3 Simple Questions to Save Your Marriage Thousands of Dollars

If you are wondering how to save money in marriage, my wife has you covered. Family legend has it that she was already fiscally responsible at age 5. For her birthday, her grandmother gave her $20 in dollar bills. Nancie’s mom surprised her by using the money to buy a plastic swimming pool. My wife said, “I would drathers count my money.” Then there is me. When we got married, it was safe to say I would drathers spend my money. Within weeks of having my first job after college, I purchased a jet ski. While it was truly awesome, it was truly dumb.

So, I give Nancie all the credit for saving our family from jet ski-like purchases. Since day one of our marriage, if the cost is even close to significant, she asks 3 questions that rob my joy—and that keep our finances on track.

1. Where is that money coming from?

Our finances were very tight when we were first married. But as our incomes and savings have improved, so have our financial margin and flexibility. But “Where is that money coming from?” makes us ponder: Spend that cash, or stash it for what we planned pre-dopamine hit?

2. Do we have a place to put it?

In the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of things or a lot of space to have them. But when we got a bigger place, we enjoyed finding things to help us live like adults. So we shopped often at upscale stores, you know, like IKEA’s clearance section. We had room for additional things until we didn’t. So the question “Do we have a place to put it?” has led to fewer purchases for us and less happiness for me. But in all fairness, it has led to a little more money and a lot less stuff.

3. What’s wrong with the one we have now?

Keeping it real, this question has led me to act like an entitled teenager on more than a few occasions. “Yes, I need the new iPhone. My old one can only store 10,000 photos; this one would allow me to store all the photos in the history of photos.” “Yes, we need a newer car; ours could break down any day now.” “Yes, we need a new__________, the old one______________.” Just fill in the blank; the rationale is the same. We have one, but I need a better one. This one is humbling for me to write. So many people are in real need, and I am not one of them.

Sound off: What question do you use as a financial filter?

Huddle up with your kid and ask, “What question(s) do you ask yourself before buying something?”