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What happens to your relationships when you make major life changes?

Posted by idawrites on January 7, 2009 in Children, Family, Frugal, Money |

Since starting this blog in its initial incarnation “Tales From The Road Less Traveled”, my life has made many major shifts. Our income has dropped by 65%. We’ve started a company… considered folding a company… and got our footing with the company again. Half of our child support obligations ended when Heather turned 18. My paycheck was levied by the IRS (SUCK). But those are just a few of the surface changes.

The emotional and mental relationship with money that Mark and I had has evolved in a major way in the last year. Although, to be perfectly frank, I make the changes and when Mark sees that it’s a viable option, he is surprised and supportive of the changes. My husband is the consummate skeptic.

  1. When I began couponing, he just knew that we’d only be able to save money on junk food and that we wouldn’t be able to save a significant amount of money on groceries and household spending. The second week, I took Mark to the grocery stores with me. When my shopping total dropped from $300 to $130, he was a believer. Now he’s my biggest champion.
  2. When I began writing about our finances, we were having major communications breakdowns regarding money. Getting my thoughts “on paper” has given me a forum to express my concerns and open up a doorway for money discussions in a healthy non-confrontational way with my husband.
  3. He thinks MyPoints.com is a waste of time… but $30 in free CVS and Walgreens gift cards later, he sees value in the time I spend reading those emails.
  4. Reading more about the various dynamics of families and their money has given me fresh eyes to look at my husband and his relationship with money … happily, this has eased some of our stresses.
  5. I made my own homemade laundry detergent, much to my husband’s dismay. I wanted to make it because it was organic, cheaper than regular detergent (by a significant amount), and works a LOT better. He felt that my “having” to make detergent means that we’re too poor to buy the real stuff. Now that he’s seen a dozen loads of wash come out of the machine amazingly clean, he is convinced that it was a good idea.

I expected our children to all be upset that we scaled back our spending on non-essentials. I also thought they would feel deprived when every “NEED” wasn’t fulfilled within days of asking. I was really surprised and pleased to know that the kids weren’t negatively impacted at all.

  1. I learned that I wasn’t really doing my adult family members any favors when I enabled them by giving them money to fix their poor spending choices.
  2. Mark and I both learned that the children were just as happy with extra time together and fewer Christmas gifts … and were excited that we put thought into the things we gave them.
  3. Our children are learning to be more financially responsible, and doing it because they WANT to.
  4. The children are excited about budgeting since being responsible with money means we can do things like get a Wii! … once we save up for it.
  5. They also LOVE that we aren’t buying crap we don’t need and cluttering up the house. Oh, the joys of chores… they realize how little they like “stuff” that they have to keep cleaning up.

I never expected this to change my friendships. After all, your personal finances are just that… personal. Right? I learned that my friends like to read my blog. That tickled me pink! But there were other things as well.

  1. My friends ask my opinions on money saving and shopping techniques.
  2. They all give me new tips on things to try… I LOVE that they share with me.
  3. We have far more talks about frugality than we ever did before… actually… I don’t think we ever talked about saving money or living frugally before I became a personal finance nut.
  4. I’m becoming “that chick” … the one who gets the odd looks… alternating with the comments of “wow, better you than me” … Ok, mostly that was because of the homemade laundry detergent!

I could list things all night, but I’ve had amazingly huge changes in every relationship I have. I now truly believe that “personal finance” extends far beyond your front door. Attitudes about money color every relationship you have with other people in one way or another. I’m really happy that ours is a positive one.

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