How To Shed 250 LBS A Day

 I’m not a whiz with money or anything. Believe me, there’s been plenty of times, past and present, when I had no money to put in the bank. I’m no stranger to shut-off notices and have had to choose which bill to pay according to which creditor was more notorious for really shutting off service and not just sending a threatening letter. When we were first married, I just assumed, like an ass, that DS would take care of the bills like dad did. We would put our paychecks together to barely come up with rent but somehow we saved our money and bought a house. We paid our mortgage one month in advance so if anything should come up, we wouldn’t have to worry about losing the house. We did pretty good considering we were living from paycheck to paycheck. Since I was newly married and had glitter in my eyes I didn’t notice important things like DS not knowing I had been putting money away in the bank for a rainy day. It was normal for me to assume the money left after paying bills was put in the bank and to my surprise it was normal for him not to know we had money leftover. Had I known what was to come I would have never bothered with sharing my knowledge but I knew he had a different childhood and I loved him so I shared my knowledge on things like how to balance a checkbook.

 Let’s see… we have been married almost 20 years and there are 12 months in a year. 20X12=240. I have shown DS how to balance a checkbook 240 times. I thought the number would be much larger but it’s only been 240 times. Only??? For crying-out-loud, who the hell needs to be shown something 240 times and still not get it? Balancing a checkbook isn’t even that complicated. Do you know how many times we have gone over the budget? Twice. The first time I explained to him in detail how we could save a certain amount of money a year if we followed a budget. And the second time I explained what a budget was. I know that’s backwards but DS has a habit of acting like he knows and understands what’s being said and nods and agrees in all the right places but then I’ll ask him a question to check his understanding and he’ll say something like, “Yeah, I get it. The last paychecks of the year are all extra money that we can put in the bank.” It’s really hard not to clobber him and call him stupid when he says things like that but I said, “No, budgets don’t work like that.” and explained what a budget was. He didn’t get it and still doesn’t. We have had a budget since we were newlyweds. I prepare it every year and he has yet to follow it. He has a half of brain and unfortunately he uses his half a brain to decide that he can think for himself the other half is the one that executes his decision. For example:

DS has a habit of going to the local supermarket everyday. It is really a sore spot in our marriage because we can’t afford for him to go there daily. We have a budget and we need to follow that budget or we get things shut-off. That doesn’t stop him though.

I have tried everything to get him to understand how this effects our budget. I even tallied everything he spent in one month to show him what he spends. His response? “Wow, I really didn’t know I spent that much. What did I get?”

“Nothing. You got nothing. Anything you saw that looked interesting or pretty or whatever your reasoning is, you put it in the cart and now it is lost somewhere in the garage sale pile.”

I’m a fool and because I have aha moments, I figure he does too. I thought this was his aha moment and that his spending habits at the supermarket was a thing of the past. Then the next day came and DS came back from the store with more bags of nothing.

Through the years I have just learned to budget around it. I had to get sneaky a few times and when I knew we were going to be cutting it close to make the bills, I would take money out of the bank and let his card get turned down. DS had the nerve to complain about my budget those few times and never knew that I saved him from much more embarrassing things like having the water turned off or his precious newspaper delivery canceled. He doesn’t have a clue how much money we have and don’t have. He is oblivious to all things financial. He looks at the ATM receipt to check the balance. There is nothing I can do to get him to understand that it’s not our true balance and I have given up on that as well.

DS does not have a problem with picking things up for me at the supermarket which is nice. He’s not selfish in his fetish and I take him with me when I grocery shop. Sometimes the whole family goes. This is really a treat for DS. He likes getting the okay to go to the supermarket and especially likes it when the family shops together. His excitement isn’t because we’re all together though, his excitement is because we can tell him where things are located. You’d think that with as many times as he goes to that store he would know where things are located and at the very least a general understanding of the stores layout. But when we’re there together I am consistently the person giving directions. Like when I am in the grocery department and have had enough of him throwing things we don’t need into the cart and me taking them out when he isn’t looking, I will assign a task. “Could you go get some toothpaste,” which is located across the store in the Health and Beauty Department far enough away for me to be able to finish the shopping. The usual questions follow: “Where is the toothpaste and what kind do you want me to get?” As annoying as it is because this is not his first assigned Toothpaste Task and we have used the same toothpaste everyday for the last 20 years, I give the directions to where the toothpaste is located and give a complete description of the toothpaste we use. I always have the same hopeful feeling that he will get lost and not come back. He ends up eventually finding me and sometimes he even has the right toothpaste with him.

I suppose my mom is right and it could be worse. DS could have a much worse fetish or be out doing something else. So for the most part, I put up with his supermarket jaunts. It’s the lack of discipline I have a real problem with. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy and there’s no real reason to go everyday. It’s not like this supermarket has anything super interesting going on. It’s a supermarket. A grocery store with a fancy name. He’s really sickening with all the excuses he makes to go… “I forgot something yesterday.” or “ I need to go to the store to get a light bulb?”

“What’s wrong with the boxes of light bulbs above the washing machine?” I ask.

“Oh, I didn’t know we had any.” Then he’s off to think of another excuse.

He could at least come up with something a little imaginative.

“The car was on auto-pilot.” or “I started going into convulsions and blacked out. Next thing I knew, I was at the checkout.” “Today, it took a little longer dropping the kids off at school because I was car-jacked and forced to go to the store.” Something. Anything.

A little change of pace like being addicted to a different store for awhile would be okay. The Dollar Store would be perfect.

All my little efforts to save us from his needless spending habit where sabotached last year when that supermarket chain opened a store three blocks away from our house. What are the odds? Over the years I have learned to look forward to him being gone for awhile. It’s a nice time for the kids and I to laugh and bond. We sit around and play a guessing game about what DS will bring back from the store but mostly we just laugh because he’s gone. Now that the store was opening so close to home, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want him here but we would never survive financially. That’s when it happened. I had an aha moment. It was such a simple and brilliant plan, I could kick myself for not doing this all along. I’ll send him with a list. A list of things we really need. I’m ingenious. We need grocery’s anyway so now each day, I send him to the store with a grocery list. Sunday nights I sit down and make the grocery list for the week and split it up for each day of the coming week By the end of the week, the grocery shopping is complete and we have spent money within our budget and he has something to do while at the supermarket. Win win. The best part of my plan is that I control how long he’s gone. If I don’t want him to come home too soon, I list a few hard to find items. If I want him to come right back, I list very few, easy to find items. I have not had a reason yet for him to come back home soon but it’s nice to know it’s there for a rainy day. I have concocted several false lists just to get him out of my hair and he calls between 5-12 times to ask me where things are but all in all this plan works great.

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