Author Topic: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife  (Read 7287 times)

Forcus

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Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« on: February 01, 2013, 08:09:30 AM »
Little problem. Wife keeps bring home stuff from Home Goods, TJ Maxx, etc., that have little to no function. Ceramic porcupines. Pine cone-looking candle holders. Etc. etc. Problem is we have WAAAAYYYY too much stuff as it is. Also she picks up small gifts for me cheap. I really appreciate the sentiment but... for example, after Xmas, Hallmark ornaments are always marked down. She picked me up two neat trucks for $3 each. Problem is, I really couldn't care less about having stuff in a box in the basement to stick on a dead tree for 3 weeks out of the year (again I would not have a problem with this but was have WAY too much stuff - I think we have 40+ plastic tubs of stuff in the basement, plus one complete bedroom is filled with the Home Goods type stuff she doesn't have a place for). Of course, none of this stuff is free either. Oh and she is highly emotional so even well intentioned approaches are met with screaming, crying, and knashing of teeth. Help!!

mustachecat

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 08:24:46 AM »
She sounds like she's incredibly, incredibly bored. Does she work? Do you have kids, or family nearby? What's her social life like? How do you guys spend your time together?

What does she scream and cry about when you approach her about this? "This is how I have fun," or, "It's not that much money"? If it's something like the former, you have to figure out a gentle way to tell her that it's bizarre and sad (but also, I guess, pretty normal) to have fun spending money on useless things that probably never get their price stickers removed, and wouldn't she rather share fun experiences with you or other people? Or, at the very least, how enjoy the things she already has, instead of having them moulder away in the basement?

If it's the latter, I'd add up the full cost of what she spends. I'm sure that after a year or two, it'd be enough money to take a nice vacation, or--this may backfire--buy something you both REALLY want/need. Or that a full decade of not buying things advances your FI by however many years.

Done by Forty

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 08:28:08 AM »
My wife and I are reading The Five Love Languages right now.  Is it possible that these gifts are being given as a small expression of her love for you?    The book's main idea is that people express their love via a different language (gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation), but that their mate might receive love in a different language (e.g. - you don't feel loved when you get a small gift).  I think it's a great  book to read together, even if this isn't related to the issue, if you can pick up a couple copies from the library.

Another approach might be to organize and then jettison the things you already have, but don't need.  If you do this together (maybe without pointing out that all this stuff is 'junk') she might get a better idea the effects of regular accumulation of 'stuff'.


Tyler

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 09:29:17 AM »
Without knowing your wife, I can't judge her motivations.  However, it does sound on the surface like she attaches a good deal of sentimental value to these things.  I suspect the objects are secondary to an emotional need of some sort.  Word of advice - focus on that and not the stuff (not as a therapist, but as a supportive spouse). 

In the meantime, perhaps a compromise would be to encourage her to learn to make her own stuff rather than spend money on more.  For example, if you really do have a large collection not being used, maybe she can paint/repurpose old objects into new things.  If she gets good at it, that could even turn into a small money-making venture. ;)

Forcus

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 10:14:05 AM »
She sounds like she's incredibly, incredibly bored. Does she work? Do you have kids, or family nearby? What's her social life like? How do you guys spend your time together?

I would say this is accurate. She is gone for work (commute is 45 mins each way) 7-6. No kids, family is way south (which will be remedied when we move). No social life. If we spend time together it's watching tv. She is usually doing animal rescue stuff from when she gets home to about midnight. Rinse wash repeat.

My wife and I are reading The Five Love Languages right now.  Is it possible that these gifts are being given as a small expression of her love for you? 

Another approach might be to organize and then jettison the things you already have, but don't need.

I can say unequivocally that this is true. This is how her side of the family operates, small gifts / tokens that show love and appreciation.

What I end up doing is waiting a period of time and getting rid of what I don't need. But I always feel bad because I know it's not really about the item.

Without knowing your wife, I can't judge her motivations.  However, it does sound on the surface like she attaches a good deal of sentimental value to these things.  I suspect the objects are secondary to an emotional need of some sort.  Word of advice - focus on that and not the stuff (not as a therapist, but as a supportive spouse). 

In the meantime, perhaps a compromise would be to encourage her to learn to make her own stuff rather than spend money on more.  For example, if you really do have a large collection not being used, maybe she can paint/repurpose old objects into new things.  If she gets good at it, that could even turn into a small money-making venture. ;)

I think that could be true, I think it is an outlet to boredom. She does like repurposing old stuff, she doesn't know how to do it (my fault). I will see if maybe I can help her with that.

