Money, again. And how it just sort of slips out of our pockets in exchange for mundane little goods & services. My angst over
I'm not going to go over the details of who spent what where, but in general, my husband definitely has a looser hold on the purse-strings. Specifically, he not only tolerates, but seems to find pleasure in buying little treats and snacks for the kids (and himself, on occasion) and is not averse to taking taxis/uber instead of waiting for the bus or walking. And this behavior does not appear to be impacted by how far we happen to be over budget in the given categories for these purchases.
This makes my twitchy. I get annoyed. I start to fret. I get snappy and grumpy. I say fine in a voice that is not fine.
I think I set reasonable amounts in our categories, if I increase them, I have to take money from elsewhere---there isn't "extra" sitting around. Those $5 and $10 add up, and leave nothing to show for it. Sure they stop the whining, maybe prevent 15-20 minutes of boredom or discomfort, but at the end of the day they are forgotten. If we didn't spend those dribs and drabs we'd have a good amount for something memorable---dinner out (delicious food for all of us and no cooking or cleaning!) or a new bike (hours/days/months of fun, exercise and fresh air).
And its not just the budget and the numbers, its the philosophy behind it. I can't bring my kids home from school without them asking for chocolate milk from Starbucks like daddy gets them, or "why can't we just take a taxi" when the bus doesn't come right away or they get slightly tired/bored. I'm OK with being the bad guy here, I tell them "no" and "because I don't think its a good way to spend money/you have to learn to be a little hungry once in a while/you'll never get stronger if you don't push yourself!" (OK that all sounds mean but the latter two we are seriously working on with B & L respectively, B is STARVING every 1-2 hours---how will he handle school? and L walks 10 feet before sitting himself down on the sidewalk and refusing to go further---he's four and objectively healthy, we are not keeping him in the stroller forever).
Its not a hardship to spend 15 minutes on a breezy sunny summer evening to chat about the day and wait for the bus. Its not a hardship to not stop for a snack on the way home from school when there is a healthy delicious dinner ready to go. You don't need to buy snacks at a coffee shop every time you go to the park! They are conditioned to these things because they have gotten them so frequently. Its hedonic adaptation for the pre-school set.
Overall I just want us to live within our means and build some financial security, and pass those values on to our kids. Its not that G doesn't share those values. I just think he is less into the frugality/stoicism/delayed gratification mindset than I am. I actually (perversely?) like the satisfaction that I sucked it up and didn't cave to a little hunger, fatigue, whining and kept that money in my pocket. Whereas he is more apt to pay for convenience and not have to deal with the stress or discomfort.
I'm struggling to find a way to deal with this without increasing marital tension and personal anxiety. I'm tired of feeling like the nag. Maybe I've drunk too much frugal-living Kool Aid? More likely I've always been frugal and averse to certain spending patterns that I consider wasteful, and now that we're tracking our spending, I'm noticing it more. I guess "wasteful" is a subjective judgement. One person's wasteful is another's "worth it". Considering the fact that we aren't in debt, have a nice emergency fund, are saving for retirement, and don't spend on big stuff, maybe I need to let it go.