Saturday, July 09, 2011

Getting the Significant Other to Save Money

Mike and I have been together for about 10 months now, even though our friendship has already started its roots 15 years way back in third grade. Because we've been friends for a long time, we share almost the same interest, from watching movies, series, playing video games, Asian Language and culture as well as reading books and learning.

That's about what's on the surface, because beneath it we're both supremely alike and terribly different at the same time---From priorities to wants, and most of all, when it comes to handling money.

In a nutshell, I could easily say that he is the SAVINGS = DEBT - TOTAL MONEY type of guy while I'm the more traditional EXPENSES = SAVINGS - TOTAL MONEY kind of girl. If you follow either of the two budgeting equations you would know that there's a world's difference between the two. You may say that both seem like legit ways to manage our payroll, but if you scratch deeper you will see that Mike is the type to think about paying everything off first, ensuring that he's covered for a defined amount of time, and treating what's left as savings. While I, on the other hand, put a big chunk of my money as savings and try my hardest to stretch, pinch, and find a workaround on what's leftover to cover my expenses.

Vastly different people, you may think. But we haven't fought about money even until now because despite our differences, we found a really good balance somehow! I understand why he does the Expenses First equation, though, because he rents an apartment which means he has to pay a monthly stipend, his food and bills also need to be looked into. He can't possibly adopt my Savings First equation, so I try my best to help him budget. He hasn't had much experience with the whole budgeting and saving money every payday until when we got together, and it's only recently, due to my successful (forceful?) coercion to save a bit of money over time, that he has now a pretty good liquid contingency fund in a bank (I can at least brag about that right... hehe!)

It's not that I "inspired" or "pushed" him to anything, I'm just one of the few lucky ones who has a very rational and logical boyfriend, who can easily follow numbers and one who knows that I only encouraged him to save  because it is only for his own good. In my opinion, he is a bit used to his past, where he earned a lot, by whole lot I mean like X5 my salary at that given time period. He could easily buy whatever he wanted, pay cash or credit card and still have enough left to cover the miscellaneous. But now he shifted jobs, changed cities, and now he's stuck here with a very cautious spender! XD

In my case, I am very glad to have someone like Mike who helps me get rid of my notion that spending for myself is bad! Yes, it takes me a quite a while to decide to buy the things I want. Even when it comes to clothes, I say I like it, then not look into it at first. If I still like it after a while, I try it on but don't go through with buying the thing. And if I really like it enough, I will have to find a sort of justification and reason WHY I have to have it. It's an arduous process. Mike tells me it's okay to spend, that I don't have to fear about running out of money anytime soon. I really like saving, so very much, but spending (and especially not getting discounts) is very low, except for my daily expenses which I have already allotted and budgeted properly. This way, Mike and I found balance.

There are people who used to be in a good relationship with their special someone, but has long turned sour because of financial problems. Honestly, though, for me it is one of the worst things to fight over with! But I understand how hard money can affect a couple, any couple, not unless you're Bill Gates and his wife or some other billionaire couple. Fighting over money sounds stupid, but money matters are serious, and if you fight a lot about it, you end up losing a lot of respect for each other. Without respect, love will find it difficult to continue holding on to what's left of your relationship. Thankfully, Mike and I know this, and we follow the age-old adage that "It's just money." No matter what a great enabler money may be, it's still just what we call a "material", a  "thing" that you will be able to replace someday, but when you fight over something that small, it's sad that you have let money control your relationship. Never forget that money is just money, but loved ones are always priceless and irreplaceable.

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