Matt K

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 10:22:29 AM »
My wife and I are reading The Five Love Languages right now.  Is it possible that these gifts are being given as a small expression of her love for you?    The book's main idea is that people express their love via a different language (gifts, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation), but that their mate might receive love in a different language (e.g. - you don't feel loved when you get a small gift).  I think it's a great  book to read together, even if this isn't related to the issue, if you can pick up a couple copies from the library.

My wife and I were married in a church, and as part of that process, we had to attend a marriage course run by the church. We went into this with very very low expectations. However we were surprised and pleased with the course (lots of 'discussion starters' with your spouse-to-be). This concept, though not the entire book, was presented, and we found very informative and helpful.

While it may or maynot be of any help to the OP, if you are in a serious relationship, I recommend reading up on the concept together. It helped us see our own interactions in a new light, and it helped me understand one of the problems in a previous relationship.

Christiana

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 11:29:55 AM »
I too thought of The Five Love Languages--what is her primary love language, and what is yours? 

Also, extrovert vs. introvert differences are worth understanding in any relationship.  I would guess that she is an extrovert and that watching TV together is not really fulfilling her need to think things out aloud.  Where are you when she is doing all this shopping? 

There are lots of other low-cost things besides TV that you can do together:  Go to the library and check out some free movies together.  Walk the mall together and window shop without buying anything.  Take a walk outdoors.  Learn a new Mustachian skill. 

If you don't have pets, would she like to get one?

Financial independence would be nice, but a good, strong marriage is even better, and is very much worth investing in.


tooqk4u22

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 01:17:43 PM »
While people that MMM absolutely will find this sacreligious - my DW has a fun account and a monthly amount (allowance if you will) is deposited and she is free to do as she chooses no questions asked. 

Most of it is used for household crap like from homegoods and entertainment/treats for the kids but some goes to hair and makeup, etc.

This was great - she is happy and I am too even if I don't agree with it.  And if income gets tight it can always stop. 


Lagom

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 01:48:16 PM »
While people that MMM absolutely will find this sacreligious - my DW has a fun account and a monthly amount (allowance if you will) is deposited and she is free to do as she chooses no questions asked. 

Most of it is used for household crap like from homegoods and entertainment/treats for the kids but some goes to hair and makeup, etc.

This was great - she is happy and I am too even if I don't agree with it.  And if income gets tight it can always stop.

We do this too and I think it is perfectly reasonable and has significantly improved our relationship when it comes to money issues. Her fun money allowance may be rather high by conventional mustachian standards, but it's stable and predictable and the DW is 1000x happier having the freedom to buy random stuff without me noticing it on the checking statement. I actually take an allowance for myself as well, because my wife expressed that she felt like it was unfair for her to get so much more for frivolity than I do and that made her anxious about the whole affair. Knowing that lowering her fun money would just make her feel deprived, I didn't disagree. Instead, I just took my money and started using that checking account to fund my Roth IRA :)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 01:55:55 PM »
......without me noticing it on the checking statement.


That's what the main issue was.....hey I noticed $x charge on the credit card today, what was that for honey?   I can see how that would get annoying. 

Fun account = happy wife = happy husband = happy marriage.

Phoebe

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 02:05:08 PM »
My husband and I have "fun money" too.  We each get $100 each month to spend as we like.  I was really against this when we first got married (we love each other, so if something is important to me, you should be fine with me getting it, right?) but it has been such a great help.  I don't get upset when he buys fancy beer or a video game and I can visit my friends or buy a new pair of jeans.

Also, because there is a limit, we are much more selective in how we spend our money.  We try to use coupons, buy used, do without, etc. because our fun money is limited.  Before that I was spending whenever I found something was "worth it" and rarely tried to get a better deal.

I would highly recommend!

Lagom

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2013, 02:10:13 PM »

Fun account = happy wife = happy husband = happy marriage.

Well put!

Forcus

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Re: Need advice for semi-anti-Mustachian wife
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 09:15:20 AM »
Thanks for the input guys. We have a road trip coming this weekend so I will see if I can learn something before then to breach the subject a little bit. For what its worth she really doesn't spend that much money, it's more the clutter aspect. I think I could go full minimalist and be very happy, but I know she is not that way. I used to be a full on packrat / collector so I totally understand her way of thinking, it's just hard to reconcile our differences on the subject.

By the way, the pet thing made me laugh. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats... then we had a cat, guinea pig and 3 dogs dropped on us... and we have a foster dog too. We definitely have the animal thing covered!