Ok, this is not my idea. This was totally my mom's idea. She thinks we're pretty responsible with our household spending (thanks, Mom, we appreciate that) and thinks we could share something with other people. But I liked it and I wanted to see if I could help anyone out in these economic times. I intend to share some money-managing/money-saving tidbits with you folks and anyone else out in the ether that is interested. I intend to request suggestions from folks, too. And, I intend to not be totally serious.
Money saving tip #1: Marry someone Dutch.
You know what they say about Dutch people. You've heard of the saying "going Dutch."* They have that reputation for being cheap. You've heard the joke about their dead and bike racks.** See, problem solved! I cannot take credit for this tip, Mr. Wild came up with it.
Yeah, ok, not practical for most of you who are already married. This is a running joke in our household. Mr. Wild is half Dutch. Well, okay his Dutch ancestors came over to the midwest, set up in the Pella area, eventually his dad was born, and his dad married his German descendent mom, so that makes him half Dutch and half German. Since those enclaves of people probably never married outside their ethnic groups until his parents did (shock! gasp! breaking with tradition, yeah, another running joke), I like to point out that he is still truly half Dutch and German.
My practical suggestion is to make sure that you and your spouse understand each other's expectations of spending money and where you are stand in the bank account and what you each will accept for being involved in the decisions for big purchases. We are lucky in that our spending habits actually mesh and our appetites for "stuff" are about the same and still fit within our means. I know of some other couples where there is tension due to very different attitudes about spending money, what is acceptable debt to be carrying, and what are appropriate large purchases for the family unit. If you feel that there is tension and you avoid talking about it, you need to talk and both sides need to listen to the other. It also helps if you budget, or, at least, add up all the expenses for a month and look at your monthly income compared to that number. Do not forget your car insurance, divided by six for a monthly cost, house insurance divided by 12 for a monthly cost or taxes divided by 12 for a monthly cost. You need to talk and you need to try to get on the same page. And you don't need to buy everything you think of exactly right now, at this moment. Kids, either. Practice deferred gratification. You'll thank me for it and your kids will thank you for it.
We are practical modern people and we enjoy our perks to life as much as everyone else. We are not off the grid, grow/make our own food, heat with wood pellets, avoid restaurants and avoid cable type of people. We both have done living history, and neither of us want to "live history" everyday. We could, but we don't want to. But we also know what our means are and stay within that. Some things might have to go or be set aside for a much long time than we anticipated. We'd like a newer, bigger TV, but the two we have are working just fine, we don't need to convert for the HD switch over, so we'll continue as we are.
So, look for more tips in the coming weeks. Once a month, I'll try to come up with a "tips" theme and have everyone write in with their own.
*A "going Dutch" story: When Mr. Wild and I were first dating, on one of the dates, when we were done, I offered to pay for coffee, dinner, something. Mr. Wild was sooo incredibly excited that I offered to pay. He doesn't really remember this, but I remember he was like you could knock him over with a feather when I offered to pay. I always figured that's what sealed the deal on our relationship.
**Dutch joke (I apologize if this offends anyone): Why do the Dutch bury their dead with their butts sticking out of the ground? Because they need bike racks.