Author Topic: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.  (Read 17461 times)

HappierAtHome

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2014, 11:59:32 PM »
A few people are suggesting having financial conversations via email... I can see how that would work well with some spouses. On the flipside, my partner is a sensitive soul and finds that having conversations which already stress him out in a very impersonal/hard format like email just adds to the stress. He much prefers it if we discuss money stuff in person, so that he has the reassurance of seeing my facial expressions, hearing my tone of voice, maybe having my arm around him, to show him that there's no problem - it really is just a chat about money, I'm definitely not angry about anything, etc.

So depending on the kind of person your wife is, she may want to discuss money while cuddling/getting reassurance of love and acceptance, rather than getting emails about her spending habits. I think this is especially true when it seems like she already feels judged - no one wants their partner to be angry at them.

lifejoy

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #51 on: February 25, 2014, 08:15:26 AM »
Some ideas:

Pick your battles.

Realize that you two may value things differently. You might see a $4 coffee as a waste, she might see it as $4 well spent because she got to develop a friendship over a cup o' joe.

My bf is like your wife. I would never go to the movies if it wasn't for him, and sometimes I have to remind myself that it's kind of nice that I have someone that inspires variety in my leisure time.

Retireme32

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2014, 11:06:38 AM »
I am so glad to see this post,  I thought about doing a similar one myself many times.  I am in the same boat except I'd say I"m cheaper/frugal and I believe in FI and my husband simply does not at least not the way we do on this blog.  He thinks his plan to retire at 60 is early.  In our case we are DINKS and he makes more money than me but in Mr. Money Mustaches' terms our combined income is in my opinion RIDICULOUS whereas my husband just thinks it's normal for our area.  I've tried to show him that we have the ability to curb our spending, and stop the whole upgrade lifestyle pattern, and retire in like 5 years if we put out heads together but he thinks I'm dreaming.  So my current plan of action is to plan on FI for myself in 5 -6 years. My plan is to save on my own such that I can provide my share of the expenses in the exact same % that I do now when I retire and have that be a 4% withdrawal rate of my total savings.  I am also factoring in kids into this scenario as well.  That way, I'm not adding any extra burden to him so he can't contest my decision to be FI.  Now, he has said that if I can pull that off then he will just follow me shortly there after - and even though that is very frustrating to me b/c I know that we could do it faster together - that's where we are so that's what I"m going to deal with. 

My current plan for dealing with his need to spend more than me is to "BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD" except for me it's more like "be the change you want to see in your husband".  :)   I am cheap and frugal at heart but my normal is not up to par with MMM community and I want it to be desperately so in those terms I have a lot of catching up to do and so when I get frustrated with what he's spending money on or how he's wasting money (i.e. leaving lights on) I just turn inward and check on my own behavior b/c #1 : I'm not perfect and I always have much room for improvement and #2 I notice that the better I am, the more ridiculous he looks and eventually he changes SOME of his behavior. 

we can't change other people, we can only change ourselves, so my plan is to change myself right into FI and hope that he follows me quickly behind.  And like you  - I am also trying to get all of this done before kids b/c like Mr. MM suggested, it's way easier to deal with these issues now rather than when you add in a little person too. 

Thanks for sharing, let's all stick together on this blog on this one - this blog helps A LOT with this issue - makes me feel not so alone in my financial goals that are so terribly different from the majority middle class. 

Rollin

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It's causing strain in my marriage.
« Reply #53 on: February 25, 2014, 06:13:42 PM »
How much is your wife and marriage worth to you financially speaking? Would you give up all your money to save her life? Let's assume the answers are along the lines of priceless and yes. Then why the heck are you nickel and diming your marriage? Is she and it not worth the difference between 60% and 50%? You're doing great financially regardless. Do you want to be the guy that ruins his marriage through nit-picking. Let her do the things she enjoys as you can easily afford them.

