What in the hell is wrong with my husband

We’re not a well off family. My husband brings home $997 every 15 days and four of us have to live off his salary. Eight days ago I paid the rent and informed my spouse that we had roughly $250 to live on. He screamed at me. What have I done with his money? The only thing I have spent money on in years is groceries. No new shoes, no new clothes, no facials, no pedicures, not even new glasses. The glasses I’m wearing right now I’ve been wearing for 6 years and they are very sad.

So, what does he do? In the last eight days he has spent $120 on I don’t know what. He’s taken it all out of the ATM. He may have bought some gas with it, but the rest he’s spent on alcohol and cigarettes. Not realizing this, I bought groceries. We’re now overdrafted. Damn it! Why can’t he just live within our means?

Now I know some of you are thinking why don’t I go out and get a job. We have one car (that’s all we can afford to license and insure) and he’s got it from 6:30 am to 7 pm five or more days a week, and not even the same days every week. Not to mention that my wage earing potential isn’t much more than it would cost to put the two kids in day care. I’d be earning $100-$200 dollars a month more than day care.

God I hate money! I hate not having enough of it. I hate having to keep track of it. I hate that it’s the most fought over topic in my house. I fucking hate it.

Actually, I could live like this if it didn’t bother Leifsdad so much. I don’t mind not having new furnature, not haveing the latest fasions, not haveing two cars, not haveing a house. None of that bothers me except for the fact that it drives my husband up a wall. Everytime any of our friends gets something new, he gets depressed. Whenever anyone buys a house, he’s completely incapable of being happy for their good fortune. All he see is our failure to be able to buy things. It’s driving me fucking nuts!

I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through Leifsmama. When my (recently x) b/f was out of work it would drive me crazy that I was paying everything while he was spending what little money he could scrape up on a pack of cigarettes a day. That would be one of the many reasons he’s now my X.

I can’t imagine the stress you must be under, I earn about that much, only it’s just me and Elvis (my cat). It’s hard to get out of a poverty cycle once you’re in it. Is there anything you can do working from home? What about some state subsidized day care? Does Colorado have that?

I feel for you. :frowning:

It’s possible he’s feeling guilty about how tight your money situation is, and since he’s the sole breadwinner, any questions or comments about money are extra sensitive to him.

I would sit down with him and calmly go over the budget with him, not to whack him in the head for not bringing home more money, but to help him see how closely you guys are cutting it.

He may have splurged as a knee-jerk response to your “accusation” (that’s not what it was, but I’m betting that’s how he sees it) and now you guys are in a bind.

I want to congratulate you on staying home with the Leifbabies. That takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

Is this an ongoing thing with Leifsdad, that he overspends, or was this a one time thing? Are there any jobs you can do after he gets home from work? Cleaning houses or stuff like that? Can you babysit other children in your home?

Ivylad and I were in this situation about five years ago, living paycheck to paycheck and fretting over spending more than $10 to fill up the gas tank. Things will get better, and trust me, being home for the Leifbabies will be worth much more than money in the long run.

Chin up, sweetie. There’s nothing wrong with your hubby except he’s worrying about supporting his family.

lezlers, state subsidized day care? I don’t know. I didn’t realize that was even a possibility. We have state subsidized health benefits for the kids. I’ll look into it.

ivylass, thank you for the encouragement. Any talk about money is sketchy these days. I try to mention things casually and he always hears an accusation. The fighting is making me sick to my stomach. That and I feel so guilty for not contributing more.

He does spend about $200/month on alcohol, but can curb it when he needs to. I think he may have just been trying to forget the predicament.

I tried to sell Discovery toys. It’s like Avon where you hold partys and people order things to be shipped. Unfortunately, everything you need to help you sell the toys costs money (catalogs, business cards, demo toys etc.) and everyone I know is dirt poor. I felt so bad asking them to hold parties when they don’t have any money themselves. All the other “work at home” things I’ve seen are either outright scams or more direct marketing companies (like the toys.)

Woah. I think “when he needs to” is right now. When I read the OP I was thinking something along the lines of a case of beer each week, which is questionable judgement, IMO, but $200/mo is excessive considering he is the sole source of income for the family.

Unfortunately, it sounds like this may be a difficult thing to confront him about.

That being said, here’s my advice:

a) It sounds cheesy, but be thankful he’s not unemployed. My ex and I went through a lengthy bout of un- and sporadic-employment (for meager amounts of money) and it was terrible (and I didn’t have any kids to support). I still haven’t recovered fully and it’s been over a year.
b) See if you can make “a plan”. Judging from my past experience and what I’ve heard from you so far, there will likely be few options that look terribly enticing, plan-wise. But sit down, and be creative (within the limits of legality). Find goals, both short-term and long-term, and find ways to meet them. This might provide some extra motivation to get out of the “why bother, it will never get any better” type of slump your husband appears to be in.

Best of luck, I hope everything works out. Keep us posted.

$200 a month on alcohol would be an alarming amount of alcohol even if you were rich. That’s a fair amount of drinking. And when it’s TEN PERCENT of your take home income… well, it seems like a lot of money pissed away (literally) to me.

