How to Live With a Frugal Partner

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By John Schmoll

Frugality is often misunderstood. Frugal people are frequently envisioned as miserly bean counters or dumpster divers. In truth, those characterizations are extreme. In fact, many who espouse frugality simply look to get value out of the money they are spending.

In light of these misperceptions, a challenge can arise between partners or spouses when one is frugal and the other is not. These tips aim to help couples in this predicament understand each other better and enjoy a more harmonious home life.

Appreciate the Value of Being on the Same Page

Money permeates just about every aspect of life. Many people are raised with different dearly held expectations and philosophies around it. As a result, money can be one of the leading causes of strife in a relationship.

What this brings to bear is the importance of communication regarding finances. This can especially be the case if one partner is more frugal. They may have certain expectations or desires and that may not match up with what the other person wants. That doesn't mean they don't value fun or don't want to spend money, just that they're more purposeful about it. By finding areas for common ground, it is possible to get on the same page financially and having that harmony is well worth it.

Set a Budget That Both Partners Agree On

More practically, when living with a frugal person, or any kind of person for that matter, compromise is key. That is especially the case when it comes to establishing a budget. A frugal person will likely have certain expectations and want to align things in that way. Instead of railing against that, look for shared common goals and build around them. A discretionary allowance for each partner will also allow the less frugal person more freedom.

Understand What Being Frugal Really Is

Being frugal doesn't mean never spending money and thus not having any fun in life. Rather, it means getting value out of spending. A frugal person isn't a cheap person.

Embrace Your Own Frugal Side

A common misconception about frugality is that you can't have what you want. That it means you can't spend on things that are important to you. While that is an understandable misconception it's also a myth. You can still have nice items and things you want while living frugally –- in fact many do it.
The key with that and frugality is saving more for what matters most and spending less on things to enjoy. Frugal people try to get what they really want without overspending on it. Embracing that principle leads to both financial freedom and an enjoyable life.

Couples with only one frugal partner should look for ways to make frugality fun. Saving money can become a friendly competition to see who scores better deals on items both people want. Setting savings goals together encourages both parties to hit the goal quicker.

In the end, life becomes a little simpler for everyone involved.