Author Topic: Talking to SO about saving money?  (Read 2944 times)

jacksonn

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Talking to SO about saving money?
« on: March 09, 2018, 12:39:35 PM »
Hello,

How woud one start on talking about saving money on little things? If she is like "we can eat out a few times a week, its not like we can't afford it", "use the dryer why hang them??", "starbucks at the mall is only a few bucks", what is a good starting point on talking about how some "little things" are not neccessary and we could have saved a lot? People don't change overnight, so what can make someone change slowly but surely?

Recently saw the MMM blog, very impressed. Want to start following MMM and start saving more, not sure how to bring SO along. I am convinced enough by reading the blog, not sure what will convince her. Even getting to 5% of what MMM is doing would be great.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 01:02:40 PM »
Hello,

How woud one start on talking about saving money on little things? If she is like "we can eat out a few times a week, its not like we can't afford it", "use the dryer why hang them??", "starbucks at the mall is only a few bucks", what is a good starting point on talking about how some "little things" are not neccessary and we could have saved a lot? People don't change overnight, so what can make someone change slowly but surely?

Recently saw the MMM blog, very impressed. Want to start following MMM and start saving more, not sure how to bring SO along. I am convinced enough by reading the blog, not sure what will convince her. Even getting to 5% of what MMM is doing would be great.

I was in similar situation, except that we already dont spend for luxury but not very mustachian way of living either.
I always been frugal except for helpless time of money I spend on gadgets (mostly $10-20 dollar things). She wasnt care finance either. 

To start things, it took a lot of time for me straightened before I ask her to look at FI.

1. Start with excel.
We both sat, I requested her to help me list our expenses - as monthly expected ones (rent/cable/internet/phone/gas/insurance/loan) and unexpected (gifts/gc for functions/outside food/travel), emergency spending happened in last 6 mo and average it, long distance travel spendings

2. Dont start with controlling stuff:
When we started, I told her, that we should observe our spending and not control it anyways.
Once we started looking, we were laughing when we want to make idiotic purchases.

3. Buyer vs shopper feeling
Wife is a shopper (she bought 128GB iphone when it got released for full retail price which is now worth 100 dollars) and I am a buyer (i only buy when it is needed, but would buy the best bang for money for quality). So each time when we buy stuff we make fun of ourselves (again, never make serious talks. Its okay to be not frugal, sometimes its very sensitive to control money).

4. Give it time
Lets say you love starbucks coffee. If you want to be frugal and do it overnight (i can do, not my brother) it will be frustrating. So may be buy the starbuck bag and make the coffee your self and reduce numbers of visits first, then stop, then grind your own coffee. All you need is the 5 seconds of thinking calm before the urge of doing something.

5. Dont push
Dont always be serious about talking money. Sometimes she want to gift her cousin an expensive watch, may want to take a friend to dine, may want to go to a birth day party with $50 gift card.  You should not put money as discussion point which then turn argument which would never turn in right side. Its okay, dont push them. Once you develop the habit, show the results they would appreciate and tend to follow.

Mind is like a parachute. All you need is to open it once, it will fly on its own.

You need to go baby steps. start slow, and in six months you would train your mind and mrs would follow.

In my case, we started last 3 months, i could say we are in agreement for many stuff and sometimes there are discussions (she wants to change the new S8+ bought for $500 during Tx giving to Iphone 8+ since she doesnt like S8+/android anymore - I told her its okay to let that S8+ go for a loss at $400 and can buy her iphone during this Tx giving) you need to sacrifice your side for peace of mind.

Trifele

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 01:03:02 PM »
Hey there and welcome!

Right at the top of this corner of the forum there is a sticky thread on this exact subject:  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/ 

Maybe start by reading through that, see if it resonates with you and gives you some ideas?  Many other folks have been on that journey.  Might be helpful to share their wisdom of do's and don'ts.   Best of luck.

 

mskyle

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2018, 01:07:08 PM »
I think the best way is to start by talking about the goals you hope to achieve via saving the money. Whether that's a short-term goal like, "if we both skipped Starbucks twice a week we could buy that new TV we've been talking about" or longer-term.

If you and your partner don't share long-term financial goals, it's going to be really really hard.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 01:07:59 PM »
There's a sticky thread on the Ask A Mustachian board - How To Convert Your SO to MMM in 50 Awesome Steps.

Be ye warned, though. By fully espousing MMM's way, you've done the equivalent of coming home and excitedly telling your lady person that your both converting to ancient Jewdiasm. You may see the deep logic of the system, but dont be surprised if she isn't quite as excited as you about confining herself to the women's tent during her menses.

terran

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 01:08:19 PM »
My opinion is you can't make it about saving money on the the little things. You'll just come off as naggy, restrictive, and annoying. It will become a you vs her thing and she'll just get (rightfully) resentful. You need to sell a vision. Figure out what part of this whole early retirement, financially independent, stay at home with the (future, if any) kids, travel the world, not have to take crap from bad bosses even if she generally likes working, etc, etc thing gets her excited and make it about that. Then it's not about saving little bits of money, it's about the big thing that gets her really exceited. And lead by example. Don't tell her she "can't" get Starbucks at the mall, but if she asks if you want it just say "No thanks, I'll just have some coffee when we get home. I'd rather put that money towards that really big awesome audacious goal we both think would be really cool."

