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Guilded Guilt

January 14, 2011

Many couples talk about money when they get married.  You are, after all, taking each others’ credit score and financial situation into your own hands when you combine your lives.  Thankfully, B and I both have really good credit scores and money isn’t really a problem right now.  We had long talks about budgets, keeping track of spending, and what our monetary priorities are before and directly after we got married.  We both do not believe in credit cards and know that our bills and funds for gas and groceries come first.  I tend to be the over-thinker when it comes to dollars, and I can be super picky about what is and what is not worthy of spending our hard-earned funds on.  B sometimes disagrees with my opinions, but it’s never been a huge problem.

It turns out that I am the problem right now.

How am I the problem?  I have a new hobby, and that hobby is interior decorating.  I love reading over blogs where couples decorate their homes in interesting and relatively cheap ways, and I have become inspired to try it myself.  I want to redo our bureaus with new knobs and painted them to match each other.  I want to go to thrift stores and find new ways of re-purposing old objects.  I want to make our home look like it popped out of a chic magazine without the price tag.

As we stand, my hobby hasn’t cost us much.  It all started with our dining room table.  Remember this one in the picture?I got it in a yard sale for $75.  The chairs were included.  B, my dad, and I refinished the table together (along with some help from my mom) before the wedding, which was a great way to come together on something other than the wedding itself.  I will always remember working on the table with my dad and the way he helped show B how to refinish furniture.  From there, my thriftiness for furniture  blossomed.  I know I can redo furniture if I want to, so what is stopping me from finding really cool pieces to go in our current/future home?  It might just take a little elbow grease to make them shine!  For example, I found a really cute settee to go at the base of our bed on Craigslist for $45 when the original piece cost somewhere around $300.  There is maybe one small scratch on it, and it fits our decor perfectly without any changes.

This past week, I found a unique side table and a chair I want to redo the fabric on for a total of $30.  I plan on fixing these with some paint and new fabric for the chair.  All told, the prices aren’t that bad.  But I still feel guilty.  I feel guilty because I need to ask B about the price being too high every time, and in the back of my mind, I know I could be spending that $30 on something like renewing my passport or putting it toward student loans.  I feel like I am doing a disservice to our family income by trying to create a living space for us.

It’s really conflicting.  B hasn’t ever made me feel like I spend too much or that I have to check in with him all of the time.  He knows that I like playing the “look how great it looks and I only paid $x for it” game.  It’s how I saved us so much money on our wedding, after all.  But now that it is our money, I feel like B needs to have his say in it too.  He asks me when he wants to enter office pools, so why shouldn’t I ask him about this?  In the future, we plan on having our own “hobby” funds where we don’t need to check in with each other every time, but I’m not sure we are in a financial situation where we can do that yet.

I know that eventually we will need the furniture I am redoing in either a bigger apartment or a house, and my brain tells me that at the prices I am picking things up for it’s a steal, but I still can’t shake the guilt.

Did you have this reaction when combining finances?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy permalink
    January 14, 2011 5:16 pm

    Erin- This blog is from a friend in high school. Her mom writes it and talks all about turning recycled items into treasures… I thought of it when I read this post so I thought I’d pass it on 🙂

  2. Jen D. permalink
    January 16, 2011 4:23 pm

    Geoff and I have had a lot of experience with this, and it is very hard to do when you don’t have a lot of disposable income. I am totally an over thinker when it comes to money. I have found that it’s very important to set some money aside for hobbies/fun…being happy is just as important as other things! What has worked best for us is to set up a joint account and each have our own checking accounts too. We figure out how much we each need to put in our joint account for bills/savings each month, pay our personal bills and anything leftover in our personal accounts can be used for whatever we want! I also have us put a bit in the joint account for “us” fun too. Then we have a little extra money in there for doing something that’s for the two of us without having to use our personal money. It seems to be working so far, but we tweak our system a little bit each month and have gotten to one that seems to do well for us. You’ll get it all figured out eventually!

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