Tightwaddery: Getting Your Family Involved

by Kelly Jo Landers

How do you go about getting the entire family, especially your spouse, involved and committed to tightwaddery? I had no fewer than 10 questions like that this week.

No one can be forced to do anything against his or her will. You only have a limited sphere of control when it comes to your budget. For example, if the wife is responsible for groceries, household items and the phone bill and the husband pays everything else, then she has to concentrate on the groceries, household expenses and the phone bill.

It can be frustrating to try to change your family. The best way, but not necessarily the fastest way, is to do so well with what you have responsibility for that it becomes hard not to notice. My husband would just say, "That's nice' when I told him I saved $5-$10 at the grocery store with coupons. But he takes notice when I save $89 in a day with coupons and have another $8 coming back in refunds.

Try to help your spouse with his costs. If you go out of your way to reduce utility costs, he will definitely notice the reduction. If you check your own oil and reduce auto repair costs, he will notice. If you set up a vacation savings account, he will notice.

Talk to your family about what you are doing to save money. Be sure to tell them why you want to save money. Talk about your goals for the savings. Discuss current expenses and challenge them to help. Don't do this in a confrontational matter. If you are matter-of-fact about it and do this constantly you will get further.

As an aside, they will start to grimace and roll their eyes when you quote how much you saved on every meal. (I know this from personal experience.) Over time, though, they will realize that they can't get their favorite cereal unless it is on sale and you have a coupon and/or refund for it. I've also noticed that they start to be proud of you.

Money can be a very difficult subject for some couples to discuss. The last figures I saw reported that money troubles were the number-one reason married couples argued. You have to remember that money means different things to different people. Not only do we each view money differently, but no one comes out of the womb knowing how to control money or save for the future. Think about your average five-year-old. What do they know about tomorrow? If you give them fifty cents, they spend fifty cents. They don't understand saving twenty-five cents for the future.

However, age is a poor indicator of how well a person handles money. I've known 50-year-olds that have spent every penny they've ever made. I've also known 20-year-olds that own several houses and have their own companies.

Therefore, the best way to get your family to commit to budgeting and saving money is s-l-o-w-l-y and by setting a good example. Take one day at a time. Be patient and remember we all change at a different pace. I admit, you will have to be very committed to tightwaddery, or your family may never be.

Talk about the choices you have to make, whether its what cereal to buy or which car. Turn your children's "I wants" into their goals. Together, experience delayed gratification and the satisfaction of reaching a goal. Acknowledge mistakes you make and talk about what you wish you had done differently.

Over time you will improve your financial situation. More importantly, your family will have the tools they need to tackle the money monkey that sits on so many other shoulders.

The theme of is that Tightwaddery equals Freedom and Freedom equals Joy. Presented by Kelly Jo Landers, the author of Tightwaddery, the site provides guidelines for a tightwad lifestyle and an opportunity to live a simple, more abundant lifestyle.

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