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No Money. Mo' Money. A Wee Bit of Problems.

Image Source: Tax Credits
When 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?)

Money Talk

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?

2 comments

  1. Hmmm, let's see. I'm technically more of the saver and the one who tracks when payments are due, etc. But while he would spend a TON on his hobbies when we were first married that got curtailed when we were taking it out of savings and he realized just how much he was spending. I, on the other hand, since I buy all the stuff for us, can easily spend too much. We used to track everything in a money program, but having to manually input all the charges went right out the window when the girls were born so... yeah, it's not so great. Usually doing the bills every month puts me back on track to watch my spending!
    Oh, and retirement? What is that??? :P Other than the mandatory out of his paycheck we mostly just figure at this point it's all paying off debt and we're going to have to work a long time or find different jobs.

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  2. Haha. Nice. Yeah, all those money conversations seem to be in flux, especially in these years where major life changes affect our needs and priorities.

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