I used to think my husband, Chad, was the cheapest man on earth. The first summer after our wedding, we were renting a run-down apartment while saving a down payment to purchase our first home. This was an upstairs apartment in late July, and summer’s heat had arrived! We had an old window air conditioner unit for our bedroom, but Chad refused to run it…too expensive. I had just returned from my job, packing religious supplies (in another home with no air conditioning). I had reached the point that happens every summer where I just couldn’t cool down. I wouldn’t be able to sleep without the air conditioning, so I finally demanded that we chill the room. His reply was priceless, “OK, we’ll run it for ten minutes.”
Gifts were another area where we have laughed and grown as a couple. I’ll admit that I have poor judgement for purchasing gifts and have since learned that I should stick to items available at Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, or our local outdoor supply stores. My favorite gift faux pas was what we now refer to as the “Pirates of the Caribbean on Broadway” stage prop (as pictured below). I thought it would make a nice conversation piece for our wine cellar. Hubby just thought it was weird! Chad’s frugal nature, of course, extended into gift giving, clothing in this case. I love to wear sweat pants. I would consider wearing them every day if I could get away with it. Our first Christmas, I was thrilled to receive a new pair, in hunter green, a color I didn’t have. I held them up to take a look, and the first thing I noticed was that one pant leg was six inches longer than the other. I stared at the discrepancy and looked over at my husband. He just shook his head and said, “Oh, they were on sale.”
While we have laughs at Chad’s expense, I know I married a keeper. While sometimes his high level of frugality causes frustration and disagreements, I see how far sacrifice has taken us. I still debate and argue for things I feel strongly about purchasing or doing (date night is important to me), and most of the time, we find compromise. I married a man who puts the financial care of his family above all else. He considers paying the bills, putting food on the table, and giving to charity a matter of honor. He’s also disciplined enough to pay himself first because he refuses to be a burden in retirement. Finally, I see those financial lessons passed on to my kids, a lesson that will take them far as adults.
We too pay bills first.. it’s such a good feeling to do so. What money is left over means so much more to you… to either save or spend or give to charity.
You’re right, Sharon! The money left over really does mean more.
I’m pretty sure I am married to the world’s cheapest man, but am also pretty sure that if I wasn’t, I would have spent myself into a great deal of trouble many times over. He saves me from myself – definitely a keeper!
Do you have any funny stories to share? I’ll bet you do 😉
You know, I married someone that seems to believe that if you have cash in your pocket, it needs to be spent. I don’t have nearly as much frugality as my brother, but I’m learning that I have to “step-it-up” in order to balance our spending. Bills are always paid first…but after that it was a “free-for-all”. I’m trying to reign that in so we can build a bit of a safety net. Now he can spend his allowance on whatever he wants! There are definitely up-sides to being frugal, but, of course, you still need to have your fun!
What helps us is in addition to paying the bills, we set aside a small amount in our retirement fund, emergency fund, gift fund, property taxes fund, and vacation fund. We have learned to leave those funds alone, and they are there for us when life gets in the way and for the tight budget months (like paying for Christmas or when taxes are due). One area we are not so good is cars. I need to start saving for my next car, so I don’t have to take out a loan.