Author Topic: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts  (Read 26345 times)

Bettis

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2014, 06:38:54 AM »
I did end up having a conversation with my wife.  I sent her an older MMM article "Selling the Dream" and she took it pretty hard at first, crying because she thought she was doing a good job and I was on her case.  I told her that the article was a bad idea to just send over because it was a lot more blunt that I intended to be.  So we talked and she gets my viewpoint so as a start, we are trying to transition the dogs off the acana ($2+/lb) to the less expensive Diamond dog food ($1/lb).

Not much else has changed yet(only been 3 days) but we're already in the red this month(if you don't count retirement and mortgage as savings).  It's frustrating but I know she isn't much of a spender. It's more that mortgage+child+4 pets+commute+my income being not so high is not enough to really get ahead in the short term.

I am starting to look into the venting through the roof of my vents since it goes straight to the attic now.  Then I can do the insulation.  I'm not sure what type of business does the roof venting but from what I saw on google/youtube, it is not a job I can do, especially by myself.  At least the short term expense will pay off quick with the heat my house must lose on cold nights.  We're already in the 30s for lows in RI/Mass.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2014, 01:11:56 PM »
Retirement savings ARE savings. You are not in the red!

I'm glad that you agreed on one little thing to try together--changing the food. Hopefully it will make you feel better and show your wife that making some changes isn't so bad. There are a lot of things at SAHP can do to save money--but she'll have to come up with them herself, if she wants to, because (a) otherwise it will feel like an assignment, and you saw how that went :-) and (b) no one person could possibly make all her own laundry detergent and baby food while cloth diapering, gardening, etc... And only she would know which ones appealed to HER. (For instance, I cloth diapered without complaint, but found baby-food-making to be tedious.)

VirginiaBob

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2014, 02:03:08 PM »
This may sound strange, but since my wife has no sense of a household budget, and has no desire to be live frugally, I just decided that I am going to live frugally. She wants weekly date nights to restaurants?  I load up on leftovers, then we go out and when we order, I tell the server, I already ate, but I'll have a glass of water.  I follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow..." technique - she'll flush before she goes, but at least when I go two time in a row, I'm saving some water.  Fancy dinner at home, I fake a stomach ache.  Etc etc.

Bettis

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2014, 02:06:31 PM »
True, I need to get it through my head that retirement savings are savings.  It just feels like the money is stuck for 30 more years but I suppose that isn't true, especially the Roth portion.

I hope she will look to save money in creative ways because she will not respond to "assignments" :-P  We had discussed cloth diapering, not using the dryer as much, etc but so far the things I have learned on MMM haven't inspired her yet.  She is actually going to start making baby formula using raw milk and a bunch of other ingredients.  It wasn't a financial choice, she's more sold on the health benefits but if it is cheaper, all the better.

Basically it's a journey that I have to learn patience for.  Maybe at some point I will create a case study as I have a decent handle on what comes in and what goes out each month but for now, I'll try not to stress too much through Xmas and just enjoy being a dad who can save 30-40%.

VirginiaBob - I wouldn't be able to pull that stuff off but if it works for you, more power.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2014, 02:11:05 PM »
MAKING BABY FORMULA????? With RAW MILK??? I don't usually stick my nose into other people's parenting business but that sounds INCREDIBLY dangerous to me. Commercial baby formulas have a lot of expert science behind them, whatever their other issues. And raw milk is extremely controversial, especially for babies. If you wanna save money on formula, try buying the Costco brand (which Little Brother just thrived on after his accidental early weaning) and just avoiding overfeeding. (An older baby drinking 40 ounces a day might be able to eat more food and cut back on formula, for instance, but YMMV.)

hdatontodo

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2014, 02:17:37 PM »
This may sound strange, but since my wife has no sense of a household budget, and has no desire to be live frugally, I just decided that I am going to live frugally. She wants weekly date nights to restaurants?  I load up on leftovers, then we go out and when we order, I tell the server, I already ate, but I'll have a glass of water.  I follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow..." technique - she'll flush before she goes, but at least when I go two time in a row, I'm saving some water.  Fancy dinner at home, I fake a stomach ache.  Etc etc.

I don't use an expense tracking program but do have a spreadsheet of our monthly recurring expenses. One thing that helped was categorizing the purchases on my USAA MasterCard using their online tool. Although the total is within what is on my monthly cash budget spreadsheet, using their online tool made it easy to see we spend $300/month on eating out.

I decided to have my kid eat dinner at home each Monday instead of our weekly trip to Subway and spending $10-15 on the day Mom works late. I don't mind our eating out at Chipotle as a family, but we can come up with an alternative to eating out on the days we're just tired.

My wife is receptive to pie charts that I can explain in 20 seconds or fewer. Beyond that, I'm the principal on Charlie Brown. Wah Wah Wah Wah.