I hate to say something like that, but the number just leapt out at me. It’s a LOT of alcohol and a lot of money. I think Liefshubby needs to stop drinking. If he doesn’t have a problem with drinking, it should be easy to stop, and if he finds it hard to stop, it will be good for him that he did. :slight_smile:

Still, TTO is right - $2000 a month sure beats unemployment. Many live on less. And I can sympathize; it’s hard for a man when he feels he’s not bringing home enough money for his family. We all feel like that sometimes.

home based business that has proved successful-I live in Ireland (n) so I would be unable to provide web ads or such for U`s. When I say it has proved successful I am not running a conglomerate here. I live in a council flat and my p/t business only subsidises my 9-5. It is very simple and above board. Two years ago I decided my income was going nowhere, I picked up a magazine called exchange&mart, www.exchangeandmart.co.uk, I am not so sure what would be the equivalent in the U.S. There is no quick fix as you well know but today my Girlfriend and I enjoy an extra £400 tax free/ month. I am sure with Children to consider that $550/month (approx) would be a welcome addition to your household Leifsmama. Not glamorous I grant you but It works. Try to find out what trading magazines there are in your area. Normally at thte back of these magazines you will find companies trading in job lots. These job lots can be anything from toys to tracksuits to audio/hifi etc. You will need to research your options. I recommend this it works. For as little as $300 you could see profits of 200%. It is small beer but I dont want for anything. I am ready to buy my own place at last. I understand things may work differently where you are but I was caught in the poverty trap for many years and just want to share this with you. It requires selling. Christmas time and toys thats where I started £179 got me £750 retail value brand name toys I made £430-delivery at £25-£179-misc.phone calls etc £30=£196 profit. It takes time to make it work. NB I could not have done this without my gfriends help so get Leifsdad involved. This might seem like a load of baloney or whatever but your customer gets high quality goods at as little as 50% retail value you double your money evrybody happy. Its not roket science. It can work (i said that already) Just one word of advice dont skim off the profits for at least a year no matter how dire things get leave them alone. Look into it I urge you its changed our lives for the better.

Hope things turn around for you


Good lord! If I got stinking drunk every single night of the month it wouldn’t come to more than $50. Are you SUUUURE that’s just alcohol? (If it is, what on earth is he drinking?!)

Umm, I’m guessing he can’t. I am one of those persons whose income is such that Our Boy George is extraordinarily anxious to cut my taxes, and I have a taste for fine wines, single-malt scotches, and small-batch beers. Yet I don’t come anywhere near $200/month on alcohol, even though I could easily afford it.

Your course of action is up to you. I merely give you my take on some of the relevant facts.

No it’s not. I easily spend that much a month on alcohol. High end liquor and wine can easily cost upwards of $30/bottle, and sometimes $50-$60. Wine can be $200 for one bottle, if you really want something good.

That said, I’m lucky enough to have some disposable income and can easily afford that. I agree that $200/month on alcohol when you’re bringing in $2K/month AND have 4 people to support is excessive.

Worse yet, it’s irresponsible. God, it’s half of a mortgage payment for a modest home.

Your husband needs to realize that unless he stops drinking, your family will never be able to get ahead in life. There’s no point in getting angry and resentful at you for a situation that’s primarily his fault. I think a lot of his anger stems from the fact that, deep down, he knows it, too.

It’s tough to live on $2000 a month and still save for the future, but it can be done. Unfortunately, if your husband is hostile at any mention of money, you’ll be hard pressed to get his co-operation.

You’re at a stalmate unless he’s willing to change, or is willing to let you take care of the finances.

Good luck to you.

You have my sympathies. Poverty is a grind, and four people living on $2K a month is tough. Hang in there, though, your kids will be in school soon and then day care costs won’t be a factor if you work part time, so your income can go up.

It sounds like your husband has a vision of a better future for himself, and probably you and the kids as well, than what you’re going through now. Maybe you can talk with him about how you’d like to live and how you might get from here to there and see if there is any concrete thing you can do to manage it. You’d be surprised how much doing even the tiniest thing to achieve your dreams can help. Having concrete, acheivable goals also helps. We can’t all win the lotto, but we can all get closer to our dreams incrementally.

Look. I am married to an excessive drinker (and I don’t abstain either) and we can’t even put away that much money on booze a month.

Leifsmama, nobody here is trying to jump on you to criticize. Really. But that is just not gonna get it. You sound like you are bending over backwards just trying to make a lousy situation (which I am well acquainted with) better. He not only isn’t, but is drowning his anger and sorrow and whatever in alcohol.

THAT has got to stop. You can not do the good stuff on your own, if he’s going out of his way to make things worse. I don’t think it’s on purpose, but nevertheless, that’s what he’s doing.

I’m thinking AA or therapy here. I guarantee you can find a therapist suitable to your income requirements, and AA is free.

Please…think about this, hon. You’re not doing anything wrong. And actually, he doesn’t (probably) realize he is either. But that extra $200 would damn sure come in handy right about now, wouldn’t it?

