A silly little trick I started doing to make expenses feel better… ;)

So week one in our new house was pretty fantastic.

Our stuff made it all in one piece, our days were filled with sun and exploration, we joined our community pool for 1/2 off the price (woo!), and at one point my wife stopped me to say just how happy she was to finally have a place all to ourselves where we can live peacefully for years to come… It was great!

And then week #2 hit.

Or what I like to call – “SEE!!! THIS IS WHY I DIDN’T WANT TO BUY A HOUSE!!!” ;)

I bet you know what’s coming next, but basically a $hit ton of things broke all within 48 hours of each other and by the end of it we were out almost $1,600. Or pretty much an entire mortgage payment flushed down the drain just like that!

First – a toilet of ours was leaking and couldn’t be fixed so it had to be replaced.

Then our AC unit went out in the midst of a heat wave, and of course during after hours when extra fees are tacked on.

Then we found *another* toilet was slowly leaking underneath the floor board and also had to be replaced (hint: if you ever see yellow stain marks around the base of your toilet you might want to have them checked as that’s a sure sign! Something I wasn’t smart enough to know, nor our inspection guy apparently who didn’t even mention it!)

And then lastly, we had some tree guys come out to assess two very large – and very dead’ish – trees on our property that didn’t look the safest once we started paying attention, and those estimates came out to $4,000-$9,000 depending on how serious/fast we want them gone… Which is also something we should have caught PRE-purchase if we were being diligent enough! But we weren’t because I had seen those trees a million times before and the only thing that had crossed my mind back then was – “Oooooh!!!! Pretty!! I love creepy trees!”


There were some other little things we had to take care of that week too (like a fun wasp infestation – yay!), but basically it was a helluva “welcome back” to the Home Ownership Club, and for a little while there our family’s bliss was out the window…

BUT! The one good thing that came from this, outside of hopefully not having to replace toilets for the next decade, is this silly little trick I randomly came up with which really IS pretty silly.

I know you’re going to laugh and probably write it off, but hear me out as I swear it did wonders for me and maybe it’ll do the same for you if you guys combine your household finances too. (It doesn’t work if you don’t)

The trick?

Every time we had to pony up money, I pretended it was MY WIFE’S money we were spending and not a single dollar of my own ;)

Even though of course it IS my money too – and hers (it’s BOTH of ours!) – but thinking that it was all HER paying for it somehow took the sting away much faster, haha… And also reminded me that we’re technically splitting everything 50/50 anyways, so it really isn’t *that* bad when it comes down to it because at least it’s NOT all mine!

Of course I didn’t dare say any of this out loud as who knows how that would go (you’re not reading this right now, are you honey??), but at the end of the day you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes to keep sane, and pretending my wife was fronting the bills for everything here def. stopped me from putting the house right back on the market ;)

(I also think that for those of us who manage our family’s finances we tend to subconsciously treat the money as “our own” so we can do the best job possible, and often times this can add an extra layer of stress too which I bet plays a part here psychologically in the effectiveness of this trick… Though maybe a psychologist can chime in with some additional thoughts?)

At any rate, try it out the next time something breaks in your house/car/anything else your family shares and see if it makes you feel better. You’re not gonna lose anything giving it a shot (unless you don’t keep it to yourself – which is uncharted waters!), but if it calms you down even a hair I’d say it’s worth the 2 second experiment.

Or if you’d like – just pretend it’s all J. Money’s $$$ paying for things and you’ll both get off scot free!! Haha… There are no rules in fantasy-land after all, you can try anything you want! ;)

Interesting thing about “scot free” which I just Googled – it has nothing to do with the Scots, nor scotch! Here’s a cool article on it if you’re curious about its origins –> TodayIFoundOut.com

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  1. Fritz @ TheRetirementMamifesto August 15, 2019 at 7:40 AM

    Hey J – thanks for offering to pay for my wife’s implant. I feel so much better now. Gee, it works!

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 7:46 AM

      Haha… that’s what friends are for ;)

  2. Michelle Marcus August 15, 2019 at 9:36 AM

    Yup, that’s exactly why I never wanted to own a house. Most of the broken things are OUTSIDE things that I never had to deal with in a condo. Unfortunately, I am the bread winner so I am definitely paying for most of it. I’m glad that I’m not the only who feels this way.

