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I see other posts about people hitting a wall with finances because their spouse or SO can't manage money. I registered specifically to share my experiences on this because maybe someone will find it helpful.

It drives me up the wall when people spew "Divorce him/her" right off the bat.

I've been married for 27 years now. As you might imagine, we've had a lot of time to get ourselves into difficulties. It started not long after we were married. I got a pretty good job in retail management and starting making more than we'd ever had. Then I started having to travel for work, billing expenses to my own credit card and getting reimbursed.

I was so busy with work that I didn't bother to manage the finances. I left it in her hands - she was a SAHM and seemed competent with balancing a checkbook. Little did I know.

It started by my travel reimbursements getting put into checking but never being used to pay off the credit card debt that the travel incurred. This snowballed pretty quickly and suddenly we had credit card debt equal to 2x my income and no home equity. I didn't learn just how bad it was until checks started bouncing and I found she'd overdrawn us by about $1500 at time that I only made around $3000 a month.

Really, all the same thoughts that everyone else shared went through my head. Despair, anger, shock. Thankfully I never thought divorce. She owned up to it and basically suggested I take over the finances. She never actually lied, but it was like a mental block - she'd "forget" a bill existed. She floated it for a while by getting a new card and transferring the balance over, but then she'd run up the original card. At the peak we had over 5 separate gold cards, all maxed out.

I got in touch with a credit counseling org - not one of those guys who loan you money and bulk pay everything, but one where they negotiated with everyone for lower interest rates and payments, then I paid them and they distributed it. The counseling service cost me $15 a month and basically saved my marriage. Maybe my life.

It took 6 years of using 2/3 of my income to just pay the debt off. We drove a beater used car, ate a lot of potatoes and never went anywhere or did anything. It was difficult, but I consoled myself by watching those balances continue to go down. Finally we were debt free except a car payment and mortgage.

Now, fool me once, shame on me... a few years later the cycle started back up. The more money I made the more she would spend, and she'd spend it on stupid stuff. We were constantly taking old crap to Goodwill or throwing things out. Heck we still do. She definitely has a problem.

I ultimately solved it by first ignoring $1,000 in my checking account. I just wrote it off as if it didn't exist as a cushion against her bouncing something. When I balanced HER checkbook, I'd write a balance into the register that was $1,000 less than what I knew was actually in the account. It immediately stopped her from bouncing checks anymore.

Later I gave her an American Express card and told her that's all she's allowed to use. The bonus is it earns points, and those points pay for hotel stays and flights for us. And of course you have to pay it off every month. Still, some months if I didn't watch she'd spend as much as I made that month, just on the AMEX. I regularly log into the website and look at her purchases and would question her on something about once a week. Not confrontationally, just in such a way she knew I was watching and she would have to justify the expense. Finally when she'd spent my complete income three months in a row (thankfully I had been able to amass a bit of savings,) I called AMEX and put a maximum on the card that she can spend in a monthly billing period. For no fee, Amex let me set a limit on any additional card on my account. After that, all charges are automatically rejected. It's a forced budget. In worst case scenarios if she'd maxed the monthly on the AMEX, once or twice she used her debit card for gas.

Now, that AMEX budget was just her discretionary spending, groceries and gasoline. Regular monthly bills are either paid by me online or billed to my AMEX which doesn't have her limit.

And trust me, it doesn't matter how much I make. Making more money didn't solve the problem. Controlling the spending did.

We had a LOT of conversations, many of which ended with her crying - not because I was yelling but out of her embarrassment. Yes, I lost my cool on more than one occasion over the years, particularly that first time, but it is what it is. She mentally just can't handle money and the only way I've been able to manage that is with external controls on her spending that even I can't circumvent. I can't make her AMEX work for her when it's overspent. I'll never forget the first time she went to buy gas and freaked out because her card was declined. I just smiled and told her she had a week before the monthly cycle ended and she could buy gas.

It helped when I realized I could have AMEX email me when she hit 80% of her budget. Every month I just forward that email to her. Over time it's gotten later and later in the billing cycle.