I use my credit card like a debit card and pay off the balance multiple times per month.

Primm

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2014, 02:20:07 PM »
MAKING BABY FORMULA????? With RAW MILK??? I don't usually stick my nose into other people's parenting business but that sounds INCREDIBLY dangerous to me. Commercial baby formulas have a lot of expert science behind them, whatever their other issues. And raw milk is extremely controversial, especially for babies. If you wanna save money on formula, try buying the Costco brand (which Little Brother just thrived on after his accidental early weaning) and just avoiding overfeeding. (An older baby drinking 40 ounces a day might be able to eat more food and cut back on formula, for instance, but YMMV.)

+1.

Gin1984

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2014, 02:42:07 PM »
True, I need to get it through my head that retirement savings are savings.  It just feels like the money is stuck for 30 more years but I suppose that isn't true, especially the Roth portion.

I hope she will look to save money in creative ways because she will not respond to "assignments" :-P  We had discussed cloth diapering, not using the dryer as much, etc but so far the things I have learned on MMM haven't inspired her yet.  She is actually going to start making baby formula using raw milk and a bunch of other ingredients.  It wasn't a financial choice, she's more sold on the health benefits but if it is cheaper, all the better.

Basically it's a journey that I have to learn patience for.  Maybe at some point I will create a case study as I have a decent handle on what comes in and what goes out each month but for now, I'll try not to stress too much through Xmas and just enjoy being a dad who can save 30-40%.

VirginiaBob - I wouldn't be able to pull that stuff off but if it works for you, more power.
Please tell me you are joking or she is going to add something to her BREASTMILK not COWS milk.  Cows milk is not safe for young infants. Please don't do this.  If you need proof, I'll bring a ton, just please don't. Children have died that way.

RockinLife

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2014, 04:33:09 PM »
My husband and I were very skeptical about Republic Wireless at first.  Luckily for us, they offer a 30 day trial (basically you sign up, buy the phone and try it for 30 days - if you don't like it or it doesn't work for you, return it and get your cash refunded) - you can't argue with just trying something out.  Plus as a SAHM, she'll be on WiFi most of the time anyway - this is where Republic excels, if you ask me.  Maybe suggest she just give it a go, and if she doesn't like it, no harm done.  If she does, BAM you're saving 30 - 50$ a month right there.

We switched last December, and even with the contract termination fee, we're saving a ton and haven't looked back. 


norabird

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2014, 07:42:16 AM »
Just a gentle 2x4--you are still worrying too much and potentially putting your marriage at risk. Your savings rate is goo and your wife isn't spendy, so please, please don't pressure her! She may find ways to save money but let it germinate and focus on increasing your earnings potential for now--leave her alone, and put all your energy and worry into strategizing changing your own career situation. It isn't fair to her to bear the burden of your anxiety, when that anxiety really isn't called for. Maybe also try to reduce your stress and worry in general.

begood

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2014, 08:02:50 AM »
  She is actually going to start making baby formula using raw milk and a bunch of other ingredients.  It wasn't a financial choice, she's more sold on the health benefits but if it is cheaper, all the better.

Please listen to the people who are telling you that homemade formula with raw milk could hurt your baby.

Baby formula is NOT the place to save money. Raw milk is not safe for babies.

begood

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #61 on: October 14, 2014, 11:54:44 AM »
We learned from the raw milk thread you started that your baby is only 5 weeks old.

I wonder if some of your anxiety and pressured feeling is from being a new parent. I recommend stepping back, taking a deep breath, and working really hard on letting some of this financial stuff GO for now. Support your wife, sleep when you can, love your baby, and try to remember that, really, everything else can wait. Your wife is still recovering physically from giving birth (and if she had a C-section, it would take even longer). She's stressed about nursing.

Things are going to look really different in a year. Hang on for this part of the ride and try not to add unnecessary stress to these early months as a family.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #62 on: October 14, 2014, 12:30:56 PM »
Bunch of little comments, long in total - sorry.

The only raw milk a baby should drink is Mommy's.  Our milk composition is very different from a cow's.  Cow milk proteins are very hard on human babies' digestive tracts.

Nothing should ever vent into an attic - that way lies moisture damage, plus condensation will compact any insulation in there and make it worthless. 

You mention the long commute and the house with issues - instead of changing jobs, can you change house?  Not right now with a new baby, but a bit down the road?

I bet the cat with UTI problems is a male.  Also, cats do better with some wet food because they tend to not drink enough water.  And, low ash.

Dogs are fine on dry food plus table scraps (meat, fat, veggies, not bread or sweets).  My dog gets a mix of Costco's two grain-free foods plus the IGA store brand grain free food, and she is doing well.  The true test?  Digestible food means small poops.  Big poops means you are paying for food they can't digest, no savings and more bending over.  Nutritious food means health, not a bunch of little opportunistic infections.

