Do I Hate to Spend Money?

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 buy 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 to spend 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. Traveling. 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, 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.

How do you like to spend money?

4 thoughts on “Do I Hate to Spend Money?”

  1. My wife thinks I hate spending money, but mostly I just don’t like unplanned purchases. I use a zero-based budget to allocate all of our income and expenses so that nothing really goes to waste. When unexpected expenses come up, I need to account for it by moving some money around from savings or other spending categories.

    I’ve lightened up over the years now that we’re past the starving student phase of our lives. But I’m with you on valuing experiences over ‘stuff’.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      I like planned purchases, too. My husband is the master of, “Hey, I think I’d like a handcrafted king-size bed!” And then I have to scramble to find $1,000. Usually, it means moving money around. And sometimes I just have to tell him that we have to wait a couple of months to save up. But he frequently springs stuff on me. We have our house because he just randomly decided one day that he wanted to buy one. I was in debt paydown mode, and suddenly I was in trying to find a down payment mode. Things have improved, but I agree that the whole impulse thing can be a real challenge.

  2. I fully understand your point of view. For me spending has to be logical. My husband has his interests and hobbies and over time he too has realised it’s more important that our money is doing something to improve our life. Now if he wants something new he sells something he already has. He has more respect for the process. His change of view also has our kids thinking differently. Hopefully they will grow up with a healthy attitude to money.

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