She still would sometimes use our oldest daughter's AMEX card on my account (which I've never had to put a limit on) when her's would hit the max, but after about 6 months or so that rarely happened any more. I still see her manipulating it sometimes by having me go grocery shopping with her and then expect me to put it on my AMEX instead of hers, when that budget is built into her card. Usually I allow it.

I still ran into issues with student loans. I don't know what exactly she did, but to send our oldest daughter to college as a vet tech, I ended up with 150k in student loans last year when I assumed it was closer to $40k. I think it's because she wasn't paying them back and the interest and penalties just kept piling on. One had $20k an interest rate of 22% when I found out about it. I should have been smart and not let her do any of that but I absolutely HATE paperwork. I had no idea we had all the loans we had - in fact I would have just paid cash for the school instead of getting a loan if I'd know it was going to be like that. After I got it under control, four months later I found out about yet another student loan for another $20k she'd "forgotten" about.

Thankfully I DO make more money today than I used to, in fact we're very well off compared to our expenses, and those loans aren't a concern as long as they are being paid - but my credit is of course crap now after the last three years of default that I wasn't even aware of. I've paid off our house, paid cash for two new vehicles last year, and have a nice egg in the bank. I have more cash than the current outstanding student loans but I'm trying to rebuild my credit by keeping those current for a while before paying them off. I never would have gotten us to this point without managing my wife's poor money skills.

So, back to my original point: I love my wife. We have an awesome marriage. She's wonderful with the kids and grandkids. We're very compatible sexually (i.e. both moderately kinky :grin2: ) If I'd taken the advice I've seen multiple times now on these forums to instantly divorce her over one shortcoming rather than working with her to mitigate the problems I'd really have done us both a disservice.

Yes, financial difficulties are never fun. Yes, I've had to put a lot of effort into managing her problem over the years, and when I didn't it bit me in the ass again. The benefits of that effort have been well worth it though.

If you're in a similar relationship, first manage the immediate problem. This might take years and a lot of sacrifice to dig out of. Thankfully most countries don't have debtor's prisons anymore. Read about finance. Have your spouse read about finance. Dave Ramsey has some awesome books to help you get your finances under control. Spend $30 (even if you have to sell something) to buy one of his books if you have to. Read it. Live it. Communicate with your spouse, this is absolutely key. Don't expect your spouse to change. Put systems in place that prevents BOTH of you from going over budget. Get yourself where you don't have to worry about paying your bills anymore because you're budgeting properly and you'll find it's like a breath of fresh air to your relationship.

-OldManMage
 

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Does she recognize that she has a problem?

I suggest that you make a budget. There is money that is used to pay necessities. Then each of you gets an "allowance" to spend as you want - each in your own account.

Spending out of the necessities fund must be by joint agreement. You can get a business account that requires two signatures if really needed.

It must all be absolutely transparent - both have full access to all bank and credit card statements to know how the money is spent / invested.
 

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Does she recognize that she has a problem?

I suggest that you make a budget. There is money that is used to pay necessities. Then each of you gets an "allowance" to spend as you want - each in your own account.

Spending out of the necessities fund must be by joint agreement. You can get a business account that requires two signatures if really needed.

It must all be absolutely transparent - both have full access to all bank and credit card statements to know how the money is spent / invested.
This is the problem I had with my wife. She didn't see a problem with what she was doing. She had seen many friends/family members die with a decent amount in savings. She has the "can't take it with you" attitude. We tried the budget as well, but I wanted to account for every dollar and then possibly loosen things up as they went on. She wants to do the opposite. Finances seem to be a constant give and take...
 

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I'm glad you handled this is a way that was right for you. However, for me it wouldn't have worked. My XWW was bad with money and did several of the things you described. Fortunately, in the divorce she took her financial mistakes with her in the divorce settlement. I will never ever deal with that again with any woman because I will not allow a woman to sabotage my future. I want to eventually retire comfortably, to be able to travel to see family/friends, to not drive a POS car, to not worry about bills, etc. and no woman is worth giving that up for. All the great qualities you describe with your wife are also present in other woman that aren't a financial anchor.
 

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You are extremely lucky that she allows you to control the finances and allows herself to be held accountable. Most of the stories you see about this have a spender spouse who sees any attempt to put on limits as controlling if not abusive. They justify their spending by a variety of means.

