoon etc.... Get the picture?  He is working for the National Guard for a little less than $100 a week; I am not working.....bills are arriving daily.  I set about paying the bills off $5.00 a month until we are debt free.
     Oops what about the farm?  We are going to need to take out a loan; that is what farmers' do.....get a loan each Spring and pay it off each Fall when they sell their crops.  It was a hard sell with me who believed in no debt.  I really don't know where I got that expectation except my parents didn't share anything about our family finances with us.  I kinda knew my Dad brought my Mother an amount each week, she put it in the bank and paid the household bills.  Nice and tidy.  I still really don't know much more than that about their finances.  I do now know that when Dad set up his medical practice in the 1920's and the banks failed he was evicted from his home.  All of us who have parents or grandparents who went through The Great Depression know they were forever marked by it.  My upper middle class father saved his nightly paper dinner napkin to use the next night.  My mother saved rubber bands.  You get the picture.
      Hubs family were farmers on both sides.  Borrow now....hope to pay later.  It worked well on his father's side of the family not so well on his Mother's side.  We are set up on a financial collision course.  I'll cut to the chase.....we borrowed, we spent, we got in debt, we got out, we got back in debt etc.... Many tears, many arguments, financial uncertainty for us and our children.  My response has been....when things get tight I get tighter.  My children (and I) call me "Chessie Cheap."
      After one of these bust periods like Scarlet O'Hara I declared, "I'll never be poor again!"  I took my money, my salary, put it in an account only I could get to and that as they say was that.  I paid certain bills and Hubs paid others.  We didn't have to share; or rather I didn't have to share.  This seemed to work out fine to me.
      But God.....don't you love those words, but God......slowly and patiently showed me I needed to pool my money with Hubs.  It has only been about 3 years since this happened and I have to say it has worked awfully well.  But now and then Chessie Cheap, or Controlling Carol or whatever you want to call me......rears her ugly head and dictates where the money will be spent and how much will be spent etc....
      I hope you will examine your heart and habits with God's help and see if you are controlling people with money OR if money is controlling what you can and can't do.  A few months ago I was trying to make a decision about several choices I had and I felt God said, "Don't make your decision based on money."  I did as He said and it has worked out.

Any comments or questions?


Caroline said...

I love this post, Donnamo! Money management and frugality is one of my favorite topics. I learned the value of a dollar from my parents and it has stuck with my hubby and me thru "poorer" and "richer". Though I only worked one "real" job for one year when we were first married, I have always found ways to bring in a little money to contribute. Also, since hubby works so hard to make the money, I don't think he should have to worry about budgeting and paying the bills, so I do that. You've inspired me to write my own post about the topic so off to my blog I go! (For the first time in a long while) As always, thank you for sharing from your heart!

Victoria Bigelow said...

I love the references to your parents. I love learning more about them.