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Blaise New Reader
4/27/17 6:54 a.m.

This goes not just for married folk but the rest of us too.

I see a lot of comments and threads both here and in real life about how 'I would totally buy that but the wife says no' or something to the same extent.

So, two part question:

1) Does your significant other really control/limit your spending on toys/projects? 2) If not, how do you control/limit yourself?

I guess I'll go first.

I've dated enough girls who've said things like 'maybe you shouldn't own motorcycles' to have limited myself to only those who realize this is my passion. So item 1 doesn't apply. Hell, current gf convinced me to go drive an ND a few weeks ago (which then lead to driving a Cayman GTS, which is becoming a dangerous recurring thought).

Part 2 however, is strictly self-controlled. I guess its up to you guys to judge whether I'm nuts.

1) Own things with no depreciation: I almost never lose money in this department. I buy vehicles that are either desirable enough to hold value, or so cheap that there's no way it can drop.

2) Repairs/Maintenance/tires don't count: I don't worry about this. New clutch? Whatever. Fluids, repairs? Whatever. I spin my own wrenches. Keep it running and it'll pay you back. I keep detailed excel sheets on everything I own.

3) Cash only. Only Cash. No payments. This self explanatory. Don't buy it if you can't afford it.

4) Upgrades, track days, new toys are ONLY with 'extra' money.

Item 1 and 2 keep me at such low monthly cost to have 3-5 (sometimes 7!) vehicles that I'm almost always below what the 'normal' person spends on their payment to own a miata or 2, a truck, a normal car, and some bikes.

3 is self explanatory. I have some self control.

4 is a bit different than what most car guys do. I basically set myself a very strict monthly budget which covers upkeep and insurance, fees, etc. Beyond that, if I want to buy more toys or upgrade them, I only do so if I've worked overtime, 2nd job, flipped cars, etc. This isn't actually that difficult to control thanks to having practically nothing left over after rent/utlities/insurance/food/savings.

This should be a fun read....

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/27/17 7:05 a.m.

1 - No, not a chance. The last couple of cars I bought, she didn't even know about until they showed up in the yard.

2 - Yes. I buy cheap stuff and run it into the ground.

3 - I only finance houses. Everything else is cash, up front.

4 - Nothing changes the house budget. But, I live well within my means and truly love playing with cheap stuff, so cash for a fun project is usually available.

mazdeuce UltimaDork
4/27/17 7:05 a.m.

Gold medal quality mental gymnastics complete with spreadsheets and graphs explaining how my purchases and activities will actually end up as a positive for the family as a whole.
She keeps falling for it, which either means she sucks at math, or just truly loves me.

z31maniac MegaDork
4/27/17 7:12 a.m.

When I was still married, we split all housing/food/utilities/going out/vacations down the middle.

"Are you putting a decent amount in savings and retirement every month?"


"I don't care how you choose to spend your leftovers."

That's basically how we both treated it. If she had any say, I wouldn't have been able to drop $6k in suspension/brakes on my track car. :)

If I had any say, she wouldn't have had 80-90 pairs of shoes and the entire master bedroom closet while all my stuff was in another bedroom closet.

wae Dork
4/27/17 7:13 a.m.

For my wife and I, we set our budget and stick to it. Part of that budget is set aside for each of us for our individual hobbies and there's no consultation required to blow that money on whatever. Beyond that, if it's something that doesn't really fit in that constraint, we'll just sit down and figure out if it's something that we can afford and if it's something that we're both okay with. Sometimes, my wife is the biggest enabler and sometimes she's saving me from myself - I like that she's not emotionally involved and can see the stupid in what I'm trying to do!

Occasionally, I'll be able to fund projects with spiff payments from work. That's how I funded most of my big upgrades to the rallyX car, but the next one is scheduled to be spent on some upgrades around the house. I'm very much in agreement with the "cash only" mantra for toys.

To answer the question, I wouldn't say that my wife limits or controls my spending on toys, but our budget and the lifestyle that we've decided to live sets the parameters within which toy spending has to be managed. It's a team effort with pretty much shared everything.

Brian MegaDork
4/27/17 7:20 a.m.

Any discretionary spending comes down to "Can you afford it? Do we have room?" Answer yes to both and permission is implied. Like I almost bought a motorcycle last week, but the numbers didn't add up for me. Wife hates bikes but was ok if I had gotten it.

moxnix HalfDork
4/27/17 7:41 a.m.

Yes my wife controls my spending on hobbies.

Her : We really should buy X for the race car.....
Me : Ok.

