I only ask because my husband is, and really always has been one of our many obstacles to saving money. He is my little spendthrift. Not that I’m blaming anyone for our lack of savings, but it does make saving a bit more difficult. How can it not? Honestly, though, I think it comes down to a difference of opinion in the way life should be lived.
Somewhere Between Thrifty and Practical
By no means do I consider myself a frugal person. In fact, if we were rich, I would definitely want to be spoiled. Frugality is a state of mind that my brain can’t quite wrap itself around. It borderlines on penny-pinching, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. In other words, I don’t want to trip on pennies to get to retirement, but I’ll get fired up to fight for those dollars.
I don’t clip coupons, but I thrift shop or buy off the clearance racks. I buy whole and nutritious foods and cook at home. I trim the fat in our household bills, and I don’t think we’ll ever buy a new car again, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to experience life. It means that I also want to think ahead to an adventurous and relaxing future… and that takes A LOT of money.
It’s estimated that to enjoy retirement, you need like 2 million dollars in the bank. 2 million.
My Dad was a very generous man. When my eyes would bulge at the bill for a fancy dinner or when he surprised us with a big vacation, he would always smile, shrug and say “You can’t take it with you.”, and he was right. You can’t take it with you. You can save it, retire on it, vacation with it, or leave it to your loved ones, though. You know how they say you’re going to marry someone just like your Dad? “They” were right. I did.
A Heart of Gold with a Taste for It
Fortunately, and unfortunately, my husband is a millionaire in a middle-class man’s life. What I mean is that he works like a slave to make sure our needs are always met because he loves us to the moon and back. He even wants to lavish us in the things we want, whether we can afford them or not. He believes in true love, living in the moment, working hard, sharing experiences, good food (he considers this an experience all on it’s own), and shopping to your heart’s content. Sorry, ladies, he’s taken. 😉
He wants the best in life for all of us, bless his sweet heart, BUT so do I, and not just in the moment, but in a million moments we haven’t reached yet. What he refuses to accept is that I don’t need a new car, a big house, or fancy meals to make me happy.
I just want to secure our future, which will, in turn, allow a little “seed money” for our kids when we’re long gone. This is my dream… not jewelry or vacations.
Get Your Spendthrift to Be Thrifty-er
Thrifty is just not in their nature. It’s not about changing who they are, but working together to meet a goal that you set together. This will require many conversations about money to share what’s important to each of you. There will be many compromises, but I promise it will be worth it in the long-run. Here are some ideas on how you can work together to save money for your future, whether that’s an emergency or rainy day fund, college savings, or for your retirement:
- Compromise on the big things. If he/she wants to spend money on a big vacation, find a nice bed and breakfast in a town that’s within a day’s drive instead, and downgrade it to a weekend trip instead of a week-long trip. If it’s for the whole family, do the same, but with outdoor activities in mind.
- Thinking of a new car? Cater to his/her practical side with discussion on how less debt, low miles, and regular maintenance might be better for your financial outlook.
- Entice your spouse to stay home for dinner with a good home-cooked meal. There are thousands of recipes online that will cure that itch for going out, which is usually initiated by boredom or lack of food in the fridge.
- Bigger isn’t always better. A bigger house usually means more space to clean, more repairs, lawn maintenance, more space to heat and cool, and a lot more debt. Whether you’re renting or buying, talk about your family’s true needs in regards to housing before you jump in with both feet.
- Take your spouse shopping with you and show them how easy it is to find something they like on a sale rack or in the thrift shop. It’s always better to show and share than it is to tell.
- Cut the credit cards. Okay, maybe you don’t need to cut them just yet, but discuss some rules or boundaries that you both should stick to when, or if, you use them. And, make sure you know when one of you is charging something, so you can prepare to pay it off.
- Come up with a small saving plan that you both commit to on the spot. Talk about the pros and cons, then how you can be consistent and the amount per month works well with your finances. Then, agree to reassess your savings goals again in 6 months.
Talking about money doesn’t have to be difficult. I guarantee that your husband or wife is not opposed to saving money, although it may feel that way at times. Perhaps he/she just want to enjoy life and be in the here and now, and in most cases, that’s a good thing. Brainstorm and figure out how you can do both. Marriage requires a lot of things, especially compromise, so it’s important to talk about money concerns. That’s the only way you can both get in the same book, and on the same page.