Behind the Scenes of a Happy Frugal Marriage

Since most of my writing is devoted to how Mr. Frugalwoods and I save money and what we want our money to do for us, I figured folks might like to know how we manage said money in the context of our marriage. I’m writing up a series of posts on the details of our financial management, but I wanted to start with our philosophical underpinnings.

Shared financial outlook after hiking to the summit of Mt. Cardigan

Shared financial outlook after hiking to the summit of Mt. Cardigan

I think that identifying financial goals and long-term plans are the true first steps in financial management. All of the mechanics are secondary. The way Mr. FW and I handle our finances is a microcosm of our overall relationship dynamics. We operate on principles of trust, specialization, and collaboration.

For what’s its worth, I recommend listening to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and  The Magnetic Zeros while you read this post. Just ’cause that’s what I was listing to when I wrote it and because I find this lyric particularly apropos: “home is wherever I’m with you.” 

The Frugalwoods Approach

Mr. Frugalwoods and I decided to fully combine all of our accounts after we got married six years ago. Of course, we didn’t exactly enter our marriage with any assets, so we weren’t too concerned about discrepancies over who brought what amount to the table. When you’re 24 and only have a couple thousand bucks to your name, it just made sense to throw it all together.

We also didn’t–and still don’t–have any debt other than our mortgage. I know that for many couples, assuming a partner’s debt burden is something that needs to be navigated. If you or your partner has a heavy debt load, I suggest having a frank conversation about whether or not you’ll pay down that debt together as a couple, or if the debtor assumes responsibility for all payments.

How you determine this will be unique to your situation and is something you should analyze together. There are a number of helpful threads addressing this topic in the Mr. Money Mustache Forum community (by the way, if you haven’t joined us on the forums yet, please do!).

Be Team Members

The headless Frugalwoods team! Frugal weirdos at their finest.

The headless Frugalwoods team! Frugal weirdos at their finest.

Another factor that made our decision to combine finances very simple is that Mr. FW and I have the same approach to money.

We think similarly about income, assets, saving, spending, investing, and long-term financial and life goals. Mr. FW and I are both a tad obsessed with personal finance (I know you’re shocked), so we’ve always enjoyed discussing our money. But it’s not like we woke up one day with a nearly identical concept of financial stability–we developed it together, before we were even engaged. How? We devoted time and energy to talking about it.

Devote Time To It

Mr. Frugalwoods and I regularly set aside dedicated, focused time to examine our finances. Prioritize your conversations about money. This is not a topic to broach during the heated stress of bill paying or at 11pm on a Sunday night as you’re scrambling to slap PB & J’s together for Monday’s lunch boxes. Have a finance date. I’m not kidding, you guys! Cook a nice dinner, open your boxed wine, and have a relaxing, judgement-free conversation.

Mr. FW and I do this all the time–and not just because we write a personal finance blog–but because our view of money is not static. Like just about everything else in our marriage, our thoughts and plans have evolved over time. The key has always been to keep the lines of communication wide open.

Just as you can’t discuss why you love each other only once, don’t discuss your finances only once. It’s an ongoing, living, breathing conversation. This isn’t to say that your whole life should be centered around your budget and your bottom line, just that it’s something to keep in your rotation of partnership conversations.

Don’t Surprise Each Other Financially

Frugal Hound + sock on snout = mad

Frugal Hound + sock on snout = mad

We’re not into surprising each other financially because we feel it’s critical to be on the same page at all times. For example, Mr. FW knows that I adore vintage, art deco sapphire rings. However, I’m secure in the knowledge that he’d never ever buy one as a surprise for me because he knows I’d be madder than a greyhound with a sock on its snout (pictured at right).

I would honestly be furious if he dropped a couple hundred on an unnecessary luxury without my consultation. On the other hand, if one day we spy a ring at an antique store that’s a reasonable price and that fits with our spending goals at that point in time, I’d have no qualms saying, hey Mr. FW, you should buy that for your hot wife.

For us, everything is a team effort and a joint decision. Since our finances are combined, transparency is pretty easily accomplished for us. If you and your partner resolve not to combine your finances, but to share financial goals, think about a practical and respectful way to reveal your financial dirt to one another.