Part 2. Race cars are cash only. I try to buy them cheap enough that I could part them out for more then the purchase price if I needed to. I do my own Maintenance and don't always keep good records but whatever the cars need they get eventually.

maj75 Reader
4/27/17 7:43 a.m.

I have my annual car budget and stick to it, however when I blew up the motor in my C5 my wife transferred money into my toy account. She's the best!

It was the unexpected expenses that drove her crazy. With the separate car budget, that doesn't happen.

Sky_Render SuperDork
4/27/17 7:49 a.m.

My first wife said it was her or the Mustang.

I still have the Mustang.

But here's what I've found with my current wife:

  1. Separate bank accounts. As long as the bills get paid, I don't give a crap what SWMBO spends her money on, and she (ostensibly) doesn't care what I spend mine on. But at the same time, if I came home $20,000 poorer with a built supercharged motor and full APR widebody kit, I'm pretty sure she'd be a bit pissed off.

  2. I had my cars before I met her. She knows cars are my passion and has said numerous times she'd never make me get rid of "my car."

Note that we don't have kids yet. I have a feeling this will change a bit if/when we have an expensive little brat.

STM317 Dork
4/27/17 7:57 a.m.
wae wrote: To answer the question, I wouldn't say that my wife limits or controls my spending on toys, but our budget and the lifestyle that we've decided to live sets the parameters within which toy spending has to be managed. It's a team effort with pretty much shared everything.

This sums it up better than I could've.

patgizz UltimaDork
4/27/17 8:00 a.m.

Nobody controls the car spending except me, except when we're at summit racing and my wife decides she wants a new helmet so she can race too, then i must buy that for her. We had a very brief conversation before we got married, along the lines of "never tell me it's you or the car." I acknowledge I have a problem and do my best to keep it from spilling into the yard.

I fail at that sometimes, I bought a stock car and parked it next to the swingset and claimed it was a jungle gym for the kids.

I tend to fund all fun vehicle spending by selling parts. Need engine? Buy something running with that engine and part the rest. My $2015 and $2016 engines were free to me doing it this way. I rarely lose money on a vehicle or parts deal because i buy so low there is very little chance for values to drop. I also like to trade and it's almost always in my favor. I'm not afraid to sit on something if i think it might be worth more later and will ditch things if it looks like they're trending downward. I had a $50 new northstar cadillac throttle body on the shelf for 10 years that people wouldn't pay me $30 for and when I looked it up a couple weeks ago they were selling for $239. I ebayed it and it was sold within a couple days. I've got some unobtanium parts that i am sitting on because i know if I need quick car funds that stuff could be listed and sold almost immediately.

I do finance my DD work truck as that is where my $ is made. That also gets paid for by money I make working and is a business tax write off. Over the payment span of the truck it'll have been paid for 3x over and I'll be left with a $20k asset and the choice to keep driving it or buy another.

dropstep Dork
4/27/17 8:02 a.m.

As long as the bills are paid and were not eating top ramen daily she doesnt care.

The only debt we currently carry is our house payment, she knew what she was getting into when she married me. My friends are still amazed she doesnt complain. We spent 2hours yesterday digging around in used tires at my friends tire shop.

I have my wagons budget all written down and i keep receipts. She knows whats invested in it and doesnt care.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/27/17 8:11 a.m.

Whatever she wanted, she bought with minimal consideration to my opinion. Whatever I wanted, "why the berk are you wasting your money on THAT???"

It's one reason why I'm now single.

Blaise New Reader
4/27/17 8:12 a.m.
Sky_Render wrote: My first wife said it was her or the Mustang. I still have the Mustang.

Yeah, that's how it was with several girlfriends. "You shouldn't ride motorcycles, they're dangerous." Still got bikes... they were here before you and they'll be there after you.

Current gf gets turned on when I smell like I've been wrenching. If she sees me chop wood, game over. I'm a lucky guy.

Ian F wrote: Whatever she wanted, she bought with minimal consideration to my opinion. Whatever I wanted, "why the berk are you wasting your money on THAT???" It's one reason why I'm now single.

I really think having an equal attitude (regardless of what that is) keeps things level. I have friends who make payments and are generally irresponsible with money but are super happy in their relationships. They both do it, neither person hates the other for their faults.

ProDarwin PowerDork
4/27/17 8:15 a.m.

She doesn't control my spending, I do. My main limitation is anything I don't spend on cars I can sink into investments instead. I put a lot into investments.

Single or not, if the total amount I spent on car(s) yearly approached 5% of my salary, I would have a major problem on my hands.

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
4/27/17 8:31 a.m.

We each have a separate budget for our respective hobbies. I would never have considered marrying (or even dating) anyone who didn't understand why I mess with cars. She still thinks some (ok, most) of the stuff I play with is junk but she knows I like my junk so it works.

