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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Bettis on October 07, 2014, 12:25:59 PM

Title: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis on October 07, 2014, 12:25:59 PM
I've been reading about the two topics on the blog lately and have come to a conclusion: I am cheap and I will ruin my marriage if I don't lighten up.

Now, my wife loves me and all but we do squabble about money quite a bit.  She's not totally on board with the Mustachian way of life but she is not a big spender so I think it works out okay.  I know when I step away from myself, I can be a controlling jerk which pains me because she totally does not deserve any of it, I am just way too high strung and eventually, it won't be good for the two of us.

I need a punch in the face about the frugal/cheap line and maybe a few tips.  I know I am very miserly with every penny but I justify it by the fact that even while I am begin as frugal as I can, our savings rate is pretty low.  On good months, we can hit 40%; however, if you do not factor in $250/mth in 401K, $458/mth in Roth IRA, and $450+ in mortgage principal, we are typically either at a deficit or saving up to 10%.  Take home is $3,000 after tax and health insurance but before retirement funds.  It was closer to $4,600 when my wife was working full time but we have a newborn so she isn't working now and we don't know if she will be going back at all.

I am trying to get income up by selling things on Ebay so I get between $100 and $500 per month, at least until I run out of stuff.  I stress myself out so much about trying to cut back I take it out on my wife :(

Action plan:  This is where I need some tips but I do know a few pain points regarding where our money is going (no particular order)
1) Two cats and two dogs who eat "the good stuff" - haven't found a good solution here but it has been in our discussions
2) 28 miles each way to work - basically I'm scared to change jobs because I feel like I'd regret it as my job isn't that bad, plus I really like having 4 weeks of vacation.(Yes I sense the irony here regarding early retirement)
3) Mortgage - $1200 including taxes and insurance ends up being about 40% of my take home pay.  Windfalls typically go straight to the principal so I have knocked off about 9 years off a 30yr
4) Heating bill - Heat just started going on and I end up paying between $200-$300 on my gas bill each month(Nov-Apr) to keep this little New England house warm - I bargain the thermostat as hard as I can but with a newborn, I am now outnumbered.

Finally to finish off, some positives so I don't look like a 100% complainypants
1) No debt besides mortgage
2) Enough saved in savings to replace my wife's car when it dies (03 Ford Focus acted like a lemon when she first bought it in 2005) so it's a minor miracle it still runs
3) Only 30 so I'm still young enough to right the ship
4) Doing $5500 per yr in Roth IRA and moved it to Vanguard
5) Putting in 6% of take home in 401K($250/mth) and getting a yearly 3% match
6) No cable TV - Netflix was my concession but $8 is a lot better than $30-$40 or whatever it costs on top of internet
7) Only she has a smart phone which was given to her by a friend and the plan cost the same as her old phone plan through T-Mobile.  I still rock a 2007 flip.
8) I know I'm way better at saving with "limited income" than almost everyone I know who make even more than I do

This is more of a vent topic than solicitation but I would like some feedback on the frugal/cheap stuff(and my attitude) because if I fix that, my wife will be a lot happier.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Mrs. The Butler on October 07, 2014, 12:40:01 PM
I can't give helpful input in most areas, but regarding the pet food I would seriously consider finding a slightly cheaper option.  I've researched (to death) both sides of the cheap vs. expensive pet food argument.  We have a German shorthair pointer who we want to take good care of, but at the same time we don't want to spend more on dog food if it doesn't really matter.

Basically what it came down to for us was realizing that some dogs really do JUST FINE on the cheap stuff.  If they look healthy, eat well, have a good level of energy, and have "normal" poops, chances are the food you're feeding them is entirely acceptable for their system.

So experiment around with cheaper foods and see what you can get away with.  I know there are lots of websites out there that will go on and on about foods having cornmeal as a main ingredient, using "chicken by-products," etc., but there have been LOTS of pets on "sub-optimal" diets who do just fine.

We personally stay away from Pedigree and those sorts, but we also don't do Blue Buffalo.  We did Taste of the Wild for a while, then moved down a bit in quality and noticed that our dog was doing just fine even with cheaper food.  Especially with four pets that you're feeding, your pet food bill is probably not an insignificant portion of your paycheck, and that could be an easy way to get a bit more money into savings.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: kyanamerinas on October 07, 2014, 12:49:00 PM
The first thing I'd say is ending a marriage is generally terrible for your finances and I know you're certainly not there but for perspective. Finding a balance that suits you and your wife and keeps harmony in your marriage is likely to be the wisest financial move.
It sounds like letting go a little and then trying the slow and steady, lead by example route would work in your situation. Particularly given the newborn situation.
Given your income I'd say you're doing OK. Selling stuff is a great idea. Maybe post up a more detailed budget breakdown so we can help there.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: 4alpacas on October 07, 2014, 12:54:45 PM
Quote
I stress myself out so much about trying to cut back I take it out on my wife :(

It sounds like your frugalness isn't the issue here.  It's your misguided frustration.  In your shoes, I would look into ways to relieve my stress.  Running is my stress relief. My DH notices when I don't get time to run. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: deragun on October 07, 2014, 01:01:04 PM
What interest rate is your mortgage at?  You mention all windfalls go to pay that down early, and it seems like a good amount too if you cut almost 1/3 off the life already.  But depending on the rate, you may be able to squeeze a lot more savings out of your situation.  IE if the rate is 3-4%, then you have pretty good odds of getting a higher rate of return if that extra was invested. 

