I’ve written recently about some of the smart financial moves my wife, Mrs. PT, has helped me make. I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the financial lessons I’ve learned from her and how she helps our financial situation, just by being her.
My wife really is a great compliment to my approach to money management. These days, I tend to focus on the big wins (the mortgage, alternative income streams, investing), as well as setting up automated systems to help us achieve our goals. Once those big things are in place and working on their own, I’m mostly content to just “spend the rest”.
Mrs. PT, on the other hand, is excellent with the day-to-day choices that help us avoid lifestyle inflation and busting our budget. This skill comes in handy now that we’re living on one income. Here are a few of the ways she helps us reach our financial goals, frugal-style:
1. Taking Advantage of Freebies - Dining out is a big expense of ours. Mrs. PT helps cut that expense in half by suggesting places where we can dine 2 for 1, or even eat for free with a coupon. She doesn’t go over board here. She only finds us the freebies that apply to the places where we’re already spending. She’s not cheap (although she wouldn’t be offended at the comment), she simply aims to get the best price for the things we’re already paying for.
2. Returning Things We Don’t Use – Fair warning to all the stores: Just because Mrs. PT buys something from you, doesn’t mean it’s a final sale. She gives every piece of clothing the at-home fashion show test (I am required to attend these “shows”). She does a great job of holding on to receipts and packaging for the things we purchase in case the product doesn’t work or fit. And she makes the effort to do the returns and get our money back. I realize that most people don’t make this big effort and things just end up sitting around till they’re thrown away or shipped off to Goodwill.
3. Taking Care of Our Stuff – My wife keeps our stuff clean and in working order. Taking pride in the things you own and making them last is a big part of living a more frugal life, in my opinion.
4. Repair Things When They Break – When things do wear out or break down, she’s quick to look for a way to extend their life, or to get them fixed. For instance, our old pocket camera recently stopped working. She found the repair policy on the Sony website and determined she could get it fixed for free (minus a shipping charged). We now have the refurbished camera and can either sell it, or continue to use it as a second camera.
5. Value Time with Others Over Things – This point is definitely a bit more abstract that the 4 specific points above. But this is huge for helping us to be able to live within our means. It’s this overall attitude really that allows her to make the other choices above. She cares about the other people in her life and invests her time and energy into them, seeking happiness there, instead of focusing on things.
In what ways does your spouse compliment your approach to managing your finances? I encourage you today to think about those ways and thank your spouse for his/her efforts.