I see other posts about people hitting a wall with finances because their spouse or SO can't manage money. I registered specifically to share my experiences on this because maybe someone will find it helpful.

It drives me up the wall when people spew "Divorce him/her" right off the bat.

I've been married for 27 years now. As you might imagine, we've had a lot of time to get ourselves into difficulties. It started not long after we were married. I got a pretty good job in retail management and starting making more than we'd ever had. Then I started having to travel for work, billing expenses to my own credit card and getting reimbursed.

I was so busy with work that I didn't bother to manage the finances. I left it in her hands - she was a SAHM and seemed competent with balancing a checkbook. Little did I know.

It started by my travel reimbursements getting put into checking but never being used to pay off the credit card debt that the travel incurred. This snowballed pretty quickly and suddenly we had credit card debt equal to 2x my income and no home equity. I didn't learn just how bad it was until checks started bouncing and I found she'd overdrawn us by about $1500 at time that I only made around $3000 a month.

Really, all the same thoughts that everyone else shared went through my head. Despair, anger, shock. Thankfully I never thought divorce. She owned up to it and basically suggested I take over the finances. She never actually lied, but it was like a mental block - she'd "forget" a bill existed. She floated it for a while by getting a new card and transferring the balance over, but then she'd run up the original card. At the peak we had over 5 separate gold cards, all maxed out.

I got in touch with a credit counseling org - not one of those guys who loan you money and bulk pay everything, but one where they negotiated with everyone for lower interest rates and payments, then I paid them and they distributed it. The counseling service cost me $15 a month and basically saved my marriage. Maybe my life.

It took 6 years of using 2/3 of my income to just pay the debt off. We drove a beater used car, ate a lot of potatoes and never went anywhere or did anything. It was difficult, but I consoled myself by watching those balances continue to go down. Finally we were debt free except a car payment and mortgage.

Now, fool me once, shame on me... a few years later the cycle started back up. The more money I made the more she would spend, and she'd spend it on stupid stuff. We were constantly taking old crap to Goodwill or throwing things out. Heck we still do. She definitely has a problem.

I ultimately solved it by first ignoring $1,000 in my checking account. I just wrote it off as if it didn't exist as a cushion against her bouncing something. When I balanced HER checkbook, I'd write a balance into the register that was $1,000 less than what I knew was actually in the account. It immediately stopped her from bouncing checks anymore.

Later I gave her an American Express card and told her that's all she's allowed to use. The bonus is it earns points, and those points pay for hotel stays and flights for us. And of course you have to pay it off every month. Still, some months if I didn't watch she'd spend as much as I made that month, just on the AMEX. I regularly log into the website and look at her purchases and would question her on something about once a week. Not confrontationally, just in such a way she knew I was watching and she would have to justify the expense. Finally when she'd spent my complete income three months in a row (thankfully I had been able to amass a bit of savings,) I called AMEX and put a maximum on the card that she can spend in a monthly billing period. For no fee, Amex let me set a limit on any additional card on my account. After that, all charges are automatically rejected. It's a forced budget. In worst case scenarios if she'd maxed the monthly on the AMEX, once or twice she used her debit card for gas.

Now, that AMEX budget was just her discretionary spending, groceries and gasoline. Regular monthly bills are either paid by me online or billed to my AMEX which doesn't have her limit.

And trust me, it doesn't matter how much I make. Making more money didn't solve the problem. Controlling the spending did.

We had a LOT of conversations, many of which ended with her crying - not because I was yelling but out of her embarrassment. Yes, I lost my cool on more than one occasion over the years, particularly that first time, but it is what it is. She mentally just can't handle money and the only way I've been able to manage that is with external controls on her spending that even I can't circumvent. I can't make her AMEX work for her when it's overspent. I'll never forget the first time she went to buy gas and freaked out because her card was declined. I just smiled and told her she had a week before the monthly cycle ended and she could buy gas.

It helped when I realized I could have AMEX email me when she hit 80% of her budget. Every month I just forward that email to her. Over time it's gotten later and later in the billing cycle.