$250/mo in 401k is well below the yearly cap, so if you put it there instead (and get market average returns of 7% plus or minus) then compounding would work in your favor over the mortgage.

My wife and I are in the last stages of 'kill all debt' mode ourselves...paying off the last 10k of her student loans by mid next year.  But that's because her rate is between 7-8%.  My remaining student loans are @ 3%, so those are going to get minimum payment until they are gone because investments should well outperform the return I'd get paying those off early.


As to your family happiness, I'm incredibly lucky that my wife is perfectly onboard, so I can't share from personal experience.  But as with anything in a marriage, compromise can be powerful.  If you can get yourself to relinquish some things to get her onboard with others, then it can work out.  Especially if you look at the financial impact of each thing and 'give in' on the low impact things, and get to do the high impact things as the compromise, then you should end up fine!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Tai on October 07, 2014, 01:01:27 PM
Your family is down to one income, you have no debt other than the mortgage, and you don't want to count the savings and extra mortgage payments as savings? Am I missing something? You are saving 40%. You're doing great. I'm not sure that paying down your mortgage versus maxing out your tax sheltered accounts is number wise the best decision but I guess people have a variety of opinions on that. You have a new baby and your wife is now at home, lots of changes and change can cause stress. Congratulations on being a dad, take some time to enjoy your success so far.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: socaso on October 07, 2014, 01:01:50 PM
A very dear friend of mine has just decided to leave her husband and one of the biggest problems in their marriage was his non stop worrying about money and getting into fights with her about money. The biggest thing you could do would be to work on your own anxieties about money and get that in check. Tell her that is something you want to work on about yourself and ask for her input. She lives with you, she might notice that certain things are bigger triggers than others for you. You could also talk to her about what her financial goals are. She might get more invested in helping to cut expenses if she sees the end game for herself.

Overall you have to do a lot of what you are doing right now, which is taking a step back and looking at the situation. You are not in a bad place financially, you have a wife who loves you and a new child. It doesn't cost any money at all to appreciate the people you love.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: 2ndTimer on October 07, 2014, 01:12:05 PM
How about using up some of that frustration by winter-proofing your house a bit more.  Is everything weatherstripped, insulated to the max? 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis on October 07, 2014, 01:19:10 PM
Mrs. The Butler - Blue Buffalo is actually the one we give our dogs when they eat wet.  When they eat dry, it's Arcana or something comparable.  The cats eat prescription for UTI although only 1 has the issue.  The other just likes the food and we haven't found anything to switch to yet.  I like to point out the irony in what they eat compared to us eating Pop Tarts, Nutter Butters, etc but that's me pushing buttons.

Kyanamerinas - I didn't mean to imply the marriage is close to ending.  It might be if she weren't so darn understanding.  I can just objectively tell that I'm not doing this the right way, nitpicking, almost scolding at times.  I'm embarrassed that I come off that way to her.  I do need to LEAD by example more, in my head, it almost feels like it's me VERSUS her and obviously, I have to change that.

4alpacas - Good point about misguided frustration.  I'm the type who can't get over little things, a speeding ticket had me pissed for days.  I do yoga 4-5 days a week to help with stress and I take the bike to the store once in a while if I have a small errand to run although I do need to bike more often.

Deragun - 4.625% 30yr mortgage taken out in 2010.  I'm pretty risk averse so I feel like killing the mortgage is the safest thing to do.  I think it also comes from when I listened to Dave Ramsey before I heard about this blog.  I had one large windfall that I spread for a while putting some on the principal each month (5 digit inheritance).  I also count tax returns as windfalls which are about $3k each year.  I've never put more than the 6% in 401k because of the months I run at a deficit and although it's possible to take money out, I think of retirement money as stuck until I'm 59.5 (29 more years).

Tai - Thanks for the kind words.  The 40% is on good months, I'd say the average is about 30%.  I only think of that a snot good because if I am in the red with all my other money, that will bleed faster than I can get to enjoy the paid off mortgage and retirement money(About $60k total btw the 401 and Roth).

Socaso - I'm going to have a talk with her tonight and get her input.  I do need to communicate better rather than bottle it up and then get and when the bills come in.

