Saturday, May 23, 2009

I haven’t posted about this… But here goes nothing…

I found out that boyfriend had been charging stuff on his credit card. When we started dating he promised me he wouldn’t be charging anything anymore and for a long while he was holding to that…

He was actually paying a bit over the minimums and being really diligent up to about 8 months ago… then the work shifts became less and less… He still liked to go out so he used his debt card and started only paying the minimums... he felt less like a man if I treated... I’d grab the check and he’d take it from me. But he wasn’t getting into more debt, which was our original promise to each other.

Then work became less and less, they didn’t give him the part time regular hours they said he would… they didn’t give him a truck driving rate, and he didn’t get a raise when they renewed his contract. Over the past few months, I’ve purposefully limited the amount that we’ve been going out so he wouldn’t be tempted.

I had a feeling that things were getting really hard for him. He got hit with contractor taxes because he didn’t realize how much he had really made over the year since it was the first year he really had money coming in… so he hadn’t sent enough over. He had to apply for an extension…

I decided that he wasn’t allowed to treat me or buy me anything unless it was a major holiday or birthday. Period. It was a bit of a shock when we went out with some friends and he couldn’t pay for me. He thought I was being stubborn but I think that was when he knew I was serious.

Well, work got less and less for him, maybe 2 or 3 days a month if he was lucky. They would schedule him for a 12 hour day… and that turned into 5 hours and he overspent waiting on money that he thought was coming in. At 20% interest, it wasn’t hard for him to wipe out what little progress he had made on the open card.

When I saw the statement on his desk, and the new charges he started crying and broke down about it. He asked me to take the card so he couldn’t use it anymore. I agreed. I also told him that I’d help him get through it.

I won’t pay off his debt… but I can do things that help him from adding to it. For one, I'll re-do my budget to allow for more grocery shopping money so we have food at the apartment for snacks and lunches so he will stop grabbing fast food, etc. I also agreed that we wouldn’t go with the group on Sunday nights out after church because it’s too much of a temptation since it’s around dinner time... things like that.

He applied for 10 different jobs. Grocery stores, Walmart, Target…. If they were hiring he applied.

Last night, he got a call back for an interview at a Regal Theater. He goes in on Thursday for the interview. He also got a tech gig with a different company that he met through his current one.

Right now he has a bit over 4500 on one credit card, 1500 I think on the one he closed and has been slowly paying down, owes 1300 to the government for last years taxes and about 2,000 to his parents.

Were crossing our fingers and hoping he’ll get it. then take it one bit at a time.

It would be really great if he could get a job, save up the takes for last year and knock out that small credit card or get the larger one below 4,000.


  1. The only way someone gets out of debt and learns a lesson is when it get cripplingly painful for them. I speak from experience, of having had, in the past $20K of debt that I paid down to $7K and then subsequently charged up to a high of $39K (YES!- believe it!) ... but trust me, I will never debt again. You need to give your BF tough love - you are enabling him by giving up the things you like to do (no got out with your friends after church and paying for his groceries for lunches & snacks) because he F*d up! Why should you underwrite his bad financial decisions? He needs to figure this out on his own otherwise he will soon resent you and you will have a parent-child relationship rather than a woman-man relationship. You should do him the favor of dropping him off at a reputable consumer credit counseling service so that they can work with his creditors to pay off the credit cards. One thing he can do is stop paying completely on the cards - the creditors will hound him relentlessly but then after about 6 mos, they will offer him no interest/no fees and that will help him pay off everything sooner, although his CC score will tank. Plus check out Mary Hart's Debt Free living debt paydown calculator. I am sorry to say, because I speak from experience, your BF will not change his attitudes regarding money if they are your values and not his. Until he figures this out he will be a liability on your Income Statement should you eventually marry him. If his lies to you about something as important to you as money - he has the potential to lie to you about a multitude of other things. Good Luck, I have incredible respect for what you have accomplished in your life and would hate to see you get blind-sided by anything else in this relationship. Finally, your BF is correct that you are stubborn, all Taureans are! But when it comes to YOUR values, you must stand firm!

