Attention Finance Freaks – Consider Your Loved Ones!

Finance Freaks please step forward…

Are you like me? The Personal Finance FREAK of the house? The one who is always pushing the envelope, always trying to cut costs, boost savings, etc. If that sounds like you, then let me first say… Well done!

If you stay the course by spending less than you earn, reducing expenses, paying off debt, and building your savings, you will eventually reach the sweet land of financial independence.

It might not happen quickly, and it probably will not be easy, but slow and steady adherence to these principles will help guide you to the land of financial peace. Now, for the next question…

What about your loved ones? Are they as “on-fire” as you are? Or are you pushing them too far, too fast? When is the last time you asked them how they feel about all the new (or old) money strategies? To paraphrase Janet Jackson… “What have you done for them lately?”

Don’t suck the life out of your loved ones!

“If your loved ones ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

-Matt Jabs

A wise man once said, “If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!” I like to expand on that quote to included all “loved ones” because the truth of the matter is… If any of your loved ones are unhappy, everyone involved will be affected in some way.

Remember… No matter how staunch and/or passionate you are about getting your financial house in order, others in your family might not share your passion. Your significant other might be aware that the changes you’re trying to implement will pay dividends in the long run, but they might still resent having to “suffer” through them.

This is especially true if you implement things too quickly, or without consulting others. So… Bring your family along patiently, and with compassion. Involve others in a way that they can understand, and always keep the doors of communication open. No question is a dumb question, and every concern is legitimate.

Here are five simple ways you can reward your loved ones in an effort to help maintain peace and balance in the home:

  1. Consider others before yourself. One of the easiest ways to remain tuned in to what your loved ones are thinking and feeling is to place their needs ahead of your own. Before you make any financial decision or institute a change that will affect more than just you, think carefully about the effect it will have on them, and ask them for their input. Believe me, they will recognize your effort, and will really appreciate the concern. A little consideration goes a long way!
  2. Establish traditions. Growing up, my father always kept us under some pretty tight financial constraints, but one thing he did that I’ll always remember was to take us out for pizza every Friday night. It was a pretty cheap date, but it something special that we appreciated and always looked forward to.
  3. Do individual date nights. Take the time to spend a full day with each person in your family. Do something that they love to do. If your wife is an enormous fan of the Russian Ballet, then take her to see one. If your son loves baseball, then take him to see his favorite team. One day of special and personal attention can fill their love tank for a long time.
  4. Make exceptions for them. If your boyfriend is a die-hard Michigan Wolverines fan (like me), then make sure that he can catch all the games. For example, if you canceled your TV service (also like me), then consider re-ordering it during football season… He will NEVER forget that you did this for him! If you can’t do this, then make sure you set up a place for him to watch the game each and every Saturday. Your thoughtfulness will not be quickly forgotten.
  5. Include them. Don’t just impose your decisions upon others. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Your loved ones, will be much more willing to accept whatever changes you propose if you include them in the decision-making process. Including your loved ones in the planning process will provide many benefits to everyone involved.

If this seems a bit overwhelming to you, try focusing on just the first suggestion — considering the needs of others before yourself. Once you have that down, everything else will fall into place naturally.

What about you?

Do you have any suggestions for keeping the financial peace in your household? If I skipped over any strategies that you employ, please leave a comment and let us know what’s been successful in your home… And with your loved ones.

14 Responses to “Attention Finance Freaks – Consider Your Loved Ones!”

  1. Anonymous

    @BargainBabe #13: Great insight Julia. Actually your point about cats makes me laugh because my mother has 20 cats and I think she is CRAZY! (don’t worry, her being “the crazy cat lady” is a running joke we have)

    I think she is wasting her money, but she sees it as money well spent! Perspectives can be SOOO different.

  2. Anonymous

    I agree with Dan, who left the No. 4 comment. Talking about money, financial attitudes and investments before you spend. It’s always easier to discuss money when you have options as opposed to dealing with the mess.

    Very few people value money and their purchases the same way. A friend once told me a story about his mother. She was spending all kinds of money on boarding her cats and buying them special shampoo and toys. He told her she was wasting her money. She replied, “What would you waste it on?”

    What one person thinks is worth spending their money on is a complete waste to someone else. If you and your partner are in this situation, one way to cope is to pool money on common expenses like housing, utilities, and cell phone bills. But give a pool of money – generally the same amount – for them to spend however they want. I buy clothes and go out with my friends while my husband likes to buy electronics. If this system doesn’t work, find one that does or money will be a major problem!

  3. Anonymous

    I am glad you said it!

