My husband and I are very different people and 99 per cent of the time, this is a very good thing. We are like salt and pepper, he is the Yin to my Yang and all of that.
When it comes to our attitudes towards money however, we are so different that it can sometimes quite difficult to reconcile our views. We have worked hard to come up with a coherent and workable financial plan, and one that won’t end up with a visit to a divorce lawyer.
Our difference in attitude has been perfectly illustrated by a little incident that has happened on our holidays this week. Before I share with you, I should just like to point out that neither of us are “right” or “wrong”. I’m not sharing this to point out how wonderful I am, or how terrible he is, or vice versa.
So, what happened?
The zip on his Samsonite suitcase broke.
Is that it? I hear your collective disappointment.
Yes. Really. That’s it.
My initial response was to fiddle with the zip a bit (whilst pulling my best zip expert face) and assert that it’s still functioning well enough, and since it is hand luggage it will never be out of our sight and so there is probably a good 3 or 4 trips left in it. And we have several hand luggage sized suitcases to use when it ultimately and inevitably takes a trip to its final destination, suitcase heaven. If we ever really do need another small suitcase, we can pick up a good one from TK Maxx for about £20.
His response was to spend several hours meticulously researching hand luggage on the internet and he found the ideal replacement for £200. His justification is that he flies frequently with work, and so needs something that is up to the job, will last a long time, and very importantly, looks professional. (Such a shame that this is one of his criteria, as I found a great Spider-man one on Ebay for £5!).
Impasse. He will not be moved. Several lengthy and heated discussions ensue, and eventually, he reluctantly finds another suitcase that will do, for £90.
Now, in his mind, he has already sacrificed himself to our thrifty cause to the tune of £110. He has ‘saved’ £110. To my mind, £90 is still more than the £20 I would spend, and therefore he is about to ‘waste’ £70.
I see the £70 as a sum of money we now can’t use somewhere else. He believes that there is no point in working if you can’t buy nice things with your money. I do kind of agree here. Who doesn’t like nice things? But I really don’t view a suitcase as a nice thing.
Neither of us is right or wrong, but what to do?
There really is no point in arguing, it is only a suitcase after all. Ultimately, this single purchase will not send us spiralling to financial ruin. The fact that we are discussing this purchase with each other is a very good thing. Good financial management involves making these micro-decisions every day, and each one won’t make us or ruin us. As long as we keep our eyes on the bigger picture then I am sure that all will be well.
And at least I can be confident that I will never find myself in the embarrassing position of having to retrieve my underwear from the floor of some departure lounge!!
Does this ring any bells with you? I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment.