If there is one area of almost constant contention in my marriage, it is over money.
Not a big shocker, is it? Most married couples fight over money. Money Magazine‘s survey found that 70% of married couples argue about money.
In our marriage I am the anti-spender. I pretty much hate spending money in any form or activity, and think everything is too expensive. I love free stuff, cheap stuff, and deals. Coupons are friends, as are cash back rewards.
My husband is the spender. He doesn’t see the monetary cost, he only sees what will be gained from having X, Y, or Z in our home or in our memories.
I like to think I rein him in, and that he reminds me that spending money isn’t inherently evil, and that there are gains to certain spending.
Embracing Gifts Without Eyeing the Costs
But, it’s still hard when you consider the fact that one of his more dominant Love Languages is gifts, and gifts is pretty much a love language I do not speak.
My husband gives me fantastic gifts for special occasions and even randomly throughout the year (I’m talking breakfast in bed, flowers from the store, and even candy bars or donuts just for me).
I have learned to smile and say thank you, and not nag about the cost of said gift, which is hard.
And when it comes to me gifting my husband? Well, I often fail. And totally fail him in the process.
Part of the problem is that my husband spends money on himself throughout the year, not really waiting for special occasions, so when a special occasion does come, we sometimes don’t have money for a great gift (or for the “bigger” usually electronic gifts he likes), so I’m left getting him something, well, not so awesome, or even, gulp, nothing at all.
So, he ends up sad and mad and feeling unloved, and I end up feeling terrible but also slightly smug in my self-righteousness, because it’s his fault we didn’t have money to spend on him because he already spent it.
It’s a terrible cycle here people and really not all that healthy!
I choose to accept the gifts. I choose to accept my husband’s expression of love. I choose to learn how to give great gifts so I can express love to him in a way that speaks to him (even if it takes a while!). I choose to ignore my practical self that screams it’s stupid to spend so much on these things.
How to Rein in Christmas Spending
When the Holiday season rolls around, it makes the pressure of gifting and budgeting extra stressful.
Surprisingly, Christmastime is the time of year that my frugal self just wants to buy it all. There are just so many amazing deals! So many more ways to save on things I denied myself throughout the year because of cost. My Christmastime greed rears its head as I score killer savings on gifts for my family and even a bit for myself.
Because like 85% of shoppers, my husband and I like to treat ourselves to awesome gifts too. I mean, our kids aren’t old enough to buy these things for us, and we know it won’t be gifted to us any other way.
I mean, how could you pass up a large 28″ SwissGear Upright Spinner suitcase on sale for 50% off at Target when you happen to have $55 in cash back rewards that you can use to pay for the suitcase right there in the store via the Chase Freedom Mobile App? It’s especially hard when your previous suitcase bit the dust years ago and you happen to be traveling for the holidays and have other upcoming trips in the works. My husband and I could not! We were sold!
To balance out my husband’s (and sometimes my own) over-the-top spending during the holidays (though mines looks like $80 and my husband’s more like $250), I encourage him to use rewards I have saved up over the course of the year using phone apps and rewards credit cards when making his purchases. He can gift away without me hating the ridiculous amount of money he spends.
A survey conducted by Chase Freedom revealed that 77% of shoppers who have rewards credit cards are likely to treat themselves to something special with the rewards they earning buying presents for others. As we often find ourselves charging a thing or two onto credit cards during the holiday season, it just makes sense to earn rewards for doing it.
Chase Freedom is offering cardholders 10% cash back on up to $1,500 in new purchases from Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Diapers.com and Audible.com through December 31, 2015, which is awesome! I love more ways to save! You can learn more about it here.
If you’re going to be cashing out some of your Chase Freedom card rewards, make it easy on yourself by getting their new mobile app. You can conveniently redeem rewards on the spot when paying in-store.
How to Keep the Peace During the Holidays & Save Money
Other things my husband and I have done to manage the disagreements of our spender/saver personalities, especially during the holiday season are:
1) Assign a His/Her spending budget every month. No guilt.
2) Sit down and budget our money together. Plan for (big) purchases at the beginning of the month.
3) Talk about major purchases before you buy them.
4) Plan out exactly what you will be buying the kids for Christmas, and how much you’ll spend on each other.
5) Don’t look at ads! Don’t shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday unless the specific items you are planning to buy are on killer sales those days.
6) Earn and cash in on those cash back rewards and shop through cash back websites.
We are far from perfect in our spender vs saver personalities, and still argue over these differences. But, we have come to a much better understanding of each other and a real game plan for the holidays, even if my husband gets carried away gifting me something awesome.