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM

      You should forward this post to your significant other then so they can do the trick ;)

  3. BP August 15, 2019 at 10:14 AM

    Along the similar lines, being the “bread winner” was too stressful of a designation so even though I make more money than my husband, he is the “bread winner “. He just rolls his eyes at me but it makes me feel so much more relaxed so no harm no foul.

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 12:19 PM

      I like your style ;)

  4. SL August 15, 2019 at 10:44 AM

    “The Landlord is paying for it”

    and boy can that person be slow sometimes… *grin*

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 12:24 PM

      Should do the trick for at least a hot second ;)

  5. Kate August 15, 2019 at 10:51 AM

    I’m not married so maybe I should say I’m spending my cat’s money? :) I sold my house a few months ago (after owning for 18 years) to rent an apartment and couldn’t be happier. Thanks for the reminders of all the fun homeownership stuff I’m missing!

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 12:25 PM

      YOU ARE SMART!!!!!!!

  6. Nita August 15, 2019 at 11:14 AM

    Aaaah, bad luck. But not surprising. Sellers know they’re leaving, they neglect a few repairs for a while and everything goes kaboom as soon as you start using it. For the AC, it’s like heating, they usually break whenever they work the hardest (heating went down at work at the dead of winter last year, lasted two weeks) But it’s very unlikely to happen again all at once, and you won’t cough up an extra mortgage down the drain every month. It happened to a friend last year like that in the first month, and nothing else in the next 12.

    I’ll imagine you’re paying my last few months of rent, because THAT’s money down the drain for me.
    (Yeah, I’m firmly on the owning side ;) )

    1. J. Money August 15, 2019 at 12:26 PM

      Haha… I’ll allow it, only in this instance ;)

  7. Shelly August 15, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    Hahaha! So glad to have you back, J$$$, and bringing the fin funny once again.
    Sorry to hear about the recent ER visits, house repairs, dead trees and wasp infestation, but congrats on an especially adventurous summer, I guess!
    Oh, and thanks for picking up that ER visit a few nights ago, when my son reached a new family milestone — first broken bones :-( — at his second-ever mountain biking practice . . . right after we bought him a new carbon fiber bike and upgraded to tubeless wheels.
    On a totally unrelated note, wanna rent a really cool mountain bike until next spring?

    I like your trick — another you could try is quickly telling yourself, “This is great material for a post! Lucky me!”
    Hang in there!

    1. J. Money August 16, 2019 at 2:19 PM

      Haha this is true!! One of the perks to blogging for sure ;)

      Hope your son got a cool cast with lots of fun doodles on it! I remember always being jealous of friends with those!

  8. Lisa O August 15, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    Ha it is always hard when money flows right out of the bank!

    When we bought our house the 2nd week we had no hot water….new hot water tank and then had to replace the shower faucet & shower head! Oh the pain…….

    Twelve years later, we just had to do masonry repairs to the chimney and foundation. It appears our chimney was being held together with caulk on the top five layers! Our mason said it was an accident waiting to happen! Yes we too paid for a house inspector but I am starting to wonder what they truly look at and know.

    I think your trick is just too funny…but if it works just keep doing it!

    1. J. Money August 16, 2019 at 2:20 PM

      Really good no one got hurt w/ that one! And how would you ever have known either???!

      Always makes me wonder what things are hidden within our houses right now without any of us knowing… Usually it’s when things are too late!

  9. John @ Chickenwizard's DivBlog August 15, 2019 at 10:55 PM

    I play that game on myself when paying for things like fixing a major oil leak on the car RIGHT BEFORE VACATION… By blotting out the memory of spending it.
    Vacation was wonderful. Then I come home and wonder what happened. “I had no debt a month ago and now it’s $3,000. I’ll fix that by cancelling my Hulu membership! That’s $7….”

    And so it goes. Then once I am in the free and clear, it starts all over.

    Last week, my outdoor GFCI outlet died. Cheap fix but I’ll wait until Christmas lights time. Then my bathroom sink began leaking. I’ll get to that. But in the meantime I will just turn it off at the shut off valve after brushing my teeth..
    And on and on and on. Forever.

    But owning a house is totally worth it. Little by little, the fix ups to a 101 year old house have added 200% to its value. So yeah, it’s totally worth it.
    And if it ever sells, my wife will claim the money. That’s a whole other game!

