Author Topic: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?  (Read 14518 times)

danactsalot

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Hello all,

Here's the tl;dr version:

My dilemma is this. I understand not everyone is going to be inspired by MMM right away and do a complete financial 180 like I did. Is this the sort of issue that you can wait and see if the significant other changes (dare I try to change him?)? Or is it the sort of thing, where if someone isn't inspired by financial freedom relatively quickly, they probably never will be and trying to change your significant other is fruitless anyway?

Here are the details:

I've been seeing this really great guy since November. We click on almost every level-- funny, similar interests, helpful, kind, interesting, into the outdoors-- except, you guessed it, money. I don't begrudge the student loan debt, but he's taking his sweet time by just making minimum payments each month. I recently found out that he occasionally/currently carries a balance on his credit card. Yikes! And while he's selling his Toyota Tundra, recognizing that he really doesn't need a pick-up truck and a V8 anymore, he's seriously contemplating getting a car payment for a new car that's still too much car for him. I've talked a little bit about my frugality and how happy it makes me to see extra money in the bank account. And I've encouraged him to read the MMM blog, but he's dragging his feet about it. Is he a lost cause? Or should I force him to read MMM? Or should I wait a little while longer and see if he starts taking cues from me and MMM gradually?

I've been mulling this issue for a few weeks until then I remembered that MMM has a forum and you of all people would probably be able to help me. Thanks for any and all advice!

D

mulescent

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 05:17:54 PM »
Can you change someone?  No.  Can you educate them and help them decide that they want to change?  Absolutely.

My s/o started out as a consumer sucka.  Not horrible, but, like your guy, cavalier about student loan and occasional credit card debt.  She contributed 10% to retirement, had no emergency fund and figured that if she paid off her credit cards most months she was good.  We had a series of discussions about money and, over the first year or so of our relationship, she realized how much more free I was because I had no debt and a pile of FU money. 

She changed slowly, but 3 years in she bike commutes every day, does her pleasure shopping at Goodwill and just crossed the 50% savings rate Rubicon!  Anyway, I guess I'm saying that if you think this guy is really right in most other ways, I wouldn't give up just yet.  Try to expose him to the advantages of frugality and see if he'll give it a try.  He doesn't sound like such a lost cause.

garion

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 05:51:34 PM »
For me and my husband, being in a relationship and planning a future together helped us both be more future-oriented about saving. So that's a possibility. But it also depends on how old the guy is. I'd say a 25 year old guy is more likely to change than a 45 year old guy.

Dodge

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 06:18:26 PM »
It's easy to change once you've had a taste of freedom.  And sometimes just being able to visualize that freedom is enough.  I know people who changed, and the change is much easier when someone you love is already on the path.  Don't give up yet!

If you'd like to optimize your approach, I'd start by reading this:

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

and part two:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/27/selling-the-dream-of-financial-independence-part-2/

Then you can read from the people in the forum, about how they were able to convince their spouses on this:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/spouse-not-on-board-with-financial-independence/msg115707/#msg115707

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-recs-for-getting-my-spouse-on-board/msg102463/#msg102463

You'll find that the best way to do it, is to show how little things add up, and give real-world examples.  Let's assume you two had a baby today, and he went out and bought a new car.  If instead of buying a $20,000 car, and making payments at $400 a month, you saved that equivalent amount (meaning you saved $400 a month for 5 years, then stopped), by the time your baby is graduating college, you'd likely have about $175,000 saved up.  More than enough to fully pay for a college education.

Find out what his goals are, and it will be easy to show how easily those goals can be met, simply by saving a little bit each month.

Good luck!

Retire-Canada

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 06:22:21 PM »

I've been seeing this really great guy since November.

Give it until this Nov. If you don't see any change you are not likely going to and I'd cut your losses.

It's not that adults can't change. It's that you can't change them and it's a bad investment expecting them to change on your timetable.

Sounds like he's worth some time. 1yr is plenty as long as you are enjoying his company it's worth that much time.

-- Vik

mozar

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 07:38:34 PM »
How does he feel about you? Where does he see this relationship going? Where do you see this relationship going? If he is dragging his feet now, are you OK with him dragging his feet forever? Take the facts at face value. It's better to assume he won't change. If you try to force him to do something, he will resent you.
People don't change because you want them to, in the way you want them to. People change when they are ready, in the way they want to. There are lots of great people out there who share the same goals in life. Don't settle.