She still would sometimes use our oldest daughter's AMEX card on my account (which I've never had to put a limit on) when her's would hit the max, but after about 6 months or so that rarely happened any more. I still see her manipulating it sometimes by having me go grocery shopping with her and then expect me to put it on my AMEX instead of hers, when that budget is built into her card. Usually I allow it.

I still ran into issues with student loans. I don't know what exactly she did, but to send our oldest daughter to college as a vet tech, I ended up with 150k in student loans last year when I assumed it was closer to $40k. I think it's because she wasn't paying them back and the interest and penalties just kept piling on. One had $20k an interest rate of 22% when I found out about it. I should have been smart and not let her do any of that but I absolutely HATE paperwork. I had no idea we had all the loans we had - in fact I would have just paid cash for the school instead of getting a loan if I'd know it was going to be like that. After I got it under control, four months later I found out about yet another student loan for another $20k she'd "forgotten" about.

Thankfully I DO make more money today than I used to, in fact we're very well off compared to our expenses, and those loans aren't a concern as long as they are being paid - but my credit is of course crap now after the last three years of default that I wasn't even aware of. I've paid off our house, paid cash for two new vehicles last year, and have a nice egg in the bank. I have more cash than the current outstanding student loans but I'm trying to rebuild my credit by keeping those current for a while before paying them off. I never would have gotten us to this point without managing my wife's poor money skills.

So, back to my original point: I love my wife. We have an awesome marriage. She's wonderful with the kids and grandkids. We're very compatible sexually (i.e. both moderately kinky :grin2: ) If I'd taken the advice I've seen multiple times now on these forums to instantly divorce her over one shortcoming rather than working with her to mitigate the problems I'd really have done us both a disservice.

Yes, financial difficulties are never fun. Yes, I've had to put a lot of effort into managing her problem over the years, and when I didn't it bit me in the ass again. The benefits of that effort have been well worth it though.

If you're in a similar relationship, first manage the immediate problem. This might take years and a lot of sacrifice to dig out of. Thankfully most countries don't have debtor's prisons anymore. Read about finance. Have your spouse read about finance. Dave Ramsey has some awesome books to help you get your finances under control. Spend $30 (even if you have to sell something) to buy one of his books if you have to. Read it. Live it. Communicate with your spouse, this is absolutely key. Don't expect your spouse to change. Put systems in place that prevents BOTH of you from going over budget. Get yourself where you don't have to worry about paying your bills anymore because you're budgeting properly and you'll find it's like a breath of fresh air to your relationship.

-OldManMage
 

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I would also add.. not everyone makes as good of an income as OldManMage and that could easily destroy a couple trying to get on their feet.. Sounds he had the financial means to cover much of her excess...

I am a very frugal woman.. On the flip side...I couldn't be with a man who wasn't....I'd want to pulverize him ... if we had meager jobs and he carelessly wasted money while our dreams slowly died... there is no way I could stay with someone like this..

My husband has always made more $$ over me... but I have guarded it like a bull dog....I've handled all of our finances since we married... he likes to say of me.. "My wife can squeeze a dime out of a nickle"... I keep him abreast of everything.. any large purchases.. we talk and brain storm together...just seems we've always been on the same page in this area..

We're in our 50's... we've never paid interest on a credit card, or anything outside of our mortgage so far....we're just lower middle class wage earners...I can't see us ever driving a new vehicle....we both feel having money saved for a rainy day, or what I like to call a "torrential downpour" is so much more important... as difficult times, layoffs, etc can so easily befall any of us...
 

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I took an advice to divorce a spender. Still think it was a best decision I've ever made.
We live separately, but spend together every evening and live together every weekend. Nobody dates 3rd party. My spender-husband realized he would't get my pension and my house (both he never contributed) so he started saving on his own. I bet it's his first saving account ever. From the other side I don't care anymore how he spends his money, his debts are no longer my debts. He is a big boy, I am not his mother. Separation really reduced mutual resentment and complaints. We don't fight and love each other. Amen :)

I should add we saved lots of time and efforts, not mentioning money on visiting Counsellors, reading Ramsey books and making same mistakes over and over :)
 

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I see other posts about people hitting a wall with finances because their spouse or SO can't manage money. I registered specifically to share my experiences on this because maybe someone will find it helpful.

