Do You Trust Me?

“Unless Vonnie wants to go along to the mall with me…” our friend’s voice trailed off.

Sure, I’ll go. I can look for a spring coat for Tori,” said my wife.

A new spring coat for our daughter was in the budget, as previously discussed while planning our spending for that weekend. The coat was actually the final expenditure for the weekend as it drew to a close that Sunday afternoon.

In a whirlwind of activity, I got ready to go to the gym, Vonnie and her friend put on shoes, grabbed their purses and headed out door with my wife’s voice calling, “I love you!” as she was whisked out the door.

As I was driving to the gym, I started to worry. History told me this will not end well. Our friend loves to shop, and has had the effect of making the people around her spend money even if they hadn’t planned to. There have been times where an unexpected shopping trip just like this had resulted in a trunk full of bags, and a pocket full of credit card receipts. On the other hand, we certainly did discuss our expenditures for the weekend, and we had agreed upon an amount for the coat. Neither of us wanted a repeat of the $57 jar of candy.

I arrived at the gym and moved through my workout, but I couldn’t get my mind off of the potential for overspending. A million thoughts and questions raced through my mind.

  • Would she fall victim to temptation and buy more than the coat?
  • Would she remember our spending discussion, and the budgeted amount?
  • Maybe she would actually find a sale!
  • Maybe I should call her?
  • Maybe I should text her?

After all of that, I decided that I should do something entirely different.  I concluded what I should be doing is trusting her.

When I came home, she was sitting at the kitchen counter, a small bag sitting in front of her. I kissed her on the forehead and asked her if she had found a coat. She indicated she had not only found a coat, but two shirts.

Slightly worried, I opened the bag, and pulled out the clothes as well as the receipt. Here’s what she bought:

  1. Spring Coat: $10 (normally $25)
  2. Two Shirts: $4.50 each (normally $11 each)


Total price: $19

Budgeted Amount? $20

My rock star wife slid in just under budget, with not only a coat, but with two shirts as well.

As Vonnie and I have progressed through our debt management program, we have worked hard at improving our communication with each other regarding finances, as well as the execution of the set budget. We’re not perfect at it all yet, but we can both feel that we are entering a new phase of our development. We are realizing that beyond communication, a healthy financial relationship also has to have mutual respect and trust. For Vonnie and I to be able to watch the other drive off in a car with someone to go shopping and trust that they will honor the spending limits we had agreed upon is a wonderful feeling.

What do you think, how much do you trust your significant other?

About Travis

18 Responses to “Do You Trust Me?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Congratulations to your wife! She passed the temptation of overspending while shopping with her friend. In our case, we bring only cash when shopping so that we can keep our expenses within the budget.

    • We are getting in the habit of only carrying cash too, and it certainly helps to stay on point with the budget. Unfortunately, this was a “spur of the moment” thing, and we didn’t have the cash on hand. I’m certainly happy that both Vonnie and I are learning self-control in regards to spending…that was something that had been lacking for a lot of years.

      Thanks for your comment, Cherleen!

      • JMK says:

        For me the less cash I carry the less I spend. If I have change in my wallet, suddenly the vending machine 30 seconds from my desk is a temptation. No change = no unecessary snacking/spending.

        Our work cafeteria doesn’t accept credit cards and charges a 50 cent fee on top of your debit payment. I’m unlikely to pay that fee to buy a $2 item (25% surcharge), so I don’t get anything. If I had the cash suddenly that penalty doesn’t apply and I might grab something to go with the perfectly good lunch I brought from home.

        In a normal week the only spending I do is groceries and gas. I have a set budget for groceries but it’s a bit of a game to see how far under I can be, so there’s no temptation to throw extras in the cart just because I’ll be paying with my credit card. I don’t want to spend any more than necessary but I sure want the airline mileage my card earns. I don’t put extra gas in the car because I don’t pay with cash. When I get a hair cut I don’t add on a perm or highlights because it’s on the card. It’s a hair cut, period.

        I think maybe for me the difference is that I don’t view my credit card as a way to delay payment to some future date when I’ll find the money for the item I want now. I pay off my charges for that week every Friday. To me, the credit card is like a slow motion debit card. Instead of immediately pulling the funds from my account while I stand in the store, the funds go out a few days later. Nothing goes on the card that I couldn’t have paid cash for – it’s simply a way to earn benefits for doing what I was going to do anyway. Once the week’s charges are paid and the pay has been deposited, any excess is transferred out to either our retirement accounts, or I make an extra mortgage payment. Any unscheduled spending I did during the week reduces what’s available for that transfer so the true “cost” of every purchase is really obvious every Friday. If I hadn’t bought that _____ which I didn’t really need, I’d be moving that money to somewhere that gets me a little closer to early retirement. When you know exactly what you want to do with the savings it really removes any temptation to buy something you don’t actually need! For example if you estimate you’ll need $3000/mth in retirement, then every $100 you waste delays your retirement by a day. It’s over-simplified of course, but it does get you thinking about the long term effect of your choices today.

        • I really like your way of thinking, JMK! I’m the same way with cash/change that I take to work..not only do I dislike the fact that I’ll spend it (oh, and I would), but I also end up eating something I don’t want to. So, the wallet usually stays at home to resist temptation at work.

          Your term “delayed debt card” is awesome! You are certainly very disciplined to pay off your balance every Friday – good for you! I don’t have to worry much about credit cards since they were closed when I entered my Debt Management Plan. 🙂

          Thanks for sharing more of your thoughts!

