Once upon a time, I was bad with money. Like, really bad. Like $7000 in credit card debt while I was in college bad. I learned my spending habits from my parents. Both of my parents grew up in very poor families, so my dad worked really hard to prevent our family from going through that. However, both he and my mom had a tendency to impulse buy, especially things that they had wanted as kids. They didn’t really teach us much about money. If we made good grades, we earned spending money, and sometimes we would get money for our birthdays. But they never talked to us about good money habits.
When I got married, my husband and I were broke. He worked full time, and I worked part time while I was in school. But my husband drove a gas guzzler with a 90-minute commute each way, and I only worked a few shifts a week after class. We had rent, utilities, phone, cable, internet, a truck payment and insurance, credit card payments, and a growing student loan. I’m sad to say that the stress .
He worked overtime and did side work to make ends meet. He had much better sense about money than I did, so we started talking about financial goals. It took a lot of discipline, and changing some bad money habits, like stress shopping. Over the next few years, we got out of most of our debt, started saving, and then bought our home. We are now working towards paying off our home.
The other day I was working on our taxes, and discussing how frustrating it is that we can’t itemize certain things because they aren’t a large enough portion of our income.
“I mean, I’m not crazy, right? It’s frustrating!” I exclaim.
“No, babe. You’re just cheap.”
I’m caught off guard. “NO! No, I’m not.”
“It’s okay, I am too.”
“NO! WE ARE NOT!”
“Okay, dear, can we just say we’re frugal?” he concedes.
Five years of marriage took me from shopaholic to frugalista.