Budgets - ick.  They are strait jackets if you are going over budget, and permission to spend if you are under.  Think of yourselves as a small business - Krambigmac and Krambigmac (or her maiden name, whatever).  Why do some small businesses succeed?  Why do others fail?  Do the analysis.  Positions?  Chief financial officer? Chief executive officer?  Purchasing? Hiring? Long-range planning?  Medium-range planning?  Short-term planning?

New baby - be helpful, supportive, repeat and repeat.  I barely remember the first two months of our baby, I was so sleep-deprived and just generally exhausted.  At least my DH was on vacation for the first month (no long family leaves back then, although I had a full semester), so I wasn't on my own until she was a touch older.

Really, especially for someone in the U.S. who could have had huge student loans, you are doing well.  And those long term savings ARE savings!

Primm

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #63 on: October 14, 2014, 07:04:38 PM »
The only raw milk a baby should drink is Mommy's.  Our milk composition is very different from a cow's.  Cow milk proteins are very hard on human babies' digestive tracts.


QFT. I work in NICU. Despite the rabid hype from some portions of society about companies that make formula, and despite the shady behaviour around their advertising and promotion, the fact is that human milk (from the baby's mother or someone else's mother) and formula (which is MODIFIED animal / soy protein) are the ONLY foods suitable for a human baby. Natural, organic cows milk is an amazing food, but it is NOT good for human babies.

Please please please encourage your wife to do some evidence based research around this. At 5 weeks there are often issues around breast feeding. Some of these can be overcome, some can't. But the solution if they can't is properly manufactured and tested baby formula. Your precious little bub's health is too valuable to risk on an experiment like this.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #64 on: October 14, 2014, 10:25:05 PM »
He said in another thread that they have decided NOT to try the homemade formula, so we can all stop harassing him now!

Juju

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #65 on: October 15, 2014, 10:19:32 AM »
After reading some of these comments, I wonder if OP should be looking at his finances in a different, more positive way than just focusing on the small things.  I've always found being able to look at total net worth (increasing!) is much more positive than looking at a mortgage/other debt and thinking about how long it will take to pay off.  Because it is a marathon and not a sprint, focus on the good.  Celebrate small goals and most of all, enjoy the time with your family.  What is FI/FIRE for after all if not for family?  Feel proud that you are planning and working towards a positive future with your wife and baby and enjoy this time.  The the money side of things should be reviewed, optimised and then placed on autopilot as much as possible in my opinion.

mm1970

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #66 on: October 15, 2014, 11:42:37 AM »
I do have some sympathy.  You don't want it to ruin your marriage, especially if she's not a spendypants.

One way to get around that is an allowance.  Set up some money that she can spend on whatever she wants, so you aren't harping on her for everything.

A few comments:
1.  Heat.  Let it go.  Either figure out how to insulate the house better, or shut up.  When our first son was born, our house had old windows and wasn't insulated, and only had a small wall heater in the living room.  It was freaking cold.  I had the heat up high with the newborn.  (Even though I live in California.)  Now, of course, we have new windows, central heat, and insulation.  The newborn phase where you need the heat is short, probably only the one winter.

2.  Animal food - I have no input.  I don't have pets

3.  Mileage to work - can't hurt to look.  It's never bad to look.  You may be able to negotiate the time off.

And of course, as I mentioned in an earlier comment on a different thread - buy the baby formula, don't use your own. 

Oh, and with a newborn, it's no time to be making assignments, or to even expect her to have the brain power to think creatively about saving money.  I say this as a two-time mother.  The exhaustion of the newborn phase is NO TIME to try and learn new skills.  As time goes on and her sleep goes up, she will get there.

On the food thing, baby steps.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 11:45:15 AM by mm1970 »

homehandymum

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2014, 02:41:06 PM »
This post has been running through my head all night, so what follows is a jumble of all the things I want to say :)

1.  This doesn't seem to be a finance issue to me.  This is an anxiety issue.  (nope, this is not a 'diagnosis over the internet' - I don't mean Anxiety(TM) - just using the word in the average every day sense.  But, if it does feel like it is taking over your life, you might want to get that checked out all the same).
        - you've already stated that your wife's spending is pretty much fine.
        - you are aware that it is your issue, and not hers
        - it sounds like there really is nothing that your wife can do to make you stress less about this.  Her spending is NOT the problem, and this is not a time in her life when she can make managing your emotions a high priority - she has enough of her own crap to deal with right now.
        - your emotions are yours to deal with.  If you need to offload them on someone, then please DO so - just not your wife right now.  A journal, an anxiety workbook, a therapist of some description might all be well worth considering if this has become a large enough issue that you are turning to internet strangers for help with it.

