Scared of Money

This is about getting the most out of life for the least amount of money. And doing it with a bit of style.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spending Philosophies

MyMoneyBlog had a great post on whether to have joint or split accounts as a couple. I'm a singleton but it totally made me think of my parent's money philosophy. My parent's had a joint account but had "allowances" where they set a small (and equal) amount of money into their own bank accounts for personal spending. My Dad (big spender) and my Mom (extremely frugal) never felt like they had to justify their expenditures to each other. Plus, my Mom was a stay-at-home Mom and my Dad wanted her to feel like she had her own money that she felt comfortable using. My Dad's father made his wife ask for permission for every little expense and belittled her for her spending purchases. It's a model that I think I want to reflect in my own relationship someday.

The whole post got me thinking about my parent's spending habits. I think being at extremes made them have a really balanced life together. We had nice things, a great house and expensive vacations but Mom always bought our clothes on sale, we drove our cars for 10 years until they died and my Mom did a lot of DIY projects. Sure there were fights. "Seriously we don't have to wait until the dish towels go on sale. We can afford full-priced dish towels." That was a memorable one. When I was 18 and applying for financial aid, I was stunned to find out how much my Dad really made. My parents really made the dollar stretch and it led to a great middle class lifestyle.

When my parents got divorced, they went to their extremes. Dad bought something new every day, took me out to fancy restaurants, he kept our house, etc. Mom bought a much smaller house, we didn't even go out to Wendy's, she bought her new furniture second hand, etc. While I think it's hard for couples with different financial strategies to make things work, there is something to be said for balance. You just need to be able to compromise.

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