2ndTimer - It's not.  Last year, we converted from oil to gas to save some but when I got a Mass Save energy audit done, they found my attic insulation was crap and the walls were not insulated at all.  There are good deals (75% off) to get the attic done so I looked into that.  I was told that I had to vent my kitchen and bathroom fans outside rather than in the attic before they would do the job.  I am not so handy and don't know who actually does a job like the attic venting for a decent price.  As for weatherstripping, I'm not sure what that is, if it is sealing up the cracks like around windows, I've never really checked.  My not learning how to do handy work when my dad was around really hurts so I need to start learning quick. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: VirginiaBob on October 07, 2014, 01:30:35 PM
1.  Forget the fancy pet foods - no actual reputable research has proven that the fancy foods are better than the cheaper ones.  If it is sold at the store and has the AAFC seal on it, it is good to go, unless your pet has special dietary needs.

2.  Wow, that is a crazy high gas bill - do they have a budget pay system where you pay $60/mo all year to even out the costs to make it more managable?

3.  Check out Amazon Prime as an alternative to Netflix - not saying that one is better than the other, but I like it more, plus shipping benefits.

4.  Virgin mobile at $30/mo works for us.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Terrestrial on October 07, 2014, 01:33:13 PM
My situation is kind of similar...I am the one that always tries and clamps down on money, my wife worries/plans alot less and tends to spend more (though in general she is really pretty good about it...so I try not to get too worked up).

Things to remember (what I try to remember for myself when I start getting cranky about it):

-A happy wife and children will bring you much more joy than a larger $ ammt in your account or being able to stop working a year or two sooner.  You aren't talking about spending less just to barely scrape by here (a valid reason to clamp down), you are talking about not always hitting a quite good 40% savings rate every month...not that bad.

-Money might make parts of your life a little better but it never made anybody really 'happy'.  Family does.  Push comes to shove 99% of people here would trade their entire stash for their wife and kids if it came down to it.

-Money can't save a marriage but it sure can ruin one.  Once you get past the point of no return no amount of $$ in the world will put it back together.  Seen this one up close and personal with a wealthy aunt/uncle.

-My savings rate and net worth would be alot worse after my (ex)wife takes half of it.

Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: COlady on October 07, 2014, 01:55:13 PM
We buy Costco pet food. I did a bit of research before switching and found that it's actually really good food, a lot better than the more expensive stuff we were giving our dog.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on October 07, 2014, 02:15:31 PM
It sounds like you feel squeezed being the sole breadwinner. Last year, you were part of a DINK couple; now you are supporting a family of three by yourself.

I'm not unsympathetic. But stop taking it out on your wife :-). You don't mention that she's spending all day scarfing bonbons and shopping at Baby Gap. Her life has changed a lot, too.

Congrats on new baby and good luck!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: RichMoose on October 07, 2014, 02:21:30 PM
Pet food can be a huge expense if you're feeding expensive brands, especially prescription foods. Here are some tips a really good friend of mine shared with me for my dog. He has worked as a dog trainer, animal control, qualified dog behaviorist and is generally very knowledgeable all around as he has dedicated his life to dogs.

1. Make sure you don't over feed. Many, many people just put the bowl out and keep it filled. This makes pets fat, causes lots of health problems, and can actually cause behaviour problems as well. Small dogs: feed once a day. Large dogs: feed twice a day. You should have food volume guidelines on the pet food bag or website. For example, my Lhasa Apso gets about 3/4 cup per day of Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
2. Skip the vets prescribed food. The whole thing is a scam and vets love selling it because they have huge markups on it. You should research what the vet is recommending you. There are actually no medical prescription ingredients in most of the brands they sell.
3. Feed a high quality dog food with high protein content, no grains corn or soy, and as little artificial ingredients as possible. Kirkland pet food is a great, reasonable priced choice. If your pet has allergies (which apparently is a common vet diagnosis that's often inaccurate), there are off the shelf options for that too which are reasonably priced.
4. Take your dog for proper walks every day. If its a big, or active breed dog throw a ball or frisbee in addition to your walk. This goes a long way to reducing health problems (which of course translate to vet costs).

On the vehicle note, now that your wife is home and potentially not returning to work, would selling one vehicle be an option? That could reduce costs quite a bit.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: studentdoc2 on October 07, 2014, 02:23:17 PM
We buy Costco pet food. I did a bit of research before switching and found that it's actually really good food, a lot better than the more expensive stuff we were giving our dog.

Ditto. We were on Blue Buffalo for our Great Dane (they need some special attention). If I recall correctly, Blue Buffalo is given a food rating of A+ by most sites, and the Kirkland Costco food is given an A or A-. Our dog has been plenty happy on his "down-graded" food, and our budget has been happier too!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Gin1984 on October 07, 2014, 02:25:06 PM
Could you refi to a 15 year and pay about the same but lower interest?  Then maybe you won't feel like you have to pay it down.  I'd switch to paying the Roth amount into your 401k, save the taxes, fix the fact that you are getting a refund and use that $3000 to partially fund the Roth.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis on October 07, 2014, 02:50:47 PM
VirginiaBob - I've tried to talk her out of the expensive dog and cat food and it hasn't worked so far.  Partly could be the way I'm expressing my opinion too.  The gas company likely does budgeting throughout the year but I like paying for what I actually use instead of having them sit on the extra.  In the summer, the bill is $20 (only tankless hot water).  Not sure about Virgin Mobile but I've mentioned other providers like Republic and even before I get to how it works, she tells me she really likes T-Mobile and knows it works well for her.  Her bill is about $60 a month.