Have you seen the sticky post at the top of this forum? https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/

Zikoris

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 01:48:33 PM »
You could just start doing the things. When you do laundy, hang it to dry. "No thanks, I'd rather cook" or "No thanks, I'll make coffee at home" are perfectly reasonable responses to "Lets go pay people to make us food and drinks". You don't need to hash the whole thing out every tkme, just quietly do things properly.

jacksonn

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 01:49:02 PM »
Thanks for all the replies! Am very surprised (and felt welcome) by how many responses I got in a short amount of time. I didn't notice the sticky posts, thanks for pointing that out! I will go read that :)

charis

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 02:58:32 PM »
I once sent my spouse an email with the numbers projected out for a particular habit.  $X spent per week for X weeks for 18 years (representing how long until our newborn would be going to college) = $X total.  It was a big number.  Then project the total if invested with avg to modest returns over the same period, if you want.  That represents the amount our child could have for her education that was just being flushed down the toilet basically.

I don't think some people consider small amounts spent regularly to have any real impact on their finances until they see it all together.

Raenia

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 03:21:43 PM »
I've been having this problem recently with my SO regarding hanging the laundry - we still use the dryer for some things, but usually only one load per 2-3 loads in the washer, hanging the rest.  I am happy to do the hanging, and then the folding, but he was still complaining "why do we have to do this, it's a waste of time, not worth saving the $1.75/week," etc.  I tried to frame it as better for the environment as well as savings, and wanting to get into good habits, that did not help.  We finally had a better talk about why it was bothering him, and it turned out to be the space the drying rack takes up was making him feel uncomfortable/cramped - so I moved the rack.  No complaints since, though we'll see in a few weeks.

My point is, a complaint about "why can't we go out for food, we can afford it" may not be about money at all.  It might be she doesn't like cooking.  Or she doesn't like your cooking ;P  Or shopping is too much hassle.  Or she feels she deserves a treat.  If you try to find out what impulse is driving the complaint, you may be able to propose a solution that gives you both what you need.

And most importantly, don't expect to win all those points at once.  Focus on one thing at a time, and take your time.

Noodle

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2018, 08:10:11 PM »
Basically, you have two choices. Neither of them are "start nitpicking my SO's expenditures."

1. Sit down and talk about your big-picture goals, joint or individual. Skipping Starbucks because you are saving for a down payment on a home, or to have a stay-at-home parent for your kids, or to pursue your dream career as a professional llama wrestler, is way more motivational than skipping Starbucks to "save money." That's just hoarding. Once you have big goals that you're really excited about, the strategies are a lot easier to discuss.

2. Start making different choices yourself, without a lot of fanfare. Do the laundry yourself, and hang it up. Get dinner cooked and/or organized so that eating at home is no more effort for her than going to a mediocre restaurant. Sometimes a SO needs to see their partner walk the walk, especially if said partner has a history of big dreams and limited follow-through, before they're willing to do a lot of work to make their own changes.

NOTE: Sometimes a SO will apparently agree to goals but not follow through. Unless there's something going on with their executive functioning, it most likely means that they felt pressured to agree with you but aren't really committed. The solution is not nagging. The solution is to go back and revisit the original discussion with some attention to one's own role in why the SO agreed to something they weren't really up for.

pbkmaine

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2018, 08:36:32 PM »
My husband’s big thing was eating out, so I set about recreating his favorite dishes at home. I also packed lunch for both of us. He, in turn, learned to make me vanilla coffee that is as good as anything at Starbucks.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2018, 03:39:53 AM »
Manage your money separately and walk the walk.

Mezzie

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2018, 05:42:02 AM »
My husband loves eating out, and that isn't going to change anytime soon. We each get the same amount of discretionary money each month, though, so if that's how he wants to spend his, more power to him.

Right now we could probably increase our 60% savings rate to 70% if we both spent less frivolously, but I know my husband would feel that as a sacrifice, and that's not worth it. I do often invest a good chunk of my discretionary money, but I also make some questionable purchases. I'm in no position to throw stones.

jacksonn

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2018, 12:16:57 PM »
I guess for me some of the small things are like close to 0 effort to me, so it seems to be a no brainer to do the less expensive way. For her it seems annoying and takes effort, so she would be like "are you seriously caring so much about $1.12"?

Good responses guys! thanks so much. I guess I should starting bringing up long term goals like houses, kids, trips, retirement, etc.
(* at age 26 she felt like "Why are you eve talking about retirement my parents aren't even retired)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2018, 01:38:09 PM »
I guess for me some of the small things are like close to 0 effort to me, so it seems to be a no brainer to do the less expensive way. For her it seems annoying and takes effort, so she would be like "are you seriously caring so much about $1.12"?

