Every day, it seems, my life revolves around money.
At work, I tell money where to go, determine what the money did, and decide where the money is going.
Then I get home and look at what money came in, where we need to spend money, and find ways to save more of it.
Focusing on money isn’t a bad thing, especially when you have lofty goals like I do, but I sometimes wonder if too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Case in point – Connecting with your spouse
Obviously, marriage gets harder after you have kids. Sure, you could let your lives be consumed by the kids and their needs, merely coexisting rather than connecting like you used to.
But when you decide to put some effort into your marriage, you discover that getting away from the kids is expensive, and my money-oriented brain has trouble processing that. Babysitters are expensive, and while grandparents are great, they’re busy and we’re busy and our schedules don’t always line up. Not to mention dinner, a cooking class, or a night out with friends. All of those things can add up to a lot of money!
The Big Guy & I have been coasting through.
We’re not fighting, we’re actually in complete agreement. But we’re not connecting.
We’re both to blame, but for my part, I can say that money has controlled me for a while. Perhaps it was because our budget was overextended, and letting money control me for a while gave us the focus and dedication it took to get the first major chunk of our debt paid off since we started this whole journey.
We’ve made awesome progress, but it came at a price, and I don’t want the consequences of my singularly money-focused orientation to continue for the next 2 years (or longer!).
Don’t worry – I’m not stepping away from blogging, our debt journey, or even our goals of retiring by 40. And my marriage certainly isn’t on the rocks.
I am merely asking for advice.
Ya’ll are thrifty people, most with significant others, and dare I say – most with kids?
How do you “turn off” the money portion of your brain? How to you enjoy a night out with your spouse, knowing full well that while you budgeted for the expenses, you could have put that $60 to “better” use throwing it at debt?
Is it a matter of mindset, putting your marriage above money, or can single-minded money focus and connecting to your spouse coexist?
Help me, please! – I would love to hear your advice!
*This post may contain affiliate links
Brittany at Equipping Godly Women says
Still trying to figure this out! lol. The best advice I can give is to schedule parts of your day. Between X time and X time you work. Between X time and X time, it’s your time off. It will be uncomfortable at first, but eventually you should realize that you don’t need to worry about work during play time, because that’s what work time is for.
that’s what I’m finding. I’ve been reading Ruth Soukup”s book, and I really think that is what I need to do!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
This is a great question, Gretchen. I always have money on the brain too! Mr. FW and I don’t really “turn off” our money brains, mostly because we both enjoy talking about it and, we’ve structured our lives in accordance with our frugality.
We don’t ever go out, we just have our date nights at home or by doing a free activity (like hiking or walking). However, we don’t have kids yet, so I completely understand that you’ve got a different challenge.
For Mr. FW and I, connecting about our money is connecting about our goals, which we never tire of talking about, so it’s kind of all intertwined in our lives and conversations. I hope you have luck in finding a good balance soon!
Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife says
It’s difficult to find balance and I find that we are constantly re-evaluating how we are doing with our finances as well as our marriage. We’ve found we connect just as well if not better (probably because our minds aren’t on how much we are spending) with free or low-cost “dates.” Whether that is going for a hike, playing a board game, etc.
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says
Going out is pretty annoying to setup and usually expensive. So, for Christmas we gave each other a mini-date a week. Just having a little time to connect together in our house without spending money and having a paper airplane contest, fancy lattes or a dance party with a shot or two has been great. It removed money from the connected equation for us.
Love this and I never would have thought of that! What a great present!
Just schedule a date at a local coffeehouse for a low cost date. You two must agree to NOT talk about money. Discuss non financial stuff. This may be hard but it can be done. Great website for dating and marriage is http://www.engagedmarriage.com
Great idea! I think that would be hard, but inexpensive! thanks for the site, I’ll have to check it out!
my parents would go on a nightly walk after dinner. Ice cream is a pretty cheap date too. Quality bonding time would be back and/or foot rubs after the kids go to bed. Matinee movies, than you don’t have to worry about talking at all, let alone about money, haha! volunteer together at a homeless shelter or food pantry, it will be a good reminder that money isn’t everything. Summertime is great for FREE things to do: concerts in the park, parades, fireworks, swimming at your public beach, BBQ at the park.