Spending When the Spouse Was Away

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my problem with overspending while Johnny’s away on business trips. I become someone else entirely, and I suddenly have to eat out and go buy supplies for some major home improvement project. Confessing my spending addiction on here was the best thing I could have done. You guys totally get where I’m coming from, and a few of you are fellow absent-spouse-spenders, too. I’m coining that right here and now. Actually, the acronym is rather unfortunate so scratch that.

Johnny went on yet another business trip last week, and I promised to document my spending and report back to all of you. And so I shall. Knowing I would have to publicly share all of my spending deviances really helped me stay on track this time around. And now, my spending journal while Johnny was away:

Day One

Away 1

On the first day, Sal and I hunkered down and had a meal at home. Money spent that day: $0. I decided to whip together a salad for myself, which I should never do. It looks yummy, but I chose the wrong dressing and ruined it! Sally’s meal was a success, if you focus on her chicken stacking skills. That night, I had too much time alone and decided our kitchen needed a remodel. I texted Johnny pictures of new chairs I wanted to buy and listed our current chairs on Craigslist.

Day Two

Away 3

On day two, we had lunch at home and went to the park, both free activities! But I started to get the itch to do something more. IKEA suddenly became a must-visit place so I could redecorate our upstairs bathroom. But I knew if I went there, I’d spend way more than I intended. I kept imagining Sally throwing a tantrum in IKEA, which helped quell my urge to go there. That night, we splurged on Chick-fil-a (including a kid’s meal, which Sally barely touched) and spent $9.

Day Three

Away 2

By day three, I was getting super antsy to SPEND!! I was bored, lonely, and ready for some excitement in my life. My sisters and I put together a last-minute fondue night at my house. I spent $20 on the cheese sauce, chicken, and bread, and my sisters provided the rest. It was a perfect evening and a perfect way to forget my husband was away.

Day Four

I had planned to spend the morning at IKEA, but I barely resisted and spent the morning letting Sally play with a friend (free!), and then we went and picked Johnny up in the afternoon. We celebrated his homecoming with In-N-Out, which cost $8.

In total, because of Johnny’s trip, I spent $37, and $8 of that was after he got home. I still haven’t gone to IKEA… once Johnny got home, the urge to go somehow disappeared! As far as the kitchen chairs go, I did end up selling them, and the new ones are on the way. Eeep! But that didn’t happen while he was gone, so it’s not worth counting, right?

Obviously, I still have some work to do, but all your words of support helped me reign in my spending while Johnny was away. So thank you! Anyone else have the same kinds of absent-spouse spending demons I do? What is it with deciding our house needs to be redecorated when Johnny’s away?

Our Splurging and Saving Personality

Splurge Worthy

On Saturday night, Johnny and I ate out at a sit-down restaurant. Better yet, it was just the two of us… we do occasionally need Sally-free time. When we arrived, the restaurant informed us that it would be a 35- to 45-minute wait. We reluctantly said, “Okay,” and had a seat outside. “Huh, it probably would have been smart to call ahead. Why didn’t we think of that?” Johnny said. “Because we never eat out,” I replied.

But the conversation got me thinking. We seriously never eat out at sit-down restaurants. Our last sit-down-restaurant experience was on our anniversary in June. It’s just not one of our go-to splurges. I have no idea how often other people eat at sit-down restaurants. Once a month, once every 10 days, once or twice a week? Really, no idea. But it’s probably more often than us.

That’s the nifty thing about personal finance. Everyone’s different. And where some people splurge, others save. It’s neither right nor wrong… it’s just your very own splurging and saving personality. So we thought we’d share where we splurge and save in our day-to-day, and we’d love to hear how you compare.


Cable: When we talk to other friends who budget, many of them don’t do cable. But even when Johnny and I were in the trenches of paying off our student loan debt, we considered cable to be splurge worthy. Because sports. No really, Johnny loves his sports. But we also have a DVR, and I love that for recording shows for Sally and recording all of Johnny’s and my guilty pleasures (The Walking Dead, New Girl, Brooklyn 99… the list goes on). We just can’t quit it.

Haircuts and Clothes: We don’t shop for clothing very often, but when we do, we usually buy new. We look for deals, and we almost always shop the sales, but it’s a small splurge we enjoy. And when it comes to getting our hair did, Johnny goes to a local barber, and I get a cut and highlights from a lovely local hair stylist. We didn’t always splurge on this stuff. I tried hair schools and box colors when we were newlyweds, and I used to cut Johnny’s hair myself (not one of my talents!). We also used to thrift shop for clothes a lot. But now that we have a kiddo, it’s become more important to take time for ourselves since we’ve given up a lot of ourselves for her, if that makes any sense at all.


Restaurants: As mentioned above, we eat out at a nice restaurant probably 5 times a year. That sounds extreme, but we’ve been this way for so long that we don’t really miss it. Maybe someday we’ll eat out more often, but for now, we like saving some money by eating at home and doing cheap takeout on our date nights.

Movies: Like restaurants, movie theaters are a rarity for Johnny and me. I’ve seen one movie in theaters this year, and Johnny’s seen zero. At some point in the early days of our marriage, we somehow discovered that neither of us like the movie theater very much so it’s been an easy way to save money on entertainment. Don’t worry, though… we make exceptions for must-see movies like Mockingjay: Part I.

Those are a few of our main splurges and savings, but the list is endless.

  • I don’t do manis and pedis, but I do buy books.
  • Johnny doesn’t eat out for lunch, but he does go to the rock climbing gym regularly.
  • I don’t have a gym membership, but I do buy stuff to decorate my house.
  • Johnny doesn’t buy (or play) video games, but he does buy concert and sporting event tickets.
  • We don’t do much couponing, but we do mostly stick to Walmart and Costco.

It’s always give and take, and as long as it fits within the bounds of our budget, we’re good to go.

Now, the best part. How does your splurging and saving personality relate or differ to ours? How do you choose whether you’ll save or splurge? Is it totally crazy that we don’t go out to eat more often?

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