My husband has not always been great with money and we struggled when we were first married. Add to that a deployment in which they failed to pay us four times in a 10 month period, and actually back to back once, and the fact that we didn’t see that money for another 8 months means our first years of marriage were spent eating Top Ramen and hoping we could pay our house payment next month.
But we never faulted. We scrimped and saved and limited our spending and borrowed a tiny bit from my parents while waiting on the military to pay us. We continued to scrimp and save and limit our spending and paid off credit cards, my parents, and many other debts.
But debts happen and we still have my student loans. Then I got sick and debts began to happen a bit more often again for a while, but one of the main ways we stayed in a very low debt range and were able to pay things off was because we looked at my income as extra, not as a part of our normal income. We based our entire budget off of my husband’s paycheck only. He makes more than I did working and we were then able to use my income to pay debts or save for things like appliances and other home needs.
I am a cheap and frugal person by nature and am reluctant to ever splurge on anything. And while I agree that sometimes you really do get what you pay for, those instances are never impulse buys, but carefully planned, researched and saved for buys. My husband has adapted well and has even taken over the bill paying. He may have a looser budget than I do, but I have taken deep breaths each paycheck for the last couple years and it has worked well for us.
Because the way I ran our budget rarely left room for any expense that was not 100% planned for. And I can research for weeks and even months to find the perfect whatever-it-is that I’m buying.
My husband wants to leave room for fun. Maybe not every week, or every month, but he believes we need to have a little room to enjoy things. And he wants that to be able to be done in the moment sometimes. And while I struggle with the concept, I do respect that he’s right.
We don’t splurge often. Sometimes it’s saving for a big trip and we spend nothing on anything fun for a year (or two when we saved for our trip to Europe). Sometimes it’s nothing specific, just a small rainy day fund for when the bills are paid, the extra on our debt is paid and we have saved up a little bit to do something fun.
This means that we recently went to the commissary to go grocery shopping and came home with an Xbox One and new sound bar for our TV. Not planned and definitely not something I would have walked into the NEX and mentally allowed myself to buy. But both were on sale for great prices and my husband had a bit of money socked away for something fun.
I have learned a lot through this multi year process of him taking over the bills, both of us adjusting back to one income and my frugal and cheap heart never wanting to spend money.
I have learned that life is a lot more fun, and even more RELAXING when you allow room for fun. Yes, being a responsible adult is important. Paying down any debit to nothing is ideal. Of course you shouldn’t spend your rent money or house payment on something frivolous. But you should ALLOW yourself room to be a little irresponsible sometimes. Allow yourself to have a little fun, buy something you normally wouldn’t, and enjoy the things that life offers that enrich your life. Whatever that may be for you.
Treat yo self!
Life is meant to be lived. And you can scrimp and save and be responsible. But that shouldn’t mean that you never LIVE. Even adults need to be allowed to be a little reckless, a little stupid, and a little irresponsible in the name of enjoying life.
*Disclaimer: don’t be a dumb asshat. Don’t spend your rent on an Xbox. Don’t spend your house payment on a down payment for a new car. Paying your bills and debts is, and should be, the main priority. But don’t forget to allow a little room in that budget for fun and living life.