My husband sometimes accuses me of hating to spend money. This is false. I just hate spending money on certain things.
Not too long ago, my husband made a trip to Wyoming to by fireworks for the Fourth of July (which we will be celebrating on the 6th, due to a number of circumstances). My cousin, who accompanied him, made a comment to me about how Josh was concerned that I would be upset that they had spent so much money on the (perfectly legal in Utah) fireworks.
Because I hate spending money.
At this juncture, I wanted a private word with Josh. Because even after more than 10 years of marriage, he still didn't “get” something about me. I don't hate spending money. In fact, I'm not much of a penny pincher at all. I just don't like spending money on certain things.
What's Important to You?
The disagreement comes in because my husband and I value different things. Yes, I do get annoyed when he spends money on action figures. I am also desperately trying to avoid buying a bigger TV. And I wasn't thrilled about the fish tank.
But not because I don't like spending money.
It's more because I see the amount spent on those things that just aren't very important to me. I regularly convert that pile of Lord of the Rings action figures into a trip to Europe. Or I see a bigger TV as an awesome cruise. However, I love fireworks, and have no problem splurging on something fun like fireworks and a barbecue with family for the Fourth of July.
Because I'm all about the experience. I love experiences. I love traveling. I love eating out — especially at nice restaurants. I love celebrations and get togethers. I love having my nails done at the spa. And, when I can't have the actual experiences, I love to read about them. I buy books because they offer experiences by proxy.
To me, experiences are important. My husband doesn't understand this because you can't touch an experience, or own it for a long period of time. He would rather have something he can pull out and look at than the memory of a great vacation. Which is why he thinks my road trip with my son earlier this year to Arizona to see my grandpa was a complete waste of money. Such experiences are not important to him.
Spend on the Things that are Important to You
While we mainly have a truce about what we spend money on, and we each often get what we want (after putting money in the emergency fund, and saving for retirement, and paying the bills, of course), sometimes we still have disagreements.
And sometimes my husband still misunderstands my spending priorities. He still thinks that I hate spending money, when in reality I just don't like spending money on some of the things he wants to spend money on. We do have a lot of shared interests. We both like spending on food and family, and we enjoy putting on that fireworks display. But the differences are there, and sometimes they are a source of tension in our relationship.
When you have differing priorities from your partner, it's often a good idea to really hammer out the situation. That way, the most important shared priorities are covered, and you can also address differences in other spending. It also helps to figure out where your priorities are so that you can avoid wasting money on things that aren't important to either of you.
What do you like spending money on?