Terrestrial - I do need to look at it that way.  I would trade it all for my wife and baby.  I love them and they keep me sane :)

COlady - No Costco in the area but we do have BJs which seems like it is the same thing.  The pet food discussion will be attempted again but I don't want to push too hard because I'm a nagger.

FrugalParagon - I am feeling the squeeze but I was just as frustrated when we both worked.  She certainly is not scarfing bon bons and shopping at Baby Gap lol.  She's definitely not a big spender for herself, it's spending for others (Xmas-time and the pets).

TuxedoEagle - We are good about not overfeeding although they don't get enough exercise.  I'll mention about the prescription food, she is just concerned that the one with UT problems will cost us more in vet fees if we cheapen on food.

Studentdoc2 - I'll have to check if BJs offers that food as an option since we do not have Costco nearby.  Either way, pet food conversations are a tough battle.

Gin1984 - What you're saying makes sense although I did not go down to a 15 because with a 30, I have the option of putting nothing extra on our mortgage instead of the forced 200-300 with the 15 year.  If my savings were better (from a "now money", non retirement, non principal perspective) it would make sense to do what you're saying. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: MountainGal on October 07, 2014, 03:35:38 PM
krambigmac, perhaps it's a matter of picking your battles?  A conversation DH and I had years ago when we first started living together (pre-marriage) comes to mind:

DH:  You think everything over $20 is expensive.
Me:  So are you calling me cheap or frugal?!

Recently he purchased 3 DVDs from Amazon:  "You have to hit a certain dollar figure for the free shipping, you know."  I held my tongue.  He hasn't cancelled satellite yet, we have a new Netflix account, and soon will start Hulu.  Further, we have plenty of DVDs, VHS, etc. to choose from.

What I *haven't* been holding my tongue about is reminding him to go online to max out his 401K.  :)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: norabird on October 07, 2014, 03:51:17 PM
I know you want to save more--but you are doing well, really. Don't expect perfection or beat yourself up for not being at some crazy high rate. People do manage it, but you're not there yet--and that's okay. Enjoy the security you have, step back enough to realize that worry is the wrong reaction to your situation, and enjoy the new baby! :)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Thegoblinchief on October 07, 2014, 03:53:38 PM
Who does the majority of the shopping? Do you have a budget? Are you sticking to the budget?

Come up with a budget you can both agree on. As long as you stick to it, there doesn't have to be friction over every individual purchase.

I'm not a pet person. I also think prepaying your mortgage, even at that rate, is dumb compared to the long term benefits of maxing tax advantaged accounts.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: GardenFun on October 07, 2014, 03:58:09 PM
What is the cost difference between Costco and Blue Buffalo?  Are you looking at $10 or 50$/month?  Can you show what investing that difference would look like after 10-18 years at 7%?  Does it fund 2 years of your child's education?  ($600/yr x 18 years @ 7% = $20,400)

Parent's dog lived to 13 and cat to 23.  Besides the yearly vet visit, they ate relatively cheap food (and mice...and birds...and other nasty stuff they found in the backyard).  Both were mutts so maybe that was a factor? 

Otherwise, it is easy to cross over into the Cheap Dimension.  Sometimes reading these comments about 80%+ savings rate makes me feel like an idiot.  But everyone's path is different.  Take time to enjoy yours as a family. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: epipenguin on October 07, 2014, 04:17:40 PM
I'm another Costco pet food person. I save enough on just cat food (compared to the organic stuff they used to get) to cover the Costco membership fee. One thing that struck me was that if your wife is reluctant to change the pet food, can you find a supply of the same brand for less money on the internet? That might be an option to start with.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: deborah on October 07, 2014, 06:26:09 PM
Insulating your house is something you can do yourself easily, and you can do it a little at a time. Your local hardware store probably runs free lessons on how to do it - every hardware store around here does. Weather stripping is using products (available in your hardware store) to remove gaps where the wind blows in around your windows and doors. You can also seal the gaps around your skirting boards, or any holes in your structure (for instance where your fan will come out of your house, or where your gas goes in). There aren't many tools involved either, just take your time, and you can develop expertise.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: eman resu on October 07, 2014, 06:49:04 PM
Hi - Congrats on the new addition! What a great place you are in at only 30... 

