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The Question of Money

By Victoria Fryer 

In a conversation with a good friend the other day, she said, “Well, you don’t have kids, so you guys must have a lot of extra money lying around.” (We are close enough that we have candid conversations about money often, and we were talking in the context of taking vacations, so it’s not completely weird or rude that she said it.)

But it really made me think about the fact that, no we don’t have “a lot” of extra money molding away in our bank accounts. Should we?

Granted, neither of us make “a lot” of money. Together, we bring in a decent amount of money, and we never have trouble making our bills or taking care of things that pop up, like a leaky toilet or malfunctioning washing machine. All in the span of two weeks. (Yeah, that sucked.)

We don’t, however, sock away a significant amount of money in a savings account each month or have a building supply of cash with which to take lavish vacations or to go out to eat every week.

I think that, because we are comfortable, we are less careful about money. We don’t have a strict budget, if we want something, we buy it, and if we want to go out for a beer or order in a pizza one night because I don’t feel like cooking, we just do it.

The way I see it, there are two primary philosophies of how to handle money:
• Live loosely and without a strict budget, never feeling particularly deprived but also never building up that suggested “six months of living expenses in the savings account” or the vacation fund for an annual trip to the Bahamas.
• Or budget carefully, taking advantage of not having the extra expenses that children bring to build a collection of financial assets or to save up for large purchases like modest boats or other “toys.”

When my husband and I started combining money (which I believe is the right thing to do in our case because of a slight disparity in our incomes), it was clear that we had different spending philosophies. I was more on the spendy side of the first philosophy, while he was a careful budgeter and a frugal buyer. We’ve drifted a bit to meet each other in the middle, to living without a strict budget but remaining relatively frugal. But I wonder if we should be working harder to save.

Which side of the money philosophies do you land on?

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

Female infertility

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