Image Source: Tax CreditsWhen I was a kid, I received one dollar regularly for an allowance. Ten cents was carried to church and dropped in the offering plate, and another dime clinked into my piggy bank. The other .80 was mine to party. (Don't spend it all in one place!)
I have always grown up budgeting my money. From paper record-keeping to Excel spreadsheets, it's just been a part of my life skills set for as long as I can remember.
When Billy and I met, he assured me there is no word for "budget" in the Spanish language. Ha! I know this is not true because Google told me so, and our church uses the word. But, suffice it to say, it was not popular in Billy's vocabulary.
Everyone has likely heard how much money can be a source of tension in a marriage. And ours was no different, especially in that first year. My attempts to budget our family money often came across as controlling or limiting the fun. Billy once bought a $125 amp without telling me, and my reaction was as if he had said, "I have second family living in Texas."
For a while we agreed not to budget. It wasn't long before I was standing in the grocery store, wondering if I should wait until the next paycheck to buy shampoo. Needless to say, things weren't going awesome in the finances department.
Multicultural Perspectives on Money
The money struggle is not unique to multicultural marriages. However, family, culture, and socioeconomic history can all interact and play a role in how a person perceives money.
I was once part of a multicultural discussion on the topic of money. We were asked to share our family's history with finances. A Japanese friend told how his grandparents had been sent to internment camps during World World II. The experience of having all wealth and security forcibly removed had influenced his family for generations.
A Latino friend who had crossed the border shared how limited resources and watching family members work so hard to provide affected his understanding of money. Growing up budgeting my one dollar allowance wasn't necessarily uncommon for my white, middle class experience. (Can I get a "what, what," Larry and Dave?)
In our marriage, finances required a lot of conversations. Ultimately, the Quezadas did return to budgeting, which has helped with the whole "when do we buy shampoo" question.
That move didn't come without some changes, as well as trial and error. Discussions on tithing, saving, spending, debt, retirement (oh my goodness... this one!) have been visited and revisited.
I think it's important for any couple to have open and frequent conversations about money. And I think it's good to ask questions about our family of origin's money habits. In multicultural marriages, you may find unique influences play a role as well.
Can you relate? How do you and your spouse talk about money? What areas do you have similar views? Dissimilar?