Respect Each Other

Keep things in perspective. Unlike this gigantic Frugal Hound snout

Keep things in perspective. Unlike this gigantic Frugal Hound snout

We are deeply respectful of one another’s feelings about money. We don’t bully or belittle the other person for making mistakes or not understanding an aspect of our investments. We’re actually harder on ourselves than on each other, which makes for a nice dynamic of communicating when we’re feeling stressed or tense about a purchase we’ve made.

We work to keep things in perspective and acknowledge to each other that our money is not our life. Our life is what happens when we’re not saddled with concern over our finances.

Divide and Conquer

As with almost all other aspects of our relationship, Mr. FW and I specialize in different arenas of financial aptitude. While we both buy into decisions and the general principle of what our money should do, Mr. FW takes care of managing our portfolio of investments. I have no qualms about his leadership in this area because I’m confident he’ll make decisions that are in line with our overall financial ethos.

Seeing the world through the same lens

Seeing the world through the same lens

I, on the other hand, am the “non-digital financial organizer.” I track purchases, expenses, items to be returned, food that’s about to spoil, clothes that need to be purchased out of season at goodwill, and grocery store sales. I’m the more hands-on, household management oriented partner while Mr. FW is the big picture, quantitative, long-term planner and researcher. These skills complement one another perfectly because without Mr. FW, I’d have no investments and without me, Mr. FW would have no pants.*

*This is not hyperbole. The holes in this man’s clothing before we got married had their own zip codes.

Discuss Purchases

I know we’re on the extreme end of this (I feel like I say that about a lot of things… 🙂 ), but, we seriously do talk about nearly every single purchase we make.

This is made considerably easier for three reasons:

  1. We don’t buy a whole lot of stuff (hint: this is a great place to start on your financial journey!)
  2. We grocery shop together, ’cause we enjoy spending the time together (Costco date, what what!) and we like hunting out free samples deals
  3. We buy almost everything else on, which makes it super simple to review together at home

Communicate About Changes

We haven’t always had the same vision for our future. As our salaries increased over the years, Mr. FW and I had check-in conversations about how we wanted to conceptualize and allocate these new funds. Sometimes we went out for a big celebratory dinner, other times we just clinked glasses of seltzer at home. Either way, we acknowledged our successes and elected how to celebrate in unison.

Mr. & Mrs. FW drink some beer

Mr. & Mrs. FW drink some beer

As I’ve shared previously, we didn’t actually decide to retire early until early 2014. Before that, we were living frugally and saving 65%-75% of our income (we’re at 82% now!), but without a clear destination in mind. We just knew that we never wanted to succumb to lifestyle inflation and we never, ever wanted to be in debt.

I know that everyone’s relationship and journey with money is unique. I won’t pretend to be any kind of expert, but I do hope that our methodology might be helpful to you in some aspect of your relationship with your partner and your funds.

The Frugalwoods Real Quick Relationship Money Tenets:

  • Be team members. Figure out what you want out of your life together and how your money can get you there.
  • Devote time to conversations about your money. Prioritize your finances as a topic of serious consideration and discussion.
  • Don’t surprise each other financially.  Be open and honest.
  • Be respectful and judgement-free in exploring financial issues together. Don’t make the other person feel badly about past financial transgressions or misunderstandings. Listen to what the other person has to say about money.
  • Divide and conquer. Don’t be afraid to specialize in different aspects of your financial management.
  • Discuss purchases. Decide if you’ll discuss every purchase or just purchases over a particular dollar amount.
  • Transparency. Whether you combine accounts or keep ’em separated, figure out how you want to share your bottom lines with one another.
  • Communicate about changes. Keep in touch–don’t talk about money once and then put it on the shelf. Dust that financial baby off on a regular basis.
Love and care for each other.

Love and care for each other.

What are your tips for a financially healthy relationship with your partner?

I also want to add that you’re welcome to email us directly with a question about your relationship’s financial situation. We’re pretty passionate about this (in case you couldn’t tell) and we’d honestly be more than happy to talk through an issue you’re encountering. Don’t hesitate to email me ( or Mr. FW (

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119 Responses

  1. This is great. It really does make life easier when you’re on the same page as your partner when it comes to money. We talk about everything and agree 99% of the time. Like you, we also don’t buy a lot to begin with, so I think that helps.

