• Cheese Graters and the Force

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    Yesterday’s post by Her garnered some good discussion, and there are a few details that I’d also like to address.

    This whole issue is not about a cheese grater or a vase, or any ONE particular item. Admittedly, I’m not that much of a cheese fan (lactose intolerance does that), but the grater was a really cool purchase for its ability to shred parmesan with ease.

    From her post:

    Stuff like a vase, a kitchen grater, etc. (emphasis mine)

    It is the et cetera that I was beginning to worry about. Magically, more and more household items were beginning to appear. Some napkin rings here. Some placemats there. Associated charges from Bloomingdale’s and Williams Sonoma appearing on the joint account. Since they were relatively small purchases, it didn’t really have a significant effect on our overall finances. Yes, they were small purchases that we’ll both end up using, but ultimately I feel like they were Her purchases.

    Chicky states it nicely:

    I’m guessing it wasn’t so much WHAT was purchased, but that you were the one that got to choose the exact item, buy it, and spend the money.

    That is in stark contrast to the purchases that I like to make on the joint account. I feel like I have to ask for every purchase, not because Her is in control of the account, but because I want to make sure that it is a purchase we’re both going to be on the same page about. 99% of the time Her just tells me to go ahead and buy it.

    The real issue here is that with the increase of our available cash flow, the Force method of budgeting is failing us (but we already knew that). Many have commented along the lines of “well, if it is in your household budget, then it shouldn’t be a problem.”

    The problem is that we don’t have a budget for household items. Just the Force.

    If we have, say $500 left over at the end of the month, what’s to stop Her from buying $500 of household items? Or me from buying a Mac Mini and say that’s what the Dark Side of the Force wanted me to do? (okay okay, I’ll stop with the incredibly dorky Star Wars references)

    When we discussed this, we agreed that an arbitrary amount of leftover money could lead to a slippery slope of buying a lot of et cetera for both of us. By actually having a budget for household items, Her can have more freedom to buy whatever household items she wants as long as it fits in the budget.

    I’ll just have to make sure there’s an electronics budget, too.

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