Dave Ramsey says married couples usually consist of a saver and a spender, which is a good thing: Two spenders can equal financial disaster; two savers find it hard to enjoy life.
I like Dave. I listen to Dave’s podcasts. Dave has helped millions of people. But Dave doesn’t always hit the nail on the head: Widdle Baby and I are both savers, and it works great. Until it doesn’t.
When my shoe game gets out of hand, he narrows his eyes. When he brings home another $40 flashlight to add to his stash of approximately 247 others, I growl.
We do OK, financially. Not rich, not poor. He was raised by a dad who worked hard and treated his sons generously. My dad, whose favorite hobby was squeezing nickels until they screamed, saved his money and expected us to save his money too.
I’ll never forget Mom asking him for $20 to buy groceries and him fuming, “I gave you twenty bucks last week!”
“And I fed six people with it,” she snapped. Score one for Mom.
For me the die was cast when, for my fifth birthday Dad gave me a child-sized, fully-functioning cash register. It was metal, with sharp edges and a cash drawer that flew out hard enough to knock a tot breathless.
I carried that cash register everywhere, and extorted family and friends shamelessly: A hug was a nickel and a kiss was 10 cents. (How I didn’t end up a “working girl” is a miracle.)
“Great,” Mom said to Dad. “Maybe she’ll put a pay phone in the living room, like J. Paul Getty.” He just beamed.
With Dad as an example I saved money like mad, with which I bought a horse, a car (an orange Gremlin with the passenger door wired shut) and a college education. (Serving sunburned tourists in a beachside beanery was much more profitable than selling hugs and kisses, BTW.)
Widdle has his own story of hard work, owning a business and setting sales goals. By the time we got together we were both smart savers who spent frugally, with a few exceptions.
He doesn’t mind dropping $150 at a gourmet grocery store. (On our first date he peeked in my fridge and was horrified to see only Coors Light and veggie burgers.)
He also invests in quality clothing…. and flashlights, which we’ll discuss shortly.
As for me? Women’s magazines and lifestyle blogs say, “Splurge on fresh flowers, your favorite fragrance, the perfect bra.”
While I enjoy flowers, perfume and well-fitting bras, that’s not what I spend money on. I splurge on hair color because I DIY’d it for 20-plus years, and it was downright mangy toward the end. Today I pay a crazy amount to cover the gray, and it’s worth every penny.
I also splurge on running shoes, because even a $200 pair is cheaper than the podiatrist, and leather boots, because I hate having cold feet from October to March.
Now, about those flashlights. They are to Widdle what books are to me: security blankets that you don’t have to wash.
Thanks to his obsession, we have large Coleman lanterns, slim LED lights, D-cell flashlights, mag lights, military-grade flashlights, high-def “vision performance” flashlights, plastic flashlights, metal flashlights, penlights, spotlights and multi-purpose strobe/warning lights.
Last week I opened the china cabinet looking for placemats, and three flashlights rolled out and hit the hardwood floor. Except pine is actually soft wood, so we now have deep gouges in the floor between the rug and the buffet.
They show up great by flashlight.