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Last Monday, on my “How to Get Your Spouse Aboard the FI Train” post, I polled readers on the type of spouses you have.
Of the 369 people who responded, here are the results:
#1 Supportive: 42.3%
#2 Spendy: 15.5%
#3 Scaredy: 13%
#4 FI Virgin: 11.9%
#5 What About the Kids: 7.6%
So despite complaints about “my spouse” being the reason people can’t become FI, most readers actually have supportive spouses. Bad news for relationship counsellors, great news for the FI community! With your spouse next to you rowing just as hard, your FI dreams are easily within reach.
Now, that doesn’t mean the ones with reluctant spouses are doomed. It just means you need a little more trickery—er, I mean negotiation—to get your spouse on board.
And of these reluctant spouses, the most prevalent is the Spendy Spouse. Now, I mentioned that you can try to cure spendiness with a goal of some sort. Something that Spendy can work on so they can derive happiness from creation rather than consumption. But failing that, our reader Mark, has an even better idea.
Set up a budget and before they can complain, tell them they can keep 25% of whatever gets saved towards anything they want. For example: If you save $20,000, they get $5000 to blow on whatever they want–iWatches, a flatscreen TV, a diamond ring, or any of these ridiculous $5000 items. Who cares! You still end up saving $15,000! No judgement. No pushiness.
This gets your spouse to inadvertently save money while THINKING they’re actually spending.
Machiavellian isn’t it? Thanks, Mark!
PROTIP: If any of you are thinking of using this method, make sure your spouse DOES NOT know about this blog. I’m not responsible for any injuries sustained if they find out.
One of the things I realized while tallying the results of the poll is that I’ve completely forgotten about all the single people out there. For those of you, who are still single and looking for your other half, take a page from Mrs. Money Mustache, Mrs.RootofGood, Mrs. MadFientist, and GoCurryCracker’s books:
Marry a Frugal Freak.
Now I’m no relationship expert (before I found my hubby and BFF, Wanderer, I lusted after pretty boys whose only skills include cheating, being good at sports, and writing bad poetry), but judging by how all early retirees seem to have at least one Frugal Freak (MMM, MadFientist, Justin, Winnie, me), having a frugal spouse seems to be a pre-requisite on becoming FI.
And I don’t mean the “eat cat food and live in the basement” kind of frugal. I mean frugal as in “cares as much about saving money as making it”.
So, what are some signs to help you find your Frugal Freak?
#1 Thinks A Good Time on Friday Night is Staying In and Calculating Your Tax Refund.
#2 Rolls their eyes when you pay for dinner with a coupon. Pulls out their much bigger, much better coupon, while muttering “amateur” under their breath.
#3 Laughs a little too hard from this “Fresh Off the Boat” scene:
When asked by staff if she wants a towel for an extra fee:
Jessica: “We will be using God’s towel” *points to the sky* “the sun.”
#4 Thinks Louis Vuitton purses are a Tax on Stupid People.
#5 Climaxes immediately when they hear the words “Discount”, “Budget”, “Travel Hacking”, or “Roth IRA Conversion Ladder”.
#6 Does Not Give a Rat’s Ass What Other People Think
Now, being a Frugal Freak myself, I have to say, one of the best things about being an FF is not giving a rat’s ass what other people think.
Because one of the keys to becoming an early retiree is to go against the status quo. And that means having to listen to judgy people. A lot. Sometimes right here in the our comment section! But luckily, I’ve developed a thick skin as a kid. When the other kids made fun of me for being poor, I just went “I may be poor, but at least I still have intact shins!” Before delivering a roundhouse to kick to said shins. Good times. Good times.
So all those comments about “you’re going to run out of money”, “you’re never going to find a job again”, “but don’t you want nice things?” or “you’re a loser if you rent” just roll off my back.
That’s why being a Frugal Freak and not giving a shit what other people think is a HUGE advantage. Because instead of wasting time trying to keep up with the Joneses, or falling into the FOMO trap, all you give a crap about is reaching your goal. If it goes towards your FIRE goal, do it. Otherwise, ignore it.
That’s the best part about being a Frugal Freak. You will be able to get to FIRE much faster than everyone else.
What do you think? Single readers out there, are you looking for a Frugal Freak?