Author Topic: how to get my gf to become more frugal  (Read 14489 times)

Falconer

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how to get my gf to become more frugal
« on: December 15, 2013, 11:24:31 PM »
Hi there,
this is my first serious post on here and I hope to get some advice.

Since I finished school and during university I have spend very little money, simply due to the fact that I earned very little and the thought of taking on dept is totally wrong to me. My family has never really spend much money on fancy things, like cars or expensive technology so I am pretty much the same.  My dear girlfriend of 2 years on the other hand comes from a family where I would say they have always spend quite a lot of their income, meaning the father who is the only person earning money has to do a job he hates and can't even think about retiring at the age of 50.

Now we are planning on starting a family together in 5 years and I want to make sure to have our finances in order. She believes due to her parents example that children and life are expensive and there is just no way around it.

Don't get me wrong, she is not your ass on fire crazy with her spending, but she does have a car loan for another year, (at least she only got it for 2 year and at 2.5% interest) and she does like spending money on fancy cloth and is for some reason convinced she needs the new Ipad even though she already has a macbook and an iphone 5s.

But her real problem is going out for dinners. Due to her job as cabin crew it can be very difficult to plan meals and grocery shopping. 2 days home 2 days flying, 1 day home 5 days flying etc. So she has developed the bad habit of just going out for food on the days she is here. I try to force her to make more food at home by bringing ingredients with me or planning the meals for her. but often she is also too lazy to do it, the job is very hard on her.

When she does go grocery shopping it always has to be the high end shops. As she is convinced the quality is just so much better. Even though most of the stuff is just the same.

How can I encourage her to think differently or help her change the way she does things?


JamesAt15

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 12:09:51 AM »
First, there is the quoting of scripture.  ;-)  MMM has written at least a couple of articles about this subject, so if you haven't seen them you may want to read the articles below to see some of his ideas.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/25/having-the-talk-with-a-current-or-potential-mate/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/22/selling-the-dream-how-to-make-your-spouse-love-frugality/

It is a difficult thing to try to get a SO to change their way of thinking about something that may be at the subconscious level and the root of many of the ways they spend their life and money. You can talk with them about how your own new views on money and how it should be used and spent, but it won't automatically mean that they'll embrace it and do the same. Regardless of how persuasive you are.

I think the best you can do is try to walk the walk the best you can yourself, and let her see by your example how it works for you. Are your finances separate or mixed? Will she be able to see as the months go by that your bills are always paid promptly, that you don't rack up credit card charges, that you just aren't that interested in accumulating pricey new things when what you have already is fine? That you are just as happy with your low-spending habits as she is with her high-spending, and that you have less stress and money worries as a result?

ShortInSeattle

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 12:11:37 AM »
I could type up a long reply but I think MMM nailed it.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/22/selling-the-dream-how-to-make-your-spouse-love-frugality/

It sounds like you are nagging her, which rarely makes people change. Why not instead set some joint financial goals and put a plan in place. Then see if you can both follow the plan.

And for the love of God have some deep conversations on what her expectations are from a husband. What you laid out sounds untenable to me. (Suck it up and suffer for the family...)

Aligned Expectations = Happiness
Different Expectations = Divorce and/or Misery

Talk it out. :)






marty998

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 12:21:32 AM »
But her real problem is going out for dinners. Due to her job as cabin crew it can be very difficult to plan meals and grocery shopping. 2 days home 2 days flying, 1 day home 5 days flying etc. So she has developed the bad habit of just going out for food on the days she is here. I try to force her to make more food at home by bringing ingredients with me or planning the meals for her. but often she is also too lazy to do it, the job is very hard on her.


Question. If you just got off a plane serving hundreds of pissed off passengers (because don't you know after going through security every passenger becomes a horrible nasty angry mutant freak), would you want to spend your downtime in the kitchen? I didn't think so. If you buy the ingredients and plan the meal why can't you cook it for her and freeze it or leave it in the fridge?


Falconer

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 03:16:13 AM »
Hi, thank you for the reply. I had read one of the articles but not the other.

Our finances are separate and will be until I feel we are on the same page.

In regards to setting a good example. I already try to do that as much as I can. She does not really have to pay bills or even rent as it is all covered by the airline. All she has to worry about is paying for food, hence the high spending on that.

We do not life together and due to company regulations I can not even get into her building until she is home. I already make as many meals as I can but when she comes back from a Sydney flight at 3 am, I am still asleep in bed. But the idea of making frozen meals is a good one. would bring down prices as well as I can make bigger batches. I Might mean need to invest in a good second hand freezer but luckily you can get almost new stuff for knock of prices.

