Sunday, December 6

Spending to save (our sanity)

I was raised to be frugal. Spending money unnecessarily was BAD and that's all there was to it. If you absolutely had to spend money, you had to be sure you a) found the best deal and b) spent it on someone else whenever possible. In other words, I'm the type who sneers at ads that say, "The more you spend, the more you save!"

I tell you all this so you can truly appreciate the importance of my agreeing to buy Tim a $200 punching bag.

For two years now, Tim has been telling me he wants a punching bag. For two years, I've put him off. We didn't have space in the old apartment; here, we are trying to concentrate on debt reduction, while I still have contract work. But Thursday I agreed to start searching.

Tim has been increasingly antsy since we moved. Part of it, I think, is that he's finally feeling well enough to be out and about. Also, he can drive around now, so there's an inherent desire to make up for lost time. Finally, there's the fact that he has ADD and no medication. We've worked on all these areas in various ways, but each one is going to be a long-term project. Meanwhile, he's about to quit smoking, which means his anxiety will be through the roof.

We're also discussing getting a iPod Touch. It would provide most of the functionality Tim needs to keep on task. You can create about a zillion alarms, and the volume can be adjusted so even Tim notices. He can make notes in it. And there are plenty of free downloadable apps that could help him -- including "To do" lists and spending trackers. That's still up in the air, but if it can wait until the new year, we can pay for most of it with gift cards, I think.

Even if we did have to pay for it, the gadget may be worthwhile. I've always hated repeating myself. A lot. And Tim's attention strays easily. So I have to not only repeat things, but also remind him of things he promised to do. One of our new main projects is finding out more coping techniques used by people with ADD. So that's something he could program into his phone -- whether it's a reminder to read part of a book on ADD or to check out ADD blogs and discussion forums.

Right now, I spend a good chunk of my time having to help him remember to get things done, and trying to help him rein in his impulsiveness -- especially in spending -- that it's hard to do much else. Both in day-to-day life and in our relationship. It's creating a lot of friction and it's caused a lot of fights. (I'm going to try and expand on that in another post.)

In other words, this is a case of priorities. We can get out of debt first, then get the punching bag and PDA later. But that may not be what's best for our relationship. And I plan to keep Tim around a lot longer than the debt. So perhaps he should be a priority, too.

And so I say: We're spending to save -- our sanity, and our marriage.


Blogger Money Dieter said...

Great post. I think that sometimes we try to be frugal and forget about our loved ones. I think that is a good idea and especially since ya are really researching this out and seeing what is best for him.

Good luck!

December 6, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Blogger Zella said...

What about Craigslist for the iPod Touch? You can get one for < $200. I picked up my Shuffle for $50 instead of the $87-ish new.

December 7, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Blogger Abigail said...


Normally, that would work, but we have some rewards program points. So I think we'll get it from Amazon. If we can wait until the new year, we should be able to get it for $50 or less...

Money Dieter,
Yeah, it's easy to get carried away on frugality and deprive yourself (or a loved one) of too much. This punching bag will be some much-needed stress relief. Plus, he wants to teach me some moves. So perhaps I can get in a short workout from time to time.

December 7, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Blogger Kevin said...

As a person who has dealt with ADD his entire life (all unmedicated) I can attest to the fact that it's not as easy to "just get focused" as it sounds. My ADD isn't even that extreme but it still effects every area of my life.

I use my Blackberry to set notes, alarms, reminders, etc for just about everything. I have a program on my computer that emails me daily for the two weeks leading up to important birthdays.

I applaud your patience with him. Just as much as I applaud my girlfriend's patience with me and my issues.

As for coping... it's a personal and day by day thing. I try and find some area where I need to improve and think of ways to do that. Most of my attempts fail or start well but die out over time. But once in a while they work and end up lasting. I just try and work with my strengths and automate as much of my life as I can where I am not strong.

December 8, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Blogger Revanche said...

I would consider the bag a long-term & health purchase. Perhaps consider a refurbed one iPod Touch if that brings your total costs down?

December 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM


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