My life experience is sure, people can change. But I don't want to spend years of my life waiting for someone to change. I prefer to find the person I am compatible with up front. Money compatibility is a basic requirement for me. And my time is precious.

galliver

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2015, 10:42:27 PM »
In no particular order:

(1) It sounds like you're nagging/pushing. STOP. I pushed a little hard when I discovered MMM and showed it to my bf, now I'm pretty sure he'll never read it. And we had been together longer. I sometimes share with him the most ridiculous "antimustachian" posts from this forum so we can laugh about them, and leave it at that.
(2) You sound like you're unhappy that he isn't doing what you're telling him; maybe that's an incorrect reading, but that's what's coming through the page to me. If that's the case, you need to internalize the concept that he is an independent adult that makes decisions based on his own experiences, preconceived beliefs, and the facts presented to him. Sometimes, he will draw different conclusions from you, even given the same information (and this pertains to more than money). Sometimes it's ok to let it go or find a compromise; if it's not imminently endangering your well-being or showing unfathomable stupidity.
(2b) Unfathomable stupidity is skipping your CC and SL payments to go gamble your whole paycheck away in Vegas, and then some.  Buying a car at 29% interest for 7 years. Your dude sounds like he's making regular payments and his card isn't perpetually maxed out; sounds like his worst sin is it sometimes has a balance (yes, I think that's worse than buying a new car or even partially financing it). It sounds like he has *some* notion of financial responsibility, and I think you could work with that. Slowly and gently.
(3) Is your primary goal/reason for this relationship to have someone to pool finances and sock money away with? Obviously for some it's a top priority (see above). But IMO, it's more important to have someone who can enjoy the simple things with you--a good hike, a homemade meal, a conversation about a book, your laugh, stargazing, a roadtrip. Talk sometime about what his idea of a good life is, who he wants to be. CEO with a private jet and a collection of sportscars? it's possible it won't last. Comfortable life, security, free time, putting his kids through college? He'll probably come around with time.
(3b) If there is hope, find things you both find ridiculously extravagant, for common ground. Find ideals that you share and bring your communal choices back to that instead of frugality (e.g. environmentalism). You can't use a common future to convince him because you don't have one yet; you need to find common ground in the now.

There are people on this forum who buy new cars. Who travel intercontinentally. Who hold on to big-4 cellphone providers. Who have cable. Who have vacation  houses. Who have expensive hobbies (cars, planes, horses, sailboats, "foodies," marathons, triathlons, etc). They probably aren't the ones with $10k/year budgets, and no one is doing most of the above all at once. It's not all or nothing; you can write your own philosophy and find room for compromise and for deciding that he is good enough and worth more than $X in the bank. But only you can make that choice of how far you are willing to go.

Mirwen

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Re: New Relationship: Can you change someone or do you find someone else?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2015, 11:13:46 PM »
He sounds like he's got good basic financial sense, but could do better.  I think he's worth spending a little more time on.  I would talk about your dreams and aspirations together.  What is on his bucket list?  What are his top priorities?  Talk about how FIRE could help him meet his goals more quickly (if they can) but don't push too hard.  He has to come to this realization himself.  If his goals are to sit on a porch and drink beer with friends, raise a family, or even to travel then you are probably good.  However if he wants fame/influence/power or the like he will probably continue to value consumer status symbols.

shelivesthedream

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You can't change people, but people can change. My husband is changing a bit, but we've been together for five years and I have had to lead by example for all of that time. I cycled for a year and talked about how great it was every so often before he spontaneously decided to try it out and now he loves it - but he would have dug his heels in if I had tried to "make" him do anything. I expect he will never be as "good" as me financially but that's OK - I didn't marry him for his money! You don't need to be identical, just compatible, and it works for us because we agree things like food budget together and then I am totally in charge of implementing them (moving money to the right place at the right time, paying bills, etc). He is not interested and I am, so I am happy with this arrangement. As so many people have said, don't push him. Carrots are far better than sticks if you can engineer it to not be patronising. He is an adult and makes his own decisions, whether you agree with them or not.

Mrkineticz

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I used to be a consumer sucka  for 31 years of my life. I especially spent lots of money on dumb stuff in my twenties. I wish i had the vision earlier in my life. Im just glad I found MMM this year. have faith if he is responsible with his bills and is paying them. Slow nudges and information will slowly steer your SO the right way.