I think what I will propose is that we both contribute to our monthly food budget and I do the grocery shopping + meal prep. I think if she contributes 30% it is fair. As I eat much more than her and I am here all month.

In regards to passengers: the stuff people do when on a plane is just amazing. Someone should write a book about it.

dragoncar

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 02:20:32 PM »
But her real problem is going out for dinners. Due to her job as cabin crew it can be very difficult to plan meals and grocery shopping. 2 days home 2 days flying, 1 day home 5 days flying etc. So she has developed the bad habit of just going out for food on the days she is here. I try to force her to make more food at home by bringing ingredients with me or planning the meals for her. but often she is also too lazy to do it, the job is very hard on her.


Question. If you just got off a plane serving hundreds of pissed off passengers (because don't you know after going through security every passenger becomes a horrible nasty angry mutant freak), would you want to spend your downtime in the kitchen? I didn't think so. If you buy the ingredients and plan the meal why can't you cook it for her and freeze it or leave it in the fridge?

Exactly.  Cook for her.  Problem solved.


CommonCents

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 02:40:31 PM »
Hi, thank you for the reply. I had read one of the articles but not the other.

Our finances are separate and will be until I feel we are on the same page.

In regards to setting a good example. I already try to do that as much as I can. She does not really have to pay bills or even rent as it is all covered by the airline. All she has to worry about is paying for food, hence the high spending on that.

We do not life together and due to company regulations I can not even get into her building until she is home. I already make as many meals as I can but when she comes back from a Sydney flight at 3 am, I am still asleep in bed. But the idea of making frozen meals is a good one. would bring down prices as well as I can make bigger batches. I Might mean need to invest in a good second hand freezer but luckily you can get almost new stuff for knock of prices.

I think what I will propose is that we both contribute to our monthly food budget and I do the grocery shopping + meal prep. I think if she contributes 30% it is fair. As I eat much more than her and I am here all month.

In regards to passengers: the stuff people do when on a plane is just amazing. Someone should write a book about it.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't...

Yeah, so you can't force her to change her ways.  All you can do is help her want to change them and make it easier to do so.  Show her what she could do if she cut back.  Do a blind taste test on two items and ask her if she can guess which is which (more expensive v. less), and whether it's worth X more, or annualized Y.  As discussed you can cook for her or with her. 

And, you can also understand that she's got very low overhead and we all have vices.  (From her perspective she may be thinking "He's paying good money on high rent and utilities, when he could be living for free if he became an apartment manager!")

If you want to be precise, figure out the days she's away on average, and then work out a joint bill based on it.  If you eat more, then perhaps apply a 60/40 split on top of it.  (Basically, I think it sounds like from your example that she eats at home less than 30% of the time, and that's before tacking on that you eat more than her.)

Elaine

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 02:45:37 PM »
You should definitely talk about your long-term goals with her and for your own life, rather than making it about how she goes out to eat and spends too much, frame it in a way that's positive for both of you (e.g. "Wouldn't it be great if when we have a family we can both be home to take care of the kids?") Really highlight how you'll be able to be there for each other. Whenever I spoke with my SO about budgeting and cutting back, all he heard was criticism and that I wanted to take something away. When I told him I wanted him to be able to retire in 10-15 years his attitude suddenly changed. I described getting up late when we want to, having so much more time together, him having time to do more music, me being able to write more, etc. Suddenly he saw the forest instead of the tree.

If, on the other hand, she is fully expecting you to support her like her mom was supported- you may need to have a much more serious discussion. I am female and consider myself a pretty hardcore feminist, but I do think that some women (mostly because of what was modeled at home) don't feel they need to have their finances that in order, they feel that's the right guy will come along and sort of take care of it for them. But only you can know that, best of luck and definitely check out those MMM articles.

jflo

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 11:07:30 AM »
You might be asleep when she gets home, but you can leave a sweet text reminding her there's a meal already in her freezer that she just needs to pop into the microwave.  Then she doesn't even need to stop for take out.  Particularly sweet if it's something tasty and healthy that you made.

Agree with the other posts - admonishment doesn't work.  Instead, make saving money better/healthier/easier than spending.

Also set goals together on mint that you can track and get excited about.  She's going to have some differences of opinion on what money should go towards, but get the overall goals on track.

Insanity

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 11:18:47 AM »
Aligned Expectations = Happiness
Different Expectations = Divorce and/or Misery

Just print this and frame it.  I might do that.


MrsPete

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 11:35:43 AM »
You definitely need to agree on how you'll spend your money before you marry and begin a family.  You may shift your thinking after the fact, but you need to begin together on solid ground.  Even if it causes friction between you, do not go ahead with any plans before you reach an agreement. 