2.  The post-partum period lasts for aaaaages.  I am currently expecting baby #4 and I know of what I speak.  There is this weird idea out there that women can pop out a baby, head home that afternoon, breastfeed like a ninja and be in the swing of the 'new normal' in the space of a week or two (at most).  It is a complete and utter lie.  Sure, there are outliers that that may be true for, but it is by no means a normal experience.  Your wife is (likely) currently experiencing a clusterfuck of hormones, expectations, exhaustion, crying (both her and the baby), wondering what the hell just happened?, who is she anymore?, I wanted this baby so badly but I'm not having fun yet, this sucks and am I the worst mother in the world for even thinking that? Oh G_d the baby is hungry again and I don't know what I'm doing!! 
  This stage can, and often does, last for several months.  Some of us call it the '4th trimester', to help us remember that this is not normal yet.  The newborn phase is still all part of the pregnancy/birth thing and nothing approaching the new normal will happen until about 3 to 4 months in.
  Do not be coming home from your long commute, long work day and yoga session to spray your own anxiety about money into this mix.  It will not be pretty.
  Also, don't underestimate the skewing influence of fatigue on your own thought processes.
     [edited to add: just saw this article and thought it relevant: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-bregel/what-postpartum-moms-really-need_b_5343907.html]

3.  Saving money is awesome.  Because money makes life easier.  The early retirement thing is about making life *much* easier, sooner than most people get there.  But there is more than one way to do it.  Maybe you need to step away from the Money Mustache ideal for a while.  He did the double-income-no-kids thing at a high enough income and for long enough to hit FI before starting a family.  Most of us have not done that, and you are now in that second category :)  The phase of the double-income-no-kids savings sprint is behind you now - even if you keep a double income, the kid related expenses are high, not least of which is childcare.  You are now in the 'slow and steady' lane.  And you have a fantastic head-start compared to others your age. 

4.  These different stages in life come with different money priorities.  Heating a house so that the people who are actually in it all day are comfortably warm becomes a priority when one of those people is a newborn.  Food that is easy to prepare, including *gasp* takeaways on occasion is a lifesaver on those days when everything has turned to shit (sometimes literally), the mom is still in her pyjamas at 4pm, and she's hanging by a thread.  That is what money is for.  It is for spending - either now or later - but life with a newborn is one of those times when 'now' can make a lot of sense.  Remember, this is not the new normal and things will settle down in a few months, as everyone starts to get more sleep.  You're in this for the long haul, and 6 relatively spendy months is not going to make a big difference overall to your retirement goals (given your overall frugal pattern) but it could make a big difference to the sanity and happiness of your family unit.

5.  Expect your utilities to go up.  This took my husband and I by surprise back when I stopped paid work, but it makes sense.  Instead of the house being empty and basically shut down for 8 to 10 hours a day, it is being heated, and coffee is being made, and lunch is being cooked, the computer is on, water is being used, the fridge is being opened...  This is NORMAL.  This will happen.  Expect it and do not start looking for the culprit - the culprit is the joint decision your family made about what would happen when you made a new person together.

6.  The ceiling ventilation.  If you don't know what trade will do it,  phone a big-box hardware store and ask them for a recommendation.  Say "I'm thinking of doing this myself - is it a DIY job, or does it need a pro?  And if so, what sort of pro?"  If they say 'it's a DIY job if you have some experience', then have a look in the yellow pages for a 'handyman' or 'property maintenance services'.  If it needs a pro, then contact one and ask.  The answer may differ depending on your local regulations.
  For example, where we are, we can instal the ventilation tubing ourselves, and the outlet vent etc, but any wiring *must* be done by a certified electrician.  Depending on what you need to cut through to put the exterior vent in place, you may need a real builder instead of a handyman, but the process of getting the 3 - 5 quotes you'll be getting (right?) you'll be able to work out what you actually need done.

Good luck.  This too shall pass :)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 02:52:09 PM by homehandymum »

Bettis

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2014, 03:06:38 PM »
I think I'm starting to see the light a little bit.  It is an anxiety issue which creates a losing battle trying to control every little expense.  I did start therapy last year and maybe it was the therapist but I just did not like the experience.  I don't think I gave it a proper chance either.

I'll chill on the small things.  My wife is way too awesome to be getting grilled about money at any time, much less with a newborn keeping her stressed out.  Ultimately, I have to think positive which I find difficult but if I don't change, I will end up ruining something pretty great.

Slow and steady is where we're at.  I just have to learn to keep doing the right things, and not be impatient.

