The Care and Keeping of Your Oilfield Home {Part 2 of 4}

The Care and Keeping of Your Oilfield Home #household #cleaning @oilfieldwives

Next up in our series of tips for keeping your oilfield household running smoothly: money. That thing we all like to have lots of, and hate to talk about. (Well, most of us hate to talk about, anyway!) Do you know what the number one cause of divorce is? Yep — finances.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for oilfield husband and wife to be on the same page when it comes to money. Long separations, short-notice separations, separations that are unexpectedly extended, work that isn’t always consistent … At the very least, you need to know what to expect when it comes to spending. At best, you have a set budget in place! So, oilfield wives, let’s talk finances.

  • Follow a monthly budget, if you have one. Create one, if you don’t. Here’s a great, simple tool to help you get started.
  • If you use checks, make sure both of you know how to order new ones.
  • Find yourself an experienced certified personal accountant (CPA). Extra points if they specialize in filing taxes in multiple states! A CPA can also help you with setting up a budget, saving, investing, and retirement account management.
  • Know when and where to pay the rent, or make your mortgage payment. Are you shaking your head, or laughing, yet? I am, but only because as I write this, I’m realizing that my oilfield man probably doesn’t even know what company services our mortgage. Yikes! Now on my to-do list.
  • What bills do you receive on a quarterly, or yearly basis, if any? Property taxes and vehicle registration renewal are just two examples. Know what these bills are, and budget for them as best you can.
  • Keep your mortgage paperwork, rental agreement, or deed in an agreed-upon safe place.
  • What bills do you pay on a monthly basis? You know what I’m gonna say — Budget for ’em!
  • Set up automatic bill pay through your checking account for as many monthly bills as you are comfortable with. I have it set up for our mortgage, HOA fees, car and homeowner’s insurance, because these payments are exactly the same each month. I don’t have it set up for things like our cable, cell phones, and internet, because I’ve found that mistakes are too often made on these statements; I like to check them carefully before making payments.
  • If you are renting, have an emergency plan in place. I’ve read a few scary tales of oilfield families suddenly finding themselves on the wrong end of an undependable landlord’s whim. Where will you go if you find yourself without housing?
  • Be sure that all accounts are in both spouses’ names! And that both spouses know the appropriate passwords. We learned the importance of this the hard way, when my husband was in Alaska — unreachable — and I couldn’t access an account we were having trouble with. Please, please take the time to make sure this is done!

Last, expect your finances to be strained occasionally. Periods of slow-down and layoffs are a regular part of oilfield life, and preparing for these times can save your family’s sanity. Start, and keep, an emergency fund. That way, when your husband gets laid off right before your big trip to Europe, guess what? You will still go to Europe, and have a frugal, but lovely time. Because your vacation will already be paid for — in cash — and you will have a few months of expenses in the bank to keep your household afloat. This was us, in 2009. And though we didn’t spring for many extras or pricey souvenirs, we had the time of our lives because we planned ahead.

What habits keep your oilfield home financially fit? Please share with us in the comments below!

About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.

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