A Frugal Wife is the Hero of the Family

One of the most popular financial gurus, Dave Ramsey, has an appropriate slogan for the frugal wife, “The paid off home mortgage is taking the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.” The frugal wife is replacing the 70’s wife who was solely dependent on her husband giving her an “allowance.”

Money plays a major role in every marriage and has become one of the primary causes of divorce. In every marriage, both spouses should determine who will pay the bills, but both should participate in the budgeting process. In fact, couples should have periodic meetings with the television off and focus on the couple’s finances, short-term and long-term plans.

Which Spouse Manages Family Budget

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In a study by Pew Research Center, 1,200 married people were surveyed. Only one of the spouses from each family was questioned. In 43% of the households, the wife manages the house hold finances by herself.  

31% of the respondents said all financial decisions are made as a couple, not one spouse managing in a silo. Only 26% of the men solely managed the family’s budget.

Historically wives focused on the household duties and husbands focused on the labor market. The mere idea of money has considerable psychological power. Communicating with your partner is the first step in surviving a frugal wife.

Creating a Budget

Jackie Mason once said, “I have enough money to last me a life time, unless I buy something.” Managing a family household can be challenging. The frugal wife is smart with money. The first step in remaining pragmatic is creating a budget.

Some expenses are on a monthly basis and others are sporadic, such as :

  • auto insurance

  • property taxes

  • property insurance

  • gift giving.

Your primary expenses occur on a monthly basis, including, but not limited to:

  • your mortgage or rent

  • utilities

  • groceries

  • household supplies

  • transportation
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List all of your monthly expenditure you may have, from the most important to the least important. If you have money left over, decide your next step.

If you have credit card balances, a car loan or home equity loan, use the excess to whittle away at one of these obligations.

Frugality is defined as prudence in the use of consumable resources, such as food, time or money and avoiding waste and extravagances.

Consider Short Term and Long Term Goals

A short term goal is replacing a broken washing machine. A long term goal is saving for your child or grandchild’s college education.

Remember Murphy’s Law Adage, “Anything that could go wrong will go wrong.” So be sure to establish an emergency fund and forget you have it until perversity strikes.

Frugal Wife Strategies

Here are a few of the common strategies a frugal wife might use to stay on target:

  • Curb costly habits – skip the $3-5 cup of coffee

  • Reduce waste – don’t buy large quantities of food with a short shelf life unless you know it will be eaten

  • Cook more – eat out less

  • Control your hobbies – go the library instead of the bookstore; shopping has to be limited

  • Self-restraint – suppress the mentality of instant gratification

  • Defy expensive norms – buy a Honda instead of a Mercedes

A frugal wife’s objective is to cut expenses, have more money and get the most you possibly can from every dollar.

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A few other tips to add to your arsenal:

  • The 30-day rule – if you are the least bit tempted to make a big purchase, wait 30 days to see if you really need it or can you do without it.

  • Sleep on it rule – if you found something but it isn’t in your budget, yet you think you can’t live without it, sleep on it. You’ll be amazed when you realize you have a full life without more stuff.

  • Specific dollar limit rule – when you prepare your budget think through your purchases made in person. Set a limit, the maximum you are “allowing” yourself to spend and if the total purchase is more, put something back to stay within your limit.

  • If it’s not in the budget, don’t get it rule – if you think you need it but haven’t included it in your budget, which means you don’t need it.

  • A sale isn’t a savings if you’ll never use the product

  • Only use coupons for the products  you’ll use , similar to a sale isn’t a sale

You also need to avoid promotions: 90 days same as cash or one year interest free. If you have to even consider one of these options then you cannot afford to buy it.

Replace Instant Gratification with Sensibility

It’s difficult in this instant gratification world we live in, but try to slow down. Think it through before spending money unnecessarily.

Not every entertainment option is expensive; consider:

  • park activities

  • factory tours

  • botanical gardens

  • museums

  • historical sites

  • hot air balloon ride

  • going to the movies

Don’t live like Ebenezer Scrooge with a large bank account and living in misery.  All it really takes to be a good frugal wife is live on less than you make.

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