12.03.2009

The Saver and The Spender

In every relationship there is usually a spender and a saver. It seems like some force of nature that draws opposites in this category to one another. Each person has their designated role and the silent and sometimes not so silent tug of war ensues as the pair makes their way through a life together where the subject of money is simply impossible to ignore. Just one more thing to keep things interesting and although it can be annoying at times I do think it can be a good thing. Guess which one I am? Yes, the saver.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we went to a store to catch some of the Black Friday deals but without the massive crowds. Mj picks out a navigation system for his car. Now that I have one in my car of course he wants to be like me. After checking out the cameras and the flat screen TV's he decides on a flat screen as a Christmas present for his mom. The total for both purchases is around $750 and while my eyes are bugging out of my head he barely bats an eye.

The next day while I am at work I get an e mail from him saying that he's decided to keep the TV. What!! I can't understand this because although my TV is very small it is only temporary until we move and he has a large flat screen TV in storage and purchased a projector while he was overseas. Additionally, he has a regular TV in storage as well. Why in the world do we need essentially, 5 TVs between us? What is he going to get his mother now on top of this huge purchase?

I walk in the door after work and find that not only has he decided to keep it but it is already neatly set up and displaying Monday night football. The old TV has been relegated to a sliver of space between the wall and the closet. I look at it and him in stunned silence. I am even more confused when he tells me that he kept the TV because he has decided that he wants to get his mother a camera instead. OK....so why isn't the TV still in the box ready to go back to the store I ask. His reply is basically that instead of taking it all the way back to the store he just decided to keep it. Just for the heck of it.

I cannot comprehend such things. You see, I am a saver. If I have extra money which is rarely these days I prefer to save it rather then indulge it. A penny saved is a penny earned and although I really really wish that some day I could walk outside and pluck a dollar off of my own personal money tree I know that is never going to happen. My last major purchases came when I moved into my place almost five years ago and was forced to by a new computer when the old one died on me and some other things to get set up in my new place. Oh, and who could forget the Ugg Boot meltdown in October and the dominoe effect of anxiety my car purchase set off last month. I plan and save for my little mini trips here and there and I do buy clothes with coupons here and there when I can. Next year I will likely have to spend a hundred or so on a new cell phone and I don't even want to think about how much my wedding dress is going to cost.

In no uncertain terms I told him this was very upsetting for me considering all of our expenses we have coming up and the fact that he isn't going back to work until mid January. I can't afford to go to Vegas with him and am agonizing over a clothing purchase I made yesterday. I don't even know how I am going to pay for some of my upcoming expenses and he just decides to keep a $400 TV just for the hell of it. "It's not fair," I basically whined. Once I got him to acknowledge my feelings then I pretty much had to get over it. I trust him not to behave recklessly and spend beyond his means and when it comes down to it his means are different then mine. I have to take that into account. The more money you have the more you can spend. Just because my strained budget can't stretch to accommodate certain luxuries doesn't mean that I have to hold him accountable to the same tight standard.


That being said, we are going to sit down come January and work on our finances together. I am good at saving and budgeting and he pretty much buys what he wants. Mostly because he can. He is not out of control but to keep him on track I want to come up with a reasonable budget for him based on his expenses and income. Not mine. It's only fair. As a couple, we need to work together by discussing big purchases-not that I will ever make any!! We also need to settle on a system of savings and managing our joint finances that is comfortable for both of us. We have the joint savings which we do deposit money in and we have a joint checking account but haven't really done too much with it. I think it's always best for partners to still have their own individual accounts too.

When you think about it two savers together would have NO fun. Life would be filled with cheap low budget trips and stress over every penny. Two spenders together would find themselves in a world of financial trouble highlighted by way too many things and a life that depends solely on credit cards and debt. Don't get me wrong. If you make a lot of money by all means spend it. It's the spending AT OR BELOW YOUR MEANS part and putting money aside into savings that is key. Whatever those means may be and like it or not, that determines how much you are able to spend. You might be able to spend more if you make more but that also means you should be saving more!! Oh, and having credit cards does not count as having money.

Instead of fighting about these differences we can communicate, take a little from each, balance each other out and hopefully have the best of both worlds. Well, that's the plan anyways.

*Frugalista Money Tip: Spend at or below your means and save at or above your means*

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