A few years ago, before Pele (pronounced like the soccer player) and I were married, we took a trip to Phuket Thailand.
While sitting in the waiting area at Changi International Airport, in Singapore, Pele decided to take some money out of the ATM machine.
When she came back I asked, “Hey Pele, did we get paid?”
We’re both working for the same employer, and we get paid ten times a year. So when we do get paid, it’s a reasonable sum that gets deposited into our accounts—at least, it’s a reasonable sum for a couple of school teachers.
What made this month sweeter is that we were each going to get paid double. Once a year, we get an annual wage supplement that equals our monthly wage.
So I was surprised when Pele told me that she didn’t know whether we got paid or not.
“Did you look at the balance?” I asked.
She did better than that. She printed it off and stared at it for a moment.
“So Pele, did we get paid?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, “All I know is that if there’s money in there, that’s a good thing.”
Now, my wife isn’t a credit card junkie. And she has never been a big spender. But before we met, she was fairly oblivious as to how much money she had in the bank.
But after watching me write down every penny I spent (which I did for years) she picked up the same habit. I’ve since abandoned the practice, but Pele hasn’t.
If there’s one of us asking, “Do you really need that?” it’s generally her. And now she always knows how much we have in the bank.
How about you and your spouse? Who’s more frugal? And can a frugal person live harmoniously with a spendthrift—ever? What are your thoughts?