I will reach out about the ventilation issue.  That is something I do not need my wife to worry about and it will save us a hefty chunk each winter.

justajane

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« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2014, 03:42:00 PM »
2.  The post-partum period lasts for aaaaages.  I am currently expecting baby #4 and I know of what I speak.  There is this weird idea out there that women can pop out a baby, head home that afternoon, breastfeed like a ninja and be in the swing of the 'new normal' in the space of a week or two (at most).  It is a complete and utter lie.  Sure, there are outliers that that may be true for, but it is by no means a normal experience.  Your wife is (likely) currently experiencing a clusterfuck of hormones, expectations, exhaustion, crying (both her and the baby), wondering what the hell just happened?, who is she anymore?, I wanted this baby so badly but I'm not having fun yet, this sucks and am I the worst mother in the world for even thinking that? Oh G_d the baby is hungry again and I don't know what I'm doing!! 
  This stage can, and often does, last for several months.  Some of us call it the '4th trimester', to help us remember that this is not normal yet.  The newborn phase is still all part of the pregnancy/birth thing and nothing approaching the new normal will happen until about 3 to 4 months in.

I very much agree. I'm at 5 months postpartum with my third, and in some respects I feel worse now than I did at four weeks. Sometimes postpartum depression doesn't even show up until 6 months or later. It doesn't help that my baby is sleeping like a newborn again (a common occurrence at this age). I don't want to discourage you, but I don't become the woman my husband married again until around 12 months, sometimes not until after I wean, which was with my second after 18 months. That's not to say that I am an absolute bear all the time, but I am just different and much easier to agitate. It's hormones, combined with sleep deprivation and breastfeeding. Hopefully your experience will be different, but this stage of a baby and a family's life can be extra difficult. Ease up. You are still very young.

Where is your thermostat in the winter? One thing I will say for "ammunition" in your fight to lower it is that a temperature in the 60s is better for the baby's sleep and overall safety. A warm, overheated room in the winter is a SIDS risk.

homehandymum

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« Reply #70 on: October 16, 2014, 03:59:04 PM »
I think I'm starting to see the light a little bit.  It is an anxiety issue which creates a losing battle trying to control every little expense.  I did start therapy last year and maybe it was the therapist but I just did not like the experience.  I don't think I gave it a proper chance either.

I'll chill on the small things.  My wife is way too awesome to be getting grilled about money at any time, much less with a newborn keeping her stressed out.  Ultimately, I have to think positive which I find difficult but if I don't change, I will end up ruining something pretty great.

Slow and steady is where we're at.  I just have to learn to keep doing the right things, and not be impatient.

I will reach out about the ventilation issue.  That is something I do not need my wife to worry about and it will save us a hefty chunk each winter.

You're doing great.  Kudos to you.  The new-baby phase is stressful for Dads as well as Moms, so go easy on yourself too.  Have a chat to your wife about your anxiety, so that she knows that you know what's going on, and have a good think about trying therapy again - maybe a different therapist?  Maybe an anxiety and depression workbook? (I'm working through this one myself right now, as we come out of seasonal depression season in the southern hemisphere: http://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Depression-Workbook-For-Dummies/dp/0764597930)  A workbook isn't as tailored and responsive as a therapist, but it's cheaper, and if it's at the mild to moderate end of things, could be worth a try.

You'll be just fine.

Bettis

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #71 on: October 17, 2014, 10:47:43 AM »
Justajane - I've lost the thermostat battle a little each year but it seems to have settled between 73-75 depending how she feels.  A few years ago we were between 60-65 while we had oil.  When we switched to gas last year, it ended up being 68-70.  She feels that it needs to be warm since he was in a 98.6 degree body for 9 months.  I notice he is so warm even in the 73 degree room, when I hold him, that part of my body sweats and I'm not a big sweater.  What is recommended?  It might help a little but she does get cold very easily.  As long as I get the insulation done, I'll be spending less anyway.

Homehandymum - Thanks for the tip about the workbook.  I may give that a shot.

justajane

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Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
« Reply #72 on: October 17, 2014, 12:35:29 PM »
Justajane - I've lost the thermostat battle a little each year but it seems to have settled between 73-75 depending how she feels.  A few years ago we were between 60-65 while we had oil.  When we switched to gas last year, it ended up being 68-70.  She feels that it needs to be warm since he was in a 98.6 degree body for 9 months.  I notice he is so warm even in the 73 degree room, when I hold him, that part of my body sweats and I'm not a big sweater.  What is recommended?  It might help a little but she does get cold very easily.  As long as I get the insulation done, I'll be spending less anyway.

Homehandymum - Thanks for the tip about the workbook.  I may give that a shot.

I couldn't find a consensus, but anything over 73 is too hot. The ideal range was between 68-72. In other countries like the UK, they recommend as low as 66. Could you try to see if she would agree to 70 or 71? If you construe this as a safety issue, she might be more likely to agree. Babies are little heaters. Just because she is cold does not mean he is.