  2. The ideal couple for everyone to admire! I love how you both are transparent and honest to each other. I hope we could be like you.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh gosh–we’re certainly not ideal! We do plenty of stuff wrong! But we do try to be open and honest with each other. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Alicia says:

    I totally agree with you on this. We’re still trying to find our groove, and work on lifetime goals together, but it’s all about communication.

    Off topic, but how did you do your hair in that top pic? Is it knotted? Either way, I love it, and I’m always looking for a new way to get my hair up 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’ve got the golden key–communication! We’re always tweaking/evolving our lifetime goals, it’s just all about sharing with each other.

      I’m so excited that you noticed my hair :)! I was pumped it lasted the whole hike. I’ve been wearing it in that style a lot this summer because it has gotten reallllllly long. I just braid it into a single (not French) braid at about ponytail height or lower, and then twist the braid into a circle and secure with hairpins. It takes about 3 mins and I can do it without a mirror. The braid holds the bun together better than just twisted hair and so it lasts a lot longer and is more secure. Let me know if it works for you!

  4. Sounds like you guys really nailed it when it came to financial compatibility. Congratulations.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! It’s always a work in progress for us, but we’re pretty happy with how it’s going so far 🙂

  5. Trista says:

    I’m a very new reader. I found you due to Alicia’s Twitter feed. I was first captured by the greyhound pictures as my friend has two (I was the one who sent the pic of the hound in his wedding best). I’m really enjoying your blog and I hope to find someone who is in sync with me financially like you guys. My favourite part of this post is “without Mr. FW, I’d have no investments and without me, Mr. FW would have no pants.” I like how you can take a serious topic like this and repeatedly make your readers smile.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing, I’m so glad to have you here! And I loved that photo of the greyhound groom–adorable! True story about the investments and pants :). We’re a pretty solid team, but definitely stronger together!

  6. I LOVE this post! Personally, I haven’t combined finances with anyone before, but I will if and when I’m married. That said, this is also a topic I like writing on and think your experience is so valuable. Personally, the team mentality and transparency are my favorite.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! The team approach is central for us–if we find ourselves bickering, we remind each other that we’re on the same side and that we want the same things. And transparency is vital, in our experience. We find it easier to be on the same page if we’re both working from the same data set.

  7. Great article, once again! I’ve bookmarked this for future reference when someone is finally crazy enough to decide and spend her life with me. 🙂

    It seems poor Frugal Hound has no say in the Frugalwoods finances though… Sad!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hah! It’s all about finding someone who knows and loves your “crazy”–definitely the case for Mr. FW and me!

      I think Frugal Hound would say “buy me more anchovies and peanut butter!” Yeah, she’s pretty much a silent partner in our fiscal management 🙂

  8. Nicola says:

    You guys seem to have it sorted! Communication is key to a successful marriage; we combined our finances before we were married and there have been no surprises 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you have it figured out too! Communication really is the ultimate tool to a good relationship.

  9. Lauren says:

    We’re very similar to you guys when it comes to finances. We discuss it almost daily, going over what bills will be paid when, what was spent, what expenses are coming up, etc. We make all the big purchases together. It works really well for us!

  10. Kipp says:

    The wife and I talk about finances some, but don’t have finance dates. She says she wants to know more, but maybe we just need to schedule a date and do it (heh).

    Um, anyways, maybe I should rephrase that, we should schedule a date and where we both know we will be talking about finances beforehand so we are prepared for the conversation.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We certainly have casual ad-hoc conversations too, but our scheduled “finance dates” really are helpful. We both know to bring our questions and thoughts to the conversation and it just puts us in the right frame of mind ahead of time. I’d be curious to hear if it works for you and your wife!

  11. These are great pointers. I think that teamwork, honesty and no judgment are big keys for financial success for couples. I have seen a number of clients who have been together for years and think they are a team; however, their money behaviors are all over the place. FB Hubby and I didn’t have similar money mindsets when we first got together, but we have always been honest and non-judgmental with each other and we work as a team to get through everything life throws our way.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, totally agree. I love the honest and non-judgmental approach–that’s been important for us. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Excellent post! Since money problems and money fights are the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. at least, it’s imperative to get on the same page with your spouse. My wife and I have always been there at some level. But when we really got serious about defining our goals and vision for our money, things really took off. In fact, deciding to and working on our budget together was one of the single best activities that brought us closer together.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Absolutely! I’m so glad you mentioned the divorce stat–I meant to include it in the post because I think it’s incredibly indicative of just how crucial it is to communicate with your spouse about financial goals. And, like you, having a shared financial destination has definitely brought Mr. FW and I closer.

