Thursday, December 15, 2011

Savings Series Part Three: Getting Used To a New Way of Life!

Welcome to part 3 where I talk about bringing a guy who has a drastically different concept of money into my frugal world!

I won't get too much into Steven's theories on money pre-me, past spending habits etc, because a guy's gotta have some privacy, right? Oh, and also because he might read this and be like "That's not nice" which is what he usually says when I say something truthful that he doesn't like. Love you dear! Back to my point. We had drastically different ideas on spending and saving... everything from credit cards, to how often to eat out, to when shopping on a sale is actually a deal. (It is not a deal if you buy a product on sale that you normally wouldn't buy!)

The longer we were together and the more I could tell he was the one, the more I started trying to gently (and sometimes not so gently-oops) teach him better ways of doing things. I had good intentions... many divorces happen over money, which is also tied in with communication, so I wanted to be sure we could communicate about money before we thought about the M word. I had major issues with a "my way is the right way, what do you not understand" attitude. I wouldn't recommend it. Even though my way obviously made more sense for us, you can't expect someone to keep their defenses down when you approach it that way. So it definitely took us a while. I had to let him just continue on his path for a little bit and back down from being a Money Monster to him, and he had to get comfortable with seeing my way of doing things and seeing the benefits that came from it. He made small changes here and there, like eating out less so we could eat more healthily and also save money. He slowly paid off credit cards and quit using them. Once I got him using coupons, he actually really starting enjoying the challenge of seeing how much he could save. A man after my own heart! So my biggest advice if you have someone that you are trying to bring over to the frugal side is to show them more than you tell them, and to encourage and explain, don't direct and demand. When they see your bank account continue to build, see the fun you have with finding ways to save, and see that you are happy without keeping up with the Jones', I sincerely believe they will want that too. The real challenge is keeping them on the road to getting there, because it can be a major life change in the beginning and they might give up before they start feeling the benefits. I handled this by almost constantly pointing out the benefits, before Steven was at a place that he could see/feel them himself. So when I could tell he was stressed about what he felt was depriving himself, I would point out his bank account balance that was a little higher than usual. Encouragement goes a long way.

 Then came the big change, which was when we developed budgets and decided to be really hardcore about them. That was actually hard for both of us. As well as I do with money, it was hard to account for every single little thing and sometimes hard to make everything fit in my budget! Since I have 'extra padding', I was frequently spending more than I earned, but it didn't feel like a big deal because my account was never super low. It took me a few months, but now I'm spending less than what I earn and it feels SO rewarding. Also, it definitely helped me see where my money was going, what changes I needed to make, and what my priorities needed to be versus what they were. Steven sometimes resents budgeting; since we are saving so much for the wedding right now he feels like if he doesn't budget he will be ok because we can't afford to do much past paying bills, buying groceries etc. But with some encouragement on my part he has continued so that it will never feel restrictive again the way it always does in the beginning when you start keeping a budget. We'll be glad after we get married and have more 'fun money' so we aren't wasting it, versus saving some for vacations or things like that.

Have you ever helped someone become frugal? Do you have any creative budgeting tips?

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post! It's so true budgeting takes team work! In a few weeks Im going to write a post about a program I use to attempt to budget. This will be an issue for me b/c I don't spend a lot of money to "keep up with the jones" not bc i'm unemployed even before I worked. I try to help my mom but she just does whatever she wants (thats another story).