It drives me up the wall when people spew "Divorce him/her" right off the bat.

I've been married for 27 years now. As you might imagine, we've had a lot of time to get ourselves into difficulties. It started not long after we were married. I got a pretty good job in retail management and starting making more than we'd ever had. Then I started having to travel for work, billing expenses to my own credit card and getting reimbursed.

I was so busy with work that I didn't bother to manage the finances. I left it in her hands - she was a SAHM and seemed competent with balancing a checkbook. Little did I know.

It started by my travel reimbursements getting put into checking but never being used to pay off the credit card debt that the travel incurred. This snowballed pretty quickly and suddenly we had credit card debt equal to 2x my income and no home equity. I didn't learn just how bad it was until checks started bouncing and I found she'd overdrawn us by about $1500 at time that I only made around $3000 a month.

Really, all the same thoughts that everyone else shared went through my head. Despair, anger, shock. Thankfully I never thought divorce. She owned up to it and basically suggested I take over the finances. She never actually lied, but it was like a mental block - she'd "forget" a bill existed. She floated it for a while by getting a new card and transferring the balance over, but then she'd run up the original card. At the peak we had over 5 separate gold cards, all maxed out.

I got in touch with a credit counseling org - not one of those guys who loan you money and bulk pay everything, but one where they negotiated with everyone for lower interest rates and payments, then I paid them and they distributed it. The counseling service cost me $15 a month and basically saved my marriage. Maybe my life.

It took 6 years of using 2/3 of my income to just pay the debt off. We drove a beater used car, ate a lot of potatoes and never went anywhere or did anything. It was difficult, but I consoled myself by watching those balances continue to go down. Finally we were debt free except a car payment and mortgage.

Now, fool me once, shame on me... a few years later the cycle started back up. The more money I made the more she would spend, and she'd spend it on stupid stuff. We were constantly taking old crap to Goodwill or throwing things out. Heck we still do. She definitely has a problem.

I ultimately solved it by first ignoring $1,000 in my checking account. I just wrote it off as if it didn't exist as a cushion against her bouncing something. When I balanced HER checkbook, I'd write a balance into the register that was $1,000 less than what I knew was actually in the account. It immediately stopped her from bouncing checks anymore.

Later I gave her an American Express card and told her that's all she's allowed to use. The bonus is it earns points, and those points pay for hotel stays and flights for us. And of course you have to pay it off every month. Still, some months if I didn't watch she'd spend as much as I made that month, just on the AMEX. I regularly log into the website and look at her purchases and would question her on something about once a week. Not confrontationally, just in such a way she knew I was watching and she would have to justify the expense. Finally when she'd spent my complete income three months in a row (thankfully I had been able to amass a bit of savings,) I called AMEX and put a maximum on the card that she can spend in a monthly billing period. For no fee, Amex let me set a limit on any additional card on my account. After that, all charges are automatically rejected. It's a forced budget. In worst case scenarios if she'd maxed the monthly on the AMEX, once or twice she used her debit card for gas.

Now, that AMEX budget was just her discretionary spending, groceries and gasoline. Regular monthly bills are either paid by me online or billed to my AMEX which doesn't have her limit.

And trust me, it doesn't matter how much I make. Making more money didn't solve the problem. Controlling the spending did.

We had a LOT of conversations, many of which ended with her crying - not because I was yelling but out of her embarrassment. Yes, I lost my cool on more than one occasion over the years, particularly that first time, but it is what it is. She mentally just can't handle money and the only way I've been able to manage that is with external controls on her spending that even I can't circumvent. I can't make her AMEX work for her when it's overspent. I'll never forget the first time she went to buy gas and freaked out because her card was declined. I just smiled and told her she had a week before the monthly cycle ended and she could buy gas.

It helped when I realized I could have AMEX email me when she hit 80% of her budget. Every month I just forward that email to her. Over time it's gotten later and later in the billing cycle.

She still would sometimes use our oldest daughter's AMEX card on my account (which I've never had to put a limit on) when her's would hit the max, but after about 6 months or so that rarely happened any more. I still see her manipulating it sometimes by having me go grocery shopping with her and then expect me to put it on my AMEX instead of hers, when that budget is built into her card. Usually I allow it.