Murse

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I may get flack for this but I'm a blunt honest kind of guy. Before I was in too deep I simply told the girlfriend that I had ambitious savings goals, I wanted to save a minimum of 50c of every dollar. I told her that I am not willing to negotiate and I am not going to let anyone get in my way. I do not control her expenses in any way, shape or form. I end'd up telling her I refused to marry someone who did not have the same goals. I will date her and see where it goes. Meanwhile I will be quietly watching to see if there is potential.

lil_miss_frugal

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You definitely can't change a person. What you can do is lead by example and hope that your good spending/saving habits rubs off on your SO. You also can't force someone to do anything. Every now and then, I would just bring up how great it feels to have money saved up and how great it feels to not be in debt. Also talk about the benefits of a frugal lifestyle. Since you two have other things in common I wouldn't give up on him yet, but if marriage ever comes into the picture I would definitely have a serious conversation about finances first.

frugaliknowit

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If you can't get him to change, if you want to take this relationship to the "next level", you will have to keep finances separate.

Merrie

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This guy sounds like he has potential. No, you can't change somebody, only offer impetus for them to change themself, but he sounds savvy enough about money that there may be hope for you two getting close enough to the same page to proceed. I agree with the others, don't nag or tell him what he should do, but share information about what you are doing and see how he takes it.

JLee

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I am not as mustachian as my SO. If I felt pressured to change in a way I didn't want to, before I was ready, it would be damaging to our relationship. Don't expect an immediate change - be patient and see how things go over a few months.

lifejoy

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Can you change someone?  No.  Can you educate them and help them decide that they want to change?  Absolutely.

My s/o started out as a consumer sucka.  Not horrible, but, like your guy, cavalier about student loan and occasional credit card debt.  She contributed 10% to retirement, had no emergency fund and figured that if she paid off her credit cards most months she was good.  We had a series of discussions about money and, over the first year or so of our relationship, she realized how much more free I was because I had no debt and a pile of FU money. 

She changed slowly, but 3 years in she bike commutes every day, does her pleasure shopping at Goodwill and just crossed the 50% savings rate Rubicon!  Anyway, I guess I'm saying that if you think this guy is really right in most other ways, I wouldn't give up just yet.  Try to expose him to the advantages of frugality and see if he'll give it a try.  He doesn't sound like such a lost cause.

My SO started out similarly.

He is now even more mustachian than me and haha he keeps me in line when I lose motivation!!

Not much of an answer, but proof that people can change/grow/adapt :)

Mandia79

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I can speak from the other side of this equation. I was the anti-mustachian and my DH (bf at the time) was mustachian by nature. He hadn't yet found this site and had not really put goals & smart investing in place, but he was frugal and very conscientious about money. He had a good income, a nearly paid off house, no other debt, walked/biked nearly everywhere, and was saving every extra penny because that was just what you do.

I had a less than stellar income, was rather aimless in that area, had more than $40k of student loan debt and no degree, a couple maxed out credit cards (only about $3k total on those because my credit was that bad), and no money in the bank.

I saw the benefit in the "other" way and had at least been saving 7% of my income into my 401k so it wasn't out of my understanding I just had a reason to change. Internal motivators didn't do it for me (I blame my parents and their horrible example ;) ). I finally had a "come to  Jesus" moment when I realized that if I loved bf and wanted him to become DH I had to change!

So I did! Less than 10 years later I've finished my degree, more than doubled my income, paid off all debt (except current small mortgage), and now have a savings rate of >50%.

That was a really long response to say, people can change. But, it has to be because they want to! If DH had given me an ultimatum I would have walked. Instead he held strong and talked about about future plans and got me excited about them. As my love grew so did my resolve to do better and have shared goals we achieved together. So, good luck! Don't give up on him; share you're ideas but don't push and find his "button" that motivates change (I believe we all have one).

RunHappy

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Can you change someone?  No

The only thing you can change is how you react to someone's behavior.

Given that, never go into a relationship trying to change someone.  It won't work.  It makes them unhappy and you unhappy.  If you can't accept him for who he is, then he deserves someone who does.

Maybe he will come around and embrace the MMM way of life, but the way he spends his money is really none of your business, right now.  You should talk about your individual long term financial plans, but the speed at which he pays off his student loans is up to him. 

Also I'm not sure how much you talk about it but if you are constantly bringing it up to him, then you're only going to push him away.  The best way to convert someone is the be the best example you can. 

Back off on the money talk and enjoy your time together. If he asks for your opinion leave it to only that topic and do not consider it him flinging the door wide open to talk about the rest of his financial matters.

