My husband is a production director/art director/graphic designer. He has a full-time position and does occasional freelance jobs on the side. We live fairly frugally well on his salary, but those freelance jobs allow us to have some extras, take frugal vacations and let us do some saving. Living on his income alone just doesn’t leave room for too many extravagances, or for saving. I love that we have that source of potential income – there certainly weren’t any freelance opportunities for me when I was an insurance agent.
The freelancing made our purchase of his new computer possible, and sensible. The original plan was to have him earn the money ($4000!) freelancing before the purchase. He’d earned nearly half when I decided to take money out of savings and get it for him for Christmas. He still needed to find the freelance jobs to pay back savings, but at least he’d have the machine in the meantime. Besides, he works hard for us. He deserved it.
I suspected that once he had the computer that his previously dogged search for new clients would falter, and I was right. The only dent he’s made since Christmas in the outstanding balance that he “owes” savings is the $200 credit we got from Apple after he called to complain about the better (and less expensive) system they released just a few weeks after I bought his. I’ve not been upset about his lack of motivation, but I’ve noticed it.
I started bringing in a few jobs myself. A few weeks ago I reconnected with an old friend, and he’s asked us to do his website. Another ex-client of mine called this week looking for a logo for a new company she’s forming. It doesn’t matter who brings in the business, as long as it gets brung. Neither are huge jobs, but they will chip away at that total all the same.
Then, yesterday, it looks like he landed a very lucrative video contract. This would pay off more than twice the balance, plus it has the potential to become a semi-regular gig. This is great news for us, if it pans out. Still, I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched.
Tonight we were discussing the possible new job, and we had a little disagreement about what to do with the extra money. He wants to spend it. He works hard for us, and he really doesn’t ask for a lot (but he always gets it, even if he has to wait a bit). Also, he never asks me for an accounting of what I spend money on (though he does get the highlights, and we always discuss any purchase over $100).
I want to save it. Even though we have no debt besides our mortgage, we had a few big expenses late last year that chipped away some of our savings. Additionally, we’re looking to move, and I’d like to be able to pay cash for our next car the way we did with our last two.
We decided that we’re both right. So, he’ll take some of the money to do whatever he wants with (please, no Slurpee machine!), and the rest would go into savings.
Even though I’d rather put it all in savings, I understand that it’s important for him to see some fruit for his labors. Even though he’d like to go on a man-toy shopping spree, he understands that it’s important for me to feel secure in our financial future. We found a way for us both to win.
February 22, 2008 at 2:22 pm
Crossing my fingers that it pans out for you!!
February 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm
Looks like you guys struck a great balance, and this is probably one thing you talked about, but I wanted to share my experience. The husband and I were arguing because he wanted to take advantage of the President’s Day furniture sales and go buy a dining set. What we have saved up for it plus our tax returns were more than enough. I was not wanting to do that. Eventually he backed off and said he was okay with waiting longer. When I asked him what caused him to change his mind, he said it was because I pretty clearly laid out my savings goals to him. I told him what things I wanted to save for, and how much I wanted saved for those things/reasons before we bought new furniture as opposed to a generic “we need to save the whole return just because”. I guess him seeing that I had a specific plan in mind helped him not want to go out and spend.
February 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm
Alison, you’re very right. I also did have to get specific so he could “see” my plan. I’m glad your husband got on board with yours, and on the bright side he’s thinking about getting a good deal when you do buy it!
February 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm
Yay for striking a happy balance!
February 23, 2008 at 8:41 am
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February 23, 2008 at 5:57 pm
It is good to see married people getting along with their finances! I like it! Keep up the good work!
March 3, 2008 at 8:31 am
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