  13. Wade says:

    Great job being so in sync and well, so in love. Nicely done. My wife and I are usually on the same page. She just has no desire (yet) to work less or be super-frugal. I chip away. At 43/44 we are doing great, but I’d like to see us set a goal to kill it and be done with the 9 to 5 sooner than later. Baby steps. Thanks for the information.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Baby steps is a great point for folks who aren’t necessarily on the exact same page, I’m glad you mentioned that. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Your articulation of your financial relationship is so lovely! Our relationship operates almost exactly the same way but I wouldn’t have been able to describe it so well.

    I think it’s so helpful that my husband and I “grew up” financially in parallel – started dating in college and also married at age 24 – so that by the time we got married and combined our finances our financial philosophies were nearly identical.

    I don’t think I can add to your advice except to say that sharing a car has really helped us stay transparent in our purchasing because one of us really can’t shop without informing the other (and most of the time we go together).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Wow, thank you Emily! That’s some high praise :). Sounds like we followed the same trajectory as you. We met when we were 18 and 19 so we really grew up together in every sense.

      We share a car too, though Mr. FW is primarily a bike commuter. But you’re right that sharing a vehicle kinda necessitates going places together 🙂

  15. Holy…82% savings rate! And I was feeling pretty slick with being save just over 50%…awesome going guys! I enjoyed how you laid out your team approach to money. My DH and I only recently combined finances because we had been living apart for several years. We are pretty much on the same page and we discuss money often. DH is comfortable with me in charge of the every day money movements but I let him know what’s going on during our monthly recap sessions.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      50% IS very slick–nice! I like that you have a monthly recap session, that’s a great finance date right there :)!

  16. I picture all of your wedding pictures in frames around the house with all of the heads cut off. Fantastic post – I think we over discuss things at times, but it’s nice to know that we’re always on the same page. Different paragraphs maybe, but at least the same page. And you’re right about views evolving – I feel very differently about our finances and what I want them to do for us then I did even 6 months ago. You’ve got to keep having these conversations.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      100% agree on the evolution of finances. It’s like everything else in a relationship, it’s not going to stay the same! I like your analogy of different paragraph but same page–that’s a great way of conceptualizing it.

      Those would be some creepy wedding photos–HAH! Now I feel like I should dig those out and do some photo shop for a future post…. 🙂

  17. Ryan says:

    My wife and I actually combined our assets a few years before we were married. That’s a real show of commitment, even more serious than a marriage certificate if you ask me.

    We have financial discussions, but I’m an accountant and she’s the creative one who tends to worry that we’re not saving enough. So I keep track of everything and give her the broad outlines. But like I said, we’ve been of the same mind since the beginning, or else we wouldn’t have combined accounts. I can’t imagine being married to someone I wasn’t on the same page as. What torment!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’re completely right about the level of commitment that demonstrates–a true testament to the strength of your relationship and trust level with your wife! Sounds like you have a perfect system down. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Ah I just love coming here. “Madder than a greyhound with a sock on its snout” is not very angry I don’t think, just sayin’. Reminds me why I nominated you for a Plutus in the best humour blog category. Ah, yes, I remember Costco dates. We used to do those too, until I got banned from Costco. By him. You guys remind me of a younger version of ourselves, minus the personal finance vent. Okay well maybe we’re PF versions of you in training. Will you mentor us?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Wow Deb! Thank you for the nomination! I am beyond flattered!

      You’re totally right, a greyhound with a sock on its snout is more of a pitiful, mournful-eyed beast. Don’t worry, we took the sock off right after I snapped that photo 🙂

      Banned from Costco! I thought there might be some awesome story in there ;). They could ban us for trying to eat too many of the free samples. I went a little overboard with the spinach artichoke dip sample last week.

