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The Value of a Frugal Spouse
written by Mike Ballew February 4, 2024
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Every so often a slow news day comes along and out comes the story about the value of a typical homemaker. By the time they are finished adding up the annual cost of a maid, cook, personal shopper, companion, tutor, chauffeur and daycare worker, the number is north of $100,000. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story because you can’t put a price on love. While a homemaker is certainly worth as much as they say, a frugal spouse is worth much more.

Fight Night

Couples fighting over money is nothing new, in fact it happens every day. Did you know that the frequency of fighting is the single biggest predictor of divorce? Simply put, fighting over money is bad for your relationship. A sense of peace comes over your home when you and your spouse see eye to eye on financial matters.

Spenders and Savers

There are two kinds of people in this world: spenders and savers. Spenders spend everything they make and then some. Savers live beneath their means and save the difference. Spenders go further and further into debt, while savers steadily increase their net worth.

The single most important thing you can do to keep your finances on track and have a happy life is to marry a frugal spouse. If you are single and you have not yet chosen a mate, you should keep that in mind.

The Love of Money

It has been said that the love of money is the root of all evil, and for those who love money there is never money enough. That is what your life is like being married to a spender: there is never money enough.

What if you are already married to a spender, is it too late? Can a spender be turned into a saver?

You cannot turn a spender into a saver any more than you can turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. People don’t change. If you’re a saver and your spouse is a spender, you are going to keep fighting. A day may come when you decide to split the enormous debt you’ve accumulated and walk away.

Having a spender for a mate is like having cancer in your bones. The warning signs are all there: endless fights, bill collectors, and ever-increasing debt. You knew what you were getting into when you first met, yet you did it anyway.

The Value of a Frugal Spouse

What does it look like to have a frugal spouse? It’s one vacation a year, not three. Children in public school, not private. Flying coach, not first class.

I am very fortunate to have a frugal spouse who does not try to spend us into the poor house. She dresses well and takes care of herself, but she’s smart with money. She is never wasteful and takes her time when making important decisions. Most importantly, she doesn’t have an insatiable appetite for new things like houses and cars and clothes and shoes and jewelry.

Then there’s the little things. I remember the first time we travelled together. We were sitting at an airport sharing a bottled water. When it was empty, rather than tossing it in the trash, she walked over to the drinking fountain and refilled it. I was smitten.

True happiness comes from loving someone and being loved. It’s a lot easier when you’re not always fighting. You and your spouse need to be on the same page financially.

Photo credit: Freepik Eggstack News will never post an article influenced by an outside company or advertiser. Our mission is to help you overcome uncertainty about retirement planning and inspire confidence in your financial future.
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MIKE BALLEW
Eggstack founder, Financial Planning Association member, engineer, and software developer.