As far as time goes we take turns. I go to Disney World with her and she hangs out at Chump races with me.

Mitchell UberDork
4/27/17 8:39 a.m.

We agree on a shared expense budget and contribute to a shared account proportionally to our net incomes (incentivizing both of us to contribute to retirement etc..). This prevents lopsided income from affecting the other's quality of life. Neither of us question expenses out of our personal accounts.

Fitzauto Dork
4/27/17 8:46 a.m.

We split everything. She mostly buys food and I mostly buy the racecar parts for both of us. Works out pretty well. I get fed and she gets a fast car

MulletTruck Reader
4/27/17 8:51 a.m.

I have no S.O. and not really looking for one.

If the Drs are right I have a shelf life of 6-8 years so I work my 3 jobs, hustle animal training. If Im awake I am trying to figure out how to make an extra buck.

I have trimmed my life down to almost nothing, Mobile at a moments notice.

My few bills and room rent are first and formost, Then its my friends bills, hes dying from pancreatic cancer, Drs told him 6 months tops...2.5 years ago!

Anything left over is looked at and I have to figure if I need parts or tools.

SVreX MegaDork
4/27/17 8:53 a.m.

A girlfriend would have no say whatsoever. My wife is a co-owner in everything I own, so she has a right to know.

My deal with my wife is that I have a car fund. It sits in an envelope, and I spend it as I choose. NOTHING comes out of our personal finances to put in that envelope. If I run out of money, I sell something.

My car fund is self-perpetuating. I always have something laying around I can sell. This also self-limits the amount of crap I can accumulate.

Ashyukun SuperDork
4/27/17 9:04 a.m.

1) Yes and no. The primary control (or limit, there's no real control to it...) is that we're only allowed to have 4 cars (can't say 'vehicles' because the scooter doesn't count, and it was absolutely necessary when we got it) at any given time. I bristle about this on occasion, but on the whole it's a good limit to have- we don't have space for much more than that without turning the back yard into a car lot, and it keeps me focused on the projects I already have vs. just always picking up more of them. As far as the finances go? She really doesn't exert any control over what I spent on them. However...

2) I do a pretty good job of keeping the spending under control myself- both because I tend to buy things that are dirt cheap to start and because I'm relatively cautious with our finances. I'm never going to buy something that will put us into any financial hurt (intentionally), and the last vehicle I bought that I had to make any kind of payments on was the DMC-12 getting close to a decade ago- and those payments were made to my (now late) grandparents who loaned me the extra money to be able to afford it.

For the most part, she doesn't worry about what I spend on my hobby as long as everything else is running smoothly, all the bills are getting paid, and we're well set for any emergencies that come up (like my Achille's Tendon rupture last year). If I were to lose my job or move to one that paid solidly less, I'd have to re-think my spending on things, but as it is we're in a good enough place financially that I don't have to worry about it as long as I'm not spending an excessive amount.

Potential car purchases are discussed with her, just because I value her input and thoughts on things and it generally helps keep me from making rash and ill-thought-out purchases.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
4/27/17 9:10 a.m.

I'm the responsible one. My wife is more likely to suggest a crazy impulsive automotive purchase than I am. When that happens, we buy it, because I can't say no to her.

KyAllroad PowerDork
4/27/17 9:11 a.m.

Since I pay the vast majority of the money spent on vehicles in our house, decide what we buy, and do 100% of the maintenance: Tiger Mom defers to my judgment on things automotive. We split household bills pretty evenly and the bills are all paid on time so that aspect is good.

She has a number of broke-ass friends who struggle to keep their cars on the road and they often come to me for basic wrenching and are pleased to pay $50 an hour to get their brakes done, this money goes to the car fund. Generally I'm about as frugal as it gets, the CSPish Miata couldn't be built to go any faster for much less.

mtn MegaDork
4/27/17 9:11 a.m.

I "control" our budget, in that I'm the one who physically pays the bills and manages our investments. I'm also very frugal (although I need to get my lunch spending habit back in control).

She tells me I need to do things. I play with spreadsheets to find ways to make them happen. So because of her, I got to go to the World Series, and I'm going to be getting a Miata. Never would have happened if she didn't push me towards it.

Cotton UberDork
4/27/17 9:24 a.m.

We both work and have separate accounts and I fund my addiction...errrr I mean hobby. There are many times I call when I get home with a new purchase and say 'hey, come look at this'. She's cool with it. We have fun with the cars.

Sometimes I'll do partial financing on the big stuff. I used to be cash only, but with some real large purchases I'd rather finance a portion at a low rate while keeping more cash on hand.

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