You said food is a problem. Start with that.   If you can attack and solve that one problem, she'll see a difference in your budget, and she'll be open to hearing your suggestions for other topics.  On the other hand, if you try to do too many things at once, you'll likely meet more resistance.

Having said that, I think you may be expecting too much on the meals-out thing.  Her schedule is something of a nightmare for food preparation.  I think you can improve the problem, but I wouldn't expect a person with her schedule to find a way to completely switch over to a nearly 100% home-cooked from-scratch lifestyle.  Admit to yourself that while home-cooked meals all the time are the ideal, the circumstances of your lifestyle may prevent that ideal from being possible in your situation. 

I can, however, see a number of ways you might improve the situation, and that's what might work best. 

- The biggest problem is that she comes home tired and exhausted from several days of work /time zone changes.  You make yourself responsible for having a lovely glad-you're-home meal waiting when she arrives.  Tablecloth.  Real dishes.  Wine.  Reluctant spouses are often more willing to make changes when they see that you are doing your part. 

- You make yourself responsible for keeping the pantry stocked so that she can cook once she arrives home.  Ask her to email you with a shopping list. 

- Use a grocery delivery system.  Two of our local grocery stores have this, and a friend of mine with two toddlers said it is worth the $4.95 fee to pull her car up to the front door and have a stock boy run out with her prepared bags.  If your girl travels with a tablet or computer, she could use layover time to place her order /pay for the groceries with a credit card. 

- Agree that her first night's dinner will be a meal out.  Always.  Then once she's rested, comfortably returned home . . . THEN you'll launch into thrifty homemade meals.

- Research foods that can be prepared with only shelf-stable goods (look into food storage recipes from the LDS church).  These aren't as healthy or as varied as a usual diet, but if you could have some meals ready on the shelf, you wouldn't find yourself forced to go out.   

- When you cook something, double or triple it and freeze the extra meals (sometimes called batch cooking -- I love it myself because, for example, a big pot of homemade soup is the same work as a little pot, but you can eat from it much longer).  Lasagna, chili, and enchiladas, for example, are great freezer meals.  This'll allow her some quick and easy things to cook.  Since they'll need to defrost, they'll not help for your first-meal home, but cutting down on the work would be a step in the right direction. 

- Part of the problem may be that she's not willing to invest in food, knowing that it'll spoil while she's away.  If this is indeed a problem, consider buying the smallest portions, even if they're not the best value.  And consider freezing what you can freeze (for example, last night I had 1/2 gallon of buttermilk, which I use only for frying chicken and making cornbread -- I used one portion, and I froze the rest in 1/4 cup portions). 

- Finally, can she cook well?  If she's not a good cook, her lack of knowledge or insecurity about her abilities might be hidden by complaints about time and convenience.  If that's so, perhaps a gift of a couple simple cookbooks could put her on the right track (many new books contain pictures so you know you're doing the right thing).  And if you cook together and show an interest in what she's cooking, you may find her abilities will grow quickly. 


Russ

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 11:40:54 AM »
or just break up with her. nobody ever mentions that.

MrsPete

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 11:45:30 AM »
I think what I will propose is that we both contribute to our monthly food budget and I do the grocery shopping + meal prep. I think if she contributes 30% it is fair. As I eat much more than her and I am here all month . . .

If you want to be precise, figure out the days she's away on average, and then work out a joint bill based on it.  If you eat more, then perhaps apply a 60/40 split on top of it.  (Basically, I think it sounds like from your example that she eats at home less than 30% of the time, and that's before tacking on that you eat more than her.)
This all sounds very business-like, but you're talking about building a life together.  I would not want to approach marriage and family with this mindset.  If this woman's going to be your wife and the mother of your children, don't count how much food she eats or how often each of you uses the house. 

Or, if you really think this is appropriate for the moment, talk about using this system for now . . . but make it clear that once you're married, you're going to an "it's all ours" and we're in agreement on how much we save, etc. concept. 


CommonCents

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 12:11:50 PM »
I think what I will propose is that we both contribute to our monthly food budget and I do the grocery shopping + meal prep. I think if she contributes 30% it is fair. As I eat much more than her and I am here all month . . .

If you want to be precise, figure out the days she's away on average, and then work out a joint bill based on it.  If you eat more, then perhaps apply a 60/40 split on top of it.  (Basically, I think it sounds like from your example that she eats at home less than 30% of the time, and that's before tacking on that you eat more than her.)
This all sounds very business-like, but you're talking about building a life together.  I would not want to approach marriage and family with this mindset.  If this woman's going to be your wife and the mother of your children, don't count how much food she eats or how often each of you uses the house. 

Or, if you really think this is appropriate for the moment, talk about using this system for now . . . but make it clear that once you're married, you're going to an "it's all ours" and we're in agreement on how much we save, etc. concept.