Think about it.

My sympathy Leifsmama. :frowning: I heartily second all of the advice in this thread.

Have you considered taking in laundry or doing some babysitting? Those are the things that sprang to my mind since you are unable to leave the house for PT work.

Good luck, and all the best.

Why don’t you go to work for a few hours after he gets home? Can you take in a child to watch during the day? If you are worried about child care…care for someone elses child with more resources.

These things are hard, I’m up to my nips in bills as well.

I just realized I jumped on the OMG! bandwagon. Forgive me. I was just going…OMG!

You ever thought about doing cleaning for folks? I know many women (myself included when I was unemployed) that do this for several hours a week. Lots of times you can take the kids with you. I don’t mean major, industrial type jobs. Just cleaning up houses for folks that don’t have time.

My sister-in-law just started doing this and is making very decent money doing so. Granted, she doesn’t have any kids, but her side-kick does, and it’s helping both of them out.

Too bad you don’t live in my area. I work all day, and would rather hang from a noose than clean house. You’d be my knight in shining dustmop. Of course, you haven’t seen my house either. In fact, on second thought, I probably couldn’t afford you! :wink: Nobody wants to tackle my house.
Seriously, it’s a job you can do a few hours a week, and if nothing else, it’s gas or extra food money. Just a suggestion. If you have a vacuum, and a mop, you might just be in business! Your own!

Once in a previous life, I was in poor financial shape and the (now ex) SO continually spent money on unnecessary things. I think she had some kind of mental hang-up. Somehow, spending on frivolous items allowed her to be in denial of the true situation.

If there was a solution, I never found it.

Hope your situation works out better.

If you have a situation where your husband is drinking up 10% of your meager disposable income you have several problems stacked up on top of one another, not the least of which is a incipient alcoholic spouse.

The bottom line is really that he needs to make more money. 24K is an impossibly low income for two people and a child to try to make ends meet with in 2003. Most trades jobs wil pay 35-50K+ after a year or three of apprenticing. What kind of skills does he have? What educational background. What can he do?

In the end you may have to take matters into your own hands and get a sales job where you can make a decent income well beyond what child care costs. Betting that he will be there as the alcohol consumes more and more of his (and yours by extension) life is a bad wager. I know this sounds cruel, but I grew with an alcoholic parent, and in the end you realize that despite whatever their best intentions might be when they are sober the bottle is their ultimate concern and the only person that can take care of you is you.

This perhaps has ocurred to you but I’ll chime in with this…ever think of selling things on Ebay?

You apparently have web access so go through things at Ebay whenever there is an auction in your area and they have a list of what is being sold and see if you can find things that are relatively valuable and most importantly actually sell on Ebay.

You can get great deals at rummage sales and auctions then sell them online.

One thing though…don’t go buying things no matter how great a deal it is if it isn’t selling at Ebay.

A related possibility is to offer your services to your friends and neighbors who might not be as net savvy as you to sell THEIR things online for a small percentage.

I hope things work out for you. Good luck!

Right. I even hate thinking about it. I hate spending half my energy trying to figure out ways to earn it. But things do get better as kids get older (then, if they go to college, things get worse) (no; forget I said that. Really.).
I was just thinking today about my situation five years ago. If I left my office at 5, I had four minutes to get to the bus stop, so better hope I didn’t have too long a wait for the elevator, because if I missed the bus, I’d miss the connecting bus, and if I missed the connecting bus I wouldn’t get to the day-care center by 6, and if I didn’t get to the day-care center by 6 I would get charged $15 FOR EVERY FIVE MINUTES I WAS LATE, in other words, if I was 6 minutes late, $30. And if my child went in to day care on Monday and caught something and was out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I still had to pay for the full week, even though I wouldn’t get paid for missing Weds., Thurs. and Friday (having no place to take a sick kid–even if all he had was a really running nose. IIRC clear snot was tolerable but green snot was verboten). So, I could easily go into the hole–for having a child in day care. Grrr!
Nope. This is not the way out of debt.
(And spending more on pantyhose than on any other single item in my wardrobe because that was the kind of office I worked in and you can’t get them used at the thrift shop. Grrr!)
Well, that didn’t help did it? I heartily approve of your decision not to do those fake-party things. Here’s a suggestion. Write down every single penny you spend and make your husband do the same. Get together two or three times a week to make sure you’re both caught up on writing down all this stuff. Some of it will be very petty, and some of it will appear to have gone down the black hole so write it down as you spend it. $20 out of cash machine should be accounted for within a few cents (some would say no leeway, but not me).
I know–if you already hate keeping track of it this seems like torture. But. This way you and Leifsdad can see where your money is going and it’s important that you both know. It might even inspire him to change his spending habits or look for a job that pays better (right; good luck, not a great job market out there). (Gee, am I not just such a little ray of sunshine?)
Meanwhile, you’re not in such bad shape. You’ve got a computer and a phone. How are you at web site design? You’re literate–write a book. (“How to live on promises and air.”) And no, writing a book probably won’t make you rich. Website design might.