Author Topic: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks  (Read 7472 times)

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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I must admit, I feel kind of sheepish being so new to MMM and the community, and for my second post ever waltzing my mouse over to the Badassity forum, but I really wasn't sure where else to post it and am very excited to tell someone.  Especially my dad, but I haven't had the chance yet. :)

So I have always been the thrifty saver and my long-term, live-in boyfriend has always been the lofty consumer.  I have more debt and bills than him (car payment and student loans), he makes slightly more money than me, and yet somehow I always have money left over at the end of the month and he doesn't.  This in itself causes issues because he owes me money as well.

After my dad introduced me to MMM, I was completely hooked, and making the transition was pretty easy for me, but I knew (or I thought) that getting SO to convert was going to be an uphill battle.  Boy, was I wrong.  Maybe he really had it in him all along, or maybe I really worked some MMM magic, but here's the basic rundown of what I did:

I got him to print out 3 months of debit card history, about 200 line items, I entered them into a spreadsheet, categorized them by entity, entity type (gas station, entertainment provider, restaurant, etc.), purchase detail and most importantly category (Fixed Expenses, Contracted Expenses, Variable Necessities and Non Necessities).  I sorted by months, variables, totals, etc. and found the averages for all his different spending types over the course of three months.  There are a LOT of detail and figures I was able to show him from this, but won't break it all down in the first post.  Note this didn't include his credit card because he wasn't using it during this time.  Here's a short run down of what I found:

25% of his take home pay went to fixed expenses - rent, electricity (flat rate for him).
25% went to variable necessities - gas, groceries, etc.
17% to contracted expenses - gym membership, cable & internet (yes he's in a contract), credit card, etc.
and a whopping 33% on non necessities - eating out, entertainment, gas station food & drinks, etc.

After this reality check, things started to finally hit home for him.  It's been over 2 weeks and the only non necessity he's bought is a barbecue sandwich at the fireworks show.  In fact, several times I have caved and asked if he wanted to go out for lunch together and he's turned me down because he wants to save the money. :) After the first week he came to me in humble amazement and said, "Wow, you were right, I still have money left in my bank account - a lot of it!"

Step 2 came yesterday when I took his debts and interest rates and showed him how quickly he could pay them off with different amounts of monthly payments (and subsequent interest paid).  The bottom line was that he could pay off all ~$3,000 of his debt (including his debt to me) and save a $1,000 emergency fund in his bank account in one year and still have $240 left over each month to do with as he pleased.  If he sells his motorcycle (which he's said he wants to do), he could have all that done in less than 6 months.

I am so excited for him... and me!  He's told me that it's been a lot easier than he thought it would be to not spend the money and that it feels really good to have a plan to pay off his debts so quickly and still have money left over to feel like he's not depriving himself.  His biggest trap was buying food and drinks from gas stations and eating out, but keeping the fridge stocked has eliminated that temptation.

Now step 3, way, way down the road, will be convincing him that squirreling away all of that extra cash and investing it will make him much happier in the long run than saving it up to buy bigger and better toys - like a new motorcycle.  Admittedly that was my tactic at first - trying to convince the lofty consumer to stop spending money on things that make them happy in the immediate to save all that money for a happiness way, way off in the future is a huge leap to take at one time.  So, in baby steps, I told him to think about how he could save for a house (we rent) and eventually get a new motorcycle. :)  Baby steps... he'll get there.

One final thought here is that I know this won't work for everyone - everyone is different and everyone's consumer SO is different, but I just thought I share what worked for me.  There's a really good chance it will work for someone else too.  SO had a general idea where his money was going every month, but until it was tangible figures in front of him, he had no idea how much he could be saving.  Most of the money he spent every month was spent less that $10 at a time, so he thought nothing of these small purchases.  But when they added up to almost 25% of that 33% of his money spent on non necessities, he finally started to realize what a big deal those little purchases were.  I'm so proud of him :)

P.S.  Feel free to ask me for any of the nitty-gritty on my 6 spreadsheet workbook I created to do this!  Or anything else, really :)

TrulyStashin

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2013, 08:51:44 AM »
Congrats DoH.  I'm sure your dear old dad will be tickled once you tell him.

It just feels better over time so keep it up!

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2013, 09:09:04 AM »
Thanks!  Your short name for me cracked me up!  I should have seen that one coming eventually :p

Dear old Dad, Hybrid, may stumble across this before I have the chance.  Either way, I'm sure he'll be proud. :)

DoubleDown

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 11:35:56 AM »
That's excellent, and good for him for being so open-minded and accepting of the message!

Snow White

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 04:57:35 PM »
Great work!  You SHOULD be excited and proud.  Just remember to smile when he calls you on YOUR spending one day as reformed consumers often take the torch and run fast with it!  I convinced my hubby to read Your Money Or Your Life many years ago (he was reluctant) but after he read it he would quote from the damn book to me! ;)

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 09:46:34 AM »
Thanks for all the kudos! 

I was definitely proud and smiling big on a few occasions where I wanted to cave and go get lunch out together but he declined saying he'd rather save the money.  I told him I was very proud of him and happily ate my brought-from-home lunch.

He and I work a mile down the road from each other so we car pool as often as we can (sometimes I know I have to work late).  That's been a great money saver for us - both in gas and tolls.

gooki

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 02:46:38 PM »
Congrats on the quick results.

Joet

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 04:54:59 PM »
Awesome! Since your boyfriend isn't married can I get his # :)


ep114

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2013, 02:11:34 AM »
It might even get easier. I think the watching-the-numbers-go-up part of investing is much more fun than the paying-off-the-debt part.  You could show him some investment calculators....compound interest is truly a glorious thing.