My SO took a while to bring around to the MMM side which I was ok with.  I didn't expect him to embrace frugality and he didn't expect me to embrace his consumer habits.  Somewhere along the way he started taking a more frugal mindset.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 01:00:08 PM by RunHappy »

RunHappy

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I may get flack for this but I'm a blunt honest kind of guy. Before I was in too deep I simply told the girlfriend that I had ambitious savings goals, I wanted to save a minimum of 50c of every dollar. I told her that I am not willing to negotiate and I am not going to let anyone get in my way. I do not control her expenses in any way, shape or form. I end'd up telling her I refused to marry someone who did not have the same goals. I will date her and see where it goes. Meanwhile I will be quietly watching to see if there is potential.

how did that work out for you?

Bob W

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How that go -- Women spend their marriage trying to change the guy the married and wishing he was someone else, while men spend their marriage wishing the girl hadn't changed after marriage.
 
My guess is that you could pull your current guy along to following your path.   It certainly isn't impossible. 

That and don't forget the prenup.

MLKnits

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How that go -- Women spend their marriage trying to change the guy the married and wishing he was someone else, while men spend their marriage wishing the girl hadn't changed after marriage.
 
My guess is that you could pull your current guy along to following your path.   It certainly isn't impossible. 

That and don't forget the prenup.

Seconding the prenup comment. I would generally say, if a saver is moving in with or marrying a spender (though this guy sounds pretty in control--pays his bills, etc), they should have a really good cohabitation contract or marriage contract. One that not only says "here's what's mine and will always be mine" but also might contain things like statements of intention about the financial big-ticket issues. If I were to cohabit or marry, I would think very, very seriously about a waiver of future spousal support on both sides--I have a great job and good disability insurance, I live in a country with a pretty good social safety net, and I'm not interested in kids, so independence is important to me from both directions.

(This is not legal advice, I'm not your lawyer, I'm probably not licensed to practice wherever you live, etc)

norabird

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I don't want to receive any facepunches, but student debt, small cc balances and a possible car payment (when he's already downsizing) should not be reasons to rule out a partner. Do you love them, are they kind, etc--that matters more. You're not describing someone who's swimming in excessive debt; by normal standards he is making reasonable choices. As you get closer, you'll share more of your goals, and see if he is interested in sharing yours. But the idea of tossing him out because he might buy a car you disapprove of is crazy, to me.

JLee

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I don't want to receive any facepunches, but student debt, small cc balances and a possible car payment (when he's already downsizing) should not be reasons to rule out a partner. Do you love them, are they kind, etc--that matters more. You're not describing someone who's swimming in excessive debt; by normal standards he is making reasonable choices. As you get closer, you'll share more of your goals, and see if he is interested in sharing yours. But the idea of tossing him out because he might buy a car you disapprove of is crazy, to me.

I agree, which makes me wonder- if the OP is considering tossing their partner out because of this, if maybe it's not an ideal match in the first place? Speculating, of course, as I have no way of knowing. :)

My SO puts up with my crazy car habits. I know what I spend and it is worth it to me.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Being comfortable using debt is not necessarily a deal-breaker to my mind--unless he shows signs of being willing to get in over his head and/or lacks impulse control and/or has a generally limited ability to delay gratification in order to meet a goal. But if he actually finished a degree and is making payments on the loan, he probably has some ability to do that :-).

Assume that he will not "change." Decide if you want to be with who he is now.

galliver

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I don't want to receive any facepunches, but student debt, small cc balances and a possible car payment (when he's already downsizing) should not be reasons to rule out a partner. Do you love them, are they kind, etc--that matters more. You're not describing someone who's swimming in excessive debt; by normal standards he is making reasonable choices. As you get closer, you'll share more of your goals, and see if he is interested in sharing yours. But the idea of tossing him out because he might buy a car you disapprove of is crazy, to me.

I agree, which makes me wonder- if the OP is considering tossing their partner out because of this, if maybe it's not an ideal match in the first place?

I agree, too. I wonder if the OP is feeling a lot of pressure from getting excited about this philosophy and wanting to align ALL THE CHOICES with it. Not a personal judgement, just a thing that happens. But people are complex beings and like you both I think it's pretty crazy to reduce a significant other just to their saving potential (as crazy as reducing them to their earning potential, really).

Melanie A

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I also believe that they have to be willing to change on their own. Coming from the other side, it took me a while to 'get it'. I did the same thing where I had a car loan, made minimum payments on student loans and carried CC debt. But I never got over my head with debt or missed payments. When I started dating my SO (it's still pretty new) I was very up front with my goals. As long as he isn't sabotaging them, it isn't a reason to break up with someone. You could always ask him what his goals are, you may be surprised.

