My wife and I have been married for over eleven years now. When we first married we were complete opposites on all things financial. I am, by nature, a saver. My wife is the free spirit, or the spender, in our relationship. In an effort to keep things civil those first few years I spent a little more than I was used to, and she sacrificed a little more than she was used to.
We were convinced our compromise of financial personalities was for the greater good of marital harmony. However, over the years our natural tendencies were overridden by circumstances – circumstances we created for ourselves, but had to work through nonetheless.
Just a couple years into our marriage my wife quit working as we decided she would stay home with our children. It was a decision we made together, and reflected both of our desire for her to be home until the kids were school age. Neither of us downshifted our spending appropriately for living on one income, and soon we found ourselves in debt. Our growing debt had an interesting effect on our relationship. My wife became a saver, and I sobered up (financially) after a couple years of spending more freely than I was comfortable with.
These days we are both enjoying a more frugal lifestyle. Just the other day my wife went grocery shopping and picked up $273 worth of groceries and cleaning supplies for $186. For hardcore couponers out there that might not sound like a huge savings. But for us it is huge! We both resisted using coupons for years, dabbling with services like The Grocery Game and other coupon websites only half-heartedly.
The reason we weren’t gung ho was because we weren’t both enthusiastic about couponing. I would clip, she would forget. She’d clip and give to me for my after-work run by the store, and I’d forget to use them at the checkout. But when we both got on the same page we started realizing some serious savings.
This same synergy developed through shopping with coupons has carried over into other areas of our financial life. We both decided we were tired of being in debt and have been paying it off like crazy the last several months. We are now equally passionate about building our savings, our kids’ college savings plan and our own retirement.
How much do you and your significant other differ on finances? Has this changed since you first met?