      You’re far too kind–it’s YOU who should mentor US on the secrets of a long and happy marriage, my friend! Our 6 years is nothing on your 25!

  19. These are good tips for pretty much any couple. We are busy (really busy – and yes I realize this sounds like an excuse) so when we do get around to going out on a date (doesn’t happen often) we would rather not make it a finance-centered one. With that being said, we are both pretty on top of finances and are really focused on increasing income at this point as we pretty much have our expenses on auto-drive.

  20. May says:

    Excellent advice. Money is so much easier to manage and talk about when it is a regular part of your married life vs. only talked about when there is an issue, high stress or shouting “how on earth did you manage to spend $2,000 on your credit card this month. For the difficult conversations (big decisions, trying to find common ground if we disagree) – we have gotten into the habit of discussing in the shower. I am not kidding. Very few problems that can’t be worked out in the shower. Bathtub can work too. Cheers.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Shower conversations! I love it! You hit the nail on the head with addressing money in calm moments when you’re not in crisis/blame/anger mode. Thank you for sharing this.

  21. Liz says:

    It sounds like you guys are doing a great job managing your finances together and working as a team. My husband and I were married four years ago at age 21 and had a ton of debt. We combined all of our finances and worked together. I really believe that the whole is greater than it’s parts. That is, we can achieve so much more when we work together.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Absolutely! Marriage is all about building a relationship that makes you stronger–it’s awesome you two have such a deep partnership at such a young age. Go you!

  22. These are definitely some great tips. My wife and I are like you folks- we’re both pretty frugal, and we combined finances because we were both broke, and it worked then. Now that we are less broke, it still works. Communication is key. We have honest and open expectations of each other, and we hold each other accountable. And sometimes, these discussions get heated with raised voices. But on those times that we disagree, one of us can say to the other “Hey super sweet spouse, remember previously when you had stated you wanted to do X with our money? I’m simply basing everything on what you have told me. If your mind has changed, you need to make me privy to those thoughts and feelings, as I am not a mind reader. Yet.” And that’s definitely how we speak when we argue.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh Mr. FW has many times told me he is not a mind reader. When are you gents going to just learn what we’re thinking when we don’t even know what we’re thinking ;)?! I hope you really do call your wife “super sweet spouse” 🙂

  23. E.M. says:

    I also love your hair in that picture, and Frugal Hound with a sock-snout is hilarious.

    My boyfriend and I also operate in pretty much the same way. We started dating when he had just graduated from college (I was in my last semester), so we were open about everything from the start. There wasn’t much to hide; we both had student loan debt, and that was it. We’ve always had similar views on money, which has made things easier.

    We also go shopping together, and check in with each other on all our purchases. We combined finances when we moved three months ago, and things have been easier to manage. I’m very grateful to have met someone with the same values (financial and otherwise)!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I feel so fancy about my hair now! That’s wonderful that you two are so in sync with your finances. And agreed, there wasn’t much to hide during/after college!

  24. I believe that transparency is key, and couples should always discuss their finances together, especially if they have different views about money. Both of you are lucky because you have the same view — for those who don’t, it’s important to compromise and decide together what’s best for the future.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You make a good point about compromising and deciding together. Mr. FW and I certainly employ compromise in plenty of other aspects of our relationship. So important to be open to what your partner wants/needs. Thanks for sharing!

  25. DivHut says:

    Hi Weirdos, Just kidding. This is a great post about understanding one another and the keyword I gathered from this post was “communication.” Too often words and emotions are not expressed which only leads to friction down the line. Being open, communicating and honest about money, spending and sharing a common path will lead to years of bliss. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha! We are definitely Weirdos :). You’re so right–it really is all about communication. Everything else will follow. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  26. I’m seriously impressed by your 82% savings rate. That’s amazing, especially living in the Boston area! I love the way that you’ve been so open about finances from the beginning. You’re lucky that you share similar views on money and enjoy working towards financial freedom together. I love the financial conversations date idea!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! Yeah, most of what we spend is on our mortgage because the cost of living is so high in Cambridge. But, we frugal out on everything else :). We definitely feel fortunate to share these views and we know that not every couple does. And for some people, I think a happy balance can be reached without having perfectly aligned outlooks.