Pigeon

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Don't go into any relationship with the idea that you are going to change someone.  He might change or he might not.  He might resent the hell out of your attempts to change him.  I think having an honest discussion about financial goals and philosophy is a good idea.  But if he doesn't want to read MMM after you've brought it up a time or two, it's time to back off.

It really shouldn't come as a surprise that he isn't jumping on the MMM bandwagon.  Most people aren't interested in delayed gratification and ER isn't a goal for many people.

Your friend sounds like he makes pretty mainstream financial decisions.  He doesn't sound like a total train wreck.  I think the real question here is whether you can happily live with somebody who doesn't mind having a car loan or are you dedicated to finding a partner who embraces serious frugality.  Only you can answer that question.

Thegoblinchief

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Lay off on the money talk unless there's talk of marriage/cohabitation, in which case you do need to talk about keeping finances separate (or, if joint, seeing more eye-to-eye) and any legal protections, which will vary based on your jurisdiction.

But if the chemistry is good, keep it up. And there's a lot of folks around here with happy marriages where the spouses have even more divergent financial pictures than what you're describing. Most of them rely on separate finances. My wife and I are reasonably similar, so we've been fine with joint finances, but each of us make purchases that can result in eye-rolls from  the other, so we have small "mad money" allowances for no questions asked spending.

Money can absolutely drive a wedge, but in your case it doesn't need to. You stop harping on him. Only considering  joining finances with eyes wide open. Etc.

Enjoy your relationship :) Make sure you can be happy if they never change. Love him for being HIM.

danactsalot

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Wow thanks for all the input! Great advice from lots of different perspectives.

I do really enjoy my guy (and I'm a guy, too, so forget the stereotypes about women trying to change their men). He makes me laugh, makes me get outdoors, and makes great food! So I think the advice about just focusing on that for now and letting him handle his separate finances is good.

However, I still don't completely understand how to handle a SO with different spending and saving goals on a simple day-to-day basis. This was an issue for me in a past relationship, too. BF wants to go out to eat-- for the third time this week. Do I stay at home and cook myself? Do I try to pick a cheap restaurant? Do I try to "change" his mind? BF wants to plan a third vacation this year. Do I threaten to stay at home and entertain myself? Do I try to pick a cheap hotel? Do I try to "change" his mind?

I get the difference between frugal and cheap, so I don't begrudge a fancy restaurant or a nice hotel once and a while. And since I can afford it, according to 95% of society, I have no excuse. But at some point I want to say enough is enough. Do I? Don't I? How do you guys with non-MMM SO's handle it?

lhamo

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Overly simplistic response, but why not just start a conversation with him to the effect of: "I'm not really comfortable with spending so much on XYZ," -- pick any one of the topics you listed -- and discuss why, and suggest alternatives that would meet both of your needs.  You have different values/goals than your current partner, and that's ok.  It may or may not be a deal breaker for one or both of you.  You won't know unless you start surfacing/discussing these issues and being honest about how you feel.  And how he reacts will also tell you a lot about the likely future of your relationship.  Is he cool with you having a different set of values/goals?  Is he interested in exploring why you feel what you feel?  Is he willing to accept that you won't be joining him in some of this spending?  And most importantly, is he RESPECTFUL of you and your values?  He doesn't have to become a clone of you or MMM, but I would say if he can't at least respect who you are, what you value, and where you are coming from, your relationship probably won't last.  Or it might last but you will have a lot of tension and disagreement in it.

buffaloe

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I'm no expert as I just happened to find someone who feels very similar to me in that saving money = freedom but I have a few ideas for you anyway! :) 

You said he makes great food, and you also made a comment about staying home to cook yourself.  So since it seems that you both enjoy cooking, why not suggest making something new together?  Find a really delicious looking recipe and make a night of it!  My husband and me both really enjoy cooking so we do this alot.  We look at stuff like foodgawker.com and pick wish lists for the other to try to make.  Or you said he both gets you outdoors and wants to take a 3rd vacation... why not something a bit more cost effective like camping?  You guys would still be doing fun things together, it's a bit of a compromise for you both, and you can sort of demonstrate to him that the good life doesn't have to be spendy.  I think you just have to get a bit creative... but good luck! :)

ender

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However, I still don't completely understand how to handle a SO with different spending and saving goals on a simple day-to-day basis. This was an issue for me in a past relationship, too. BF wants to go out to eat-- for the third time this week. Do I stay at home and cook myself? Do I try to pick a cheap restaurant? Do I try to "change" his mind? BF wants to plan a third vacation this year. Do I threaten to stay at home and entertain myself? Do I try to pick a cheap hotel? Do I try to "change" his mind?

