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A Happy, Frugal Marriage

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I skip around and read lots of blogs.  Or at least part of lots of blogs.  Most of them are about frugal living, frugal homemaking, ordinary homemaking, etc.  The majority of these blogs involve children, and how to raise them frugally and keep some semblance of order in your house with the rugrats on the loose.  It puts a big of a gap between my life and those of the bloggers I love.  I don’t have kids, CAN’T have kids, and don’t particularly want kids.  {Although I do loooove to get my hands on a baby!}

One thing I almost universally DO have in common with these bloggers is being a wife.  It’s probably the crowning joy of my life, and I feel blessed every day that I have a healthy marriage with the love of my life.  I recognize that many people are not so fortunate, and I try to never take it for granted.

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So while reading a blog today, it occurred to me that I’ve never really talked about how we have a happy FRUGAL marriage.  Trying to live frugally often creates a chasm in a marriage.  Especially when you are not on the same page about which corners to cut and what deserves more monetary investment.  Hubs and I are generally pretty good about being in agreement, but there are times we don’t see eye to eye.  For me, most money I spend, or at least want to spend, outside the basics, is to buy things to help make our home more cozy.  Not “stuff”, but things with real value.  Like the kitchen cart we bought a couple months ago that has made cooking much nicer and easier.  He, on the other hand, would rather spend money on going to the movies or buying books, dvds and BluRays.  So we often have to compromise and meet in the middle.

There are frugal things that help our marriage work, though:

  • We can agree on the kinds of food we eat.  Both of us not only accept, but enjoy, the frugal foods we live on.  While he’s a hardcore carnivore {and I’m a pretty big fan of meat myself!}, we do usually have a day or two each week where we eat a vegetarian meal.  We both understand that we need to do that to help cut grocery costs, and it’s something we’ve even come to enjoy.
  • Cooking together.  Sharing the task of cooking gives us quality time together, while helping both of us to genuinely appreciate the food we eat.  If he sat in the living room watching a movie while I was in the kitchen slaving away at dinner, he wouldn’t realize the effort that went into it and be as thankful for it.  And vice versa.
  • Taking trips to the library together.  The drive there is time to chat, and we’re both like kids at Disneyworld when we get there.  We can each seek out books and movies on our various interests, for free, and appreciate the wonder of the library system.
  • Grocery shopping together.  Every Thursday afternoon, we trundle off to the grocery stores together.  It’s a shared task that keeps both of us aware of the cost of the foods we buy.  It’s important to be able to look at the prices on the shelves and say “Wow, that junk food I want is really expensive!” or “Oh, I see there’s a good sale on chicken breast so I understand why we will eat lots of it this week.”
  • Going to parks.  We don’t do this as often as we did at one point, certainly now that it’s so hot, but we’ve had some great adventures checking out parks.  There are a gazillion of them in the metro area, and we’ve been to quite a few of them.  It’s a chance to walk in the woods together, maybe have a picnic, and just enjoy one another’s company without distractions.
  • Finding frugal events we can attend together.  Events at the library, programs at parks, checking out arts festivals, going to museums, seeing movies at the dollar theater.  These are all free or very frugal things we can do as a couple for entertainment, while also gaining an appreciation of the opportunities we have by living where we do.
  • Plain, simple, conversation.  We talk.  A lot.  About all sorts of things.  We originally met online, and that’s how we fell in love.  By talking, a lot, about everything.  That was nearly 21 years ago now, and we still talk talk talk.  Some nights we don’t have much to say and sit in the living room together absorbed in our own pursuits.  But more likely we’re chatting with one another, at the very least sharing interesting things we find online.  Our best talking is on Hubs nights off, though.  We often get started on a subject and three hours later realize it’s 2 am and how far our conversation has wandered from where it began.

My marriage is the cornerstone of my life.  With my anxiety disorder, I need all the comfort and security I can get.  Sometimes, when I’m drowning in panic, a simple hug from Hubs can help me calm down, and maybe even replace some of the anxiety with gratitude for having such a supportive, wonderful man to call my own.

How about the rest of you?  Do you have frugal ways you connect with your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/etc?

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