Oct 8, 2012

Money Conversations with Your Spouse: A Wall Street Journal Primer

I enjoyed a recent article from the Wall Street Journal entitled And Now a Word From My VeryFrugal Husband By Demetria Gallegos.  The article contains a bit of open conversation as a reporter interviews her spouse on their individual spending habits.  She shares her thoughts about her husband’s thriftiness in an interesting way.  Readers get to enter into a very personal money discussion.  I enjoyed reading this quote from the frugal husband: 

"I do not need gewgaws.  I don't need frivolous things in my life.  I don't mind going to the theater or to a movie, but I don't need it.  I'm not much of a gift person, there's nothing I need to receive.  People who need a lot of stuff, you have to wonder if they're psychologically damaged.  Making stuff important is a mistake.  It's a mistake to foster the materialism of our children." 
Quite frankly the comment made me feel “psychologically damaged.”  I feel like the spender in me is constantly at war with the saver.  When I am in Cabela’s, I feel like I need things.  If I can just stay away from those stores that I like, I am able to keep that spender reigned in.  I appreciated his comments on the importance of guarding our children in this area. 
Through the conversation you can tell that Demetria and her husband have different perspectives on money and spending; don’t we all.  Demetria’s husband wraps up the conversation with this quote: 
"The money is not the most important thing.  Obviously, people are more important. That's why I don't want to argue with you about money.”

Here is the challenge:

Engage in this sort of conversation with your spouse.  Although the discussion is focused on money, don’t make it the most important thing.  Honor your spouse as you engage in a healthy money dialogue.  Once you have read the article together, you can use these questions to get you started:

Are you a spender or a saver?  How would you describe me?

Where did you learn to be that way?

Do we ever act like money is more important than relationships?

What did you learn about money from your mother and father?

What should our kids learn from us?
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