I’m a big saver; always have been, always will be. It’s how I was raised, it’s how I was able to be unemployed for six months and travel continuously, then come back to my hometown and buy a house. My fiance got out of the service and had to start from the ground up. In a way, it was nice that he had to start from scratch because my money mindset influenced him greatly – I’m not being big-headed, he’s said this himself, along with a thank you! After being steadily employed for six months, he’s now started putting money away in a savings account as well as helping out with household bills and prepping for our upcoming baby! I’m immensely proud of him and can tell he’s proud of himself, but it wasn’t an easy road getting to this point… Here are some tips on what you can do when a spender and saver marry.
First, we had to set budgets.
I was handling a bunch of bills on my own, but after my fiance moved in, we split everything. That means we both had to budget for shared expenses like the house payment, groceries, utilities, and surprise household purchases that pop up. We each had to think of what we needed, like paying our cell phone bills, car insurance, and gas. You’d think that splitting bills would mean there’s even more money to spend on fun and entertainment, but that wasn’t the case!
We were also paying for a midwife and all the things that a new baby will need, while putting aside money for savings. That means we had to think long and hard about what we “needed” outside of the real necessities. We love just being together, so going out wasn’t something we felt we needed to spend money on. Every once in awhile we’d splurge at the grocery store to make a gourmet meal at home, but that was basically it.
We borrow library books and movies instead of buying them new, go for walks around the neighborhood instead of window shopping in a mall, and shop at thrift stores for the things we need. You’ll find that, if you really think about it, you don’t truly need much – society and expendable income just make you think you do.
Secondly, we rewarded our progress.
It may make me sound big-headed and condescending, but it’s not meant to – every time my fiance puts money in his savings account or makes a smart spending choice, I praise him. I do it genuinely, not sarcastically, because I’m so proud of how far he’s come so quickly. I know how hard it is to change your mindset on something as serious as money, and I love that he’s putting away savings for himself and our family.
We also reward ourselves every month or so by doing something fun, if we’ve kept our bills down and already put something aside. Like I said above, we splurge with nice food from the grocery and enjoy a good meal together. Sometimes we’ll buy fun art supplies and make something together, because we get to spend that time together and then have something gorgeous to display in our home. After we got our tax refund, we splurged on a luxurious trip, since we’re usually such homebodies. You have to be careful with rewards because it’s so easy to overspend, so make sure you’re still keeping a budget even for the fun side of things!
We continuously set purchase goals.
As homeowners, we have unexpected major expenses. We had to get a new refrigerator a couple months ago, and we’re not entirely sure how much longer our rickety old washer and dryer will hold out. We’re both healthy and don’t require much medically, but we know with a new baby, we’re going to have some medical expenses we haven’t thought of. We’ve been putting money into savings to have “just in case”, but we also realize that this money might have to be used for more boring – uh, I mean practical – expenses. We keep an eye on the numbers in our savings accounts and make sure we have enough to buy what we might need, without splurging on the coolest washer and dryer (is there such thing??) and blowing too much money.
Featured photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via flickr.com