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Dealing with the bills

(73 Posts)
NanKate Tue 06-Mar-18 07:53:23

Throughout our 46 year marriage my DH has dealt with the bills, negotiated the price for insurance for all sorts of things.

If DH goes first I would be totally lost. He offers to show me but he approaches things in a totally different way to me, in almost military style. He uses charts, estimates future bills, compares prices with past years. I just couldn’t be bothered with all that faff even though he has cleverly saved us money over the years.

My DS says he would put everything on standing orders for me but I still worry.

Do you deal with the finances ?

Nannarose Tue 06-Mar-18 07:59:49

Simply get a list of the bills, when they are due, and the usual approximate amount.
Ask your OH to ensure that some money is available in an 'instant' savings account. This pays less interest, but is a good idea for emergencies (you can get ones that pay better interest if you limit the number of withdrawals)
Ensure that you have the details for these accounts.

That means that you can immediately deal with bills (if need be, ring the helplines) and if there is a cash flow problem you can transfer the money immediately from the 'instant savings'.

Pittcity Tue 06-Mar-18 08:01:12

I have always dealt with our finances and feel that DH would be in the same boat as you Nankate
All of our regular bills are Direct debit so they will still be paid and everything else is online.
If your DH has meticulous records then it shouldn't be too hard to keep on top of things in your own way.

PamelaJ1 Tue 06-Mar-18 08:02:52

I deal with ours. It’s not that hard.
If you have a list of regular payments nd most of them are on s/o or did you will have time to get into it.
I’ve helped friends get insurance quotes for cars and house,. Have you children or friend that can help you?
I think that all the adverts and advice that appears in the media makes it seem more difficult. It makes me feel I should be able to do better.

sodapop Tue 06-Mar-18 08:11:07

Yes Nankate you can do things your own way if the need arises, you don't need to follow what your husband does. Make sure you know where all the paperwork or online information is and which utilities etc you use. I hope you don't have to worry about this for a long time but you should familiarise yourself with the details.

Alygran Tue 06-Mar-18 08:20:14

DH died last year and he managed all our finances. I knew everything went straight through the bank so there were no immediate issues. My advice would be to make sure you are set up for online banking for joint accounts and know who all your utility and insurance providers are and when bills are due. If any bills come on line make sure you have DH’s password for email and accounts.
I decided not to change any suppliers for now. Too much else to cope with.

Greyduster Tue 06-Mar-18 09:19:16

DH deals with ours - I’d lose the will to live if I had to trawl all the comparison sites he looks at, but he does save us money - but I do know how it all works, so could probably take up the reins. If I lost my way I would call on one of the children to put me back on track!

Oopsadaisy12 Tue 06-Mar-18 09:24:30

It might be an idea to get all of your bills put into your joint names, we have a couple of insurances in DHs name and even when he was in hospital they refused to speak to me.
Although we have spoken to his Credit Card providers and they have made a note that they can speak to me, if necessary, but DH had to organise that too.

Teetime Tue 06-Mar-18 09:25:59

Yes I am the Director of Finance here. I use internet banking which I check daily, everything is paid by standing order/direct debit monthly and a housekeeping, savings and investments Excel spreadsheet. I give the CEO a monthly position statement and together we decide on spending or otherwise.
In my career I met many widows who had never had control of the finances and didn't know how to pay bills and were distraught and in a muddle so i knew that was never going to be me. Same goes for driving. I know a number of women who wont drive long distances or at night as their husband always used to do it so now they have lost that independence so I make sure I do some motorway driving now and then to keep my hand in.

Maggiemaybe Tue 06-Mar-18 09:31:45

I'm our finance manager. Apart from one credit card payment it's all done directly from the bank and on my very detailed spreadsheet (and I do love a spreadsheet blush). I've shown it to DH, but his eyes glaze over at the very thought of anything financial. Two of the three AC take after me in that respect though, so I'm sure they'll sort him out when I fall under that bus.

MamaCaz Tue 06-Mar-18 09:37:17

I echo what Alygran said. Make sure now that all utility accounts and household insurances are in joint names. This could save one of you (or your son) a lot of unwelcome problems when the inevitable eventually happens.
I say this as someone who has spent the last two months trying to change my mum's energy account into her name following my dad's death last September. I have gone through two months of unbelievable frustration at the hands of a totally incompetent supplier and am not convinced yet that it is all sorted!

grannyactivist Tue 06-Mar-18 09:46:06

The Wonderful Man deals with all the household bills from an account that some years ago he put into our joint names. I have never looked at it or used my debit card for that account, but it means that if something were to happen to him I would have immediate access. One of our sons is an accountant and I would seek his advice if necessary.

lemongrove Tue 06-Mar-18 10:05:16

A lot of husbands seem to like control of the finances Nan
But having met you, am sure you are capable of taking care of things You may do things in a different way, but that’s fine.It’s not rocket science, you have to have a filing system though ( either a real one or a virtual one.) We have a filing cabinet in the study with all we need to know well documented.We have both personal accounts and a joint one as well.
DH likes to do the financial stuff but I could do it if I had to.
You do need to be able to ‘get at’ cash, so your own account
Or a joint one is neccessary ( I know somebody who has no access to any account!) your own credit and debit cards too.

lemongrove Tue 06-Mar-18 10:06:33

Most things are taken care of by direct debit anyway.

