Real Help for Real Living: She saved us $7,200 over 20 years

Anthony MarcianoLet me take you back to 1997.  Normally, I’m really good at handling my personal finances.  Somehow, my ego got in front of me and I wasn’t watching it as closely as I should when I realized we were spending more than I was bringing home.  When it came to my attention, I was like Fred Flintstone stopping the car.  I put both feet on the ground and said, “we are not spending money.”  We radically changed how we spent our funds.

The first thing we did was go on the envelope system.  It’s basically a cash and carry method of budgeting.  My mother used it growing up.  Since my father worked construction and his paycheck was inconsistent, she had to find a way to manage the ebb and flow of his paycheck.

My wife and I used various envelopes.  Some were for food, another for gas, while another was for recreation.  When the envelope was empty, the spending stopped.  The envelope was refilled on payday.  If you ran out of cash in an envelope, you ran out of spending.  It worked.

I also wanted to reduce our spending.  I asked my wife, with fear and trepidation, to cut my hair.  I have naturally curly hair.  Most people don’t know how to cut my hair.  They wet it at which point it goes flat.  They cut it not realizing when it dries, it curls and is much, much shorter.  I’ve had that argument with too many barbers.  When I sat in the chair, my wife didn’t wet it, she just started cutting.  When she was done, it looked good.  Next month I asked her to cut it.  Again, it looked good.  This went on month after month which because year after year.

That was twenty years ago. At $30 per haircut, one haircut per month for twenty years, she has saved our family $7,200.  Not only was there savings to our budget, I don’t get stressed at the barber and my hair looks good.

I share this because this month, my wife and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage.  No, it hasn’t been easy.  I’ll confess to you that in our early years, I wasn’t sure if we would make it.  Then I became a student of marriage.  I attended marriage seminars, read books on marriage, listened to radio shows about marriage.  Today I conduct marriage workshops.

Over the last few years I’ve become convinced that marriage should not resemble my high school days of running cross country which required me to run in a race that was two and one half miles long.  I wasn’t fast.  It was hard.  I just wanted to cross the finish line.

Marriage can resemble a cross country meet.  We just want to cross the finish line and say we’ve been married thirty, forty or more years.  It can become an endurance race.  Instead, what if marriage were to get better as time went on?  What if your marriage had the snap, crackle and pop it had when you first got married?  What if you called your spouse just to hear the sound of their voice and find yourself still getting weak in the knees?  What if, after many years of marriage, you could still be stupid in love, feeling intoxicated just by being in their presence?

What if it changed from being an endurance race to getting better as time goes on?  What if……?

I don’t ever want my spouse to be my roommate.  I want her to be my lover and my best friend.