The other night (when I was up in the middle of the night feeding John) I read an article in a Reader's Digest a friend had passed on to me. The article was called The Cheapest People in America. I know there are many people in America that are cheaper than me; however, apparently I have crossed some kind of threshold when I impress my mother and my grandmother (the queen of all things frugal -- no seriously). At any rate, my curiosity was peaked!
"Tightwads feel guilty spending money. Frugal folk have fun saving." I think I fall into the second camp. I enjoy seeing how much we can save so that we have the funds to pay down debt, have me stay home with our children, purchase books and tools with which to learn new things, enjoy social outings with friends, etc. You will never make enough money to buy everything you want, but if you are careful with your money, you can have what you really want most. Even when we were making very little, we were always able to scrap together enough money to occasionally buy some books!
"The secret about cheap people: They aren't necessarily cheap on all fronts. Some spring for educations or vacations, or they are generous with others if not with themselves." We tend to spring for things that are important to us. Being debt free and having me stay home with our children are two things that have been important to us since we got out of school. Having some discretionary funds for learning and social outings has been important to us as a family since we got married. We both highly value education (and not just book learning), and we both tend to be somewhat introverted, so we try to attend social gatherings that we both find comfortable (like going out to eat with friends).
The last thing that I found particularly noteworthy is how completely immoral some people are! It's one thing if you get a good deal on a purchase, but it is another thing to lie so that you can have something for free! For example, there are apparently lots of people who keep a McDonald's coffee cup in their car so they can get free refills even though it is supposed to be per visit! Some people empty out condiments to take home from restaurants (Now I do save our leftover napkins and condiments, but only the ones we did not end up using that will be thrown away after we leave!) The article also mentioned a man who would come back into the movie theater holding his glasses and saying, "I found them" so that he could get into the movie free!! That's just cheating!
Marriage counselors will tell you that the top 3 biggest problems in marriages are money, extended family, and sex. A psychologist quoted in the article said that "Couples often drive each other crazy when they're Jack Sprattish in terms of spending." David and I both like to save money; however, we tend to have differing ideas on how much to save versus how much to spend. I tend to want to save everything, and David wants to occasionally enjoy some of the money he has made. However, finances has never been a problem area for us. We both see the value of each other's perspective and try to find a happy balance. ...It also helps that I could never tell him not to buy something he wants.....I might give him a list of reasons that it might not be the best choice, but I would be hard pressed to deny him something he wants.....I am weak like that! ;-)