    I am a very frugal person…anyone who reads my blog will know this. But I have a fiancee who likes to spend more than I do. He is definitely responsible with his money (pays credit card off each month with no finance charges, saves money, etc.), but it still does not make me feel secure enough. We recently combined our finances and put me in charge of them (the financial guru if you will!), and we are definitely feeling some growing pains.

    The good thing is that when your partner is different from you, it forces you both to compromise so that you balance each other out. I could certainly use enjoying my money more, and he could use saving more money. Perfect combo is in the middle!

  4. Anonymous

    @Thomas: Awesome stuff Thomas! I applaud what you are doing… and I agree. The simple and small lovely moments in life – spent loving others – are the ones I cherish the most.

  5. Anonymous

    Good point, this article.

    I moved in with my girlfriend this year. We remember to keep going on dates. Sometimes I make dinner and set it up on the porch. Some days are pizza to go and we eat in the park. We’ve gone to the library, rented movies, NetFlix, drinks under a blanket outside, lunch instead of dinner (cheaper), hiked, biked and walked up a hill to watch the moon rise.

    Frankly, I remember these dates more than the ones when I spent money trying to impress her.

  6. Anonymous

    If you don’t work together – you won’t BE together for long.
    Besides it will make you closer as a family or couple if you work together instead of against each other!

    My husband and I make all our decisions together and buy into the same plan – makes for a great marriage!

    Money is the #1 reason for divorce – great advice!

  7. Anonymous

    Very nice article.

    It was a mindset changed that took a while when my wife when we moved in together.

    The biggest thing that has helped us is sitting down and doing a monthly review each month. We review the budget, calculate net worth, and a few other things.

    The biggest thing is communication. It takes a while but keep on communicating and you will get to where you want to be.

  8. Anonymous

    This is actually one of the best articles I’ve read on here. I’m the money person in my relationship and I have pretty much made all of the decisions. I have also done the opposite of the recommendations: canceled his sports package without asking him.

    This is definitely giving me some food for thought.

  9. Anonymous

    Ah the joys of being single and living alone.

    I am going to have a tough time initially when I start living with someone. Hopefully she’ll be the patient kinds 😛

    @Dan: Great point. I’ll need to “sit down and talk” about it often with mine (whenever I get one).

  10. Anonymous

    After being single, and having to convince no one of my frugal ways, I’ve struggled somewhat with getting my fiance on board with me totally.

    One thing that helped is involving her in the long term planning process. We have mutually agreed goals. And when it gets too tight in one area, I ask her if she wants to revisit the budget from another area. I want her to be happy, so I give her the choice.

    Case in point: We’re getting married at the end of the year, on the mother of all frugal budgets. We’re also planning on doing some extensive traveling next year. When we really started to feel just how tight the wedding budget really is, I asked her if she wants to push off the wedding a few months and skip or reduce the travel budget. I got this really stern “no” look. To which I replied, “well honey, I really love you, and we’re just going to have to make the best of what we’ve got for this one.”

    I do talk about finances a lot around the house. She told me she never heard anybody talk about money so much. I told her that’s because it’s easier to make smaller corrections along the way than it is to find out you really screwed the pooch at the end of the month.

    But I think she totally understood how important planning is with this wedding. You see, her older sister got married 14 years ago, and her parents threw her a $13k wedding. Today, her parents are divorced and broke, and can contribute hardly anything. She told me they ran into an inheritance back then. I told her that’s all fine and good, but I have one simple question: Did they ever think you would never get married? “No.” Well how the heck did they think your wedding would be paid for? I followed up by saying that “we’ll figure it out later” didn’t work for her parents, and it won’t work for us.

  11. Anonymous

    Quite simply….. set goals TOGETHER, establish a plan to meet those goals TOGETHER. Analyze how you manage your finances now, and what you have to do to reach your short-term and long -term financial goals TOGETHER. Be sure to build in some rewards for everyone as progress is made!!!

  12. Anonymous

    Good article Nickel. I’m in the fortunate (?) position now of being single, and living with my parents again while I sort my life out. As a consequence the only person I have to drive and make ‘do better’ every month, is myself. I’m quite sure no one else could bear to put up with what I’m doing though!

    So take it easy, and I think ‘consider others first’ is an excellent piece of advice. Don’t drive away your loved ones for the sake of a few digits in a bank account.

  13. Anonymous

    I am learning more and more that I have to make some concessions when it comes to our finances, otherwise it’s hard to keep my wife “on my side”. If I’m always playing the personal finance police she doesn’t buy fully into what we want to do – but if I make some small concessions she’s much more willing to buy into the process because she see’s I’m considering her.

    To that end we are now ordering cable tv for the first time in our marriage so that my wife wife can watch HGTV and project runway (shudder). It’s a small sacrifice for me, but one I’m willing to make for our larger goals – and to keep my wife motivated and with me!

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