Figure out why he wants to go out to eat.

Convenience? Type of food? Freedom?

You can't change someone meaningfully without understanding why they act the way they do. Once you figure that out, you can influence the factors that make him want to go out to eat. If convenience, you could cook for him. If type of food, you guys could learn to make it. If freedom, go on a picnic. etc.

MrsPete

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Can you change someone?  No.  Can you educate them and help them decide that they want to change?  Absolutely.
Give it until this Nov. If you don't see any change you are not likely going to and I'd cut your losses.
Good advice both. 

If you see a future with this guy, you should definitely talk about money.  If this is going to go further than casual dating, you need to be sure you can agree about money.  Talk about your goals and timetables for housing and its maintenance, for children and their education, for travel, for holiday spending, for emergency savings, for your parents in their old age, for your career aspirations, and anything else you can think of.  Do not assume these things will "work themselves out" as time goes on. 

Having said that, my husband and I were both money-minded when we met, but we came about it in totally different ways:  I was "everyday frugal"; that is, I was good at finding bargains on day-to-day necessities, and he was focused on investing.  We've each taken the lead in what came naturally to us, but we've also learned from one another. 
How that go -- Women spend their marriage trying to change the guy the married and wishing he was someone else, while men spend their marriage wishing the girl hadn't changed after marriage.
I've heard that said slightly differently:  Men marry thinking their wife will never change -- that she'll stay 22 forever and will put him first, even after the kids arrive; while women marry figuring they can turn the guy into who they want him to be -- that he'll stop going out with the guys and will start enjoying home maintenance, perhaps. 

I can't see any truth in that personally.  We've both changed over two decades +, but I like my husband better today than when we were first married. 

mozar

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You're just going to keep going in circles if you don't have a goals conversation. You want to threaten him? I understand you were half joking but that is no way to communicate. I recommend reading the 7 principles of making marriag work by john gottman. Also gay men and lesbians tend to fall into heterosexual dating patterns (femme, butch etc.). So I don't think those comments are out of line. You might not like hearing this but I've heard my female friends saying the exact same things that you are saying.

norabird

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For dining out and traveling, explain that you are choosing not to spend on those things right now, and why. There should be room for compromise--you can maybe eat out once a week, or you can find cheap places to go, or you can plan a camping trip stateside. But maybe he would be grateful to be able to eat at home more! I am fortunate in that my current BF has a similarly constrained budget and likes to cook with me, but I think that's something that can grow with time.

danactsalot

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Thanks again!

We do cook at home a lot, we do enjoy camping, and I have told him (and my last BF) that I want to spend less money eating out. But it's easier for a non-MMM to simply say, we've eaten in three times this week, that's good enough. Or Restaurant A is really cheap, so it doesn't matter. I guess I need to have a stronger values conversation.

And at the risk of completely derailing this conversation, I just want to say...
Also gay men and lesbians tend to fall into heterosexual dating patterns (femme, butch etc.). So I don't think those comments are out of line.
Gender roles and stereotypes are just that-- roles people choose to fill and stereotypes based on impressions of a few people and not representative of a population as a whole. How many times in popular culture or real life do we get the stereotype of a woman spending too much on shoes and purses and a man trying to change her? Yet it's only women who try to change men?

And there is not a single, perfect male-female relationship mold that every couple falls into. For LGBT couples, especially, we get to assign our own "roles" based on personal preference and needs and wants of the relationship, not our birth gender. When my last boyfriend and I lived together, I did a lot of the cooking and cleaning, but I also did the yard work and bills, the former being my mom's responsibilities and the latter being what my dad mostly did in my household growing up.

Finally, LGBT couples do not fall into heterosexual dating patterns :) Just because one half of a lesbian couple may be more "butch" than the other doesn't mean she's the "man" in the relationship and she will do every stereotypical man thing.

I appreciate your help and response, mozar. I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but I saw a chance to educate on a topic that is very important to me. Thanks again everyone.

mozar

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I was also trying to help educate you on something that is important to me. As a pansexual (I've dated people who are femme lesbians, butch lesbians, transfolk, cisgender straight men, and genderqueer folk) and someone who has done alot of research on the topic (as I get fustrated by stereotypes and gender boxes), people do tend to sort themselves out by gender leanings. You are right that gay men and lesbians are more likely to have more equal roles at home. I didn't say that butch lesbians will do all man things, but I find the fact that lesbians would sort themselves out as butch or femme in behavior or dress at all Is interesting. Learning about how evolution and culture is intertwined with gender has helped me a lot and I don't think gender based comments are out of line. Women are a lot more likely to ask if they can change a man. So I think it makes sense they thought you were a woman, which goes much deeper than a sterotypical shoe shopping problem.