I agree it's a business like approach.  It was more meant to challenge the OP's assumption that a 30/70 split was reasonable and have him think on that a little more with some facts/analysis.  (He wrote a total of 3 days home, 7 flying, which is about 30/70, except he also felt he ate more.)  I would most definitely agree I would not suggest doing this once married.  I also think it's less of a problem if they are living together and cooking together.

Everything in Moderation

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 01:20:54 PM »
I second that you cook for her.  Many serious boyfriends and husbands cook for their wives.  I think every person in a relationship helps the other person out with things that struggle with. 

Also, try to change your viewpoint.  Instead of saying, "Her problem is", say "WE struggle with cooking".  If you are planning on marrying her, start working on your relationship to move towards that now. 

brand new stash

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 01:33:01 PM »
I'm much more frugal than my husband. One thing that I find helps our marriage is for us to regularly talk about our goals, both short and long term, and to talk in concrete terms about how our current spending impacts those goals.   

So I recommend that conversation to you.  I don't know what each of your goals are, but one common goal of people who are considering marriage is to have children in the relatively near term.  If you have kids will she want to continue with the current flight schedule, or take a different path that would allow her to be home more?  If so, can saving money now allow that future goal to happen?  If so, what are the best ways to cut back on spending while minimizing loss of happiness from the spending?  Maybe there are areas where she would prefer to cut back rather than eating out, but laying out the goals and then talking through the solutions in concrete terms can help. 

galliver

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2013, 01:43:39 PM »
...everyone is ignoring that they clearly don't live together.

We do not life together and due to company regulations I can not even get into her building until she is home. I already make as many meals as I can but when she comes back from a Sydney flight at 3 am, I am still asleep in bed.

...ask her to move in with you, then cook for her. :)

lentilman

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2013, 02:00:40 PM »
...everyone is ignoring that they clearly don't live together.

We do not life together and due to company regulations I can not even get into her building until she is home. I already make as many meals as I can but when she comes back from a Sydney flight at 3 am, I am still asleep in bed.

...ask her to move in with you, then cook for her. :)

This.  Plus you could save one rent and check compatibility before tying the knot. 

scrubbyfish

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2013, 02:27:47 PM »
Every time I see the title of this thread, I start giggling and think, "Careful what you wish for...!"

I had been extremely frugal (force of circumstance) for many years but when I met my guy, I was in a relatively spendy phase. The spending is what caught his attention actually -he'd barely registered me for the year we'd known each other, and then I got a costly haircut that had his jaw drop (he and other friends literally didn't recognize me at first) and that was that. However, we never discussed the cost of that haircut and he spent the ensuing months encouraging me to dumpster-dive my food, clothes, and furniture and wondered how he could convince me to be more frugal.

Since joining this forum recently, I've been getting back on track with a number of things, including spending. When he asked me to take it up a notch esthetically, I said it's not a financial priority for me. And last weekend he was a bit irritated that when he suggested we go out for tea, I proposed we make some at home. Lol. I wonder if he is regretting his efforts to retrain me. I'm kidding a bit -he would like me to spend in some areas, but he's very pleased I've slashed my grocery bill and that I found a beautiful, brand new dress last week for 1/5th of its original price. Me, I'm super relieved that he's become *less* frugal than he was.

Anyway... I think the suggestions folks are making for you here are great! Also, my sister-in-law married a spendy guy (my brother), and over the last few years he's really buckled down. I did give them a YMOYL-type book when they conceived, and he appreciated it (better coming from a third party than a spouse, I think), but I tend to think his shift had at least something to do with him being so impressed with her abilities to create a beautiful life while spending little. He got on board when he was ready, and they're a great team -financially and otherwise- today.

Exflyboy

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2013, 03:42:00 PM »
Cook for her and hope.. or dump her and look for someone more compatible.

How attractive you are might influence your choice...:)

Frank

scrubbyfish

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2013, 05:55:02 PM »
Further...  Find out what she values in this above all. Is it free time? Delicious meals cooked by someone else? Warm meals? Nutrition? The option to eat what she's truly craving in a given moment (after eating proscribed airplane-related food for days)? Readily accessible food? Sleep? When you've determined her value, offer ways to meet that value (more cheaply).

In her current approach, she is meeting a need, one which may be obvious -or which may be underlying and surprising. Once you know her deepest need here, you can meet it directly and affordably. Everyone's happy!

i.e., If her true need (as determined by her upon her own reflection) is an opportunity to eat what she's truly craving -let's say apple pie- and you leave her a homecooked meal of beef stroganoff, your gift won't really work out, no matter how beefy and dazzling it is. But if her true need is, yes, an opportunity to eat what she's truly craving, she can text you her craving as she prepares to head home, and you can have that homemade apple pie ready for her -at a budget you love.

