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Money Troubles


How important is money in a relationship?

Here is my situation. My boyfriend has a great job, although since it is a trade, there isn't always steady work, which means he gets laid off from time to time until another job starts up. This would be fine, if he was able to save money, but he is more of a "paycheque to paycheque" kind of guy.

I seem to be in charge of paying all the bills as he's always behind with his, and we keep track of what he owes me.. at one point he was almost at $3000.. which he has paid most of it back. At that point he moved out of my apartment to somewhere more affordable to try and save money, and ended up getting in debt there too..

Now he is back, and working (after not working for 2 months), and is back to owing me $900.. and has only lived there since August 1..

I know people say relationships are give and take, but it feels very much that I give, and he takes, and there is no vice versa. We've had various conversations about money, the importance of saving etc, but I'm starting to feel like an accountant or his mother, rather than a girlfriend.

Has anyone else had money trouble with their partner.. is there hope at the end of the tunnel, or any ideas for helping him budget and save?
Oct 04, 2011 @ 02:48 pm

21 Replies


Shared expenses

Try this: Determine your fixed expenses and split it in half. Ensure on a fixed date both of you deposit each of your half amount into the "joint account" and through that account you will pay all your bills.

For example:
Rent: $1000
Internet: $40
Groceries: $300

Total: 1340
1340 divided by 2 is $335
That's how much each of you need to put into your joint account every month. Get your Rent and Internet to be automatically paid through that shared account and ensure all groceries are bought through the shared card. That way he knows, come hell or high water, by the set date of the month he better have $335 put into the account.

If that doesn't work, I say live separately. He's a grown man responsible for his expenses. If his trade is contract based as you say and he only has employment periodically, it's his responsibility to get a full time job on the side, even if it means flipping burgers, to pay his way. You're not responsible for him. Live apart and let him pay his own way & take responsibility for himself.

On the plus side - he pays you back. He owed you $3000 and paid you back so now he owes you $900. That's awesome!! Most moochers I know don't ever pay back, so it's great that your guy does. Definitely shows potential for improvement :)
Oct 04, 2011 @ 03:17 pm


I was thinking $335 was such a low number!!!!

1340 divided by 2 is 670


But you get the point :-)
Oct 04, 2011 @ 03:19 pm
Ali de Bold

Stop giving him money

I know he's your boyfriend and you love him, but you need to stop enabling him. As long as he has you as a security blanket to cover his costs, he never needs to learn to budget and save for the lean times. $900 is a lot to owe in such a short period of time. I think it's disrespectful to you that he spends all of his paycheques and then relies on you to cover the shortfall.

Just tell him that you think it's best if he covers for himself from now on. That you don't feel comfortable with the way things have been and you need him to step up. If he has a lull between jobs, he can get another job. There is always something he can do to make ends meet. I imagine you are the one paying for all of your dates as well? That's not a good recipe for a long term relationship if it is that one-sided.

Stop paying and see what he does. If he starts budgeting and being more responsible with his money and doesn't rely on you at all, win win! If not, I'd consider moving on.
Oct 04, 2011 @ 04:51 pm


I agree with Becky and Ali - it's time for him to man up and learn How To Control His Money.

I think it's wonderful that you've stood by him through what must be a roller coaster with the on-again off-again nature of trade employment. I also give him serious props for repaying you - like Becky said, that's not always a given.

If he's currently out of work, he has no income and will have to keep mooching until he lands more work. So his first order of business should be to get a part time job. Part time so that he doesn't have to drop it every time he DOES get a new contract (because that's disrepectful to the other employer). Saturdays, evenings, whatever. Just enough to carry him through the lean times. It can be flipping burgers, working as a jack-of-all-trades, whatever. Actually, this time of year is GREAT for occasional work: many people are looking for landscapers and exterior workers for fall cleanup.

Next, he has to do what he can to ensure he's not constantly without a contract. Does that mean he should get additional certification? Maybe he should find another firm that offers regular work instead of here-and-there arrangements? Unless you are in a recession-hit area, there should always be plenty of work for a good tradesman. Any of us who have needed work on a furnace or plumbing know how hard it can sometimes be to find good help!

Finally, he needs to set aside the first part of his paycheque for shared expenses. This should never be an afterthought. Whatever remains should be used for leisure and hobbies.

I'm sure with a good work ethic and responsible mindset he can adjust to this. It seems like a big deal but it really isn't... eventually he'll have a mortgage or a car payment and realize that debts aren't something you can "wing it" on.

Good luck and keep us posted!
Oct 04, 2011 @ 05:02 pm

Thank you!!

Thank you ladies!

Your responses were encouraging, and I am very appreciative!

I realize that I've been the enabler, which is a difficult role to get out of, but if I am going to help either of us get out of this situation, then I need to put my foot down, and make him responsible for himself.

I've encouraged the part-time job, and even suggested some good places to look (job websites, newspapers etc), and he seemed to think that was a good idea, so thats a start!

He's not easily motivated, so I'm hoping that keeping busy, and seeing the money come in will encourage him to continue to work, because we all have to admit, it is nice to have money in the bank each pay!!

I will post again in a few weeks with an update to the status of our situation!

Again thank you, I am so happy to have a forum where I can post honest questions and receive answers from regular people that aren't judgemental! Thank you!!
Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:35 am


You need to stop paying for him right now!

It is good that he eventually paid you back that $3000, but it seems like he is stuck in a cycle of accumulating debt. Having $900 worth of debt for only 2 months is quite a lot. What is he spending on?

I know that spending and saving is difficult but you have done waaaay more than your share for him! You don't need to be responsible for him anymore.
Oct 05, 2011 @ 11:27 am

Baby steps!

Okay, so I've just gotten a phone call letting me know that he's gotten himself a part time job! Thank god! He explained his situation to the boss, so he'll work evenings and weekends with the part time job, which wont interfere when he gets work with the union in his trade!

Its a start!

I've also made a list of what he owes, and explained that I cannot be responsible for him anymore and once he receives a paycheque from his new part time job, we'll discuss an amount that is affordable for him to give me each pay!

I've also given myself an ultimatum, I am not his mother, I do not have to make myself responsible for him. And I have given a time limit of 4 months. I will determine if this has gotten better or if it is the same, and then really consider if this relationship is working in my favour!
Oct 05, 2011 @ 01:34 pm


Good girl!! I love your mature approach, sticking up for yourself, and that your man actually listened to you and got himself a part time job! :-)
very happy for you .. hope this keeps going uphill! Keep us posted :)
Oct 05, 2011 @ 01:51 pm


Good for you! I'm happy to hear that not only he got a job but that you communicated exactly what you needed to in order for him to understand your point of view. It's great that you stood up for yourself and that he will start paying you back.

I have a friend who's boyfriend did construction and trade labour work so I get how difficult that field is with jobs. As she and her boyfriend grew as a couple, he moved in with her. But because of the scarcity in jobs at the time, he had to go to another nearby city and because they were a couple, she ended up moving with him. Now, she lives about 2 hrs away from her friends, family and work and she had to leave behind her beloved house. It was a bit of a cautionary tale for me when it came to money and relationships- I always remind myself to keep check of my own needs since those can become lost when you are a couple.

Oct 05, 2011 @ 01:57 pm


Thanks for your support ladies! Much appreciated!
Oct 05, 2011 @ 02:03 pm

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