Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Most Expensive Water Jug

This past Sunday was our 2nd class in FPU and it was about money and relationships. During the class, I could not help but look back at how Felicia and I have handled money and our relationship. We have always gotten along real well but when it came to money fights, we were seasoned fighters. Looking back, we had a lot of unnecessary fights.

In a nutshell, it was her job to pay the bills and my job to complain about what happened to all the money. Honestly, that is how it was. I let her pay all the bills, then I would ask how much we had left and when I did not like the answer, I would launch an investigation into the matter. Understandably, she would take offense to the Spanish Inquistion and then the gloves would go on and 12 rounds later nothing would be solved. In hindsight, we both played a part in our financial mess. I chose to turn a blind eye to it and not deal with it; and she would deal with the financial stress with Ebay therapy. We have both gotten a lot better. I do my part with the bills now and she does not need an Ebay fix anymore. (I know she is waiting for me to do my part with the laundry.) Even though it is embarrassing, I admit my attitude so people can see how ridiculous I was being by leaving the burden of the bills on Felicia and then have the audacity to question her decisions. Dave said that both spouses need a vote in how the money is handled and now, the way I see it, if you don't vote then you can't complain.

Marital relationships were not the only relationships Dave talked about. He also talked about kids and money. He challenged parents to teach their kids about money before they graduate from high school so that they don't have to defend themselves from the credit card companies. On of one my first days of college, I remember the credit card guys signing up people at the their table full of "prizes." I saw a water jug that I wanted and signed up for a credit card. The plan was to get the water jug and never charge anything to the card. Then, life happened. My dad and his girlfriend broke up and we were living at his girlfriend's house, so we had to find a place to live. My dad found an apartment for us and I used the credit card to buy things for the apartment. Long story short: that had to be the most expensive water jug ever! By the way, the jug broke before the first bill ever came in.

I want to make sure when my children get older that they know how to handle their money. I sure as hell didn't! I would get paid on Friday and be broke by breakfast Saturday. That, right there, is exactly the same habit I brought into our marriage. We would get paid and go out to a fancy dinner on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night. And Monday night would be Fight Night! Saving money at that age was out of the question, Savings was for OLD people! I know every kid is going to make mistakes, but I want to do everything I can to limit my children's mistakes. Some of my mistakes still follow me today. I know they are definitely too little now to learn about my money, but hopefully I can get my money in order, so I can teach by example.

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