Anyone who has followed my blogs anytime in the past 8+ years, knows that I got my start as a Frugal blogger. I don’t hide that fact and I used to give countless tips, ideas and ways to save money on a daily basis (ah blogging on a daily basis once upon a time… ).
I got my start as a Frugal blogger because I actually can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t frugal. In everything. I spent my life looking for ways to cut corners, shave off a dollar or two and generally go without. I raised my kids that way as well. Both are more frugal than I was at that age, but still not as frugal as I’d like them to be.
Enter in my sweet boyfriend now. When I first met him, I was in awe at his frugal tendencies. He hated spending money (me too!), he cut corners where he could (me too!), he reused things and took hand me downs (me too!). A true match made in heaven, right? Wrong!
While he is all of these things and still does them, he has a different outlook on spending money than I do.
Let me explain myself first, because without that, it might not all make sense. I am very simple. I am thrifty. I hate shopping. I love finding new purposes for things. I am DIY-er. I won’t hesitate to head to the home improvement store and make my own (insert any word here). I cannot throw away things easily without weighing the options (especially if they are pricey and serve either a needed purpose or something I could see needing down the road). I hate waste. This is seriously just me in a nutshell.
Now, I’m not someone who will say much about it. At least not what I really want to say. Most of the time I will watch someone throw something away and while I cringe deeply inside, I won’t say anything.
But sometimes I have to. Like last week when the boyfriend wanted to throw away CD racks that are in perfect condition, nothing wrong with them, because he doesn’t want them. Okay. Here’s my thought on that. Up until a few minutes before he was heading to the trash with them, they contained a lot of CDs. So I guess he doesn’t want to store his CDs like that anymore and I get that, but lets not rush to throw away a perfectly useful item, that has nothing wrong with it, when 1) you have a computer nerd living with you that has more software CDs than Office Max does. 2) You have two teenagers who love music and have CDs that have no place to be stored 3)It’s an organization method and 4) There is nothing wrong with the racks and they actually look nice.
Oh, did I happen to mention that too? I am a bit obsessed with organizing. I think it’s partially OCD and partially just the fact that I like things to look pretty and organized. It calms me when everything has a place and I can get to that place easily. Now, we just recently moved in together, and I have a storage unit FULL of stuff. While I plan to purge out some of it, I don’t plan to throw away my software CDs or any of my music CDs so having a useful item like that, well, would be helpful.
He is OCD as well, though and he can’t stand clutter. Of course, I then have to ask, if you don’t like clutter than an organizing item like that is actually the proper ticket. But his OCD, clutter free living, causes him to be much less frugal than I am used to.
But it’s not just things like that. There are plenty of other non-frugal things he does. They are little things, and I am learning to adjust.
Of course, then there are plenty of non-frugal things I do, especially now living in an apartment. I don’t do them intentionally, it’s just a new lifestyle I am learning to adjust to. I’m a recipe developer and food blogger. This means I am in the kitchen daily and making a ton of food. That means I spend a lot on groceries. More than he is used to. When I moved in, his refrigerator was the saddest thing I’d ever seen. I think there were like 8 things in the whole fridge. His ex wife cleaned it out and he never really replaced everything.
Today when you open it, you can’t see the back there is so much stuff in there, food, condiments and more. I have two teenagers living with me full time and they need to eat, so that’s important. My life as a food blogger does require me to grocery shop frequently. Just saying.
My herbs, spices and extracts collection would put the local grocery store to shame. He’s not used to that either. He wonders what I need them all for, until I put a plate of food in front of him, he scarfs it down (literally…) and then comments about how much he didn’t like it. He’s joking of course. His favorite line after that is “I’m just not used to this.” And he isn’t. But then I look around and realize I am not used to a lot of this either. And that’s ok. We just have to adjust to the newness of everything. I went from a three bedroom house with a huge spacious kitchen to a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen the size of my former bathroom. It’s an adjustment I am making and I don’t even mind.
We are learning to adjust to each others lifestyle. We are not a young couple, we are two people who have lived full and complete lives without each other and now that we are back where we belong, it’s a learning game.
He’s pretty set in his ways. I’ve seen that and heard that for a lot of years from him (starting when I first met him). I won’t lie, that intimidated me at first when we talked about moving in together recently. I don’t let stress get to me, I’m typically a pretty positive person and I’m happy most of the time. If someone leaves a closet door slightly ajar, first I probably wouldn’t even notice, but even if I did and it bothered me, I’d close it and never say a word. But that’s me. The need to fix in silence. That’s always been me. I don’t feel the need to say something all the time, and I know that some of my nutty quirks, nobody else would ever understand.
Like my absolute need for all hangers in my closet to be white, plastic and exactly the same. Stick another color in there and I’ll probably freak out a bit. But I’ll do it silently, because well, my quirk is my quirk and I don’t expect anyone else to understand. (hell, I don’t even understand most of the time!)
But with all that said, he has surprised me quite a bit. He is learning to adjust to my strange quirks and I know I am learning to adjust to his. For a man who said he couldn’t change, he’s made all sorts of positive changes and concessions for me that I never expected. There are still a few things he won’t budge on, and that’s okay. There are a few I won’t. Like that hanger thing.
Here’s a new interesting adjustment for both of us.
I’ve lived without a dishwasher for the past 5 years and I hate every single solitary second of it. I’m in the kitchen daily. Did I mention that? I felt like I had won some kind of prize when I moved in with him and there was a dishwasher that hardly ever got used sitting there staring me in the face. It’s funny how people take things for granted until they don’t have them.
Yes, I’ve put that puppy to work. I don’t run it daily, but I’ve run it a lot more than he probably ever did. It has shaved so much time off my time in the kitchen that I am making more food lately than I have in the past couple of years. Yes, I’m sure that means our water bill will go up. Yes there’s a little part of me that cringes at that, because you know… I’m all frugal and stuff. However, there are some things I won’t budge on, and this is my job and having a dishwasher that allows me more time to dedicate not only to cooking and baking for my job, but to cook and bake for my family is priceless in comparison. I’ll pay the water bill. Because I can finally take more work because I am not as exhausted all the time from standing for an hour every time I’m in the kitchen and washing all the dishes I’ve used. And I use a lot.
So … See it all works out.
So I guess the lesson in all this for me, is that yes, sometimes it is okay to not be frugal. But the lesson for him is, sometimes you need to be frugal. And compromising and learning to adjust is the literal heartbeat of every relationship.
What adjustments have you and anyone you lived with had to make? How did you compromise?