  2. Anonymous-
    Thank you for your comments. It's hard to explain the situation with all the little details in a blog post, so I do thank you for your advice...

    But I love my boyfriend, faults and all. He was doing great with his journey to pay down debt and was really excited when he had a job with semi regular money coming in. But his sector is getting creamed with the economy. And no one's journey to debt freedom does not include set backs. He's still learning how to be financially independent.

    He knows that I'm not his personal bank account, and he knows I support his decision to get out of debt. I also enjoy spending time with him. We see each other every day and he is my best friend. If I were to continue to go out all the time with other friends, I’d see him less since he doesn't have the money to do that.

    So instead, I’m listening. He's telling me that he's unable to live the lifestyle we did when we first started dating. He's opened up and was vulnerable when he told me that he's uncomfortable when we go out to dinner with friends and he doesn't order anything... and he's more uncomfortable if I pay for him when we go out. So he's not milking me for money. He’s doing the opposite.

    As a compromise since I don't like having dinner every night of the week with his parents (which is free for him), and since I don’t want to go out and eat at restaurants all the time (which he can’t afford to do). I’m going to compromise for the man I love. Our relationship isn't all about me, but us working together since we both want to get married. He accepts me and all my faults (I may have finance skills but I lack in other areas—trust me. I can be annoying).
    So we're going to stay in and not go out to lunch for a quick bite because it's convenient. It actually saves me money because he’s not allowed to pay for me to do things anymore. I won’t have to pay $10-12 for a lunch out when I can make sandwiches for both of us at home and still have money left over. We still see our friends all the time, but we watch movies and tv shows together, play games, and hang for a while without going out.

    For me, adding $20.00 a month to my grocery bill doesn't seem like a scam... It actually saves me cash in the long run. The majority of my fun money was always spent on eating out, now I can use that money for other things I enjoy, like gardening, books, painting, etc.

    And I’m also not making excuses for his money issues… Hence why I posted the post that I did. I’m being honest about his set backs. But he’s still trying and we have had talks about how we will handle money when we are married.

    But I appreciate your concern and thanks for reading!

  3. I really agree with everything that the first commenter said. This statement in particular struck me:

    "When we started dating he promised me he wouldn’t be charging anything anymore and for a long while he was holding to that… "

    It has to make you wonder what other promises he won't be able to keep long term...little things like, "in sickness and in health" and "forsaking all others".

    You guys starting talking marriage so quickly after you started dating (yes, I'm a long time reader). I think you need to listen to the warning bells.

  4. Its hard to admit faults.. I think even harder for a man to admit he can't afford to pay.. it kills their egos.. glad to know the two of you are working it out

  5. I think that it is great that you are tackling financial issues with your boyfriend now. Now that the economy is bad, I think the taboo is mostly gone.

    My boyfriend is a 6th year college student, and definitely has less money now than when we met. We also go out less, and I try to pay more often for shared groceries. He still contributes, but before, he would automatically pay unless I cut in and said I would.

    I think your bf realizes that there is a problem, indicated by asking you to take his credit card (um, and the crying over the statement). I think men like to think of themselves as providers and his self esteem is probably taking a hit from the debt (as well as the job situation). So, no delusions there.

    I would like to believe that you are setting yourself up for good communication about money in the future if/when you get married. Way to stick to your guns and good job making plans. I love cooking with my boyfriend (he's the main cook) and it's way cheaper than eating out.

    With the group, maybe you can suggest they go to a budget-friendly place so everyone can go?

  6. Hey AB, just wanted to sympathise as we're sort of in the same boat! My BF was laid off at the start of the year, which was really unfortunate as he was on track to getting everything paid off, and had built up a small EF (well, with my help, as he is a born spender and so I manage the $). It's not a huge amount, we're talking low 4 figures, but it seems so daunting when you're trying to survive on unemployment.

    And it's definitely hard for someone to go from earning a decent wage to not even be able to pay bills - it's so bad for morale and for self-esteem. It's great that you're being there for him.

    I've wondered a few times whether this is something I can handle (I really hope so). I think for us the real test will be in the next year or so.

  7. He can do it! It will take time, but he seems like he is trying, but just got a little sidetracked.