When I started earning money, I forced myself to believe that I made far less than what I was really earning. I socked away as much as I could and lived off a small amount of money. The goal was to build a comfortable safety net for “just-in-case” situations.
Add a handful of years, life experiences, and a husband…and I still possess these same frugal traits – carefully calculating the next potential emergency and unforeseen circumstance. I admit, though, that while I inherently will forever be money-conscious, Brian has certainly helped me find a better balance in enjoying life.
Two Different Worlds
He came from a family of spenders. I came from a family of savers. Our financial upbringings were SO different, in fact, that I had purchased a home and held investments at 22 while he had just discovered the amount of debt held in his name. We were on two different ends of the spectrum. It took years of communication, learning, and discipline for us to meet somewhere in the middle.
We started our relationship with major differences, especially when it came to money. I insisted on going Dutch and would tend to stick to small bites and happy hour specials I could afford. Work was everything to me – I was trying to make as much money as I could.
Prideful and stubborn, I was focused on making sure I could take care of myself before I would let someone else try to take care of me. I refused to turn on my heat and air conditioning. Some of my furniture came from dumpster diving. I was extra savvy when it came to securing hand-me-downs of hand-me-downs.
Brian, on the other hand, spent money as he was earning it. He enjoyed his money in the ‘now’. While he admittedly went overboard, he eventually learned how to save, just as I eventually learned how to spend.
Building a Partnership
Whatever we faced, we faced as a team. With life’s ups and downs, we worked through family dynamics, professional obstacles, finances, and goals. Communication is always the key.
Together, we began to create personal and financial goals. We cheered each other on and pushed each other when we needed it. Brian and I learned how to curb our financial habits.
It was important to both of us to be debt-free before we got married. We made more and saved more money. He tackled his student loans and we were able to pay off the house.
Oh, boy…did we ever compromise! I preferred a courthouse wedding, while Brian wanted us to have an actual wedding celebration. We eventually agreed to have a wedding of about 100 guests, which we were adamant we would pay for.
At this point, we were nearly 30 years old and both felt that it was not right for our parents to help us with wedding costs. To cover our wedding and honeymoon costs, we determined that a 2-year engagement would be best. Lo and behold, Brian and I were able to pay out-of-pocket for all bills that came in WHILE we saved money each month.
We got married with no outstanding bills AND were able to build a great little nest egg to start off our marriage!
Money and Marriage
If Brian and I were not able to see eye-to-eye on finances, then we wouldn’t be where we are today. Financial habits might not be a deal-breaker for some, but they are extremely important to us. There is a reason why many marriages fail because of money.
No longer do I feel like I am the only one looking out for myself. I have a partner now, someone who shares the same kind of financial beliefs and goals that I do! Not only do we view money similarly, but Brian also brings new ideas and material to the table.
We successfully achieved our debt-free lifestyle together and are excited about what new adventures are to come.
What Has Changed
- The heat gets turned on when we are cold
- Our bathrooms are stocked with fluffier toilet paper
- We routinely save 50% of our paychecks
- Higher quality purchases for longer use
- More frequent and diversified travels
- Allocate more money for investments
- Complete more house projects
- We treat ourselves more
- We treat friends and family more
Being married to someone who accepts my quirks, frugality, and stubbornness has impacted me greatly. I’m thankful that we listen to and challenge each other, especially in terms of money. Our compromises and experiences have taught me to live life a little more fully.
I don’t need to freeze in 50 degrees. Could I return to it if we need to?? Absolutely! But, alas…there is heat available in our house. We tend to keep our electricity bill around $80 per month. It’s OKAY to use the heat every once in a while.
Thank you, husband, for enjoying this life with me.