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Under Beaker’s Microscope: Why I Let My Wife Shop

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I am a believer that everything is shared in a marriage. We share the ups and downs, the good times and the bad. We are a team that strives to improve our lives for the better, and we do this together.

Right now we are trying to tackle our debt in the hopes that someday we will be debt free. This goal is really hard, and it takes a lot of sacrifice by the both of us. But, being married to a shopping addict makes this goal even harder to reach. When I get frustrated and start to get discouraged, I just remind myself that both of us are sacrificing, and we are both fighting hard to become debt free.

That being said there are two things that I try to get across to Aloysa. I believe it have helped with her shopping addiction. For years she would buy cheap products because they were on sale. These cheap things would end up being donated or thrown away a year later because they were cheaply made, and after a few uses they would fall apart or not look good anymore.

I have tried to emphasize the point that you get what you pay for. I have tried to push her to buy classic, quality products that are timeless and are going to last. Clothes that are simple and classic: shoes that are comfortable and stylish instead of flashy ones that hurt her feet. Trends come and go, but simple and classic bypass trends and look good whether they are “in” or not.  Simple, Classic, Quality, these are the words I try to emphasis to Aloysa when she goes shopping.

The best way to get me through the days when she brings home new clothes that I know that she doesn’t need is to remind myself that we BOTH have a shopping problem. Aloysa loves to shop and I am not going to take that away from her. I am not going to get mad and take away something in her life that brings her so much joy. I think that would be unfair, mean, and frankly cruel. I would not want to be treated like that and I am not going to treat her like that.

Our marriage is based on trust and communication, and that is why it is so strong. We talk about how we are trying to pay off our bills and what we can do to reach these goals. Shopping hampers reaching these goals (not how to be rich goals but just getting out of debt) as fast as we would like, but I know that in the long run we will pay off our debt and we are going to stay deft free for the rest of our lives.

I know that we can do it, and I know that we are going to do it together.

Comments (25)

  • Is there a limit on how much she is allowed to spend on shopping each month? My husband has a problem with fast food. HE just loooves making little purchases, but these purchases add up to hundreds of dollars, and it puts a big damper on our budget, I’ve tried giving him allowances, but he always mismanages it. I’ve done the fun money accounts, and THAT was a disaster.
    I just don’t know what to do anymore. We don’t have the money for him to be spending such a huge chunk on dining out (especially when we have food at home).

    Reply
    • I don’t have a limit. Beaker always says “Be reasonable.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I tried to have an allowance and it never works for me. I am trying to control better what I spend. It is tough though.

      Reply
  • Great post. I love the teamwork. We try to always buy quality presents for people. In fact, we realized that for Christmas we’d buy my nephews (my brother has six kids) a $15 gift each. My sister would also purchase something similar. Instead of buying them cheap gifts this year, we let them know this is their Christmas and birthday presents together…and bought them an XBox with Kinect and a year of XBox Live so they can communicate with the family regularly. They live far from us all and were ecstatic. My sister in law said she was very happy they received one awesome gift instead of a ton of cheap stuff. I’d found a Black Friday deal on the XBox so we could afford the package. When you do the math, it also ended up saving us a few dollars this year, and everybody was happy.

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    • I loved it! It is a great idea. I think it is much better to buy one gift but quality then a bunch of cheap gifts. I think the appreciation will be greater for a quality gift in the end.

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  • At least you are actively trying to closeout your debts. Many people just live paycheck to paycheck with no long term plan. I like buying quality products too, but I try to get them on sale. I try not to buy junky quality stuff anymore, it is just not worth it. We don’t have that much extra room anyway.

    Reply
    • Yes, we are paying off our debts actually better than I thought we could. 🙂 Not that it should be an excuse for shopping, right?

      Reply
  • Awe that’s cute that your husband wrote a post, Aloysa!

    I like your mentality that everything is together. More and more I’m seeing the benefit of this sense of teamwork (we are a 50/50 split kind of couple at the current moment).

    Reply
    • We always were a team, right from the begining. I think this is why we never had any misunderstandings about our financial goals.

      Reply
  • As long as you know that there’s a problem, that’s a good step in the right direction of eventually dealing with it. It’s the not knowing that will sink the boat.

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  • You can view this as the reward of your daily hard work. You are fine as long as you are paying off debt.

    Reply
  • What a great way to approach the issue as a couple. It’s all too common for something like this to turn into a constant source of anger and resentment on both sides – and then all you’d end up with is a debt problem AND a marriage problem.

    AverageJoe – I love the idea of giving a nicer group gift than a bunch of smaller cheaper presents.

    Reply
    • Yes, I am actually a very lucky girl. We never had any arguments even when I overspent. Somehow we always work out a compromise.

      Reply
  • Cool post Beaker and great advice about buying quality! My wife loves to shop too and I also wouldn’t want to take away something she enjoys so much. If it is controlled and not about to put you in the poor house, it’s kind of like golfing for women. You say you also have a shopping problem. How do you have one?

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    • I am going to asnwer for Beaker. What he meant was: since one of us hasa problem, both of us have it. We are in this together. 🙂

      Reply
  • It is good to see that you are working together on the shopping problem. I like to think that I’ve helped my wife be smarter with her spending and she helped me loosen up and spend my money for fun once in a while.

    Reply
  • I’m used to go to second hand shop where i can buy brand new clothes from previous collection. It’s so cheap and good quality. Recommend you to give a try.

    Reply
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  • I’ve helped my wife be smarter with her spending and she helped me loosen up and spend my money for fun once in a while.

    Reply

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