  2. I have to admit I used to be Vonnie’s friend. While I always shopped sales it was the “high” I would get from a bargain–even if I didn’t need the item. Kudos to Vonnie for resisting temptation and sticking to her budget and getting a great deal! 🙂

    • Oh, our friend doesn’t much care about sales, she’s a big fan of “retail therapy.” 🙂 You bring up a great point, though, Suzanne that we all should remember – finding things on sale, or getting a good deal doesn’t actually save you any money if you weren’t going to buy the item anyway, and it causes a person to exceed their budget!

      • JMK says:

        “a good deal doesn’t actually save you any money if you weren’t going to buy the item anyway”… on that note, where the two shirts on the list of needed items? If not, then it was actually $4.50 x 2 wasted. I’m hoping that if these shirts were also for your daughter and it weren’t needed now, then maybe they were bought a size or two too big for future? I stock pile groceries when I find a deal, and the same logic applies to clothing you know your kids will eventually need and grow into. Since my kids are now old enough to care about their clothing, they usually get at least one item for each birthday and Christmas – usually those items I got on sale in a bigger size timed to be suitable for wearing by the next gift giving occasion. Little kids rarely view clothing as a gift, but we’re past that stage. A few weeks ago when the last of the winter clothing was marked waaaaay down I picked up an item for each child to give them next Christmas. I know what was worn out or getting too small at the end of this winter so I picked up appropriate replacements at a great price and can mark one gift for each of them as done. My daughter’s BD is in mid July which is too late to give her summer clothing so she usually gets something suitable to wear the first day of school.

        Really great deal on the coat, but if the shirts weren’t in the plan then the shopping should have stopped there. Wasting the savings from one item to buy stuff you don’t need isn’t really saving at all. It just leads to too much stuff and then you’re writing an article about decluttering 😉

        • Great question in regards to the two shirts, JMK! The shirts were indeed for my daughter. What I didn’t mention in the article was that my daughter (ever growing, as nine year olds tend to do) needs new summer clothes as well. Since we had $20 budgeted for the coat, and those two shirts were on sale anyway (over 50% off), it seemed logical to my wife to purchase the two shirts as well and still stay within the budget. She could have purchased more (there were lots of shirts to choose from), but she made the conscious decision to stick within the budget.

          We also follow your same methodology of buying clothing at the end of season when they’re on clearance for the next year (at a larger size). It’s a great way to save money (as long as we budget ahead of time to make the purchases). We’re lucky in that both of our children do enjoy clothes as a gifts (newly minted teenage boy, and very “girly” 9 year old). 🙂

          Thanks for your comment and for sharing your thoughts, JMK!

  3. Brad Chaffee says:

    Great post Travis! I love how this post points out two important points. One, communication is essential to working together as a team and two, trust has to be given until that trust is broken regardless of ones gut feeling. They often say trust your gut but your gut feeling in this situation was based on past behaviors before your debt management plan. (or as you both were learnig this finance stuff in the beginning) I
    Imagine how nice it will be next time when your gut feeling will be based on this experience. You both are growing together and with each new experience you are one step closer to financial mastery as a team! Keep up the good work man! I’m proud of both you and Vonnie!! 🙂

    As always thanks for sharing such personal experiences with us. I believe these are the stories that connect with people struggling with debt and their journey to eradicate it!

    • Brad, it will certainly be awesome to have my gut reaction be to trust instead of remembering the “bad old days.” I thought long and hard about calling or texting to remind her of the spending limit, and I’m glad I didn’t – the experience will only help build that trust.

      I love sharing my experiences with the readers – and am so glad that I have the opportunity to do so here at EOD – let’s keep BRINGING IT! 🙂

  4. Azra says:

    This post made me smile. I love how honest you are about your feelings and I’m glad that your wife pulled through on the budget! Great job you two, keep up the good work 🙂

  5. Great post Travis. When I was married we didn’t have trust. We didn’t have distrust either though. We simply didn’t talk about it. We just ignored it.

    I love reading about your marriage. I love seeing that it is possible to have a successful marriage. And I love seeing spouse who so clearly love each other (something I was missing in my own). Gives me hope that it is all possible.

    • For 13 years we did the “ignore” thing too….and that’s how we ended up in a huge hole of debt. I know I’ve said it before, but learning how to communicate about our finances has brought us so much closer. I love where we are in life right now (even if we still have a crap ton of debt left to pay off) – I’ve never been happier.

      Keep that hope going, Jessica, it certainly is possible to find that special someone to share every corner of your life with! 🙂

  6. Even though we’ve made major improvements over the last 10 years on how we deal with money, my wife still battles doubt about her own financial abilities.

    We plan, communicate & support each other better now than ever. But, I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to trust her when I know she doesn’t trust herself.

  7. Being able to practice self-control is certainly a learned skill for some..I know it has been for both my wife and I. I still don’t trust myself completely….which is why I avoid temptation as much as possible. I abhor going “window shopping.” Why go look at things unless I’m actually in the market to buy? Other than that, I’m a list shopper…..I go into a store with a list, and I get what’s on the list and that’s it.

  8. ImpulseSave says:

    What a great story – and a great phase of your relationship! I believe that most points of conflict in a relationship can be solved (or at least eased a little) simply with better communication and trust. My significant other an I were talking about talking a little trip to New York City in a couple of weeks, which sounded like a great idea and a nice little getaway. However, as I looked more closely at each of our financial situations, I knew that it probably wasn’t the wisest choice. I brought up my concern with him and he said he was thinking the same thing! We decided that spending a little less time in a less expensive city would be just as fun and not carry the financial burden. It’s great when things can work out like that 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your story, ImpulseSave! It’s a great example of how communication can keep us from making unwise decisions – and not just in regards to financial decisions. I agree with you 100% – thanks again for your comment!

Leave a Comment...


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.