As a child I was raised to be financially conservative; if not financially cautious. I was a saver, never a spender. While in many ways this was a good thing as it enabled me to keep my debts low, build credit, buy a house and be able to differentiate between wants and needs; it also created an inability within me to every once in a while let loose and indulge in something for the sake of enjoyment or fun. It also didn’t help that my first husband had neither a sense of financial responsibility nor a steady job and I, out of necessity, had to take on the role of breadwinner in an attempt to keep us from drowning financially due in part to his poor choices. My current husband is the total opposite – he has a steady job, he works hard, and he works above and beyond what is required of him because that is the type of man he his. He is a provider to our family and has promised me that he will always take care of us financially…..and he always has.
So, why can’t I let loose and live a little? I know that my overly cautious (and quite frankly penny-pinching ways) are preventing me from engaging in opportunities that would better add fulfillment and enjoyment to my life and my family’s life. This issue often creates friction between my husband and I, as he is of the mind-set that he works hard for his paycheck and feels that he/we deserves some indulgences. As the one who manages the household expenses I have great difficulty rationalizing indulgences when I weigh them against our responsibilities; especially since I stepped back from a full-time job with a full-time paycheck for a per-diem job without a guarantee (the nature of being per-diem). Don’t get me wrong, my husband is not frivolous by any means; he just has some hobbies that come with a small price tag. And quite frankly, since my hardworking husband has made the commitment to work what is necessary for me to be at home more with the children – why shouldn’t he have his release? Is it selfish of me to keep the purse-strings so tight (YES!!!) if it means that he has his outlet for a little fun? Underneath it all my inner voice is screaming – “Just let the man buy his car parts and enjoy himself – he deserves it!!!” (And he does, having taken on my boys (his step-sons), a mortgage, and everything else that I brought to the table)
I guess my point to all of this is, how do I change? How do I loosen up and live a little? I worry that my overly conservative ways will in essence hurt my marriage and even have the opposite effect on our children; that is, that they will become spenders just because of what they have come to see with me as a saver. There needs to be a balance between it all. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and think, “Well it’s great that we saved for a rainy day, it’s just too bad we never enjoyed the sunny ones.”