Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Non-miser husband speaks for himself

Every once in a while, I mention that my husband is not a miser.  This is the Gospel Truth.

Even so, he and I seem to get along just fine.  
And to underscore the point that it's possible 
for a frugal-nut like me to live happily with a Muggle like him (and vice versa), 
my husband asked if he could address my blog readers directly.  
Here is what he wrote, with a few small commentaries from yours truly.


Dear Miser Mom Readers,

Let me introduce myself. I am Miser Mom's husband. You will probably remember me as the spendthrift that Miser Mom saves from his financial sins by her laudatory thrift.

As I hope is clear from MM's posts, we agree strongly on many issues that confront families in modern America, and we support each other even when we don't participate actively in the other person's projects. So I admire the lengths MM will go to to save a dollar, use less water, make less trash, drive less, or eat better.

For any of us who live with or are close friends with a true believer of a religion we don't agree with, we have the experience of admiring their devotion, even when we see the glint of crazy in their eyes.

Wait! Does this mean he thinks I'm a bit of a cult-like crazy? 
 Yes, I'm afraid it does.

As it happens, we get along partly because when we see the glint of crazy in each other; we either encourage it or get out of the way. As much as humanly possible, we do not try to hold each other back. So as MM became more and more miserly, I simply got used to using rags instead of paper towels, to cooking more, and to cutting back my spending on big-ticket items to the lowest it has ever been in my long life.

I confirm.  He spends buckets, but he used to spend bathtubs!

For instance, I keep a spreadsheet of all the motor vehicles I have owned. I will share it if you are interested. Since 1969, I have owned 41 cars, trucks and motorcycles. I owned 27 of them by the time I was 30, nine more before I was 40, and (in the 18 years since I have been with MM) we have owned a total of five cars and are still driving the 2001 Prius she bought in 2003. Only five cars in the last 20 years. Quite a difference. 

This is probably the biggest sacrifice my husband has 
(voluntarily, I swear!)  made in order to conform to my odd ways. 
He's a total gear-head. 
His last car was an ugly box, which must have just mortified him, but he never complained;
our current car doesn't even have a trunk that's large enough to hold a bike.  

And since MM last wrote about clothes [see this post from Saturday], let me say that in my closet are 10 suits, including a Tuxedo. I bought them on sale, but I only shop at men's stores, so they list for more than $1,000 each. Same with the 2-dozen dress shirts and 50+ silk ties I own. But I have only bought a half dozen shirts and several ties in the last decade. No suits. MM has me convinced I can mix and match what I have until I am too old to care.

One of the things I do that MM never says a discouraging word about is race bicycles. This hobby is very expensive by any measure, but under the gentle influence of MM, I have decided to be different than my racer buddies who all buy a new $5,000+ bike every five years or so and a new $2500 pair of wheels in between new bikes. I am riding the same carbon fiber bikes I have had since 2002 and 2004. I have replaced many wheels and gears and chains in those years, but no new bikes. By the way, since 2002 I have ridden more than 120,000 miles, mostly on those two bikes, so I am getting good use from them.

So if you MM Reader have a spouse, child, or other person in your life who does not share your passion, even if  they just don't share the glee of finding that perfect blue suit at a yard sale for 50 cents at the end of the day, when it was marked as costing five whole dollars at 7 a.m., it does not mean you have no influence on them.

And Miser Mom would note that it doesn't matter a whit what the suit "costs" at 7 a.m.; 
all that really matters is how much you're willing to spend.  
I know I can find women's clothes for $1 or less, if I'm persistent, 
but I'm willing to pay $5 for boys'/mens' clothes, because those are harder to find used. 

But the bigger point is that persistent personal frugality of my own, 
with every attempt to be non-judgmental of my family and friends, 
has ended up having profound effects upon their lives, as well as mine, in the long run.  

1 comment:

  1. It's the notion that you can't force someone else to change -- all you can do is be a positive example. I admire you both for your understanding of each other.