No, this isn’t a Donna Summer’s post – more a thought process that my husband & I constantly go back & forth on. We come from two different sides of the spectrum when it comes to saving money & spending money… but when we combine them, it’s a balance that really has been working well for us.
Kevin is typically on the train of “Save Hard, Play Later.” Since we met, he has been a budgeter, a planner, a saver… the phrase “retirement plan” came out of his mouth when we were still in college. He’s a fixer. He’s a protector. A fighter & a really smart man for his age. Since we’ve been married, we’ve been under his budget plan of living off only one paycheck & saving the other with the thought process that someday when kiddos come, we wouldn’t feel the hit if I decided to hit pause on the dolphin training life while raising a family. He’s a genius, but don’t tell him that because his head is fine just the size it is!
Meanwhile, my dad always joked with me growing up that I “didn’t possess the word budget in my vocabulary.” They further joked that I’d need to find a sugar daddy to support my love of the finer things – Mom said I had “champagne taste on a beer budget…” except they were right: what even was a budget. In college I lived paycheck to paycheck, working two jobs, an internship & still paying sorority dues WHILE ALSO finding a way to stay on trend with the latest Lilly Pulitzer dress or Vineyard Vines attire. More times than not, I’d sacrifice my food allotment to keep my status of preppy in line. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking… I wasn’t.
I’m not going to lie, when we first got married, I know for a fact Kevin was terrified of merging my spending habits with his. He was so forgiving & we really sat down & hammered things out to come to common ground. We stuck with it. We saved. We had an emergency fund that increased in rate when our salaries did. We bought new cars when we could. We moved to bigger rental homes when we could. We stuck with it & were immensely rewarded.
Then came this moment about a year ago when we realized, “Wow. We’re doing well – all things considered.” We both worked full-time. We both had 401k’s. We were so lucky – more than most. There came this moment when we realized that we’d worked so hard to get where we were & it was time to reward that. WE WORKED HARD FOR THAT MONEY! While money runs the world, it shouldn’t run our happiness, right? I think this is where my side of the argument blossomed. We work hard, but for what? To constantly save & save… we should be able to reward ourselves within reason. Some positive reinforcement goes a long, long way – trust me, I work with animals where that whole theory is implemented.
So imagine this. Work hard. Save money. Then spend some of it within reason to reward yourself for all that hard work! Take a smart vacation to make incredible memories with loved ones. Buy that name brand thing you’ve been pining over – you deserve it. Treat yourself to dinner out every once in a while… get an appetizer AND entree with drinks. I think a little ebb & flow is a good thing. When we retire, don’t we want some good memories to have while we were working so hard in our 20’s, 30’s 40’s & 50’s? That commitment, drive & focus should be rewarded.
That is where I think “opposites attract” really can be a good thing in a marriage. Hubs taught me to save my money for something I not only wanted but needed. I check our bank app regularly. I monitor our spending habits. I’m the first to inquire about a purchase that came across our card’s text messaging system making sure it was really us. We’re a team. We hold each other accountable. I love that we’re able to see the vision ahead & really strive to keep to it. We want to own a home. We want a family. We want to be able to save & provide for each other while also creating fun memories. In that same breath, Kev learned to spoil within reason. He’s the first to say, “Hey, we’ve done good this month, let’s celebrate.” He suggests our vacations & getaways. He dreams with me & we agree when eating out is just a necessity sometimes… I mean we’re both sushi addicts, & we tried making it at home once – not the same, trust me.
Moral of my long winded story here, work hard – save hard – play smartly. You worked HARD for that money, but treat yo self & enjoy it every once in a while. Life is worth it to enjoy & not be working so hard that you lose sight of living. LIVE. BE ALIVE. MAKE SOME MEMORIES. BE HAPPY. BE SMART BUT JUST LIVE TOO. I promise, it’s worth it.