    1. J. Money August 16, 2019 at 2:28 PM

      Haha nice!!! I loooooove old homes too – so cozy and full of character.

      I hope Future You doesn’t come across too many “surprises” over there!

  10. Paul August 16, 2019 at 8:17 AM

    I’ve replaced many toilets in my life. Im not sure why… Its kind of weird actually. Regardless, Kohler Wellworth is a good option. Decent price and flush power of 10…. Seriously though, this thing could take a chipotle burrito ;)

    1. J. Money August 16, 2019 at 2:28 PM

      You’re too much, haha…

  11. Joe August 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    Welcome back to the blog!
    I know how you feel. We moved into our rental home earlier this year and I’ve been fixing various things ever since. Now, I need to patch some exterior paint. That’s a huge job and I’ll just have to do it a bit at a time. :(
    We also have 3 trees that we want gone. $4,000-$9,000 sounds ridiculous, but I guess that’s the way it is. That’s probably a more lucrative business than plumbing.

    1. J. Money August 16, 2019 at 2:30 PM

      It is from what I hear! And sometimes just as urgent too like plumbing at times :)

      sending you good vibes on that painting! at least you sold your other house! :)

  12. DP August 17, 2019 at 10:39 PM

    I could make a strong argument for why renting is so much better than buying. Where I’m at in Illinois, where the property taxes alone could almost pay for a year’s worth of a rental, the argument is even stronger. And you start to figure out how much your time is worth – like is it better to pay a guy $45 to mow the lawn or spend over an hour doing it myself. But on the other hand, there’s no better feeling than having a home that is truly “yours”. Good luck with the transition!

    1. J. Money August 19, 2019 at 12:24 PM

      Haha thanks!! I def. don’t need any convincing on which route is better, but alas I roll with it for the betterment of my family ;)

  13. Mike August 18, 2019 at 6:44 PM

    Always to be expected when purchasing a home.

    When I bought my first rental property, the time and money I spent on renovations was double my estimate. Couldn’t believe how many hidden repairs were found.

    When buying a property always plan on spending money on surprise repairs.

    1. J. Money August 19, 2019 at 12:24 PM

      How very true that is…

  14. Kenneth August 19, 2019 at 8:32 AM

    I pay the bills in our house and keep a spreadsheet for all outgoing money, what date I paid it, and what 50% of that cost would be. When my SO venmo’s me on the 1st and 15th for those expenses it feels like a paycheck from a second job (my pay days are the 8th and 23rd so it lines up nicely). It really helps take the sting out to get paid by my “second job” when I didn’t have to clock any hours.

    1. J. Money August 19, 2019 at 12:26 PM

      HAH!!! That’s an interesting way of doing it!!! If our money weren’t all combined I’d try enacting it myself :) Hard to even remember it’s 50/50 most times, at least for me…

  15. Angela Bargen August 20, 2019 at 6:20 PM

    Great article and good advice! When those unexpected, unavoidable expenses pop up, anything you can do to reduce the stress is worth trying. Unfortunately, I’m a single mom and my kids are students (net out-flows, big time!). But maybe I can start a spreadsheet to tally up their “share”. I’ll probably never collect but it could be an amusing distraction!

    1. J. Money August 21, 2019 at 2:53 PM

      DO IT! Haha…

      And then when they bitch and whine about how life isn’t unfair in their teenage years you can show them the spreadsheet and see if it shuts their mouths ;)

  16. Chris ODonnell August 21, 2019 at 12:09 PM

    A little known fact about home inspectors in VA – the licensing requirements are a joke. Until a couple of years ago, there were zero licensing requirements. Now it’s like one 8-hour class. If I ever buy a house again my plan is to hire a general contractor for 1/2 a day to do the inspection.

    1. J. Money August 21, 2019 at 2:56 PM


  17. michele cadogan August 26, 2019 at 9:29 PM

    Just a thought – did you consider the pros and cons of buying a home owners warranty?

    1. J. Money August 27, 2019 at 6:34 AM

      YES!!! I did!!! We had originally planned on picking one up as we used to have one years ago with our first house, but then we completely forgot about it and no one brought it up at closing or anything :( I do think they can help, even if just for peace of mind.