Budget Talk with Your Honey? Put on the Gloves and Let’s Get Ready to Ruuuuumble! (Part 1 of 2)

Savers and Spenders in a Relationship

Ding! Ding! Round 1

One of you is a Spender and the other is a Saver. Get ready to lock horns and tangle over every penny.

Depending on what you read, studies have shown that we start to develop a concept of money by the age of 3 and by the age of 7, some of our money habits are already set. You might remember doing some household chores like washing dishes (my all-time most HATED chore, still to this day), folding laundry (not as well as Mom did) or helping Dad pull weeds plus the occasional flower or two, all to make a couple bucks. A few bucks went pretty far back in the 80’s! Jelly bracelets and purple crescent-shaped purses with a tiny white unicorn on it. If your parents were Savers, you most likely are a Saver. If they were Spenders, you might be a Spender.

But then you went and fell in love with the other kind and now all you do is fight, threaten and demand change. Money is one of the Top 5 topics couples fight over, right after ‘What’s for dinner?’ This can put some serious strain on a relationship when you can’t see eye to eye! When T-Money and I met, he rolled up in an Infiniti FX50. I didn’t even know what an Infiniti was until one of my managers made a comment when he dropped me off at work one morning (don’t judge). He was used to Gucci sweaters, $500 sunglasses and spending money like a pimp with one day to live. I was driving an F150 that was slowly falling apart, shopped at thrift stores and could barely make rent. PUBLIC NOTICE: I BORROWED $20 FROM HIM FOR GAS MONEY WHEN WE FIRST STARTED DATING. He’s been teasing me about that for years so now you know my dirty little secrets.

Round 2-Living Together

When we moved in together, that’s when things got ugly. My paychecks had a few dollars left over after bills so I started saving money again, but he was in the, “I might die tomorrow so why not live for today and buy what I want” mode. My preference was to save money and eat at home, but he wanted to order in or go out. If a cute dress in a thrift store caught my eye, he’d say that I wasn’t broke so why shop there? Don’t even get me started on our Amazon account. Men’s $80 dress shirts and $90 Gucci sweaters with a hideous bee on it?! Ew. T still wasn’t saving any money! Just me!

Life Advice: Save 10% of your take-home pay; no ifs, ands or buts. Just do it and hush. You’ll thank me later.

It was a constant battle and in my mind, victory was never mine. We combined money but then got pissed off at each other’s spending habits, so we separated money. And then we did it two more times! Together, separated; together, separated. At one point, we each had separate checking accounts at the same bank plus a joint account to deposit money and pay bills. Ugh. We were a H-O-T-M-E-S-S. Who bought dinner last? No, I paid for groceries last week, so you owe me $13. Then it’s another fight and no one is getting any lovin’ and that’s never good. See what money can do? Now it’s combined and will never be separate again.

Round 3-Trials & Solutions

The Dave Ramsey train rolled into my life and this girl drank the kool-aid in double shots. The program really clicked and it made my Type A personality sing with all my little envelopes, slowing filling with cash every two weeks. My bills were being paid off and being debt free was looking good, minus student loans in hibernation. There was a $50 allowance for me every paycheck, which he ridiculed. I even paid off my truck seven months early!! And you know what else I did? I told him, ‘NO.’ I don’t want to go out to dinner, I want to save my money. NO, I don’t want to go shopping. I’m making an extra payment on my credit card this month so I can pay if off next month. That’s when he started to get it.

He’s not a DR fan but I’d been preaching the phrase “DEBT FREE” repeatedly and backed it up with scenarios of, ‘what would we do with an extra $400 if this (bill/vehicle) was paid off?’ and that got his attention. We both let go a bit, combined money again and the first thing we paid off was one of his credit card bills and he caught a little bit of debt-free fever. He even gave in to the ridiculous allowance every paycheck. When we were going strong, we combined money for the last time and were able to save $1200 a month because we were working hard to lose weight before a vacation to Punta Cana so we stopped eating out and started eating clean. Cha-CHING.

(Continued next week)