I can't help but note that your post about not being so cheap has an Action Plan that seeks to be cheap in additional places.  You and your spouse have a new child and one of you has made a huge job change too.  Give each other a break about the $$$ for a bit and focus on other parts of the value proposition for awhile. It isn't (just) about saving more money. It's all a value proposition: Maybe, right now, it isn't weighing the "thing" you get against the $$$ you save/waste, but the feeling your spouse gets (as a once-but-no-longer income source) not having a purchase questioned, or the feeling you get letting go for a minute while you focus on how awesome you have done so far: exiting your 20s with cash in the bank, some equity in a house, and a spouse and kid.  Good on you and best of luck! 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: bonjourliz on October 07, 2014, 07:00:57 PM
To me, it sounds like you are doing great money-wise! 

A new baby is a big change.  It's not the time to come down hard on yourself (or your wife!).  With disrupted sleep, a whole new set of worries, and postpartum hormones.... which are real, let me tell you.... even an easy peasy baby is not. 

Commit to the partnership you and your wife have chosen. You are building a wonderful life together and this is a special time.  Don't lose sight of the forest for the trees.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: olivia on October 07, 2014, 07:09:26 PM
Could you start looking for a new job that's closer to home and/or pays more?  One surefire way to save more is to make more money. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: SailAway on October 07, 2014, 08:21:27 PM
We buy Costco pet food. I did a bit of research before switching and found that it's actually really good food, a lot better than the more expensive stuff we were giving our dog.
Could you share? We feed the cat grain-free dry food and I got excited when I saw Costco had grain-free food. But my research led to it being produced by Diamond, which has a high incidence of contamination and poisoning pets. It wasn't a risk I was willing to take.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: boarder42 on October 08, 2014, 07:25:33 AM
we feed our dogs Taste of the Wild .  Buy it in bulk for 30 bucks for 40 lbs when it goes on sale.  i did a calc on cost of cheap vs expensive.  and the cheap food actually costs you more and all it does is produce more poo.  you cant look at dollars per pound of food.  you have to look at the recommended amount of food ... that cheap food is sometimes 3-4x the amount of food for the same size dog as TotW. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Paradise on October 08, 2014, 07:43:57 AM
BJs dog food folks here - their grain free/natural bag is 16 lbs (?) for $20. We were feeding the dogs dry Canadae (pricey, but not quite as much as BB) and moved to a blend of the Canadae and the BJs - really helps stretch the food and the budget.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: CowboyAndIndian on October 08, 2014, 07:48:49 AM
Quote
I can be a controlling jerk which pains me because she totally does not deserve any of it, I am just way too high strung and eventually, it won't be good for the two of us.
Remember, from her point of view

At this time,  you have to cut down your criticism. She is going thru some major changes and needs your support instead of criticism.

"Happy Wife, Happy Life" should be your motto.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: mlipps on October 08, 2014, 08:23:48 AM
I feel like we're all going in circles on the pet food, but the attic isn't insulated and they live in New England! Surely some of our fearless DIY'ers can offer OP help on how to vent his kitchen & bathroom properly so he can insulate his house instead of adding to the chorus of pet food ideas! Anyone??
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: 4alpacas on October 08, 2014, 09:23:57 AM
we feed our dogs Taste of the Wild .  Buy it in bulk for 30 bucks for 40 lbs when it goes on sale.  i did a calc on cost of cheap vs expensive.  and the cheap food actually costs you more and all it does is produce more poo.  you cant look at dollars per pound of food.  you have to look at the recommended amount of food ... that cheap food is sometimes 3-4x the amount of food for the same size dog as TotW.
We also buy Taste of the Wild.  Where do you get it for $30?  I thought I was doing well when I bought a few bags for $35 from chewy.com. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis on October 08, 2014, 09:52:01 AM
4alpacas - We did start using chewy.com although we haven't started the auto ship yet

MountainGal - I do need to seriously pick my battles.  I was reading another post with someone who had a newborn and the advice was to wait it out a bit and give warning before the discussions start.  I think I'll go that root and try to lead by example as much as possible until Xmas passes.  I'd love to be maxing out my 401k.  It amazes me how many people are able to do it but more power to them.  I think my mindset is stuck on the fact I can't get that money until I am 59.5 and what if I need it beforehand?  I feel more comfortable in having the extra equity in my home.

Norabird - Thanks.  I do worry more than I probably should.  We are doing pretty well compared to most of the population by saving anything at all.

Thegoblinchief - We share the shopping and we are pretty hardcore with tracking every penny.  We have tried budgets(back in the Dave Ramsey listening days) and could never get them to work well so we track each expense in the "money book" instead.  I think that does contribute to a lot of the friction as I scrutinize every purchase rather than letting a budget guide us.

Deborah - I'll take a look at the local stores for lessons on insulating and weatherstripping, Ace Hardware is my bike-able store but they are rather small so if not them, I'm sure Lowe's or Home Depot could help me out.