At the minimum, if the baby is sleeping at 73 degrees, definitely don't bundle him a blanket but just lay him down with footie pjs on. Our infant sleeps at around 66 degrees, but he has a sleeper on plus a heavy sleep sack.

Proud Foot

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« Reply #73 on: October 17, 2014, 02:17:25 PM »
krambigmac, you mentioned being in the red for the month already and have also stated you receive a tax refund of around $3,000 each year. Have you looked at adjusting your withholdings? Especially with having a new baby there are additional pretax deductions as well as credits which will end up increasing your refund. Without knowing all your information the additional standard deduction and child tax credit will decrease your total tax by approximately $1,500 (assuming 15% rate).

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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« Reply #74 on: October 17, 2014, 02:19:41 PM »
My understanding--you should look it up--is that overheating is MUCH, MUCH more of a threat to a small baby than being too cold. Pretty sure it's a risk factor for SIDS. Not to be alarmist or anything... And a seventy-three-degree-room will probably not overheat a baby. Just sayin', safety-wife I think you're probably in the right here.

step-through

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« Reply #75 on: October 17, 2014, 02:59:10 PM »
As mother of a toddler and a 9 month old, I've learned that you have to ease up a bit while you have a baby under 1. It just throws everything for a loop, so much harder to find time for budgeting and DIY. Hopefully your frugal habits will get you by.

Regarding cat food, my vet had a long talk with me after one of our cats had a scary (and expensive!) run-in with urinary issues. Basically, it's better to give your cats the cheapest wet food than to ever give them dry food, even fancy grain-free stuff. They will spend their lives dehydrated, not to mention that wet food usually contains much more meat (even if it is by-products). Cats are total carnivores and cannot get nourishment from grains, veggies, potatoes, or anything else that isn't meat.  I recommend reading the website http://www.catinfo.org/ - she also has a recipe for making your own cat food which could turn out a lot cheaper if you do it carefully!

In the long run, work on that commute from one end or the other. :)

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« Reply #76 on: October 17, 2014, 05:12:07 PM »
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT... Your take home pay is 3000 a month and your housing is at 1200 YET you still save 30 to 40percent of your income???
I honestly think you are doing a great job!! Specially being a family of now 3 (congratulations! :) )
Is there a way to increase your income over time? Perhaps a part time down the road or side projects? I hear you because although both my DH and I work we dont make a lot ofmoney (going back to school now. We are also a 3 person family) and I agree with what I have heard other say: it is very different to save even 1/4 of your income when you make 30k a year than if you make 70k a year.
You are doing great though. I am still struggleling to get my husband onboard more-although he is generally frugal he has been spending lots on little things, $10 here, $5 there really add up for us.
Keep in mind you guys are doing all you can right now (without changing jobs, bikibg more, having wife working, etc) next time you start feeling frustruated, sounds like your wife isnt doing to bad either :)

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« Reply #77 on: October 18, 2014, 05:54:17 PM »
Hi krambigmac,

I think you got a lot of good feedback on the attitude, that you are doing great, to relax, a bit etc. I did see a couple specific things you mentioned that I might offer a couple suggestions on, in case it helps.

1) Dog food: going to Costco or BJs might be a big help there. This was already beaten up over a lot in the thread. I don't know enough about cat UTI food to tell you what to do there :). For us the savings on the dog food essentially "pays" for the Costco membership

2) You mentioned heating costs and needing to keep the heat higher for the newborn. I don't think anybody will suggest freezing the newborn. Is possible to supplement the room your child is in with a space heater, and keep the rest of the house at a normal temperature for the adults? You'd have to run the numbers to see if that is cheaper, but if you have insulation problems, it might be worth it not to be heating and losing heat over a whole house, when you only need zonal heating.

3) Since you seem worried about the different between savings before and after your mortgage, is this because you are worried about cash flow? What are your mortgage details now, would re-financing help?

4) It sounds like you are doing great selling stuff on eBay. What are you selling and have you found it a good experience? I've been trying to clean out our extra stuff, but between the time to list it, pack it, ship it and deal with fees and all that, I haven't found it that lucrative. I'd love your input :)

Good luck, and great job on everything.

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« Reply #78 on: October 20, 2014, 10:35:59 AM »
Hi krambigmac,

I think you got a lot of good feedback on the attitude, that you are doing great, to relax, a bit etc. I did see a couple specific things you mentioned that I might offer a couple suggestions on, in case it helps.

1) Dog food: going to Costco or BJs might be a big help there. This was already beaten up over a lot in the thread. I don't know enough about cat UTI food to tell you what to do there :). For us the savings on the dog food essentially "pays" for the Costco membership

2) You mentioned heating costs and needing to keep the heat higher for the newborn. I don't think anybody will suggest freezing the newborn. Is possible to supplement the room your child is in with a space heater, and keep the rest of the house at a normal temperature for the adults? You'd have to run the numbers to see if that is cheaper, but if you have insulation problems, it might be worth it not to be heating and losing heat over a whole house, when you only need zonal heating.