  27. Reading through the dynamics between you and Mr. FW felt like you were writing about wife and me. LOL! So refreshing to know that we’re not the only weirdos out there who actually ENJOY talking about finances, and take grocery shopping “dates”, and prowl around Costco for free food on said “dates”, and prefer not getting expensive surprise gifts from each other! Needless to say, I agree wholeheartedly with the principles you’ve outlined. I think the case could be made that best financial investment is investing in a solid marriage relationship, where the couple is on the same page financially.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yay fellow frugal weirdos! I thought the same thing about you two when I was reading your blog :). Mr. FW actually says that marrying the right person is his #1 piece of financial advice. I like to think that he succeeded :). Thanks so much for stopping by!

  28. Mr. 1500 says:

    I divide couples into 4 different categories:
    1) Both are financially whizzes (the rarest category): This is where your marriage fits. Both folks have their financial neuronal connections in exactly the right place.
    2) One participant in the marriage is not super savvy regarding financial matters, but they know it and defer to the other: This is my marriage. Mrs. 1500 is good and frugal, but she doesn’t like spreadsheets and numbers (the horror! the horror!). So, I manage all of that and keep the budget. She knows I’m right and is fine with it.
    3) One person is financially savvy and the other is a big spender: This is a recipe for much strife. One neighbor couple is like this. The husband wants to save money and work hard. The wife stays as home and shops online. She confided to Mrs. 1500 that she lies about her spending.
    4) Both people are big spenders: This is another disaster in the waiting. Another set of neighbors is like this. Private school for both children. Fancy cars. Fancy vacations. Lots of fights because ends don’t meet. They are seeing a counselor.

    Knowing that you’ve got your stuff together is incredibly satisfying and frustrating at the same time:

    It’s satisfying because I know I have a sweet life and a sweeter future. Mrs. 1500 and I are happy and content. We have occasional disagreements, but never about money. Our children are well adjusted. My life has surpassed all of my early expectations.

    It’s frustrating because the mistakes of others are so obvious and easily corrected, but most don’t want to hear the message. It’s like that scene in Austin Powers where the steamroller is coming and the guy has like 20 seconds to moce, but he just stands there ( I see the money problems creeping up on these people. They may be small now, but will grow into monster marriage breakers. A few small tweaks would be all it would take, but it’s very, very difficult to show them. Sigh…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Per usual, your response is amazing. I think those 4 categories are fitting. And, it’s wonderful to heat that your “life has surpassed all of my early expectations.” If that’s not motivation to work towards FIRE, I don’t know what is! Thank you, as always.

      • Mr. 1500 says:


        One other comment: For the first year or so of the blog, I doubted the ability to retire early/reach FI at a young age. It just seemed so foreign. However, realizing how different we are from most other folks is slowly making me realize that FI is real.

        It’s also great to see other people who are doing it right. I just wish that we weren’t all so spread out. It would be nice to have an FI BBQ some day!

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          Agreed!! It can certainly feel lonely at times for me and Mr. FW. Would that we all lived in the same place!

  29. Mrs. PoP says:

    Love this – we are definitely very similar, but I’d add one small thing that’s taken us some time to realize is important.
    – Being happy (not just “okay with”) when your partner treats themselves.

    Of course, this is within the context that the treat fits in with overall goals, yada yada yada… but yeah. This month Mr PoP decided to treat himself to scuba certification. It was a last minute decision of sorts, but one he’d been thinking about on and off for a while, so I was thrilled when he decided to go for it and get the certification – even if it did blow a $700+ hole in what’s remaining of the “shopping” budget for the rest of the year.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great point, Mrs. PoP! Supporting each other when you DO decide to spend is crucial and is certainly part of my non-judgmental philosophy of communication between partners. Thank you for sharing!

  30. The financial planning date sounds cheesy , but I’m all for it. We have tried to talk finance in easy-going, “We’ll talk about it when we’ve got time” kind of way – and that has meant no discussion. Couples have to be intentional about budget/ financial planning/ monetary goals/ discretionary spending talks. These discussions don’t happen spontaneously. Your idea of turning it into a date with good food and wine included is very smart : )

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’re so right, these conversations usually don’t occur spontaneously! Mr. FW and I find a lot of value in planning out when we’ll have our serious financial discussions, because like you said, otherwise they’ll never happen! And, good food and wine makes everything better :). Thank you for sharing.