Eman resu and Bonjourliz - I'll try chilling out a bit with every penny and just try to lead by example.  She isn't a purse buyer, shoe collector, jewelry lover, etc so I think I'm already ahead of the norm on the expenditure front.  I tend to get stuck in the trees a lot.

Olivia - I'm actually surprised no one else mentioned that but there was a lot of meat in my post to chew on.  I really should work closer to home.  There is one Corporate office within 5 miles of my home but I don't know if I want to switch to that company.  I'm always afraid that if I end up disliking it more than the current job, it's hard to go back and I would also lose my vacation time (10 yrs at my current company = 4 weeks vacation)  I do know a couple of people who switched so I should at least send an email to get more of an idea how it is.  Besides there, I don't know of other companies close by besides retail stores but I'm not a fan of retail(worked it before corporate) plus if I were a store manager, I'd likely get paid the same or less while not knowing when and where I would be transferred.  I did actually get a 6-7% raise today which, not being year end, is pretty unheard of at my company.  That should be about $200 extra per month after factoring in tax and adding my little boy to insurance this month.

mlipps - You're right.  Fixing the venting/insulating issue has to give me the best ROI.  Heck, I've never even been in my attic, only poked my head up there once.

Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: socaso on October 08, 2014, 10:38:02 AM
I just want to say that I really admire how you seem to be taking everyone's advice into consideration. I think it's great that you are reaching out for advice. Having a new baby is such a big adjustment time in a marriage. Our son is 2.5 now and there is so much we are still learning about him and about each other. Overall it has made our marriage and our communication much stronger.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Noodle on October 08, 2014, 11:17:30 AM
If I were you, I would

1. Take a deep breath and remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. The big pieces are in place, and if it takes another six months to reach a point where you can come to a harmonious decision on household spending, the extra money that it will cost in the meantime is nothing next to the investment you are making in a happy marriage.
2. When your wife is feeling up to it (ie not sleep deprived), I would dial the conversation back to the big picture of--you are worried because you doing well with long-term savings every month, but not short-term savings (for emergencies and fun things like vacations). What does she think the solution is? What are you thinking about?
3. Start working on the parts you can handle (like attic insulation). Trust that she will get to her parts when she is able.
4. Start work on the job hunt, to get that commute down. (28 miles is a long way in New England winters). Don't let inertia and fear of the unknown keep you from trying. When you have a job offer in hand, it will be plenty of time to worry about whether it's as good as your current situation (and we will be happy to give you advice!)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Jon_Snow on October 08, 2014, 11:30:35 AM
I'd say my wife is on board about 80% in terms of going "all-in" on Mustachianism. Seeing as though she was OK with me quitting my job while she continues to work (though technically, she doesn't NEED to) I'm quite alright with this.

She has said she might want to do the ANTI-Mustachian thing and actually RAMP UP our lifestyle once she retires... if that's what she wants, and wants to continue to build the Stache further (3M net worth by the time she ER's? It's possible, though my frugal DNA screams "WE DON'T NEED THAT!") then fine.

Anyway, realistically, I can't harp on her spending needlessly (or what I deem to be needless) on the occasional thing if she is working while I am living the "Life of Riley". That could start to sow dangerous seeds in our marriage that I would not want to start germinating.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: sky_northern on October 08, 2014, 11:33:25 AM

I'm always afraid that if I end up disliking it more than the current job, it's hard to go back and I would also lose my vacation time (10 yrs at my current company = 4 weeks vacation)  I do know a couple of people who switched so I should at least send an email to get more of an idea how it is.  Besides there, I don't know of other companies close by besides retail stores but I'm not a fan of retail(worked it before corporate) plus if I were a store manager, I'd likely get paid the same or less while not knowing when and where I would be transferred.  I did actually get a 6-7% raise today which, not being year end, is pretty unheard of at my company.  That should be about $200 extra per month after factoring in tax and adding my little boy to insurance this month.
Contacting people you know at the other company would be a good start?  Is vacation time something you could possible negotiate in your contract when you get hired? (I don't know anything about that, I'm unionized so we don't negotiate anything one-on-one but I get the benefits of union negotiation and just got bumped up to 5 weeks vacation with my current 7 yrs at my job)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: retired? on October 08, 2014, 11:57:24 AM
On spending side, you are doing very well.