3) Since you seem worried about the different between savings before and after your mortgage, is this because you are worried about cash flow? What are your mortgage details now, would re-financing help?

4) It sounds like you are doing great selling stuff on eBay. What are you selling and have you found it a good experience? I've been trying to clean out our extra stuff, but between the time to list it, pack it, ship it and deal with fees and all that, I haven't found it that lucrative. I'd love your input :)

Good luck, and great job on everything.

1) We did order Diamond brand dog food which got good reviews from Amazon.  THe picky dog ate it, then threw up but the other dog was fine with it.  I think we just need to wean the picky dog onto it slowly.  It's $38 for a 40lb bag instead of the $65 or so the Acana costs.  We are looking for different cat food for the healthy one but it seems like the prescription food isn't any more expensive ($1.75/can) than the other stuff we see.  I'll have to look a little harder online and even check out BJs.

2) We do have a space heater that we may be able to use to help out a bit.  My wife is almost always cold so it's a tough battle.  I would prefer to only heat our room with the space heater and keep the house in the low 60s but she gets up a lot during the night(even before baby).  I'll work on it though and let her know about the 68-72 normal temperature for a baby to be in.

3) I'm not exactly worried about cash flow (We have a pretty heavy emergency fund that I'm not allowed to invest but I can put some on the mortgage each month).  It's probably around $35-$40k.  It hurts seeing it gain no interest but she is very conservative so I do what I can to put it on the mortgage.  The mortgage was taken out Oct 2010 for 30yrs 4.625%.  With extra payments, I've knocked the due date down 9 years.  A 30 yr is similar rate to what I have now and a 15 would mean I have even less flexibility with my income so i don't think refinancing at this point would be a good idea.

4)  Ebay isn't too bad but it takes some time to get the hang of it.  The best thing is to have a tablet or device of some sort with chrome.  When I click to add a photo, it automatically opens the camera and loads it in.  Saves so much time.  The biggest issue with them are the fees.  Listing is free (if you keep it simple) but when the item sells, you pay 10% Ebay fee on the total+shipping and then around 3% in a PayPal fee so I estimate 15% off the top.  The advantage is there are so many people that will see your listing compared to Craigslist or just having a yard sale.  I've been selling old video games, a few baseball cards(very hard to earn anything on them), and LP records.  Just check completed listings on the item(s) you want to sell to see if it would be worth the time to list and ship it out.

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« Reply #79 on: October 22, 2014, 10:36:54 AM »
If you can't get your dogs to eat Diamond, I just did a very thorough price check yesterday using Wag & Chewy and found that Earthborn Holistic still has the cheapest price/lb of any food rated 5 stars by dogfoodadvisor.com. It's about $48 for a 28 lb bag. 

Lentils5eva

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« Reply #80 on: October 22, 2014, 12:23:38 PM »
This post has been running through my head all night, so what follows is a jumble of all the things I want to say :)
....
1.  This doesn't seem to be a finance issue to me.  This is an anxiety issue. 
Good luck.  This too shall pass :)

homehandymum, I've been worrying about this OP too!  Your post was so on point to me.  OP, while the advice you're getting here about your specific spending/savings questions is definitely helpful, and I'm sure figuring out how to feed your pets for less is great, please listen to the advice HHM gave you above, too.  Sometimes I think all of us Mustachians fall into the trap of reflexively (rather than critically) thinking all spending is bad and makes you a consumer sucker.  Adopting that mindset heedless of your individual circumstances is groupthink - just in the other direction from the groupthink  that makes people believe they need the newest iPhone or a gas-guzzling SUV.  Awareness of the needs of your situation, rather than hewing to some ideal of what your life should look like, is what I think MMM is trying to get people to strive for.  Please, cut yourself and your new family some slack!

GardenFun

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« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2014, 04:24:57 PM »
This post has been running through my head all night, so what follows is a jumble of all the things I want to say :)
....
1.  This doesn't seem to be a finance issue to me.  This is an anxiety issue. 
Good luck.  This too shall pass :)

homehandymum, I've been worrying about this OP too!  Your post was so on point to me.  OP, while the advice you're getting here about your specific spending/savings questions is definitely helpful, and I'm sure figuring out how to feed your pets for less is great, please listen to the advice HHM gave you above, too.  Sometimes I think all of us Mustachians fall into the trap of reflexively (rather than critically) thinking all spending is bad and makes you a consumer sucker.  Adopting that mindset heedless of your individual circumstances is groupthink - just in the other direction from the groupthink  that makes people believe they need the newest iPhone or a gas-guzzling SUV.  Awareness of the needs of your situation, rather than hewing to some ideal of what your life should look like, is what I think MMM is trying to get people to strive for.  Please, cut yourself and your new family some slack!