Oopsadaisy12 Tue 06-Mar-18 11:35:39

I’m visiting a close friend tomorrow, I think that she is going to tell me that her DH has Dementia as he has just finished having tests. I hope that they organised the POAs as they have a joint bank account and the bank will freeze the account if one of the named people has dementia. At the moment he is refusing to allow her to pay any bills, so the bank will soon have to be told.

ninathenana Tue 06-Mar-18 12:24:57

It's H that wouldn't have a clue, I even arranged our first mortgage 43 yrs ago. He hates using the phone, I even have to make his doctors appointments.
He wouldn't know what standing orders we have or how much is in the savings account. I shop around for insurance quotes on line. H can just about access BBC news on his Kindle.
It would be down to DD if I wasn't here.

leeds22 Tue 06-Mar-18 12:29:39

I do all our finances and occasionally send DH the spreadsheet with details of our ISAs, etc. Not sure if he would shop around for better rates, insurance and utilities deals if I wasn't around.
We have friends where the man keeps the finance details very much to themselves and are amazed my DH lets me manage our finances.

hereshoping Tue 06-Mar-18 12:33:26

I keep a track of the money in our house.
As my husband's an accountant , I assumed that he would deal with the money when we got married. Until the final demands started coming through, and he insisted that you don't pay them until the final final demand.
I couldn't live like that so I took over.
I do worry about getting the electrics back on when they go out (very sensitive fuses) and getting myself into town when shopping needs doing and the aches and pains are bad.

Musicelf Tue 06-Mar-18 12:33:47

After my first husband left me back in the 80s, I had to learn quickly. Since then I've dealt with all the bills and financial stuff, so I'm well used to it now. My husband just tells me to ask for any extra money if I need it (bless him!)

Theoddbird Tue 06-Mar-18 12:39:16

I have never understood why the man deals with the finances. My sister has always done theirs and we my sister in law died last year my brother told me he hadn't a clue. When I was married I tended to do it. Anyway the best advice I can give is don't even try to do things the way your husband does. Work out a way of doing things that you are comfortable with. You will then understand what is going on as you set the plan out for yourself. Do familiarise yourself with things quietly on your own without your husband looking over your shoulder. I am sure you still have many happy years ahead together x

Coco51 Tue 06-Mar-18 12:40:31

My exDH used to do it all - he was a bank manager (the old fashioned type). When we divorced I took over everything and have since presided over buying a car, a house, sold and bought another house. I can’t pretend it wasn’t scary with so much money at stake but I got through. I figured that if exDH could do it so could I, and I’m sure you can too.

My mother did not even try to understand her finances after Dad died because she just wanted someone else to do it for her. We couldn’t always step up immediately when she wanted things and she determinedly made herself helpless with bad decisions like paying for the window cleaner to decorate for her! The emotional blackmail was terrible.

Tessa101 Tue 06-Mar-18 12:43:04

I’ve always done finances even tho I’m single now. Everything comes out of bank via direct debit same day of every month. If anything changes service providers email or write first to inform you. My piece of advise would be to get phone numbers for each and every bill payer you have,so you can contact them. As I find phone numbers are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

LondonMzFitz Tue 06-Mar-18 12:43:21

My (now separated, over 6 years!) husband handled all the finances, we had a joint account for bills that both our salaries went into (I always had earned more than him) and then single accounts for our own expenditure, mine would be household shopping and petrol, his was petrol. After my Mum died (10 years ago)and left me some money I was told in an offhand way that we were in debt to the tune of thousands - double digits – he’d bought a motorbike, a second car, goodness knows what else - I just thought there was money in the account! Naïve, trusting, and bloody stupid of me. Four years after that and still somehow overspending he’d arranged a joint bank loan to pay his credit card off. Yes, I’d counter signed it – no idea he was going to leave me literally within weeks! And he wonders why I couldn’t speak to him for several years after the split – it was 5 years jointly paying off his blooming debt!

Now, it’s as easy as pie. I have direct debits for the major expenses, I keep an eye on energy bills and I do review them annually – Martins Moneysaving Expert website is a gem for comparison sites! Keep an eye on dates for the insurances and shop around. Martins website has some great tips, from changing my job title from Office Manager to Administrator can knock off money on car insurance. Being in control is just the best feeling in the world!

margrete Tue 06-Mar-18 12:51:31

Ours runs like clockwork, no one has to do anything. It's all done electronically. We have a joint account which is used to pay all regular bills, we each contribute the same amount every month. DH was a bit resistant to the idea of the joint account - he'd had bad experiences in a previous marriage. I persuaded him to do it, many years ago now, since I encountered a woman who was in that situation being described - late husband had done it all and she had no clue as to what was due, how to pay the utility bills etc. Poor woman was distraught.

I've been in hospital recovering from surgery and have heard people around me stressing about 'not being able to get out to get their pensions and pay their bills'. I lay back and just recovered, no other worries.

There are people, like Coco51's mum, who are quite happy to sit back and let someone else take the responsibility for them. When they're widowed they think daughter or son should do it all. I also met a woman whose husband was a retired bank manager. A very intelligent, capable woman, but she used to be given 'housekeeping' every week! It's like a child being given pocket money.

Kim19 Tue 06-Mar-18 12:55:43

It's amazing what 'needs must' achieves. I have always been the financial manager but I lost an invaluable handyman. I am so proud of the little technical and larger decorating 'talents' I have achieved over the years since. My learning was finance driven. The crazy prices for call outs even before a job was started was an eye-opener to me and forced me into a learning curve which, though sometimes scary, I've managed. I won't say I've always enjoyed at the time but the satisfaction of success is beyond belief. I don't indulge in anything even remotely dangerous. No sirree.