Back when I was single I would proudly declare that I only owed money on my sweet Corolla. I can go into more details about that money choice but the important part is I wanted to talk about money before I became serious with someone. Why? If I had fallen in love with someone that had $20,000 of credit card debt, that would significantly alter my future. I wanted to find someone as responsible with money as myself. I also felt like I was doing a service for my poor date, teaching them that the American Dream is a trick. Anyhow, know your financial goals and don’t be afraid to share them. If money is the number 2 reason for divorce then it’s absolutely appropriate to get this discussion out of the way on the first date. You can learn about what a person values and what a person doesn’t value. I never had fancy clothes but I always went on cool trips! Saving money on our day to day life so we could splurge on our vacations was the first conversation I had with Mr. Miser. I explained that I could never date someone who didn’t save big for their next trip. Obviously, Mr. Miser agreed.
If you start dating someone and all you do is expensive dates, that will be their expectation throughout your relationship. Don’t bankrupt yourself trying to impress someone.
Never go into debt to impress your boyfriend or girlfriend. Looking back, a cubic zirconium ring would have made more sense for what I valued. I received the real thing because that’s what society tells us is “real love.”
People generally believe their financial arrangement is either the best or the worst. Few people feel indifference towards their joined or not joined finances. I, of course, believe our arrangement is the best. Shocking, I know!
Here is our story.
I worked through college and I graduated with almost no debt. Mr. Miser had fun in college and graduated with a small amount of debt. I had such an aversion to paying for someone else’s loans that I refused to join finances. Once we did the math, it didn’t make any sense and we had a baby on the way. We paid off his small amount of loans and combined our finances, sorta. I still felt confident that I wanted my “own” money. We had different buying tendencies. I was fearful that our differences would cause tension. So we came up with a solution. ALL money into one bank account and then we would automatically give ourselves an allowance. We have tweaked out allowance down as we’ve improved our finances. At first, we were both afraid we wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted, so we had a high allowance rate. I suggest all couples have the conversation on how to keep each other in line and on the same path. Sometimes you need a friendly reminder on what your values are. He frequently reminds me that there are vacation options other than Disney and I often remind him that it’s better to retire early than buy a speedy car.
What is your ultimate goal?
- Is it to be debt free?
- Is it to have an
- Retire Early?
- Pay for your kids’ college?
- All of the Above???
When you are thinking big picture, it’s important to make hard decisions today so you can have an easy life tomorrow. You can NOT be in the dark with where your money is going. Know how much your spouse makes and know how it’s spent. No private credit cards, full disclosure.
Side Note: Once you have kids it’s important to remember that a maternity leave, cutting back on hours to breastfeed or watch the kids instead of sending them to daycare can make a huge impact on a women’s income. These are all important things to keep in mind. If Mr. Miser would have said I make more money so my allowance should be more, I would have went ballistic. (I went part-time for a short period of time so my contribution financially dropped considerably but I actually worked more hours everyday between work and motherhood.