Related story to illustrate a point for you to consider - I used to fret about give the DW a tough time over 1 or 2 degrees on the thermostat.  It would make DW happy to be warmer or cooler, but I was concerned about a buck or two more on the electric bill at the end of the month.  Then she got sick (not related to the temperature of course).  I cared for and loved her hard for 9 more years, and then she died at 43 years old.  During that 9 years I learned what was important and what wasn't.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 06:20:41 PM by Rollin »

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #54 on: February 25, 2014, 10:32:47 PM »
Going back to the original post and follow-ups, it sounds like this is about conflict management more than about spending. You really need to sort this out before you have kids. Is she going to want to spend money on stuff for the kid? (cute baby blankets?) Will that drive you mad? It's easy when it's pending on yourself / your spouse. It's way harder when it's about spending on your kid.

Pell mell

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2014, 11:04:48 PM »
Rollin, I'm so sorry for your loss. It makes you remember what is important.

Mark M, I think you're doing amazing with your savings. But yeah, if she's not ok with saving at that intense rate, then I think it's important to compromise. Even at a lower rate, that's super. I'd love it if my partner were even half this diligent. I empathize with your struggling to find a balance between the two of you. You don't want resentment growing over the years. It makes me think of plaque building in an artery. I like compromise and the idea of each person getting a personal fund to spend as they wish. Autonomy and all. Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 11:22:45 PM by Pell mell »

Rollin

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #56 on: February 26, 2014, 07:20:42 AM »
Rollin, I'm so sorry for your loss. It makes you remember what is important.

Mark M, I think you're doing amazing with your savings. But yeah, if she's not ok with saving at that intense rate, then I think it's important to compromise. Even at a lower rate, that's super. I'd love it if my partner were even half this diligent. I empathize with your struggling to find a balance between the two of you. You don't want resentment growing over the years. It makes me think of plaque building in an artery. I like compromise and the idea of each person getting a personal fund to spend as they wish. Autonomy and all. Good luck.

Pell mell - thank you.  What I typed may appear dramatic, but I was hoping for the OP to take some of my experience and use it in his world today.  Maybe others could benefit too, without having to have such a drastic experience.  I must say that along with the bad experience there was also some very good times, and some very good lessons.

You may not be aware of this, but your second paragraph above really takes what I was getting at and puts it into good words.  Compromise (without resentment) is partly what I was going for.  Someone earlier also posted about the difference between saying they need to cutback on restaurants and the DH hearing NO MORE FROM HERE.  It's best to communicate, state your preferences (if you really have them), and let the other person adjust if they feel they want to.  Sometimes people see it your way, sometimes they don't, but most times it takes longer than you think.  Mostly, you cannot control others.

PintSizedMustachian

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #57 on: February 26, 2014, 01:23:17 PM »
Have you considered bringing up the idea of a side-gig if she wants to spend more than the agreed-upon amount of "fun money" each month? That's something that has worked well for us.

If I want to plan something expensive for myself, I look for extra ways to make some cash that I can blow without (much) remorse. It doesn't change our savings rate, so I don't feel guilty about it. Same with my husband; when he wants extra money for his hobbies, he picks up a short-term teaching/tutoring gig on the side until he makes enough cash.

That might be a way to make everyone happy.

momo

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It's causing strain in my marriage.
« Reply #58 on: February 26, 2014, 02:03:38 PM »
FI is our main goal and it is challenging when weighing if we want to have a child.  My SO and I want to leave the corporate workforce and at times she wants a child.  However as much as she wants FI, we both realize she needs to save a ton more after buying more house than she could afford.  :(  Individually I can save 70%+, but together just 30%.  Like many I'm a reformed spender; I now for value in  purchases.  I only stopped spending senselessly within the last decade.  So I empathize it is hard for my SO to change her bad money habits.  That said, she has GREATLY improved since we first met! :)  She now saves 12% (or is it 15% not sure) of her income to her 401k.  She has managed to save more thanks to my encouragement and reduced her overhead expenses thanks to me aggressively encouraging/advertising her place and securing good renters in her house too.  We're even working to sell her stuff around the house to free up space and money. :) The rest of her income is spent on overhead like mortgage/property taxes, dog and her 17 yr old baby, sister.  I should note her situation is a bit unique.  Her parents abandoned her younger sister and don't live in the US.  Quite irresponsible behavior and these deadbeats who do not help financially taking care of their own child.  My SO feels the need to take care of her sister (hence the house purchase). Overall, a very tough situation for my SO and one that prevents her from saving more.

