Meet the Widlunds
Marnie's obsession with crafts is also digging them deeper into debt. Marnie admits she buys on impulse, a habit that resulted in her owning $1,000 worth of beads and $1,500 worth of scrap-booking supplies. "I feel really guilty about spending the money on [crafts]," Marnie says, "but, at the same time, you cannot always just focus on everything horrible in your life."
Marnie and Mark admit that they are easily manipulated by their teenage daughters when it comes to spending money. "My love for them probably clouds my judgment," Marnie says. "I think I'm very overindulgent with them. I give them everything I possibly can, to the detriment of my husband, my marriage and our finances."
On one window-shopping excursion, Marnie ends up giving in to the girls' pleading—using bill money to purchase clothes. "I have her wrapped around my finger," Victoria says with a smile.
Tensions reach a boiling point over the holidays when Marnie and Mark's checking account dwindles down to $235, and payday is a week away. "Christmas couldn't come at a worse time," Marnie says. "But, as usual—no matter what—the girls are not going to suffer." To help pay for gifts, Marnie borrows money from Victoria. "It's bad enough to borrow money from my mom and dad, maybe my sisters, but from your children?" Marnie says. "It's pretty deplorable."
Money problems have affected their sex life. "When you're all anxious and tense you don't want someone to touch you. I think we've both kind of withdrawn a lot."
"Having money problems isn't sexy at all," Mark agrees.
Ironically, the financial trouble that has put the Widlunds' marriage in crisis has also prevented them from separating. "On a couple different occasions [arguments over money have] almost ended our marriage," Marnie says. "Fortunately, neither one of us could afford to move out."
Glinda targets three areas of spending that she'll help the Widlunds get under control:
- Cutting back on Marnie's arts and crafts purchases will save the Widlunds $4,000 a year.
- By preparing more meals at home and relying less on takeout, Glinda says the Widlunds will cut their food budget in half—saving $7,000 a year.
- Victoria has to make a decision, Glinda says—either she gives up her car or pays for it herself. By not paying half of their daughter's car payments, the Widlunds will save $1,800 a year.