Absolutely beautiful.  Well said.

Ellsie Equanimity

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« Reply #82 on: April 23, 2015, 02:52:02 PM »
Came across this thread and wanted to ask how things are going?

Lots of people gave lots of good advice, and I don't even know how things are for you now, but just wanted to give my two cents:

You said your wife doesn't spend a lot. Let her know how much you appreciate that. Period. No following it up with "but it could be better" types of statements. It doesn't matter if it could, what you are communicating is just your appreciation for the frugalness she already possesses.

You also said when you sent her an article she cried because she thought she was doing well. That shows she knows this is important to you (and probably to her) and she cares to make an effort. Whenever you notice her doing something well in terms of saving, make it a point to praise her for it, especially if it's something she did on her own without input from you. Make it an effort to notice things you wouldn't necessarily otherwise. This will benefit both of you in numerous ways:

1) Your wife will feel appreciated, validated, and loved.
2) Your focus will be on positive things helping you to feel more thankful and less anxious.
3) You will both feel more like a team - each of you capable and accomplishing things together.

Lastly, emphasize to her why certain expenses ARE worth it to you. Spending together is kind of a negotiation of what's valuable to both of you. No one wants to feel like their partner thinks not spending money is more valuable than everything else. For example: No one wants to receive a gift of flowers only to wonder if the giver resented the loss in money it cost him. If you get her flowers, reassure her the joy it brought her was worth it to you.

(And whether or not it will be worth it probably depends on the price of the flowers, and how much she likes them. That's ok. You can't put a price on things like that and you don't need to. Not everything directly translates to a monetary value and arguing over how much it's worth vs "the best things in life are free" is not the point here. The point here is that your wife knows how you feel about saving and is trying to please you and so when you do choose to spend, she might need extra reassurance that you're really ok with it. Doing so will also help communicate to your wife that money is not your highest value and that you can give cheerfully - qualities she is bound to respect in you. Frugality is admirable, scroogeness is not.)

I hope your family is doing well. Congrats on the baby! Remember to be thankful and fully enjoy all your blessings!

jeromedawg

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« Reply #83 on: April 23, 2015, 03:23:51 PM »
nm... lol didn't realize this post was from AGES ago :D
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 03:26:01 PM by jplee3 »

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« Reply #84 on: April 23, 2015, 05:03:15 PM »
I know this might seem off topic, but are you getting enough sleep?

When I was commuting 25miles/40km to work each day, I had to wake up at 5am and was out the door at 5.30am. I wasn't home until around 5.30pm at night and was getting 7 hours sleep a night (not enough). I now work 10mins bike/5mins car away and get to sleep in until 7am. I've got so much more energy now. I'm way less stressed because of it. I hate traffic and it makes me short tempered.

Bettis

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« Reply #85 on: April 29, 2015, 02:58:00 PM »
Wow, I was surprised this post bubbled back up again.

Things are going better since October.  We still have issues where our spending is more than our income.  Now that does include nearly $1000 going into 401K and Roth IRA so we aren't actually spending more than we make, but short-term, it looks like we're in a bad way.

Back to some prior suggestions, we tried the cheaper dog food(Diamond) and my wife didn't want to stick with it because she thought it wasn't as healthy as the more premium stuff but at least she tried it out.  I got her to try Republic Wireless but we had to return it as the calls kept dropping.  Not sure if it was our 6Mb internet or weak Sprint or both but it wasn't working out.  She signed back up for T-Mobile but her plan is $15-20 cheaper than it was before so it's a victory.  So math-wise, we aren't much better but we get mad at each other less and I show my appreciation a lot more.  I don't want our son to ever think we don't love each other so I try to keep my cool and not pick at everything.

My wife returned to work this month to work Saturdays so while it is only a $300-400 a month, it helps a lot and it gives her a break where I can watch our son.  I did get a 15% raise and a small promotion in early February which is keeping us afloat and I recently sold some collectibles that were passed down to me for over $4k so now we have money to make some improvements like better insulation and fixing our water problem in our basement.

With a young child, we don't get enough sleep but my wife is amazing.  She does all the nighttime baby stuff during the week and I only have to do Fri-Sat nights.  I get anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep a night even with the commute as it is so while it isn't enough, it could be a lot worse.

We're better at tracking all of our income and expenses and we are about done with month 3 so I can put it together and find our true savings rate.  Then maybe I can start a case study but I learn so much on here already.

norabird

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« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2015, 02:07:59 PM »
Good for you guys! It sounds like you're doing very well for now. I think it's good to take the long view. Being appreciative and loving and sharing your long term financial/life goals and dreams with each other will probably help you find places to improve.