Does anyone remember Julius (Chris Rock’s father) from the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris”? His father was notorious for saving money at all costs and feelings of his family. We laughed as Julius accounted for all of the money he spent — down to a penny. We laughed as he imposed hilarious rules on his family in an effort to save money, much to the dismay of his wife, Rochelle and his children. However, this weekend as I was sitting in a restaurant celebrating my birthday I realized that I to was married to a penny pincher.” Not just any old “penny pincher” but one who will go to all costs to save a dollar (and yes, I mean a dollar).
Take for instance this weekend. My husband woke me up early on Sunday morning to make sure we could get a spot at one of my favorite restaurants, Papadeaux. Now we go to this spot often so it’s never a surprise to see how much money we spend when we go there. We’re veterans, or so I thought. You see I had ordered an entree and when I couldn’t eat it all my husband exclaimed, “Do you know how much that entree was? You better take that home! You have at least $13.85 worth of food left on the plate!” As soon as those words came out of his mouth we both laughed (along with our kids) and happily packed up our leftovers to take home. As we rode back home, I began to think about if my husband’s money saving ways were really funny or annoying.
Before I go into a long tirade about his antics, let me give you some ‘situations’ that show just how serious my husband is about spending money.
Exhibit 1: The other morning I was sleeping in when all of a sudden someone was right over me calling my name. I thought I was dreaming until I felt my husband shaking me awake. Alarmed, I jumped up only to see my husband right there waving the electric bill. He frantically asked, “Hey what’s this .43 charge on our bill?” As I tried to gain control of my senses, I thought he said $43 so I took the bill from him and said that no, he was really talking about the $0.43 added onto our bill to help a low income family. Trying NOT to “catch an attitude” early in the morning, I mumbled what it was and rolled back over but my husband wasn’t having it. He tapped me on my shoulder again and asked, “Well do we have to pay it?” In my mind I was thinking, “What in the world is wrong with him?” But still intent on getting some sleep, I nodded my head with hopes he would leave me alone. Instead he sat down right there and called the electrical company to argue with them about the added $0.43 on our bill. By the end of the phone call not only had he gotten the “extra” money taken off our bill but had negotiated a better rate.
Good stuff, right? Well if you had your sleep interrupted, you wouldn’t think so.
Exhibit 2: We regularly go out to dinner and everyone knows at a nice restaurant not only can the bill add up quickly, BUT so can the tip. So the other night we go out to eat with a group of people and by the end of the night we had eaten up a bill of close to $300 dollars and of course they automatically add the tip to tables of more than 6 people. Somehow or another, another husband in the group made a comment about how much the tip was going to be (close to $75) and my husband almost had a heart attack there. He literally combed through the bill, line by line until the entire total was accounted for. Now we go out to eat A LOT so he’s used to a tip, but I don’t know if it was the amount, but he almost lost his mind while we all looked at him like he was crazy.
Exhibit 3: My husband will drive all over the city looking for cheap gas. It doesn’t matter if it’s mid day traffic or late at night. If gas is cheap he’s on it. I try to reason with him that driving 10 miles out the way to get cheap gas isn’t really a “come up” but all he sees is dollar signs.
Now I could go on and on about more instances where my husband is the money police but I don’t have all day and some things are just too embarrassing to even type out. So as we drove home that night, I realized I am married to Julius, the Ultimate Penny Pincher. They may look different but their goal to ‘save a buck’ is exactly the same. Now at this point everyone would expect for me to try and initiate a “talk” with my husband about his “penny pinching” ways but I’m not.
Simply put, saving money is my husband’s character. He obsesses about saving money and focuses on the “small things” while I focus on the big things and my love for shoes (not such a good thing). So instead of trying to change his behavior, I let him be. Yes, I may get cross at him for waking me up from my deep sleep to discuss an extra $0.43 on a bill but he does it for us. I may even get angry when he takes 15 minutes reviewing the bill with the waiter after a dinner out, but I know that AGAIN, he’s making sure that our money is being spent appropriately.
Before you give me kudos about accepting my mate as he is let me say it has taken me a long time to be this relaxed. At first I wanted to change things about him that annoyed him. Not serious things but things that just annoyed me. However, that was before kids, jobs, and everything else. Now instead of looking at my mate’s faults as hindrances to our relationship, I look at them as quirks that makes our relationship different. So the next time we’re out to dinner or at the mall, I already know that my husband is looking for the next deal. It’s okay, I love him just the way he is!
Now my BMWK family, does your mate “pinch pennies?” If so, what do you do about it?
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