My SO told me I am the first person who held her accountable and repeatedly encouraged her to take charge of her finances, this has not been easy.  Huge learning curve.  I observe she still has maddening streaks of spending emotionally, but I do not nag; I just bite my lips and do not participate.  Grr.  This back peddling  causes immense strains on our relationship.   When the two of us eat out more than twice a week, it hurts the budget and my ability to save for a trip for us.  I should also note usually M-Th we eat at home; we cook together and I take care of the dishes.  Eating at home is a big improvement! We use to always only eat out.  Forgot to mention I pay for the rent, utilities, internet, and other costs associated with the rental, like increased commuting costs by train and car (gas) for living further away from work (three hours round trip).  These costs put a strain on me too. :(  Alas, not all is not gloom and doom, she helps by paying for our groceries.

As such I definitely can relate to other partners in this thread who are  desperately trying to be frugal and keep their expenses down as much as possible.  All of these type of stressors in our relationship has resulted in my desire not to merging our finances together.  I see no benefit whatsoever.  Mainly because separately, we are already struggling with just handling our expenses individually.  How can or will combining the incomes into one remotely help?  Does anyone else have this kind of experience?  How have you created balance?  Or does just one person manage the finances?  Do you keep things separate?   Looking forward to hearing others success stories.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 04:54:11 PM by StashtasticMomo »

taperted

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #59 on: February 27, 2014, 06:47:27 PM »
My wife and I are in the same boat, except she is the frugal one and I am the spender. Currently we are FI, but not RE yet (we love our jobs). I am the one who tracks our cash flow and I allocate it. She rarely checks the accounts or CC bills. It doesn't however give me free reign to spend because I am subject to surprise audits. I've learned from the past that I can't go charging willy nilly without some repercussions.

I have fairly expensive hobbies: my computers, hi-fi audio and photography. Although I have pretty nice gear, I am on an endless upgrade cycle that frustrates my wife to no end.

We have tried the mad money approach, but like you, it didn't work out very well. Currently we just pool our money. Whenever I want to make a purchase over $10, I get her permission in email or txt message. This usually leads to a "why on earth do you want THAT?!" [euphemism] discussion [/eupehmism] so whenever I request something, I have to think whether it is worth fighting for. So this method kind of mitigates the impulse buys.

I'm not sure if it would work with you and your situation. If you're talking about 20 trips a month to the coffee shop, it could get pretty irritating on both sides. But the main point is to try to figure out someway to control the impulse spending.

payitoff

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Re: I'm cheap/frugal. Help me. It causes conflict with spouse.
« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2014, 06:53:13 PM »
i love this thread! its a much needed insight in mine too, i agree with the emailing of the emotions part, i write a letter to my husband when i get frustrated about something, instead of confronting, i vent it out on email., and afterwards, i feel much better, i come home as me and not a brewing monster waiting to explode.

we did have a new 'hideout' though, we created a secret group on facebook, just him and me hahaha we post stuff there, and comment on it, anything from bills, to events, to good deals, or future vacation spots, coolest thing is all the link will be there and we get to discuss about it together and not wait till at night when were both exhausted from work and kids.

i handle all the bills, and post the big ticket stuff on our hideout on FB for him to see, i even have a little spreadsheet saved there, he doesnt really comment on it coz he thinks making extra payments on debts is ridiculous but he lets me be, i guess marriage is more important to him too, than questioning why im making a career out of paying bills. 

its a work in progress, i want things, he wants more things, but bottomline is we compromise, if its not on the budget, well include it in the next, it gets off hand sometimes, its a victory on other times, but what matters is, you both try to work it out, just talk it out or EMAIL your feelings to her, it helps.