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Author: bingocards Three stars, 500 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308857  
Subject: Re: Reconciling Different Money Priorities Date: 8/14/2008 9:58 PM
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For a totally different take on things:

Your family grosses, in round numbers, about ten times what I do. Call my income $2,600 a month then. The difference in "real people's" terms between a $500 and $2,000 spending budget is difficult to comprehend, but the difference between $50 and $200 is not -- it isn't the difference between "leading a really good life" and Paris Hilton Does The City, its the difference between "you can afford to do something special once or twice a month" and "you can afford to do something a bit more special, and or to do something special once or twice a week".

Yeah, special for someone of my means might mean buying 3 books from Amazon and then ensconcing myself at a cafe with all the cocoa I can drink. (Yes, yes, I could make my own cocoa -- but that wouldn't be the decadent luxury of Cocoa in the Cafe would it? By the way, TV agents, I have a treatment ready and I hear Brad Pitt is available to play me.) But your wife doesn't share my pasttimes, and whether that is for good or ill is water under the bridge.

Now, if I were in dire straits, Fools would say "Egads, Bingocards, you need to cut that $200 a month of frivolity down to a more reasonable level!" But I'm not in dire straits. $200 in frivolity is not exactly unreasonable for someone with my income for whom all systems are operating nominally -- social expectations are nasty and all that, but if I had to routinely decline invites to e.g. the movies because I had already used my $50 for the month, that would put a substantial crimp on my quality of life.

Your marriage counselor, who you're paying what I'm guessing is a fairly decent amount of money to see both sides of the situation, probably has been saying something like "Your wife doesn't like feeling controlled" and you say "We need to save! And that is why I need to tell her what TV shows to watch and who to be friends with." And hey, I'm totally on board with you needing to save.

Incidentally, continuing my "Do the math with me instead" flight of fancy, if giving in to wife's demands for a $200 allowance instead of a $50 allowance would delay your debt repayment by 3 months, that means there is an extra $450 of debt floating around somewhere. So you're probably looking at about, oh, $5~6 of interest expense. Now I hate interest as much as the next guy, possibly more. But $6 of it doesn't strike me as something worth spending much time worrying about.

And backing out the numbers to the NYCinsanity scale, even $60 of interest is probably less than the amount of time you spend speaking with your counselor about the interest expense.

How's about we take a quick step back from the brink and realize that, in your sort of enviable position, this is not exactly a titanic conflict between Fiscal Survival and the Spendzilla? We've got two married adults with a bit of disagreement which is, scaled to your level, pretty darn prosaic. Best of luck is resolving it.

(Sidenote: The line about "I could do better" worries me ten thousand times more than anything about the money. I sort of take that "Forsaking all others" thing literally... Quick question to the gents here, asked the question "Who is prettier, me or Random Supermodel?", we all agree that the proper answer is some variant of "I married you, dear.", right?)
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