Theadyn

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 06:56:55 AM »
I did a similar thing with my late hubby.   After he saw the numbers written down, get got it and it took off from there.  After that, he would excitedly come get updates on how we were doing paying down debt.  I'll never forget, I use to spread all my stuff out on the bed and go over things, tweaking here and there.  He would open the door, get a huge smile on his face, put his hands up by his face, wriggle his fingers and ask "Are we out of debt, yet?", lol.  I put up some graphs on the fridge of things we were paying down and would let him cross out blocks when we paid stuff down, the visual motivator helped a lot, it was visible proof that we were working on a goal.

Best of luck!!

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2013, 08:40:03 AM »
I definitely agree that watching the numbers go up will be much more fun and satisfying for me than watching the debt numbers go down.  Right now each day until I get paid again is agonizing because I keep wanting to throw more and more money at my relatively small credit card debt (step 1 for me), but I've already calculated and paid the max I can pay each paycheck so I just have to be patient. :)

I actually worry that the investing part will be less fun for the SO.  Right now the debt he has is causing him a great deal of stress - largely the debt he owes me and the strain it's put on our relationship in the past when I've seen him buying toys / needless items and has been paying me back very little.  So I think the relief of saving that money and using it to pay off large chunks of debt at a time is very rewarding for him.  Alternatively, I worry that trying to save money will create the 'burning a hole in his pocket' sensation where he wants to take that money and make a large purchase with it - like buy a new car or motorcycle with it.

Whereas I'm very future oriented, he is very now oriented and while this balance is helpful in other areas, I worry getting him to continue to save up money that isn't supposed to be touched for a long time will be an uphill battle.  But, again, baby steps and I'm not spending too much time focusing on that for now.  Any advice is very welcomed, though!

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2013, 08:42:50 AM »
And Theadyn I'm very sorry to hear about your late husband but your story did make me smile - what wonderful imagery!  :) Glad to hear a similar tactic worked well for you also.  I feel being able to visualize a goal or an obstacle makes it much easier and less scary to over come as well as making it more concrete and thus harder to push out of your mind as something that you don't really need or want to think about.

hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 11:00:47 AM »
Wow. No questions for your DoH but your boyfriend better stay on the 'stache path: you're a keeper! :) Nicely done!

Darn right she is!  I mean if you like that whole pretty, smart, knows where she is going sorta thing....   ;-)  The only downside is that now Mom/Wife (who is also new to the game) feels like she is getting tag-teamed by two Mustachians!  Figure her screen name will be Sick_of_Hybrid.  ;-)

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2013, 11:09:47 AM »
LOL!  Thanks, Dad :)

And don't worry, Mom will get there.  We may have to drag her kicking and screaming a little... but she'll hit the ground running on her own two feet soon enough.  The reward just needs to be more tangible for her, and the closer she gets to retirement the more evident it will be.

Nords

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2013, 02:24:49 PM »
Impressive turnaround!  I've seen dozens of these "getting the SO on board" threads, and this is the most positive one ever.

We may have to drag her kicking and screaming a little... but she'll hit the ground running on her own two feet soon enough.  The reward just needs to be more tangible for her, and the closer she gets to retirement the more evident it will be.
So... what type of motorcycle is she saving for?

Eric

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2013, 02:57:46 PM »
Nice work!  The tracking expenses thing worked for me too.  I told my wife that I didn't want to change her spending at all, I just wanted to keep track of it.  I made a spreadsheet to record every cent we spent for the month.  Just by having to write down the money spent automatically induced more frugal behavior and more conscious spending decisions.  It worked great and we didn't even have to have "the talk".

Daughter_of_Hybrid

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2013, 10:27:28 AM »
Thanks, Nords, that really means a lot!  And, Eric, glad to hear you had a successful tracking venture as well.   

I'm very happy and proud of my boyfriend for having such an open mind and being so trusting of me to help him out.  That brings up a good point that I think may apply to a lot of people:  when one partner is a lofty spender and the other is a thrify saver, when the saver offers to help the spender, it's probably quite common for the spender to refuse help because he or she is afraid of the saver getting upset over the true nature of their spending habits or feel embarrassed over purchases they knew in hind sight they shouldn't have made.

This is what happened with SO and I for many years when I offered to help.  It wasn't until he voiced his concernes and I earnestly promised to treat my assistance with finances as if I was a neutral third party and promised not to make him feel embarrassed, guilty or myself get upset or angry over everything I found.

And I wasn't.  Instead I was excited at all the opportunity and room for savings he has availbable in his budget.  This was incredibley relieving and uplifting for him.

aaronpct

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 12:13:04 PM »
Congrats!  Sounds like you have a great dad and your SO is willing to learn, so he might be a keeper! =)

My SO this morning made coffee and I asked her puzzingly why she was doing it, she said to save $$.  I was so proud of her for speaking my love language. lol.  These baby steps will help work on her wimpy saving muscles and turn her into the best SO alive. =)


yolfer

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Re: How I got my paycheck-to-paycheck SO to Embrace Frugality in 2 weeks
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 02:09:37 PM »
LOL!  Thanks, Dad :)

And don't worry, Mom will get there.  We may have to drag her kicking and screaming a little... but she'll hit the ground running on her own two feet soon enough.  The reward just needs to be more tangible for her, and the closer she gets to retirement the more evident it will be.

This is great! I love how it's a family affair here on the MMM forums. Hybrid, congrats on raising an awesome daughter. And DoH, you're lucky for having such a cool dad.