Lonesome frugality is – I assume – like being a solitary nudist; not that much fun.
For the longest time, I battled Mr. Grasshopper’s frugality. I saw his inventive ways to cut back as deranged efforts to deny me the comforts I earned, and was happy to pay for myself.
I couldn’t visualize the goal; so, the sacrifices seemed too great. It wasn’t until I sat on that dock during our vacation and envisioned a future with Financial Independence that I was able to sign on to purposeful spending. (http://www.grasshopperretiresearly.com/?s=i+am+the+grasshopper) While I still will not join Mr. Grasshopper in some of his more adventurous plans (my basement is full dripping clothes lines because he refuses to use the dryer to reduce energy costs), I have warmed to many others.
There’s a trend to our hair-brained schemes. Mr. Grasshopper proposes them, and I tell him to f&^$ off. Time passes. Mr. Grasshopper proposes the scheme again. This time I shoo him away. Months pass. I hop on board. The Plan du jour really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Mr. Grasshopper proposes another plan, and repeat.
The benefits have been twofold: (1) We act as each other’s checks and balances, and (2) With two people pulling in one direction, we are covering more ground MUCH faster. It also relieves the pressure on any one person. Why should either Grasshopper bear the burden of making all the financial decisions? While I believe that it is not “our” money because we earn it separately and therefore own it separately, it is our common dream of Financial Independence. We don’t have to water the plant with the same money, or even at the same time, as long as we can both commit and cooperate to keep the thing watered and healthy.
With the approaching holidays, the team effort has facilitated frank conversations. How much will we spend on each other? What do we really want? Would we rather have cash? It sounds a lot less romantic, but the romance is the ka-ching in the bank. Nor am I being cavalier. The focus on the end goal – and being able to envision the benefits of Financial Independence by discussing it with another person who is in the same boat – helps motivate me to keep on the straight and narrow.
Mr. Grasshopper would tell you that I hate games. I do not play video games, cards, or board games. I do not play them because I get nothing when I win. “The sheer joy of winning” is a tinny, hollow victory I do not care for. But this new game has a payout that I want very much. While I am sure that I could play the game alone – as could anyone – it is much more fun with a Team Mate.
I tried to find sources to cite within this article, but came up short. Many of the articles out there assume that spouses/partners committed to a common goal will promptly open joint accounts, create a traditional budget, and walk a preordained path to Financial Independence. I do not agree. The articles ignore high-earning individuals like me, who do not want to hand over control of our finances to anyone - not even "jointly." I am willing to chug along on a parallel and complimentary track, but not a parasitic one. Let me know if you find an article that discusses such paths to Financial Independence. In the interim, here's an article I did find on how to determine if you should manage your money jointly or separately: (https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/should-we-manage-money-jointly-or-separately)