This approach often proves key for me -not just regarding food, but in all habits. I can change the habit if the deepest actual need is met a new way.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 06:04:31 PM by scrubbyfish »

MgoSam

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2013, 09:20:44 AM »
Also, at times it may help to change how mentalities both yours and hers. You can't make anyone do anything, but encouraging a change can be more effective than trying to insist upon it.

Instead of being discouraged by each time there is an expense that could be avoided like going out for dinner, praise her for times when she eats in. I don't know how to encourage this best in others as this was how I was raised (and my parents weren't very kind about some of their frugality).

For me the change came as part of a rational thought process, namely that being able to not need to work when I am 35 outweighs extra expenses when I am 24. Maybe that would help? There are some books that helped me that might help her.

The Millionaire Next Door
Enough by Bogle

Let me see if I can think of some more.

MrsPete

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2013, 07:53:42 AM »
...everyone is ignoring that they clearly don't live together.
Not sharing a house doesn't mean they don't share meals.  I'd assume that when she's been gone for 4-5 days, the two would want to get together soon after she arrives home.  And if they're considering starting a family in five years, I'd assume they're working towards marriage at a fairly rapid rate -- these ideas are useful for the day when they do combine households. 

This.  Plus you could save one rent and check compatibility before tying the knot.
You do know that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce AND report less satisfaction during their marriage, don't you?  This "checking compatibility" concept doesn't work.  Sure, people will say, "Oh, but I did", but someone'll also win the lottery -- it just won't be you or me.

Since I know someone'll ask for a source, here are a couple, found with a quick google search -- you could find plenty more, if you like.  And, no, I didn't pick and choose, and I didn't choose anything church-based.  These are the first ones that popped up for me:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/advice/living-together-before-marriage.htm

http://www.fancylittlethings.com/2013/05/6-reasons-living-together-doesnt-work/

Having glanced over them, I think the best line is "How can you test-drive commitment?"  You're either committed, or you're not. 

And personally, I'd say you can only share living together for the first time ONCE.  You can only wake up together in your own place, knowing that you have nothing but time together.  Having that as a married couple can only help you.  Knowing that your partner has shared it with someone else in the past and then walked away . . . well, that would definitely be a bummer. 


Further...  Find out what she values in this above all. Is it free time? Delicious meals cooked by someone else? Warm meals? Nutrition? The option to eat what she's truly craving in a given moment (after eating proscribed airplane-related food for days)? Readily accessible food? Sleep? When you've determined her value, offer ways to meet that value (more cheaply).
Excellent point.  What does she want?  The OP is clear on his desire:  Frugality in meal planning.  But we don't know for certain whether her desire is to come home to a good, solid meal that says, "Home.  You're free to do what you want now."  Or whether she wants to come home and relax, and she doesn't much care whether it's a good meal or just a sandwich.

Paying attention to what the other person really wants and values is ALWAYS an excellent first step. 


CommonCents

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2013, 10:09:25 AM »
[You do know that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce AND report less satisfaction during their marriage, don't you?  This "checking compatibility" concept doesn't work.  Sure, people will say, "Oh, but I did", but someone'll also win the lottery -- it just won't be you or me.

The support you provided for one of the articles is focused on individual experiences, not empirical studies.  The other mentions a study, but is not actually a paper on it but a report/interpretation/summary of it.

In addition, the effect has been lessening as more and more Americans cohabitate before marriage.  "However, recent research suggests that the association between premarital cohabitation and marital instability for first marriages may have weakened over time because it is less apparent for more recent birth cohorts (15,16)."  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr049.pdf  The problem is in waiting for the data to "catch up."  Basically, most of my (high educated, but not religious) friends cohabitated before marriage in their mid-late 20s or early 30s.  Yet, none of my friends are (yet) divorced, because not enough time has passed - they've only been married 2-8 years or so.   Until we see the data when a much greater time period has passed and later birth cohorts, who are cohabitating much more frequently than the rebels of earlier days, have time to settle into marriage, it's really difficult to make assumptions about today's marriage.

Much of the effect you've described can be attributed to:
  • Different characteristics of those who choose to live together from those who do not.  It has tended to be a lower level of education, although it's changing
  • Couples that slide into marriage from cohabiting, without having clearly discussed and set expectations prior to living together (e.g. is this preliminary to a ring, if so, when, or is it a "trial"?)

