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A Spender Transformed


Recently, my wife and I have decided to aggressively pay down our debt. In order to do so, we have taken out everything from our budget except for the necessities. This means that we are allowing ourselves no extra money for special outings or for clothes (although we occasionally dip into the food budget for a little fun, and then live on crumbs late in the month). Lately though, both my wife and I have begun to make some additional income outside of our regular incomes, and this money is not within our budget. Since it is still a fairly small amount, we have decided that whoever makes it gets to decide how to spend it. It can all go straight to our debts, it could be spent on dinner and a movie, it can be used to further invest in our side-businesses, it can be used to do anything we please.

My wife decided to do some babysitting recently and accumulated a total of $100. Since she hasn’t been shopping for at least the last 30 days (probably more), I figured we were about to tear up the town with a shopping spree!! Now, before I get myself into trouble with my lovely wife (she really is amazing, don’t get me wrong…I’m just slightly sarcastic most of the time), I’d better take a few steps back into her history.

Like most women, my wife loves fashion! Since I’ve met her, I now know about Michael Kors, Dior, Chanel, Coach, among many others. I even know about some of the history behind these designers! Well, with a love of fashion comes a love for purchasing fashion, and this often comes at a high price. Further feeding this love, my wife worked at a retail store that was jam packed with high end women’s fashion. She would often have the opportunity to purchase these designer clothes at a discounted price, so she was very used to an ever-growing wardrobe. Since we’ve gotten married, she’s had to give up that job, along with most of her spending, so when she gets the opportunity to buy some clothes, we are at the store before you can say, “I’ve got money!”.

So off we went to the stores. First of all, I was very impressed with the stores she selected. Places like, Burlington Coat Factory and Marshalls. Then, once we were there, she decided that nothing caught her eye, and we left empty handed! Twice! I think my eyes were dangling from the sockets with shock.

Our final stop was at Target. This is where she found the jackpot. 4 pairs of shoes, a pair of slippers, and some comfortable jammies (pants and shirt): $42. Nearly everything she purchased was at least 75% off! I was proud of her for that, but I was also proud of her next decision. She saved some of her money so that she would be able to buy an external flash for her photography business.

I am very proud of my wife. Once she decided that we would aggressively pay down our debts (yes, it was her decision, not mine!), she has really stuck to the budget and encouraged me to do that same. We track our expenses on so that we can get a budget update no matter where we are, and we are nearly free!

Are you a spender at heart? Did you recently make a decision to pay off debt or save up for the future? How are you doing?

Budget Money

AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. You should be proud! That’s a remarkable story. I like Although I’m old fashion…excel and a fridge post works wonders for me. Keep up the good work.

    • I love my wife, and she really does a great job with our finances. I am very proud of her!

  2. Great job to your wife! The next step for her is to take all the extra money and throw that at the debt too–I wonder how much sooner you can pay it all down that way.

    On the other hand, not having any “crazy money” could drive both of you crazy, inducing time periods of extreme overspending….

    Sounds like you guys are on the right track:).

    • Yeah, we decided that we need some extra money. And, the extra work allows us to spend it a little wiser as well! We’ve made our budget so strict, it’s nice to have an out once in a while. Oh, by the way. I just made $160 for dog sitting, and I think I’ll probably donate $100 of that toward debt. I don’t really need anything that costs $160!

  3. Great job! It’s a nice reward for her to have a shopping trip like that and only spend $42. You guys are doing great!

    • Thanks Sharon! We certainly are excited about our discipline and our success with our debts! 🙂

  4. That’s great team work you have. My wife has been really good at tracking discounts and all. With 2 kids though, sometimes we do purchase items upfront and on sale due to the ever changing needs of children. It tends to make spending less regular.

    Coach is all too familiar now … Sometimes I struggle because we get the discount card in the mail and I question whether I throw it away or show it to her … The dilemma ?!? We even get two, for some reasons there is one in my name.

    • Hahaha! I hear ya on the coupon dilemma! Should I give her the coupon? or no? Most of the time, I show it to her and say, “we don’t need this right?” 🙂

  5. Congratulations to both of you!!! It’s not easy to find a situation in which both embrace a new frugal lifestyle and hang to it… that’s worth a lot!!!
    And it’s very easy to see you will both accomplish your financial goals.

    • Thanks Finanzas Personales! We are very excited about our new plan to pay down the debts. We expect to see them vanish in no-time!

  6. No, I am not a spender at heart but I do love a good yard sale or charity sale!

  7. Next stop, the Salvation Army store. Seriously, there is a surprising quantity of expensive and fashionable women’s clothes, hardly worn, for a fraction of the original cost.
    Not so much for men, mostly because I think we tend to wear our clothes until they fall apart.

    • Very true! We have done this a couple of times. When we find ourselves in very wealthy cities, it’s amazing what we find at those thrift stores! 🙂

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