Cents and Sensibility - June 2012
A Spender, A Saver...Where's the Bliss?
By Annie Morrison
you ever looked at a couple and wondered why they have so much stuff and you
don't? While they're dining at gourmet restaurants in Harbor East and
vacationing in the Bahamas, you're clipping coupons for carryout and taking
your “stay-cation” at home in Reisterstown.
are you missing? Do these people know something you don't?
been fascinated about money since I was little, if for no other reason than I
am the youngest of four and wanted whatever my siblings had. If they had an
allowance, I wanted one, too. If my sister had cool Guess jeans, I wanted a
pair. But my mom wasn't about to overpay for denim. “You have to save for it,”
she’d tell me. And so I discovered the magic of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and
Filene's Basement. I would get what I wanted; it just took some
got to college, it was a whole new ballgame of spenders and savers, and I had
to find those who were in my “league.” That provided a huge life lesson about
relationships as I met different people and figured out who
I wanted to hang with. My closest girlfriends, then as today, were those with
whom I shared spending habits—and, subsequently, stories and memories.
started dating, similar story: who was I attracted to?
The Spender or the Saver? Sure, it's fun at the beginning to splurge on
dinners, concerts, and weekends at the beach. But a year later, it's almost
always inevitably going to be BYOB with a corkage fee and free concerts in the
question here is how to blend those two impulses to find relationship bliss.
is moderation. You can have date night every weekend, it just may not
always be at a five-star restaurant—completely doable, I’ve discovered,
as many diners serve up yummy goodies. Other nights,
buy the ingredients and make that paella or beef bourguignon together. That
way, you can anticipate your date, enjoy spending time
together, and save some cash.
all means, every once in a while, if you can afford it, indulge. Every couple
needs to have a fun afternoon or night out, as well as time to decompress and
enjoy a meal without interruption. Otherwise, you might begrudge each other and
another suggestion: give each other a monthly allowance. Try it for a few
months, starting at 10 percent of your combined net income. If the two of you
bring in $4,000 a month, you would each get $200 a
month for coffee, lunch, shoes, makeup, highlights, golf, whatever you wish.
What you don't spend at the end of the month, you roll over to the next month.
overspend consistently, it might be time to think about needs versus wants. We
need our highlights for work, self-esteem, and inner peace. We want
lunch out, coffee drinks, new makeup, and treats from Target. Brown bag your lunch and make your coffee at home.
husband and I do a monthly allowance, and to keep myself on track, I use a
software program called Quicken that allows me to monitor my monthly
expenditures and stay conscious of bills. Tedious, yep, but enlightening, too!
(Quicken is also great to find out when you bought the TV/vacuum/lawnmower that
just died and see if it's still under warranty.)
crucial neither to judge what the other does with his or her allowance nor hide
what you do with yours. I have seen relationships where one partner racks up
credit card debt and isn't honest about it, creating a level of distrust and
bitterness that can be very draining on a family.
your guy wants to blow his entire month's allowance on golf, a gym membership,
or music, fine. I may spend that much on a blouse or a great lipstick (yes,
there are many shades of red), and I
know I don't want to hear any gasping out of him! (You may be delighted to find
out how he spent his allowance on you, too, by the way; that's also
Annie Morrison is an independent financial consultant with Synergy Financial
Group in Towson. Email her, at email@example.com,
or call 410-825-3200.
offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this
material are for general information only and are not intended to provide
specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
© Baltimore’s Child Inc. June 2012