It’s Frugal Friday! Each week, I’ll share tips, encouragement, and practical ideas for living a frugal lifestyle!
Did you know that money is one of the top things that cause arguments in married couples? It’s no secret that finances can be stressful: when there’s not enough to go around, when spouses have different spending patterns, when there’s a lack of honesty with money…all these can lead to disagreements.
As much as I’m into Frugal Living, frugality can also have its own set of stress points in a relationship. There aren’t as many special treats or frivolous extras, and at times one or the other of you will miss them. Frequently in a frugal budget, there’s just not room for a weekly get-a-babysitter-dinner-and-a-movie date night. So how can you stick to the budget but still stay connected to your mate? Here are a few of my tips (time-tested in 15 1/2 years of fantastic–and frugal–marriage!) :
- Get on the same page financially: This is so huge. It really helps diminish any bitterness and irritation if you’re both on board with the program. Both partners should know and understand the budget, and should share decision-making power on big purchases. If one’s the “policeman” or “mom” about money, and the other is the “irresponsible kid,” it can sure put a damper on romance. It’s OK for one person to be more of the day-t0-day “money manager” (the one who pays the bills and keeps track of things), but both need to buy into the goals and budget.
- Set your goals together: These goals can help you get and stay on the same page. Short term goals like saving for a nice new TV, longer-term like planning a cool vacation, and even really long-term like the kids’ college and retirement–these all help you focus on the big picture together to move forward as a team.
- Be intentional about together-time: You don’t even have to leave home for it, but carving out time to make your mate a priority is really important, both with dealing with finances and for the rest of your relationship. Even if you’re just watching TV after the kids are in bed, ditch your individual electronic devices (sorry, Pinterest and Candy Crush!) and just hang out together. When you can build contentment within your own relationship, you’re less likely to try to “buy” contentment with things that cost money.
- Get creative about dates: It’s awesome to get out of the house together, especially if you’re in little kid mode. But when you factor in the cost of a sitter with the cost of a night out, it can become cost-prohibitive. With 4 kids, I try really hard not to take advantage of my “free” babysitter options, so we work with the grandparents’ schedules and get out when we can. A breakfast date, lunch date, dessert date…pretty much any time you can conveniently and frugally nab alone time can work! Consider swapping date time with another couple–your kids can play together, and you’ll each get time to yourselves.
- Check in about finances regularly: The time to make big decisions about adjusting the budget is not when you’re in the middle of a disagreement. Every few weeks, take a few minutes to review your finances and get a status report. It goes back to the first tip–the clearer financial picture each of you have, the better you can make decisions that are in line with your goals.
I’d love to hear what you think about these tips, and find out what else you do to keep your frugal marriage awesome. Please share in the comments or on Facebook!
If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:
- Tracking Your Spending
- Creating a Budget
- Making Frugal Choices
- Fighting Spending Envy
- Could You Cut the Cable?
- Saving on Food Expenses
- Schedule to Save (keeping track of due dates to avoid fees & penalties)
- Tips for Tax Time
- Staying Organized with Holiday Shopping & Rebates
- Waste Not, Want Not (buying what you’ll use, and using what you buy)
- Frugal Fashion
- Frugal Beauty
- Frugal Cooking tip: Prep Once, Eat Twice!
- Budget Check-Up
- Plan ahead for Christmas
- Creating an Emergency Fund
- Getting by on a Single Income
- Reducing Fixed Expenses
- Free Printable Frugal Living Resources (meal planners, expense trackers, and more!)
- Saving on Gasoline
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Frugal Living with Kids
- Frugal Fitness
- Save with Second-Hand
Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income. If she can do it, you can too!