  31. Such a perfect advice to have a happy frugal marriage! Partners should be open to each other, especially when it comes to finances and having a good communication with each other.

  32. Great post. Yes, the finances, just like your love, is an ongoing, evolving conversation. You don’t address it once and then put it on the back burner.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Totally! It’s not a conversation to have once or even once a year. It’s ever-changing and needs to be addressed on a regular basis. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  33. This single-income mama is jealous of your savings rate :-). (Actually I’m looking for a job, but at least half of my take home will be going to daycare.)

    Mr. FP and I have been married 13 years and have sort of faded in and out of agreement over the years. He tends more toward the instant gratification, and I’m more of a saver-upper, but he’s gotten much more on the same page lately and the difference in our marriage is so noticeable! He has always done all the online bill paying, while most of the other financial details are my zone.

    The funny thing is he doesn’t actually even read my blog. My aunt Becky has more information about our financial position in some ways, because she reads my blog!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks–that savings rate took us awhile to attain and we’ll see how sustainable it is for the long term! That’s awesome that you’ve seen a positive change in your marriage. I think that’s a great result from a shared financial outlook. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Brit says:

    I love this! You guys have it together! 🙂

  35. Even Steven says:

    I think you guys came into a really good situation and made it better. Divide and conquer is a great idea, we stick with me bringing many things to the table and the democracy of Mr. and Mrs. Even Steven Money decide all. She stops me from buying hover crafts and I stop her from buying thousands of dollars in “work clothes”.

  36. It’s always a plus when your spouse has the same financial objectives. It makes it quicker and easier to meet your goals. Thanks for some great suggestions. My wife and I agree financially for the most part. I think some times I am too focused on financial independence. She reminds me that we can also have some fun along the way. I think its a good balance.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That sounds like an ideal balance! I agree, it definitely makes it easier to achieve goals together. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  37. This list is so thorough that I couldn’t even add to it. The concept of being a team seems to be so lost in many marriages these day, and yet that is a huge part of making a marriage successful, regarding money and everything else. Great post, my friends. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, Laurie! We definitely view our relationship as a partnership and try to support each other in all things.

  38. NZ Muse says:

    The golden rule in PR/communications is ‘no surprises’ and I absolutely agree with that when it comes to our finances.

  39. Tawcan says:

    Great tips, will share it with my wife. Having good communication is such an important part of happy marriage. 🙂

  40. Nice post Mrs. FG. One of the tenets of the F2P’s marriage is that there is no pressure on either partner to make or maintain a given salary. We’ve always believed that if we wanted to “flip burgers” for a living that we would be allowed to if it made us happier. That has lead to significant career changes over the years, sometimes leading to more or less money. I guess you could say that we are partners in trying to maximize each others’ happiness in the “now”. I’ve been grateful for it.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a wonderful strategy, F2P! That’s definitely what we’re working towards with our FIRE plans–maximizing each other’s happiness. What a great way to put it! Thank you, as always, for sharing.

  41. Chris says:

    Great Post! Love the pictures. Just curious if you don’t mind. Where did you take the one with your feet?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That photo was taken on the summit of Mt. Firescrew in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It’s a gorgeous hike. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  42. Sarah says:

    WOW!! You guys are such an inspiration!! My husband and I are on the same page with finances the majority of the time, but we both give in very easily if the other person wants something (me: Fall decorations; him: BBQ for dinner at his favorite restaurant). I know if we buckled down we could save a lot more than we do! Right now our goal is to save all my money and use his for bills, groceries, daily living, etc. Anyways–new reader here so I’m going to get back to scouring your blog!! 🙂

  43. Wannabe Frugal says:

    Hey! I just discovered you blog a week ago and I’m fascinated about it. I have a frugal spirit but my husband doesn’t, which makes me be less frugal than I would like to be. Any tips on getting him on board to the frugal boat. Love your blog btw!

  44. Angela says:

    Hi! If you don’t mind, I’d like to know about how you and Mr. F. got married. Was it a frugal wedding, or not so much? Thanks 🙂

  45. Larry Coffin says:

    I have an 1877 map of Vershire. Want copy? Email me mailing address.

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