SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Wendy
When it comes to money and marriage, the topic is always sensitive. When you share each other’s dollars and you each have different ideas on how to save and spend them, well, there’s bound to be tension. So I’m going to approach this as delicately as I can, because I’m not interested in having an incendiary debate.
The issue is saving money. We both want to save, that’s not a question. We’d both love to put away a reasonable amount—not just for Lucas, but also for ourselves—to help with a future down-payment on a new home, to be prepared for any emergency expenditures, and to be able to travel a little bit outside of visiting family on the east coast.
We’re (mostly) in agreement about what we’d like to save for. What we can’t agree on is how much to save. To Alex, there is a magic number he’d like to achieve. If we reach this magic number, then he believes we can relax a bit. Once we save that amount, we can maybe invest in a few big-ticket items, like a trip or new TVs, but first the magic number must be acquired.
In the meantime, as we follow his plan, we sometimes have miserable months when we supposedly can’t even afford to go to Subway and get sandwiches for the evening, so I end up scrounging together a very basic meal of egg and cheese on one slice of toast (so as not to use up all the bread for the week). I understand we are lucky that we can pay all our bills and put away money to pay for our visits back east and own a home and send our child to an excellent daycare. And we are lucky that we can afford to buy ourselves video games and I can go out to lunch about once a week and sometimes treat myself to reflexology to help my back. But when I think about the months when we do scrape and scrounge, I get upset that things are so tight because we put away a couple hundred dollars in savings.
My feeling is this: I would still like to put away money, and have a set amount of money as a goal to save each month. But if we find ourselves in a situation every once in a while where funds are so tight that we are stretching our food to make it last, then I don’t think it’s a problem to not save that month. And if we want to treat ourselves with a fancy dinner once every couple months, that shouldn’t be impossible either.
What it boils down to is a difference in philosophy. He wants to save hard now so we can relax (but still save) later. I want to just relax now (but still save), keeping in mind that we certainly can’t break the rules every month, but a few times a year of less-than-stellar saving won’t kill us. I think if we treat ourselves a bit in the here and now, it’s not a problem, especially since I’m not advocating we stop saving altogether. I know it’s never going to be “easy” to save. So why not just do the best we can and forgive ourselves for splurging a little from time to time?
HE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Alex
Once you get to the point of being a responsible adult and most especially a homeowner, everybody wants your fucking money. I am not kidding when I say that. Once we were lucky enough to call ourselves “homeowners,” we received no less than three extra bills in our goddamn mailbox informing us of new charges we would be having to pay. Shit like this is why saving is so important.
Now, I come at this from a balanced point of view. I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck (in case I die tomorrow), but I also don’t want spend all my extra money in savings (in case I live to tomorrow) because with life, you just never know. I’d like to be able to enjoy my hobby monthly and not overextend myself but I won’t kill myself saving more than I have to.
Wendy’s form of saving would work if the real world wasn’t, well, real. You see, I am not just aiming to get to a certain amount in our savings and then call it a day. No, this number would give me some breathing room in case some big shit hits the fan. Just last year for example, we had a small termite problem along with a broken boiler that ended up costing us in the thousands. That was just one year and granted, not every year will be like that, but I’d like to be able to pay for shit like that without worrying about emptying our savings.
Her form of saving would work if we knew that nothing would ever break. This just simply won’t work because fixing stupid crap around your house very rarely costs $50. No, whoever comes by to quote you a price will ask for your manhood, your next unborn child, and a check upfront for $1,000. Also? That amount will likely change once they look into the problem and SURPRISE, it actually costs even more than that. Fuck you very much asshole because that change is never less than the amount quoted, it’s always more.
The amount of money I would like to reach is a goal that I would feel comfortable with in case of an emergency. But I won’t stop there either because Wendy eventually wants a piano and we want to take family vacations that aren’t just to the east coast. We want to do the Disneyland thing, Italy, Japan, etc. and I will eventually want the Playstation 4 and Xbox 720. And the sad truth is, we can’t do all that by saving here and there. Those things cost a lot of money. Seriously, plan a trip somewhere and you’re looking at a minimum of about $1,500, depending on where you want to go.
Saving for us is already difficult. We are at a disadvantage because we have a big daycare cost, student loans, and our twice a year flights to the east coast. Those do not come cheap (especially now that we are buying a 3rd seat), which makes saving on a month-to-month basis a giant hassle (but a manageable one). Now, I know there are many other people in the same situation we find ourselves in (paying off student loans and daycare). Some of those families probably also have to pay for travel to see family but simply cannot afford to. Luckily, by my rigid saving method, we are able to afford these flights. How, you ask? Because we are constantly saving but never to the point where our checking account is sitting at $0.00.
During our “miserable” months, it’s not that we can’t buy Subway, it’s that I choose not to. Some people can’t afford to see their family once a year. Who are we to complain? Wendy might think that my way sucks, but throwing a couple of hundreds of dollars at savings here and there will put you in the red FAST because most things in life won’t always cost just a few hundred dollars. They will cost more, and being prepared for these will take a huge load of stress off of you if and when they happen. Saving won’t always be possible but once you get to a point where you can, it’s a good habit to get into, even if it sucks at times.