Good responses guys! thanks so much. I guess I should starting bringing up long term goals like houses, kids, trips, retirement, etc.
(* at age 26 she felt like "Why are you eve talking about retirement my parents aren't even retired)

So Iíve learned that itís retirement, which people equate to unemployed, that triggers most people. For you, donít talk about retirement, talk about FI, itís much more powerful and relatable.

Trifele

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2018, 01:39:49 PM »
(* at age 26 she felt like "Why are you eve talking about retirement my parents aren't even retired)

The word 'retirement' has strong connotations.  If you phrase it in terms of 'freedom' or 'independence' that may resonate more for her. 

My brother FIREd a few years ago -- he was the first 'early retiree' we knew.  The way I explained it to my kids is that he saved his money and instead of buying more things, he bought his freedom.  Now he can do what he wants every single day.   

I think anyone can understand the appeal of that.

jacksonn

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2018, 05:10:30 PM »
She said whenever I talk about moeny, I sound like a missionary pushing religion which makes no one wants to listen to any of it.

Anyone with similar experience?

Sailor Sam

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2018, 05:27:27 PM »
She said whenever I talk about moeny, I sound like a missionary pushing religion which makes no one wants to listen to any of it.

Anyone with similar experience?

Not specific experience with accusations of proselytizing, but I'd say her reaction means you're pushing too hard. Nudging someone towards different behaviour is a slow, slow, slow process. And it's not a process guaranteed to succeed.

Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2018, 06:53:37 PM »
Itís not easy. Especially when you werenít focused on FI and FIRE when you first met.  In my case, I found MMM a couple years in, and probably sounded like I was proselytizing when I first brought it up. I ended up dropping the subject and didnít read MMM too frequently after that until several months ago. 

What I did start doing was bringing my lunch to work more often. And so did she. I started having dinner ready for her every night when she gets home because she works later. We started trying to find free events or free tickets from work.  Notice that last one, WE.  I might mention something here or there now, and since I read Millionaire Next Door, and now A Random Wall Down Wallstreet, with Your Money or Your life on deck, she knows Iím focused on it again more directly.  Reading the books though leads to conversations, and I make sure not to get preachy. 

I still have to watch the getting preachy on telling her to max her 401k though.  I showed her how if she did that and her HSA she would save $5k a year in taxes.  She focused on her take home pay available now being less....win some lose some, but I know eventually she will come around. I just canít push too much.

It also helps to see a close friend of hers meet, then knock up, then marry a woman who is blowing through the money like crazy.  And posts it all online.  My GF might say she wants the expensive watch or bag or shoes, but she isnít going to spend $5k on a single one, let alone $500. 

Itís a process.  Especially when the other person likes their job.  You need to find the right way to frame the conversation. Everyone is different.  Another FI blog, and I canít recall which one, finally got his wife on board by asking her to picture her ideal life,  and then described his.  And when the focus was on all the things they could do and being together versus focusing on not working, she was on board.

Noodle

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2018, 07:17:35 PM »
I guess for me some of the small things are like close to 0 effort to me, so it seems to be a no brainer to do the less expensive way. For her it seems annoying and takes effort, so she would be like "are you seriously caring so much about $1.12"?

Good responses guys! thanks so much. I guess I should starting bringing up long term goals like houses, kids, trips, retirement, etc.
(* at age 26 she felt like "Why are you eve talking about retirement my parents aren't even retired)

Hanging up laundry and cooking meals instead of going out, to use your examples, ARE work. I mean, certainly work that can become less as you develop systems and efficiency, but still work. If it's a lot less effort for you, then just doing it will get you farther than a discussion. I am not saying that you are doing this, but more than once on these boards it has happened that working spouses will come up with all kinds of ideas about how their SAH spouses can save money and then get mad when spouse isn't interested (possibly because working spouse does not fully understand all the moving parts of keeping a household running.) If your suggestions are coming off in that vein, it's not surprising that you are getting resistance.

Britan

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Re: Talking to SO about saving money?
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2018, 10:27:56 AM »
So maybe this will sound crazy but...

Don't try to talk to your SO about saving money. See, because YOU don't want to save money ... wait for it...

You want to eventually *do* something with that money. It's just that what you want to do with it is far in the future, and not right now, and takes time to build up to.

So, what is it you want? The ability to leave your awful job? Or so you can take a low paying job in a social service context? So you can travel and experience the world? So you can be more involved in your neighborhood? So you can be fully present for your (current/future) children? So you can be more present with your SO?

What does your SO want? Not just today, but next year. And the next five years. If you won the lottery today and never *had* to work again, what would your SO *choose* to do with their time? Would they really stay in their current job? What does their 'dream life' look like?

And how do all of your goals stack up in terms of priority? Is your desire to quit your job in 5 years stronger than your desire for a mocha frappuchino today? How about your priorities in relation to your SOs?

Are you both on the same page with what you both want? Are you both committed to making sacrifices and helping the other person reach their goals, and living in the reality that reaching those goals creates for you?

Yes? Great. Then talk about the logistics. The "how". That's saving.

Not that I've learned this lesson the hard way or anything. <_<