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A Dramatic Change

February 16th, 2008 at 12:15 am

For many years, I was married to a man who spent money freely and charged whatever he could. I will not say that he was completely irresponsible because the mortgage was paid on time; we always had food; he worked everyday and made a good salary. And spent it.

For the most part, he spent it on computer equipment, software and manuals; he also bought brand new, hardcover books.

I had little disposable income during this time. I also had no idea of how much a lot of things cost, just that they cost more than what I had. Other people would go on vacations or buy cars. I remember once having to go to a used car lot and buy a car with nothing down and apply for a 5 year loan on 4 year old car with 50K miles on it.

I knew something was wrong, but my husband was uncooperative. He borrowed 20K from his 401K and paid off some credit cards...and then charged a 7000 dollar tractor on a Lowe's account. Now, we have a large yard, but a lawn mower would do, or even a smaller tractor, but no, this is a big top of the line one.

So, my husband dies after a long illness; the last year of his life was spent on long term disability, so our income went down.

Through some IRS rule, I did not have to pay the taxes and penalty on his 401K withdrawal.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about my husband and our finances. It was very stressful for me to live that way and it is unlikely I will ever get married again because of that experience. Now that my husband is gone, I control my finances. I put my bills into a folder and pay them once a month and look at them once a week. I have a savings account. If I want to go to the movie, it is factored into my budget. I am able to buy larger quantities of things to save money. Before, I had to buy the cheapest of anything (the small one). I never charge anything. I pay cash or use my debit card.

I really miss my husband but I do not miss the way our finances were handled. And I have a tractor.

4 Responses to “A Dramatic Change”

  1. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Nancy, hi, I'm Lux. Welcome to SavingAdvice. Sorry to hear of your husband's passing. I was once married to a very responsible looking irresponsible person, now I'm married to a wonderful man. But, I can certainly commisserate on the feelings of helplessness that those kinds of security fears bring up.

    Sounds like you are doing great being your own best financial care giver!

    Looking forward to getting to know you. You've found a nice place on the web here.

  2. Nic Says:

    I'm sorry for your loss. But, I'm happy for your new found "freedom"...sound crazy? Well, you now have a better handle of financial matters. With that came a new knowledge and awareness of _____ and ____ and____. (Fill in the blanks)

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Welcome, I can understand your feelings. I have always handled the money in my family and I like the feel of control.

  4. Carolina Bound Says:

    I had similar feelings after I was divorced. A difficult experience, but being able to control my finances was very empowering.

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