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When to keep my financial mouth shut…


My husband took me out for a nice steak dinner in downtown San Diego for our anniversary. We don’t dine out much these days so this was a real treat. As my husband circled the car to pull into a pay lot, I exclaimed ‘Hon, why are you parking here? I pay for monthly parking at work. We can park there instead.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You want to walk 8 blocks in freezing cold wearing hi-heels and a dress to save $8?!?’

‘Yes?’ I said sheepishly.

He rolled his eyes and continued forward into the pay lot. I kept my mouth shut as I kept thinking ‘That’s $1 a block! I’d totally walk it!’

He held my hand as we walked a few steps to the restaurant, smiling as he opened the door. We sat at our table and he opened the wine menu for me. The server asked what we wanted to drink and I searched the menu for the least expensive option. My husband, realizing exactly what I was doing, slammed the menu shut on my fingers and asked the server for his recommendations.

As he ordered the drinks, I looked over the menu. He quietly said, ‘Order what you want, not what’s cheapest.’

‘Oh. Sorry.’ I said.

And that’s when I realized what a HORRIBLE dinner date I am.

So. I shut my mouth. Ordered what I wanted (which conveniently actually was the cheapest thing) and didn’t pull out my calculator when the bill arrived.

I’m thankful to be married to a really great guy who, on occasion, finds my off switch.


  • Reply Money Beagle |

    That’s too funny. My wife has to remind me to lighten up every now and then. I don’t automatically order the cheapest option, but I can say without fail that I order from the cheaper 1/3 of the menu probably 90% of the time. I even do so when someone else is paying, just out of habit.

  • Reply ib |

    Me too. I also only try to order things I can’t make at home easily. Things that are fried, labor intensive, crazy ingredients, ethnic stuff, etc. I figured if I can make it easily at home then it’s not worth it to pay someone else to make it for me.

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    *sigh* My husband is the one who is always looking to save on eating out. On Halloween, he said, “Let’s go get something to eat!” I was so excited…until he pulled up at a hole-in-the-wall dive, where you order at the counter. 🙁 Like your husband, I think that an occasional splurge, especially on your anniversary, isn’t going to damage the budget (and in fact, you can budget for it!), and is probably a good way to treat yourselves while you tackle the debt. I don’t know that Ramsey would approve, but some of us need a treat now and then. Actually, he would approve, if it was budgeted. 🙂

  • Reply Starr |

    After I watched my mother-in-law get smug about ordering the cheapest thing on the menu (a side salad, which also happened to be the most boring and least tasty), I vowed to not do that. I’m not going out to eat to save money–it’s a treat. I’m going to order something I cannot make myself and I’m going to enjoy every bite, even if it is the *most* expensive thing on the menu. Luckily, my husband needs no encouragement either. When it’s time to splurge, we do it together.

  • Reply Christy |

    After living with my ‘frugal’ mother for 17 years, please, please, let your husband enjoy the occasional splurge on you. While watching the budget is important and necessary, my Dad was often hurt when Mom would either refuse to go at all, or only order based on price. She also would return many of the gifts we would purchase. It drove us crazy!

    Kind of like the occasional brownie when you’re dieting, a little budget cheat now and then is good for you in the long run.

  • Reply asgreen |

    I do the exact same thing and my husband gets so mad. I try to keep my mouth shut, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop somewhat choosing my entree based on price!

  • Reply fruplicity |

    This exact thing happened to me at a recent dinner out to celebrate a new job. You would think an increased paycheck would make me feel a tiny bit better about splurging, but nope, not yet! I guess it’s important to “play along” with other family members in sharing splurges, especially if it hasn’t happened in a while. But I would still try to do a quick comparison on the menu!

  • Reply Nicoleandmaggie |

    Oh I dunno, there will be plenty of time to splurge more when you’re out of debt and on stable financial footing. If your money is pooled then he should allow you to get what you want, even if it is the cheapest. It’s not like you’re even telling him which wine to choose, refusing to go out, or not getting wine. If he’d kept *his* mouth shut you would be feeling just fine about the choice to walk and your choice of drinks.

So, what do you think ?