I say this from the perspective someone who lived together twice, having done it "wrong" once and "right" once.  From a lack of options, I ended up moving in with a bf early on (3 mos), and we probably would have broken up somewhat sooner than we did (3+ years later) had we not been living together because it was more difficult to break up when you also have to figure out living situations.  I think that's the bigger issue than a negative marital effect.  The second time, even though I knew this relationship was "different," I refused to move in early or later when it was "easy" (I lost my job almost 2 years into our relationship), and instead we spent a lot of time talking through issues and expectations.  We moved in at the 2.5 year mark, and as discussed, got engaged 6 months later.

And personally, I'd say you can only share living together for the first time ONCE.  You can only wake up together in your own place, knowing that you have nothing but time together.  Having that as a married couple can only help you.  Knowing that your partner has shared it with someone else in the past and then walked away . . . well, that would definitely be a bummer. 

Well, this opinion pretty much sucks for all of those divorced and widowed folks out there.  Bummer for them they lose that magic...  I'm also going to emphasize that it is indeed, your opinion.  My perspective is that I knew my relationship with my husband was very different than the first and that my mistake of living together before was a wonderful lesson.  That having done it once before helped me.  I firmly believe that you make special magical moments with the people you love, regardless of what happened before, and I am very sorry that you don't think that's the case.

This is a huge digression from the OP's initial question, but I wanted to respond to your assertion regarding cohabition, looking to persuade the OP against it.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 10:42:34 AM by CommonCents »

Insanity

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2013, 10:42:56 AM »
Why do I get the feeling any study on cohabitation and marital success will be like a large quantity of medical studies….  They will be right for very specific set of circumstances, but overall.. be pretty useless.

Daleth

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2013, 12:51:26 PM »
Question. If you just got off a plane serving hundreds of pissed off passengers (because don't you know after going through security every passenger becomes a horrible nasty angry mutant freak), would you want to spend your downtime in the kitchen? I didn't think so. If you buy the ingredients and plan the meal why can't you cook it for her and freeze it or leave it in the fridge?

My question exactly.

Elaine

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2013, 02:33:02 PM »
Why do I get the feeling any study on cohabitation and marital success will be like a large quantity of medical studies….  They will be right for very specific set of circumstances, but overall.. be pretty useless.

No kidding, correlation is not causation. Perhaps people moving in together contain a percentage who are doing so only out of circumstance (job loss, cost, etc.), they may move in together with no intention of marriage, not everyone has marriage as an end goal. Perhaps they tend to be less religious and therefore less prone to stay married out of obligation, just because you stay married doesn't mean you're happy. Perhaps the amount of thought that goes into living together versus marrying is different in a large percentage of people. Maybe the average age for moving in together is lower than the average age for first time marriage, we know that when you rule out people who get married under the age of 25, suddenly divorce rates get much lower- when you raise the marriage/divorce stats to only include people who marry over 30, divorce becomes even less common. There are so many factors at play, and I'm sorry but living with more than one person doesn't ruin the experience any more than kissing more than one person ruins the experience of kissing your mate. It just smells of that old "saving yourself for the right man" business. 

galliver

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2013, 03:04:33 PM »
...everyone is ignoring that they clearly don't live together.
Not sharing a house doesn't mean they don't share meals.  I'd assume that when she's been gone for 4-5 days, the two would want to get together soon after she arrives home.  And if they're considering starting a family in five years, I'd assume they're working towards marriage at a fairly rapid rate -- these ideas are useful for the day when they do combine households. 

He clearly states that when she gets back from her flight at 3AM he's asleep in bed. Logically: in his own bed at his house because he can't get into her apartment without her. They don't get together until she's slept off her travels, presumably at her house.

Having her come home to his house would solve the logistical problem; but she would need to feel at home there. I felt like the most straightforward solution would be if she *actually* lived there. Whether it fits with their moral structure, the OP has to decide for himself, as he's given us no information about it. He was asking for suggestions.

I think there is an inherent fallacy in using relationship or employment statistics to predict your own outcome. If you're applying for a job and the hiring rate of graduates in your field is 25%, that doesn't mean you have an 1 in 4 chance of getting hired. That means you have to come across better at interviews than 75% of applicants, and you'll get a job, because it's not a probabilistic process. The fact that more couples that cohabitate get divorced doesn't mean cohabitation leads to divorce. It can mean a lot of different things about types of people who choose to cohabitate, choose to marry, and/or choose to divorce. Not to mention, divorce isn't always a terrible thing. My mother is a very happily divorced-remarried woman with a very happy, loving family.

+1 for CommonCents and Elaine both :)

lentilman

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2013, 04:15:40 PM »
Here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor that explains that living together doesn't forshadow divorce risk: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/2012/0322/Cohabitation-before-marriage-It-s-no-greater-divorce-risk

Falconer

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2014, 07:21:40 AM »
Oh wow, I totally stopped reading after the first 5 replies were made and thought there would be no more postings. Now I come back here and there is a massive debate going on.

