Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Polka dots and shared finances

Today has been an absolutely crazy day at work, stuffed with meetings and documents that had to be prepared for meetings and training on how to update various client websites and generally just madness. Of course it started off with an 8:30 conference call with one of our major clients so I had to get up half an hour earlier than usual, which didn't thrill me. I have 50 blog feeds waiting to be read, and I still have a bunch of work to do this afternoon, so I don't even know when I'll get a chance to read all my blogs. Which is, as many of you probably understand, a complete tragedy.

And to top it all off, tonight is the first Red Sox playoff game but it's also the first work volleyball game and they are at the exact same time. I know this is what DVRs are for but we will never have time to watch a three-hour baseball game when we get home, and no way am I banning myself not only from media but also from my friends just to make sure I don't find out the result of the game before I actually watch it.

Point being, we aren't going to get to watch the game, but I'm going to get exercise in a way that is actually fun and not as tedious as the gym, so I'm excited about that. The other point being, I'm really looking forward to the weekend.

I'm especially looking forward to the weekend because Sunday is Torsten's and my official one-year anniversary. To celebrate, we will be taking a dinner cruise on the Potomac, something both of us have always wanted to do and yet neither of us has actually done. I have picked out my dress already, and I'm excited about the opportunity to wear it because it's the kind of dress that isn't really right for cocktail parties and formal dinners out. But it is definitely right for a dinner cruise that tells you that this is an opportunity to wear your fancy clothes. I don't have a photo of the full thing, but you can see at least the top part in this photo:

Anyway, Torsten and I agreed not to spend more than $100 on each other's gifts, and then I found the perfect thing for him and it was over $100, so I told him and then he went out and apparently found something for me that only fit into the new higher price limit because it was 45% off. But in order for him to get the sale price, he had to pre-pay yesterday and will have to go back to pick up whatever it is today or tomorrow. It was also something an hour away from our apartment that required a credit card and not cash. Needless to say, this does not sound like a normal purchase, and I am going crazy trying to imagine what it could possibly be. Though really, I don't want to know, so if you read this description and thought to yourself, "This sounds exactly like when I bought X," please don't tell me what it was. On the other hand, if you are as stumped as I am, feel free to make bizarre suggestions as to what it might be in the comments.

Anyway, I got Torsten's present off Amazon, so he has agreed not to sign on to Amazon until after Sunday night in exchange for me not looking at our credit card bill until then. Which, you know, works fine right now for an anniversary where we each got each other only one gift just days before the occasion, but will not work out so well at Christmastime, when I can't just ignore our credit card bills for a month, and when both of us will need to use the same Amazon account because only one account has Amazon Prime.

I scoured Amazon for some sort of way to password-protect only certain purchases, or at least prevent the damn thing for recommending similar items on the home page based on recent purchases, but found nothing even remotely helpful. Normally we could each just use our own Amazon account to prevent this from happening, but since we get free shipping through Amazon Prime, and you have to pay for that, we have to use only one account or pay twice to add it to both accounts or pay for shipping. I have yet to come up with a solution to this problem, and I am also flummoxed over the issue of how not to see where he has purchased my Christmas gifts and how much he spent on them while still monitoring our credit card statements.

This is where you come in. You people who share finances with someone else, please tell me: how do you purchase things with shared accounts without the other person finding out ahead of time what you got them?


  1. Hmm...Amazon has free shipping on lots of things if you spend more than $25. Also, as far as shared finances...Usually the bills are timed just right, otherwise, I lightly review the bills. When I see something unfamiliar, I give it to hubby and say "Is this yours?" and let it go. Odds are I won't guess what it is, and I let my imagination run wild. :) Neither of us is sneaky about wanting to find out what gifts are, so it works out OK.

  2. I liked 3carnations', as long as you can stand to know where it was bought, and they are right about Amazon and the free shipping over $25, although I'm sure it's limited on certain items.

    It wouldn't work for online purchases, but you could take out cash to buy gifts if they are somewhere close to where you are. Or, give the money to someone else (that you trust, obviously) and have them purchase it for you. That still doesn't work if you are using credit cards, though, unless you find someone that's willing to trade your purchase on their card for one of theirs on yours.

    Maybe someone who actually does this has a better idea. My fiance and I aren't quite to the point of shared accounts yet.

  3. Congratulations on your anniversary!

    I don't usually have to worry since he doesn't shop online. I just give him some cash and a list.

  4. I LOVE surprise mystery presents! You will definitely have to tell us what it is!

    And as for a solution to the Amazon/credit card issue - could you use your personal debit card to purchase online gifts? Mark and I aren't too good at this - I knew everything he was getting me last year about two weeks before Christmas. He dropped a receipt on the counter, didn't clear the internet browser, etc.

  5. I love your dress! At least the top half. Very cute.

    When TM and I buy each other gifts, I usually pay in cash and he usually waits until the day after the exchange and asks me what I want. Keeps the magic alive.

  6. We had Prime more than a year ago, so it might have changed--but when we had it, up to four people from the same household could share the Prime deal but with their own Amazon accounts. So we paid for one Prime membership, but Paul and I each used our own Amazon accounts and both used the same Prime membership.

  7. I have thought about this one, too. J's birthday is Friday, and I just got my first piddly paycheck for three days last week, so my plan was to deposit some of it and hold out cash for however much I thought I'd spend on his present. Then, of course, we needed cash for something and I sent him out with twenty of it, and was dismayed when he spent the change on a book of stamps, and then another twenty was donated for take-out or something, and before long I was wailing, THOSE STAMPS SHOULD HAVE PAID FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY PRESENT (I'm not really good at "explaining things," apparently.)

    So, yeah. It turns out I have nothing helpful to say, at all. Except to agree with Swistle--you should be able to use the Prime for more than one member of a household, unless it has changed.

  8. It is very difficult! I give cash or a check to a friend, and then he orders the presents for me. That's the only thing that works for my super nosy husband!

  9. I'm pretty sure he bought you a plane ride in a WWII fighter jet.

    I could be wrong.

  10. Wait. Presents? You get PRESENTS? AND he remembers when your anniversary/birthday/and yes even Christmas is? He's a keeper. Wanna trade?

  11. Stephanie--I'm sure I'll let everyone know. Possibly with pictures, depending on what it is.

    Banana--Thanks! The bottom half is the same pattern, but in a slightly A-line, knee length, skirt. I also love it.

    Black Sheeped--It's obviously his own fault if he doesn't get a present, right? He should have known better.

    Jenny--I bet you're not wrong at all. That must be exactly what it is. He did like Flyboys an awful lot. Although that was WW I.

    JMC--I think I'll hang on to mine, at least for now. I'll let you know if I feel like trading at some future point.

  12. I HEART the dress.

    M and I don't share finances just yet but I'm definitely reading all the comments with interest because I know we'll be joining up soon.