Hi there, Mrs. 1500 asking yet another question this week. I want to know if you combine your finances with your spouse or partner.
But first, let’s look at what you said last week, when I asked you What’s the Cheapest Thing You’ve Ever Done?
If you recall, The Mad Fientist met up with his then-girlfriend now-wife in Switzerland, chosen for cheap airfare. They soon discovered that nothing else in Switzerland was cheap, and restaurants didn’t serve tap water. MadFi drank water from the bathroom faucet instead of ordering a drink, in an effort to save money.
I thought this was super-funny, and wanted to know if any of you have ever pulled a super-cheap stunt.
And boy did you NOT disappoint!
Usually I recap in the order I receive the comments, but sorry. Casey B. from CodeAngler wins hands-down with his story:
I’ve many useful items others have lost or discarded. Along High Lonesome trail, I found someone had thrown out underwear as trash. I packed them out as litter, but at home washed them and these are in my rotation.
No contest. Although Reader Shay comes in a close second with her comment
I’m always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill. …
I would get rid of toilet paper if I could, but that is going a bit far for most people.
Yeah, that’s too far for me.
Some of your other replies include Tawcan sleeping in a bus station to save on lodging costs, which frankly borders on dangerous in my book.
Mr. Tako goes to Costco for samples-as-lunch. I can’t say I’ve never filled up on samples… Apparently Mr. Tako and I are not alone, Dividend Monkey and Smart Provisions have also been known to avoid the lunchline in favor of a Costco stroll.
Ms. Montana was more frugal than cheap in my opinion, but I like it anyway because I’ve done a version of it myself.
So… in my early 20’s I took a month off of work to travel coast to coast with by best friend.
Here was the breakfast/lunch plan:
1. Stop at a gas station in the mornings to buy gas.
2. Ask if we could fill our cups with hot water and use the microwave. (Never denied, but I was much cuter in my early 20’s so that might have helped.) We would pop a bag of popcorn we had packed with us. Fill 4 coffee cups with hot water.
3. In the car we would use two of the hot water cups to make instant oatmeal for breakfast. 2 cups of hot water to make tea with our own tea bags. Then eat the popcorn for lunch.
Our version included buying plastic bowls and oatmeal at WalMart, then using the coffee pot in the hotel room to make hot water for oatmeal, but basically the same thing. Breakfast for $.50 or pay $35.00 at a restaurant? Kind of a no-brainer.
Full Time Finance won the college-food lottery with his story:
In college we found out that the local meet process plant resold Deer meet for the price of packaging if the hunter didn’t claim it. We ate deer prepared any way you can imagine daily for the entire semester. The meet was something like 30 cents a pound when all was said and done.
And a final story from a friend. We were over at his house playing Bridge, and he said he gets a 50% discount at a specific parking garage at the local airport when he shows his University ID, but it’s going away because he is leaving his position and it expires in June. I suggested he go into the ID office and get a new one. It will cost $10, but the first time he parks at the airport, he’s made his money back. Plus, it will be good for another 5-10 years. I’d do it…
OK, now wipe those tears of laughter from your eyes, and let’s get a bit more serious.
In the same Podcast Episode 30 of The Financial Independence Podcast that inspired last week’s question, MadFi and Mrs. MadFi discussed how they initially had very different views on money, and decided to keep their finances separate.
Sometimes I like to joke with Mr. 1500 and say:
What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.
Mr 1500 note: This reminds me of people at my first real job. I worked at the corporate headquarters of Sears and it was a rat-race. My co-rats were always bragging about stupid purchases, but what amused me most was how clingy people were about their cars:
My husband has HIS car and I have mine, which he doesn’t get to drive! Ever.
Who gives a shit; it’s an effing metal cage that gets you to this stupid job.
But really, we combine finances. My getting a full time job has allowed him to cut back on his hours and find more happiness.
I was a stay at home mom for 8-1/2 years with our children – a move we planned for. He worked that whole time, but we shared his paycheck.
Now that I’m in a position to support the family, I welcome the opportunity. What’s mine is mine and what’s his is mine, too. HA!
I’ve met couples with separate finances before, and always thought it was a bad idea, sort of like there was a level of trust missing or something. Why would you NOT combine your finances?
Derek from How Do I Money? wrote a book with his wife called One Bed, One Bank Account: Better Conversations on Money and Marriage. Derek and Carrie had to have some pretty serious money talks early on in their marriage, as she was going through a short sale on her home, and he was more money conscious.
I’ve always been a combined finances person, and the argument against combining always came up short – until I hear MadFi and Mrs. MadFi talking about how and why they chose this method.
I want to know about you. Do you combine finances? Is there a significant earnings gap between you and your spouse? If you do not combine finance, and there is an earnings gap, do you still pay equally for shared bills, or does one of you pay more than the other?
Was this a mutual decision? Grudgingly accepted? I’m really fascinated, and there is no wrong answer.
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