First of all thank you for all the answers.

Obviously some time has passed since I posted this. So you guys will be glad to know that we have managed to make more food at home and she eats out less than she used to. I try to make food now at my place and bring it to hers when I see her after a flight. That stops her from ordering sushi or what ever it is she has a craving for after the flights.

She even has decided to invest in ETFs. We are still higher on the eating out expenses that I would like, but we will get there.

In regards to the people who suggested moving in with each other. It's simply not possible until we are married, as local UAE law forbids unmarried people living together. Also her sister has now moved in with her, so she is loving seeing her most days and won't move out any time soon. But that is ok. Means I get to keep my super frugal rent of 0 a month, as I now also have company accommodation.

She is trying to be better as she knows that she needs to save even more money to help in us being retired in 10 years. She wants to stop flying in about 2 max 2.5 years. So than we will move in with each other etc.

The next thing I will attack is her stupid mobile phone plan. She gets a company special with a crazy amount of data that nobody needs and minutes she only uses because she has them. She just renewed it. But next year I will talk her out of it. I spend less than half what she does and I am not outside the country half the month.

Her car is also paid of at the end of the year. So that will add to the savings rate.

If it was not for her regular NYC flights she would even manage to not buy any new cloth. One thing that has helped in that department is that her sister moved in. Now they just wear each others stuff.

Oh yeah and since she now only works in first class she can never complain about hard work again. She flew yesterday to Mauritius with 0 passengers. Went snorkeling and is flying back with 2 passengers between 3 staff. Nearly makes my 10 hour work week look hard work.

Over all since I started talking about frugal living her spending has come done. So I am pretty happy. We even talked about the future and how we imagine things to go.

thanks again for the answers

lazysundays

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2014, 01:13:22 PM »
Are you also from a gender biased family where the men tell women how to do things, place the necessary items in front of them and expect the woman to do her wifely duties. Be a man. Cook.  Will she give up this come and go job when you have a family? If not, than you will be the main caregiver to the children. Better learn to cook clean and change the diapers.  If she plans on quitting this job, approach the topic from that perspective. Honey do you see yourself taking care of the kids and being home for them? Do you LIKE cooking?  If she says no, than you learn to cook or look for another mate.

BFGirl

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2014, 01:26:11 PM »
I could type up a long reply but I think MMM nailed it.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/22/selling-the-dream-how-to-make-your-spouse-love-frugality/

It sounds like you are nagging her, which rarely makes people change. Why not instead set some joint financial goals and put a plan in place. Then see if you can both follow the plan.

And for the love of God have some deep conversations on what her expectations are from a husband. What you laid out sounds untenable to me. (Suck it up and suffer for the family...)

Aligned Expectations = Happiness
Different Expectations = Divorce and/or Misery

Talk it out. :)

Absolutely!!

ender

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2014, 07:09:45 PM »
Just an observation, your language is very adversarial towards your gf.

Hopefully this is just the nature of forums and not an attitude of "I need to fix her spending problems."

RapmasterD

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2014, 10:16:14 PM »
Just an observation, your language is very adversarial towards your gf.

Hopefully this is just the nature of forums and not an attitude of "I need to fix her spending problems."

I agree. Your initial post is strong on emotion and devoid of any quantitative figures. "The next thing I will attack is her stupid mobile phone plan." Really?

Falconer

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2014, 12:01:42 AM »
Are you also from a gender biased family where the men tell women how to do things, place the necessary items in front of them and expect the woman to do her wifely duties. Be a man. Cook.  Will she give up this come and go job when you have a family? If not, than you will be the main caregiver to the children. Better learn to cook clean and change the diapers.  If she plans on quitting this job, approach the topic from that perspective. Honey do you see yourself taking care of the kids and being home for them? Do you LIKE cooking?  If she says no, than you learn to cook or look for another mate.

My family is anything but gender biased. My father has done 95% of the cooking. My mum is a terrible cook. It was so extreme that my brother came home one day from staying with friends for a weekend and said this: Mum they have a very strange family, the mother cooks!
My mum has always earned the big money while my dad was at home more and looked after us. If I have my way we will both be home and look after the children, as none of us will have to work full time or at all.
I like cooking, what used to bother me was that even when I wanted to cook and we had ingredients she preferred to eat out. But like I said in my previous post things have changed.

She wants to do max 2.5 more years of this job. It's to hard on the body to keep doing for longer than 6 years imho.

Just an observation, your language is very adversarial towards your gf.

Hopefully this is just the nature of forums and not an attitude of "I need to fix her spending problems."

