Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's all about the Benjamins

Money is the root of evil. I used to laugh at this.

A snapshot of my accounting prowess: A young twenty-something sitting at her computer perusing the wonders of online shopping, she spots the pair of brown leather knee-high boots that she has been searching for all year, she dismisses them because the simple thought of leather knee-highs resonates in the "On a budget, Miss Thing" category...but for giggles, she glances- $45! End of season sale! In her size! FREE shipping! Yet, she is haunted by the thought of her initial purpose for logging in, that is, to pay her bills. Her bank account sits at a cool $75...so it comes down to heat or the boots.

Yeah, I went with the boots...how could something so very wrong feel so right?

When my husband created a working budget for our new family about 3 months before we got married, I rejoiced. Discipline had been the money mantra that I longed for, and now I had the Excel spreadsheet that was going to allow me to chant it all day long! You should have seen this baby, I am still surprised the thing does not clean or pick-up dry cleaning. It was stellar. 

As we looked it over, to familiarize ourselves with its many wonders, my husband turned to me, shoe-girl, whose feet would been cold if not for the new boots she purchased, and said, "You know, I really like this stuff..."

That was all I needed...I looked at him and said, "Baby, you run with it! It is all yours!" I recognized my weakness, I owned it, and passed it on the stronger member of this tribe. It was the perfect, he would play "keeper of the spreadsheet" and I would play "find good deals online for things we need and may not need so much girl." Really, I assure you, it was perfect.

Yet...money is the root of all evil. I found myself contemplating this statement right after I slammed the door to our bedroom (I am not proud) this evening. As we sat on the couch doing taxes this evening, I realized that I did not even know the password to our bank account. Now, before we judge, I must reiterate the fact that I loathe money, not just because I am particularly bad with it, but because it frustrates me to no end. Those of you who know me well, will not be surprised that I did not have this password. One, because I probably never asked for it, and two, because out of the goodness of my loving husband's heart he recognized my fear and loathing and rescued me from myself. All that said, I was not a happy camper.

An argument ensued that went a little something like this:
"I feel like I do not know anything about our money!"
"Honey, I have offered to sit down and do this together, have you work on the budget and bills with me. But I also know how much you hate this stuff..."
"But you do not understand how much I am giving up here...my bank account, my last name...it's like, so much...you just don't get it!" 
"Honey, really, we can figure this out, and what does your bank account have to do with your last name?"
"UGH, you don't understand!!" [door slam...well, shut...hard]

And thus began an evening of bad ABC sitcoms streamed on my MacBook thinking about money management. I never thought that I would be the gal who got angry when she lost a bit of the control that she had really longed to lose. I didn't want to deal with money, I disliked it, abundantly, and now I had this savior...who was going to handle it all for me! Yay, right?

I know that money is not my strength, and that my husband is WAY better suited for handling our finances. I mean, really, the alternative is fairly bleak. Yet, I recognized that this does not mean that I get to put my feet up and bon-bon it all the way to retirement. Finances are a big deal in any marriage, and regardless of your ability (or inability) to handle them, a plan needs to be forged that includes both members of the team. So, tonight, I will come off the bench and play for Team Lanier, dust off the old knee-high leathers, and meet my husband somewhere around 30%...because 50%/50% would be a stretch.

Thank God for his service of me, in all my selfishness. And thank God for his patience in all my irrationality...let's penny up!


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