AJ

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However, I still don't completely understand how to handle a SO with different spending and saving goals on a simple day-to-day basis. This was an issue for me in a past relationship, too. BF wants to go out to eat-- for the third time this week. Do I stay at home and cook myself? Do I try to pick a cheap restaurant? Do I try to "change" his mind? BF wants to plan a third vacation this year. Do I threaten to stay at home and entertain myself? Do I try to pick a cheap hotel? Do I try to "change" his mind?

Compromise and negotiation. It will look different in every relationship, and it is always a work in progress, but navigating differing values (and we ALL have different values than our partners, some more than others) is vitally important. Sometimes these conversations will be as simple as "I want to eat out." "I'd rather eat in, can I cook for you?" "Okay!" But other times you might both dig in your heels and the conversation will trigger a larger discussion of values. If frugality is important to you, and you are important to your partner, he will want to make you happy and cut back. Likewise, if you care about him and going out is something he feels makes him happy, you will let loose a bit more than you might naturally. Finding where you can meet in the middle is more art than science.

DH and I have run into this a lot in our past, and our life is littered with evidence of our compromises. We drive a nicer car than I would have picked, but we got a used one with excellent gas mileage. We live in a much fancier house than I would have wanted, but he consented to getting roommates to offset the cost. He buys brand name clothes, but shops for them second-and at my behest.

I will say that, after getting a taste of what it will be like to FIRE, DH is now fully on board the thrifty train. He even joined these forums! It took many years to get there, though. As others have said, people can and do change if they want to.

Merrie

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So I think it makes sense they thought you were a woman, which goes much deeper than a sterotypical shoe shopping problem.

Well, either that or cognitive bias/shortcut assuming most people are straight and since the post mentioned a male partner it was written by a woman. I made this assumption myself and then realized the OP was probably a guy when I looked at his screen name. Whoops.

mozar

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My shortcut was that women are more likely to ask that question. People have all kinds of biases and shortcuts, I'm just saying they come from somewhere, and I like to think about things on a deeper level.

2ndTimer

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I have had some success in encouraging my partner to change his financial behavior.  It depends on how hard you are willing to work and how flexible your partner can be. 

Mostly, I try to make the new behavior fun and my partner who loves fun will fall into it.  So the thermos is not presented at first as a way of saving money but as a way of having picnics in beautiful places.  After a few picnics, the Hub accepts the thermos as part of his life and begins to notice that it has other uses like when he has to take a multi-hour work trip in the car.   

Eating at home was a matter of my analyzing what we ate when we went out and then learning to cook it really well.  Very satisfying to hear the Hub say that with flat bread and hummus like I make, there is no need to go out to our favorite Greek restaurant.

otter

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heteronormativity strikes again! :) I will confess that I, too, assumed danactsalot was a woman. Thanks to the OP for his constructive criticism on this point!

tj

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I have had some success in encouraging my partner to change his financial behavior.  It depends on how hard you are willing to work and how flexible your partner can be. 

Mostly, I try to make the new behavior fun and my partner who loves fun will fall into it.  So the thermos is not presented at first as a way of saving money but as a way of having picnics in beautiful places.  After a few picnics, the Hub accepts the thermos as part of his life and begins to notice that it has other uses like when he has to take a multi-hour work trip in the car.   

Eating at home was a matter of my analyzing what we ate when we went out and then learning to cook it really well.  Very satisfying to hear the Hub say that with flat bread and hummus like I make, there is no need to go out to our favorite Greek restaurant.


Wow, I could go for a partner like you! :) Eating out is my achilles heel, but the kitchen is so overwhelming.....

theadvicist

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I changed when I met my now DH.

I was spendthrift consumer sucka. He was cautious and always spent more than he earned (just because... "there's nothing I really want to buy"). He had already realised buying crap wouldn't make his life any better.

Watching his example over the years obviously rubbed off on me. Then I had a 'lightbulb' moment where I realised, hang on, if I'm living beyond my means NOW (good job, no kids etc), when will I ever be able to afford my lifestyle. I did a complete 180, went from massive spender to massive saver.

Fast forward 12 years, and I'm the one into MMM. Husband carries on as he's always done - making everything he can himself, never shopping, DIYing.

So yes, people can and do change. But DH never pushed me at all. He just kind of showed me the way to peace of mind and I followed him. Now he says, "Let's go out for dinner!" and I'm all, "Sorry, it's not in the budget". Ha ha!

