Archive for February 6, 2011

Are You Afraid to Talk About Money?

My husband and I rarely fight. We bicker from time to time over some silly things, but it’s unusual for one of us to really anger the other one. When we do fight it’s typically over the same set of issues, most typically family related.

The one thing we almost never fight about is money. The reason is simple, we discuss it openly and honestly. As I’ve mentioned before my husband decided to merge all of our bank and checking accounts shortly after we were married. I wasn’t fond of the idea, but I quickly realized that neither one of us had any spending habits to hide.

We have a number of different bank accounts and credit cards that we jointly own. We both have access to the various websites and can log in to verify balances or activity at any time. We are both active users of those accounts, meaning every week you can bet that both of us have logged in to view our account information.

In our family I am definitely the frugal one. I clip coupons, I sell unwanted items on eBay and I search around for the cheapest prices whenever possible. Simply put, I don’t spend a lot of money. I don’t buy a lot of clothes or gadgets. I don’t eat out at expensive restaurants and I don’t feel the NEED to purchase much in life.

On the other hand, my husband thinks nothing of buying $1,000 worth of computer and camera equipment. I must admit that when he tells me such things I do cringe a little. It’s not that I think he shouldn’t buy that stuff, I just don’t always think it’s particularly necessary or important.

Now my husband knows that I don’t entirely approve of his purchases, but it’s important to point out that he continues to tell me about them. We keep an honest and open dialogue about all of our financial decisions and I think it’s important that he continues to tell me about his purchases even when he knows I may disagree with them.

If our relationship were different he might hide those purchases. He might choose not to discuss them with me. He might feel guilty for buying or angry at me for disapproving of them. Now the emotions around these purchases doesn’t change just because we discuss them. He may still be angry and I might still be disappointed, but we get to discuss the underlying issues and quickly move on from them.

Because we discuss our finances often, my husband knows that I do not approve of monthly technology purchases and because he knows that I’m frugal he does his best to purchase less frequently and shop around for refurbished products rather than purchase new ones.

At the end of the day we have to remove the concept of right and wrong from the equation, because neither one of us would win at that game. Instead, we make sure to review our long term goals as often as possible.

If a few technology purchases each year don’t interfere with our plans to pay off our homes and retire early than there is no reason he should stop buying. The key is to keep an open dialogue about our finances. The more we talk about money the easier it becomes to continue to talk about it.

February 6, 2011 at 4:50 AM 4 comments


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