I still ran into issues with student loans. I don't know what exactly she did, but to send our oldest daughter to college as a vet tech, I ended up with 150k in student loans last year when I assumed it was closer to $40k. I think it's because she wasn't paying them back and the interest and penalties just kept piling on. One had $20k an interest rate of 22% when I found out about it. I should have been smart and not let her do any of that but I absolutely HATE paperwork. I had no idea we had all the loans we had - in fact I would have just paid cash for the school instead of getting a loan if I'd know it was going to be like that. After I got it under control, four months later I found out about yet another student loan for another $20k she'd "forgotten" about.

Thankfully I DO make more money today than I used to, in fact we're very well off compared to our expenses, and those loans aren't a concern as long as they are being paid - but my credit is of course crap now after the last three years of default that I wasn't even aware of. I've paid off our house, paid cash for two new vehicles last year, and have a nice egg in the bank. I have more cash than the current outstanding student loans but I'm trying to rebuild my credit by keeping those current for a while before paying them off. I never would have gotten us to this point without managing my wife's poor money skills.

So, back to my original point: I love my wife. We have an awesome marriage. She's wonderful with the kids and grandkids. We're very compatible sexually (i.e. both moderately kinky :grin2: ) If I'd taken the advice I've seen multiple times now on these forums to instantly divorce her over one shortcoming rather than working with her to mitigate the problems I'd really have done us both a disservice.

Yes, financial difficulties are never fun. Yes, I've had to put a lot of effort into managing her problem over the years, and when I didn't it bit me in the ass again. The benefits of that effort have been well worth it though.

If you're in a similar relationship, first manage the immediate problem. This might take years and a lot of sacrifice to dig out of. Thankfully most countries don't have debtor's prisons anymore. Read about finance. Have your spouse read about finance. Dave Ramsey has some awesome books to help you get your finances under control. Spend $30 (even if you have to sell something) to buy one of his books if you have to. Read it. Live it. Communicate with your spouse, this is absolutely key. Don't expect your spouse to change. Put systems in place that prevents BOTH of you from going over budget. Get yourself where you don't have to worry about paying your bills anymore because you're budgeting properly and you'll find it's like a breath of fresh air to your relationship.

-OldManMage
Whether it can be managed, very much depends on the disconnect from reality.

I agree that we should not jump to divorce straight away.

To give your wife credit (excuse the pun), a $1000 cushion was enough for her not to bounce cheques. One issue I have women struggle with is the idea that if there is $100, that you can buy the $99 thing, the $95 thing, and the $98. But, it is not possible to buy all three with the same $100. When the money is not there, she will assume that the man has spent all the money.

This is where split accounts can be very useful.

Ultimately, there is a breaking point. If bankruptcy is no acceptable, then control over the finances are. In such a situation, they may post on TAM about how their husband spends all their money and finacially abuses them.

(I write male and female, only as I am a man. I am sure there are responsible women and feckless men).
 

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I have somewhat low tolerance for people that can't control their spending, like seriously you can't afford it don't buy it...its not brain surgery.

Finances are huge and the #1 reason for divorce, and if your spouse has bad credit it reflects on you.
 

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I have somewhat low tolerance for people that can't control their spending, like seriously you can't afford it don't buy it...its not brain surgery.

Finances are huge and the #1 reason for divorce, and if your spouse has bad credit it reflects on you.
However, I hate cheapness, and sometimes H can be cheap, we have excellent savings, low debt (mortgage that is it).....but everything comes down to cost, even if we can afford it, he wants to get the cheapest.

We were looking at new washer and dryer set last weekend and I have money set aside for this from a work bonus a couple of months ago, and even with that..he was like do you really want to spend that much when we kind of tentatively picked out a set that cost less than what I had set aside. Then what happens with me I noticed I start getting anxious and worried about money...and it is like wtf...we have the moneyyet he is so scared of spending anything because we might endup like his momand dad who had nothing...so all these years his money worry affects me even when we are absolutely fine and I start getting stressed.

I noticed that anything we look at whether it be a vehicle, appliances, etc. he always gravitates to the cheapest ones.
 
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