What’s worse than a cheap husband? Not much. While far from universally true, my experience tells me that between men and women, it’s the man who is usually the cheap SOB. Is this really so? I can only speak for myself of course, but I’ll be the first to admit that you could consider me a cheap man.
(My middle daughter, while proofreading this post, was quick to confirm it, so I suppose there is no room for doubt anymore.)
I don’t consider the label of “cheap” all that bad, to be frank. It’s almost a badge of honor in my opinion. I think quite a few times before I buy anything. I do a fair amount of research. When in doubt, I don’t spend. I have the mindset that there are very few things we really need beyond the basics. Call me crazy…but that’s how I deal with money.
What’s wrong with that? Does this cheap man need to be cured?
Well…the problem is that not everybody thinks like I do. I live with other people and even if I’m sure I’m right, I can’t just impose my philosophy on everyone. At least, not if I want to stay married and have a family that wants to be near me. If you want to save your money and marriage, you might want to consider all this.
Nobody likes to be told what to do – nobody. If I try to be the “King Pilgrim” I’ll alienate everyone. Using money as a weapon is financial infidelity in marriage because it destroys the partnership. I don’t want to live like that and nobody in my family wants that either. If you are a cheap man, do you need to be cured or fixed? Well, if you want to avoid divorce – or stop a divorce if your relationship is on the rocks – I think the answer is clear.
Don’t wait for everyone around you to change, oh Cheap One. They won’t. (The only thing they might change is their address.)
Let me go one step further. I’m often convinced that my cheapness is right and that we shouldn’t really spend that money – but I give in anyway. Why? Because I have to pick and choose my battles just like the other members of my family do. Sometimes I’d rather be happy than right.
And I often find in retrospect that I was wrong (not to spend). I guess I’m still not “all knowing” like I thought I was. Crapola. But I’m not going to lie to you or myself. My nature is to refrain from spending. It’s my first and almost automatic reaction to spending situations.
That’s how I work.
Sometimes this works really well for our family. For example, we’re fortunate to have absolutely no debt at all, to live below our means and to save a decent amount each year. We are on track, thankfully. But sometimes a “no” comes out of my mouth even though a “yes” would be OK and I know it, deep in my heart. That causes unnecessary stress.
So how is a cheap man cured?
My experience tells me that the only cure is to start creating a financial plan.
This financial plan must show both the cheap man and the others in the family whether or not they are on track to reach their financial goals. The financial plan actually gets rid of the labels “cheap” and “spendthrift.”
The plan will show you what you need to do with your money to get out of debt and save for your future. Either you are doing it or you aren’t. Period.
A financial plan is the basis for setting up budgets. Setting aside money for debts, savings, retirement, vacation and fun. If you, Mr. Cheap Man, can agree with your spouse or significant other on a plan and budgets, you will be cured. You can do a financial plan on your own or you can have it done – but just make sure you get it done. You will no longer be called “the cheap man.”
That’s it. No other tool will do. If you are a cheap man or are living with one, there is nothing else you should do unless and until you create your plan.
If those cheap behaviors are driving you and everyone around you nuts, you’ve found your answer. That’s why I think therapists can’t save the marriage when money is the issue. They usually don’t know jack about finances and they can’t advise you on this subject either.
I’m super curious to know if you solved your financial conflict by creating a financial plan. If not, what did solve the problem?