I recommend focusing on the income side - Ebay, etc. as you mention.  Sounds like a couple extra $1k would help a good bit.  Creative ideas are elsewhere on the forum.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Gone Fishing on October 08, 2014, 03:37:43 PM
I feel your pain.  I can squeeze my discretionary spending down to near nothing and actually enjoy doing it.  Like Jon, my wife is about 80% on board.  Compared to the rest of the general population, she is great, but I can not hold her to my own personal standards, it is just too much for her.  Also I have become a little more intense as my FIRE date approaches.  As a compromise, I just ask that she help keep us with in our monthly (agreed upon) budget, and I will not micromanage specific expenses.  I try to project out once or twice a month how much is left after known expenses and encourage her to hold off on discretionary items until near the end of the month in case something pops up.       
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Mrs. Frugalwoods on October 08, 2014, 08:12:44 PM
Echoing what others have alluded to, have you and your wife had an in-depth conversation about your long-term life goals? Just wondering if you've outlined what you both want to get out of life and how your financial decisions will/won't get you there? You may have already done this (and this may be totally unhelpful advice :) ), but, just throwing it out there that perhaps a much bigger picture conversation is in order.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bob W on October 08, 2014, 09:00:04 PM
Try using condoms in the future.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Dicey on October 08, 2014, 10:07:17 PM
OP, you are asking good questions and seem to be taking in the best responses, which is good. Please note than moms of newborns need to be given a lot of leeway and then some more. For now, focus your efforts instead on making your home more energy efficient and teaching yourself how your home systems work. (Hint: You Tube and Google are your new best friends.)

Next, forget about prepaying the mortgage unless and until you are maxing out every retirement vehicle available to you. Oh, if you want to retire early you are going to need another butt-load of money in taxable investments. You can't buy groceries or pay taxes with home equity and the more you save early, the less you will have to save to fund a kick-ass retirement. You can always pay off the mortgage later, after you have amassed some serious cash. Good on you for understanding why a 30 year mortgage has advantages over a 15 year.

Final piece of advice: try to stop stressing about money. It's stealing from this precious time with your wife and baby. Celebrate the good and let the rest ride a bit until everyone has adjusted to your new life.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis on October 09, 2014, 03:03:01 PM
Socaso - Thank you.  I'm trying to take all the advice I can because although I'm doing pretty well, I don't have nearly all the answers.

Noodle - I am learning that it's not a sprint.  Part of me is jealous of the MMM story which makes me feel like at 30, I'm way behind but I guess I'm really not.  I am trying to find a good way to discuss goals with my wife.  That has been missing in our conversations.  She probably just thinks I'm cheap for the fun of it.  Gotta do the attic insulation and work on the commute although I know the insulation part is a little easier.  Fear of the unknown is killing me and I know it isn't a quick fix.

Sky_northern - I think vacation time can be negotiated.  Again it's fear of the unknown.  I will contact the woman I know at the other place just to get her opinions and see if there are openings.

Retired? - Income definitely needs to go up.  $50k/yr gross won't get us retired quickly but I'm not stuck at that forever and Ebay has been pretty good to me the past year or so.

Mrs. Frugalwoods - We really haven't had that long term goal conversation.  That should have been step 1.  I don't really know how to start that conversation but I will give it a whirl tonight.  I'll try it like a brainstorming session.

Bob Werner - Condoms just don't feel right... but actually we planned for a couple of years to have a child.  I may have money concerns but making a family was top priority and also can have time limit constraints.

Diane C - I will start using Youtube more for education on home systems.  Like I said somewhere else, that is likely my biggest short term ROI.  I get what you're saying about the mortgage and I think it's the Dave Ramsey baby steps that got their hook into me.  Since I am doing the $5500 for Roth IRA, that seems to be maxed (Her working later on may double that but she isn't the type to want to save in things we can't touch for a long time.)  The 401k I could do a lot more but with the short term savings being very small, I've shied away from putting more in.  And finally, I will try to keep the stress down but it isn't easy.  Even last night, I was biting my tongue on things and it was a struggle to even leave the light on in the other room for a few minutes.  I just get neurotic at times.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: boarder42 on October 09, 2014, 03:31:53 PM
we feed our dogs Taste of the Wild .  Buy it in bulk for 30 bucks for 40 lbs when it goes on sale.  i did a calc on cost of cheap vs expensive.  and the cheap food actually costs you more and all it does is produce more poo.  you cant look at dollars per pound of food.  you have to look at the recommended amount of food ... that cheap food is sometimes 3-4x the amount of food for the same size dog as TotW.
We also buy Taste of the Wild.  Where do you get it for $30?  I thought I was doing well when I bought a few bags for $35 from chewy.com.

Just found it at petflow for 33.50 if you have a BofA credit or debit card and activate the extra 10% off bonus.  use code BIG20 to get 20% off. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: RelaxedGal on October 10, 2014, 01:41:11 PM
Even last night, I was biting my tongue on things and it was a struggle to even leave the light on in the other room for a few minutes.  I just get neurotic at times.

LED light bulbs my friend.  Mass Save deal runs through Sunday, 3 LED's for $9 and free shipping.  Available to Massachusetts customers only.

https://www.techniart.com/facebook/

I point that out because I'm excited about the promo, but the gist is to minimize the arguments.  I love the idea from others to have a budget and as long as you stay within it it doesn't matter how you do it.  My husband throws his hands up at some of my priorities and I with his, but in general the ship stays the course.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Hunny156 on October 10, 2014, 02:26:22 PM
I just discovered this last week, so I wanted to share.  Do you have a Tractor Supply nearby?  If so, check out their pet food section.  I have cats, and we do their Dry food from Costco, the savings cover the membership cost and then some.  The wet food is a bigger issue, they adore it!  We tried doing better quality foods, but my cats, they like McDonalds, which is Friskies in the cat world.  So I usually stock up cases when they go on sale.