Interestingly, he also made me really tidy. I was so messy before I met him, stuff everywhere. Now he's the messier out of the two of us. I asked him to put a tool away the other day instead of leaving it out for people to trip over. He commented on the irony and I said, 'Yep, you've created a monster'.

So, if you like the guy, have fun! It'll work out, or it won't. But... be careful what you wish for ha ha!

Snow White

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"I was spendthrift consumer sucka. He was cautious and always spent more than he earned (just because..."

Threadvicist...I bet you meant to write that he SAVED more than he SPENT!

theadvicist

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"I was spendthrift consumer sucka. He was cautious and always spent more than he earned (just because..."

Threadvicist...I bet you meant to write that he SAVED more than he SPENT!

Ha ha, good spot, you're right, that's totally what I meant!

FrugalToque

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How that go -- Women spend their marriage trying to change the guy the married and wishing he was someone else, while men spend their marriage wishing the girl hadn't changed after marriage.
 
My guess is that you could pull your current guy along to following your path.   It certainly isn't impossible. 

That and don't forget the prenup.

[MOD NOTE: Although this "women change/men don't" is a common cliche, and is probably more common in some cultures than others, let's not go too heavy on the generalization.]

Retire-Canada

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However, I still don't completely understand how to handle a SO with different spending and saving goals on a simple day-to-day basis. This was an issue for me in a past relationship, too. BF wants to go out to eat-- for the third time this week. Do I stay at home and cook myself? Do I try to pick a cheap restaurant? Do I try to "change" his mind? BF wants to plan a third vacation this year. Do I threaten to stay at home and entertain myself? Do I try to pick a cheap hotel? Do I try to "change" his mind?

I'd just follow your own plan. If you have one meal a week budgeted to eat out a modest restaurant only go once. You can tell your partner that you've got $30 budgeted to eat out with him and let him pick the place and day of the week.

If he wants to go out more than that just explain that you can't if you want to meet your financial goals. Ideally some of those goals include fun stuff you'll do together like a winter holiday.

To be honest if that approach doesn't work you have to ask yourself how you intend to stay in a relationship with him? Having your partner appreciate and respect your priority personal goals is pretty mush essential for a successful relationship even if he doesn't share them.

-- Vik

RunHappy

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However, I still don't completely understand how to handle a SO with different spending and saving goals on a simple day-to-day basis. This was an issue for me in a past relationship, too. BF wants to go out to eat-- for the third time this week. Do I stay at home and cook myself? Do I try to pick a cheap restaurant? Do I try to "change" his mind? BF wants to plan a third vacation this year. Do I threaten to stay at home and entertain myself? Do I try to pick a cheap hotel? Do I try to "change" his mind?

I'd just follow your own plan. If you have one meal a week budgeted to eat out a modest restaurant only go once. You can tell your partner that you've got $30 budgeted to eat out with him and let him pick the place and day of the week.

If he wants to go out more than that just explain that you can't if you want to meet your financial goals. Ideally some of those goals include fun stuff you'll do together like a winter holiday.

To be honest if that approach doesn't work you have to ask yourself how you intend to stay in a relationship with him? Having your partner appreciate and respect your priority personal goals is pretty mush essential for a successful relationship even if he doesn't share them.

-- Vik

Letting your SO know your plan is great.

You can also start doing more meal planning and cooking at home to preempt the "hey let's go out tonight".

Merrie

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Mostly, I try to make the new behavior fun and my partner who loves fun will fall into it.  So the thermos is not presented at first as a way of saving money but as a way of having picnics in beautiful places.  After a few picnics, the Hub accepts the thermos as part of his life and begins to notice that it has other uses like when he has to take a multi-hour work trip in the car.   

Eating at home was a matter of my analyzing what we ate when we went out and then learning to cook it really well.  Very satisfying to hear the Hub say that with flat bread and hummus like I make, there is no need to go out to our favorite Greek restaurant.

The same has happened for us. And having fun with it also motivates me to stay more on track with frugality. Also, it's good to have positive plans instead of negative plans--what TO do instead of what NOT to do. It's hard to always be like "Let's not go out" but if you can be like "I want to cook ____ and ____ and I have the ingredients for that, let's stay in and do that and then take a nice walk in the park afterwards" then it's more motivating.

A great quote from Amy Dacyczyn, founder of the Tightwad Gazette--"Frugality without creativity is deprivation". Have fun with your frugality and with any luck your partner will enjoy having fun with you.