Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Big Cheese Argument

Arguments are a part of any marriage, and some of the biggest and most frequently had arguments revolve around money matters.  Unfortunately, the Hubby and I are not immune to this.  While grocery shopping today, I was reminded of what I like to refer to as the Big Cheese Argument.

The Hubby and I were at different points in our lives age-wise, school-wise, career-wise, and money-wise when we got married, and this is still reflected in some of our arguments.  I will penny-pinch and forgo absolutely every frivolity if necessary, and sometimes even not just for the security.  The Hubby is not as like-minded.  To him it is a quality of life issue; you can be a little bit more broke and have a bit more fun, or you can simply work and save.  And as he likes to remind me, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

It is a slightly annoying habit to the Hubby how much I coupon clip.  Every few weeks I will buy a Sunday paper, or simply filch one left in a public place, for the coupons.  I also scan online sites, email companies, and am registered on a site which tells me the best prices on products in my surrounding areas.  I purchase almost exclusively generic, unless I have a coupon which makes name-brand cheaper.  I'll even grab the dinged up cans and boxes from the clearance section to save a few extra bucks.

And while the Hubby just naturally hates grocery shopping in general, it is compounded by coupon clipping and hunting.  But add to this the fact that I am willing to put in some extra work to save money and he's not, and it is just a fun day at the store.  This is where cheese enters the argument.  You see, I buy block cheese, not sliced.  It is cheaper by the ounce, plus there is less packaging and thus less waste involved in this purchase- a win-win in my book.  Not so in the Hubby's.  To compound matters, I also bought salad, mushrooms, and carrots that were not pre-cut for me (men, I know this may be a shocker, but you can buy whole vegetables at the grocery store that are not in cans).  This started a row all the way home that lasted for a good deal.

You see, to the Hubby, it was simply not worth the extra effort and money saved to make one's own salad and or slice one's own cheese.  This meant that dishes would get dirty and effort would be involved.  To me, not only did I save money and the waste of extra packaging simply by buying block over pre-sliced, but now I also had the option of shredded cheese all in one block.

In the end, I came out on top in the argument because I do the cooking and, let's face it, if you do the cooking then you can get whatever you bloody well please at the grocery store.  However, it did bring up for us a larger sore spot in our marriage that we are constantly working on.  As someone five years younger and both at the time of marriage and still, if you separate our incomes, much more financially worse off than the Hubby, I am reluctant to spend even a dime more than I have to on anything.  I don't buy new clothes and he does; I shop the clearance section for my guilty pleasure (books), whereas he's into technology and even the clearance section is expensive; I'll spend an hour and a half in the grocery store to get the best deal whereas he'll just buy what is easiest.

Perhaps being more young and broke than my other half at both the beginning and in the middle of our marriage (I don't like using any money he's earned for my personal shopping/expenses) makes me more reluctant to spend money.  It is not that I am money obsessed, but that I am very money conscious.  It hits me harder when we run into a difficult month, and I work 50-60 hours a week to his 40 to make much less money than him.  However, there are points to be made on both ends of the Big Cheese Argument.  And whereas the Hubby could learn to tighten his belt without so much groaning and complaining (how men can whine!), I should remember sometimes that you only have a day once, and then it is gone.  And I don't need to spend all day, every day working and scrimping and saving, or else I'll lose out on what makes my quality of life better- him.

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