Well, Tractor Supply has two levels of their brand of pet food.  One is called Paws & Claws - comparable to lower end pet food, but cheaper than the name brands.  I can't recall the name of the other one, but the ingredients are almost identical to some of the higher quality stuff, but for the same regular price of Friskies!  I bought a handful of each flavor, both grades, to see if the finicky felines would eat it.  So far, they like both.  I probably won't be able to replace Friskies completely, but this adds some variety and lowers my costs a little, while sometimes shoving better quality food in their diet.  Win win in my book.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: RapmasterD on October 10, 2014, 02:33:11 PM
I know you want to save more--but you are doing well, really. Don't expect perfection or beat yourself up for not being at some crazy high rate. People do manage it, but you're not there yet--and that's okay. Enjoy the security you have, step back enough to realize that worry is the wrong reaction to your situation, and enjoy the new baby! :)

I agree. You need to count your 401K and IRA savings against your estimated tally. And jesus, we're really talking about pet food being any more than a rounding error here? I'll grant that you DO have a lot of pets...Oops!
----------
HOLD ON FOR A SECOND. You're only 30? Dude, you need to ease up...on yourself and your wife, perhaps mostly on yourself. And did I mention that you have a lot of pets?
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: KBlynx on October 10, 2014, 03:35:58 PM
I'm not here to give advice but I wanted to say thank you for your post. Thank you also for your honesty.

I'm in your shoes, kinda-sorta. My SO and I live together, make almost exactly the same amount of money and split housing related bills. I end up paying for the majority of everything else (ex.groceries, outings, repairs, 100% of child related costs, anything unplanned or emergency related) because he has debt and I don't.  It makes him upset that he can't help more and sometimes I get really angry about it and flip my lid. It isn't fair or kind and I'm working on it.

 He isn't sold on the MMM lifestyle either but he's patient with my plans and rants. He was raised in a very Christain family that views money as a necessary evil that you don't talk about, and don't worry about because God provides. It's really hard for him to talk about money, and I worry about it daily so we 'esplode! volcano style at times (by we I mean me).

That said your family of three are MUCH further on your way @ 30 than we are at 33. You are doing awesome!

Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: 4alpacas on October 10, 2014, 03:36:22 PM
we feed our dogs Taste of the Wild .  Buy it in bulk for 30 bucks for 40 lbs when it goes on sale.  i did a calc on cost of cheap vs expensive.  and the cheap food actually costs you more and all it does is produce more poo.  you cant look at dollars per pound of food.  you have to look at the recommended amount of food ... that cheap food is sometimes 3-4x the amount of food for the same size dog as TotW.
We also buy Taste of the Wild.  Where do you get it for $30?  I thought I was doing well when I bought a few bags for $35 from chewy.com.

Just found it at petflow for 33.50 if you have a BofA credit or debit card and activate the extra 10% off bonus.  use code BIG20 to get 20% off.

Awesome!  Thanks!  I guess it's time to stock up on dog food.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: DarinC on October 10, 2014, 05:47:14 PM
I've found it's best to frame things in percent of income rather than trying to convince my wife that purchase "Y" isn't a good idea. We dedicate roughly 15% of our post-tax/healthcare/necessity (food/housing/transport/necessary clothing) spending to discretionary purchases.

If my wife wants to spend $700 on an iphone 5 rather than go on vacation with me to Peru, that's her call. And if I want to build my own 3D printer/CNC machine instead of going to France with her, then that's my call. We're both respectful adults.

I'm also leaning towards incentives for the time/effort we put into reducing our costs. For instance, if she takes $7000 of her own money, installs PV panels, and our electric bill is cut by $70/month, then that money ($35/each) would go into her discretionary budget because she funding (in terms of time/money) that cost reduction and she should be the one to benefit for it. Similarly, if I start baking our bread, the money we were spending on bread should go to me.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: VirginiaBob 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: hdatontodo 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Primm 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Gin1984 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: RockinLife 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. 

Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: norabird 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: begood 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: begood 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: RetiredAt63 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!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Primm 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Juju 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: mm1970 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: homehandymum 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 :)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: justajane 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: homehandymum 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: justajane 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Proud Foot 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).
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: step-through 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. :)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: resy 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 :)
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: CanuckExpat 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: mlipps 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. 
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Lentils5eva 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!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: GardenFun 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Ellsie Equanimity 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!
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: jeromedawg on April 23, 2015, 03:23:51 PM
nm... lol didn't realize this post was from AGES ago :D
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Kiwi Mustache 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: Bettis 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.
Title: Re: Frugal vs Cheap/"Ruining Marriage?" posts
Post by: norabird 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.