I think it is just my writing style. I am not a native speaker. You will find that I am anything but adversarial towards her. I just don't bother to write massive paragraphs that say what could be said in one sentence.

Just an observation, your language is very adversarial towards your gf.

Hopefully this is just the nature of forums and not an attitude of "I need to fix her spending problems."

I agree. Your initial post is strong on emotion and devoid of any quantitative figures. "The next thing I will attack is her stupid mobile phone plan." Really?

Sorry what is wrong with this statement? Would it be different if I was a girl and talking about my Boyfriend? Her mobile plan is stupid and she is burning money, she deserves a face-punch MMM style. If I said my mobile plan is stupid would you react differently?

I don't like giving figures as for me it is a simple question of can the same thing be had for less? Yes? than do it. its $80 for her plan. I use my phone more and spend half that.

I always thought that this was a forum where people who want to do bad ass things hang out. Maybe I am mistaken.

RapmasterD

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2014, 01:06:34 AM »
You are absolutely right. Have a great day!

stripey

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2014, 04:42:25 AM »
Falconer it sounds like things are going better on a number of fronts that when you made the first post. Hurrah! ;)

lazysundays

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2014, 10:33:37 AM »
I think it is definitely a language barrier. You sound like you will be fine :)

rmendpara

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2014, 12:20:23 PM »
I think others hit on it, but it has to be more deep of a conversation (and likely many conversations) than "hey let's buy the cheaper meat/cheese... let's go to the cheaper restaurant."

Have you had an honest, heartfelt conversation about what money/financial goals you have? Has she discussed what her goals are with you (maybe she hasn't really thought about it)?

It's probably best to start with the goal, so the reality doesn't just seem cheap. Let's be honest, no one wants to be cheap. But I would love to be considered frugal/smart with money.

Maybe you frame it as "... I would like to make reasonable decisions with money, because one day I hope to have more freedom in my life. I don't want to work a job I hate for 30 years and have to keep doing it just because I keep making poor financial decisions. I also would like to give some to charity, and XX really is a cause that I believe in. I also want to make sure that my/our kids have the chance to go to a good school and that I/we can help them not be drowning in debt when they graduate."

There's a lot of different things, but I think the most important thing is to start there. I had an ex-gf who would focus on the day-to-day (me asking to go to a cheaper restaurant, not buying drinks for others when they did, etc), but she definitely missed the point. I try to have a good time, but don't see a need to flaunt my money for others. She didn't stop to consider my purpose/goals, even though I did talk to her about them, and still sought to focus on what she considered to be negatives.

Not to say you should break up, NOT AT ALL. But if you spend the next year and can't get her to even understand your position, it may be a challenging future. Money does, after all, cause a lot of problems in relationships.

Falconer

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Re: how to get my gf to become more frugal
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2014, 02:40:08 PM »
I think others hit on it, but it has to be more deep of a conversation (and likely many conversations) than "hey let's buy the cheaper meat/cheese... let's go to the cheaper restaurant."

Have you had an honest, heartfelt conversation about what money/financial goals you have? Has she discussed what her goals are with you (maybe she hasn't really thought about it)?

It's probably best to start with the goal, so the reality doesn't just seem cheap. Let's be honest, no one wants to be cheap. But I would love to be considered frugal/smart with money.

Maybe you frame it as "... I would like to make reasonable decisions with money, because one day I hope to have more freedom in my life. I don't want to work a job I hate for 30 years and have to keep doing it just because I keep making poor financial decisions. I also would like to give some to charity, and XX really is a cause that I believe in. I also want to make sure that my/our kids have the chance to go to a good school and that I/we can help them not be drowning in debt when they graduate."

There's a lot of different things, but I think the most important thing is to start there. I had an ex-gf who would focus on the day-to-day (me asking to go to a cheaper restaurant, not buying drinks for others when they did, etc), but she definitely missed the point. I try to have a good time, but don't see a need to flaunt my money for others. She didn't stop to consider my purpose/goals, even though I did talk to her about them, and still sought to focus on what she considered to be negatives.

Not to say you should break up, NOT AT ALL. But if you spend the next year and can't get her to even understand your position, it may be a challenging future. Money does, after all, cause a lot of problems in relationships.

Thank you for the long reply. We have had quite a few conversations and I have framed it from the: would it not be great if we could both raise our children together in 10 years and not have to worry about earning money? perspective and it is starting to work.

I also started making her the food right after she gets back from the flight. Even if I have to cook it at my place and bring it over. It means she is less likely to order food in. It helps that I already work very little and often have the time to prepare.

We are on the right path now and she understands my goals and they are in line with hers, just not in the original way she thought we would achieve them.