Isn’t It Funny How Our Priorities Change With Age?

The old man opened the vault last week. Last month was the first time he didn’t lose a ton of our money since he became an investor and it triggered un uncharacteristically generous response. Of course, I leapt at the opportunity to spend.

Photo from Sophie Elvis on Unsplash.com

I’m sure I must have mentioned that we’ve owned our current sofas for almost twenty-two years? Or that our television is so old it doesn’t fit through modern doors and has to be turned off manually? And that our dining set is from IKEA, circa 1800, and I bought it with my first pay after Kurt was born?

According to the old man’s philosophy, the money we spend is about making my life as miserable as possible “financial choices” i.e. nothing to do with an appreciation for antiques or sentimentality, although I believe that it also has something to do with the old man’s natural parsimony, his complete disinterest in what our house looks like, and my uselessness with money – as in saving money. That’s why – and I am embarrassed to admit this – I relinquished joint control of our bank account a long time ago.

I know…bad feminist!

Anyway, unsurprisingly, furniture has never featured highly on his list of priorities (unlike top-of-the-range golf clubs and wasted memberships at gyms), so the deal he offered me last week – to purchase two sofas, some dining chairs, and a new tv for him – could have knocked me down with a feather.

There were a few conditions, OBVS: I had to pick the furniture within an hour; it had to meet the practicalities he deems important ie. the color had to be a practical shade of neutral because of the Princess’s habit of wiping her bum and her spaghetti mouth on them; and I was NOT TO GO OVER BUDGET.

Sometimes, it really is like he doesn’t even know me!

And, honestly, I can’t describe to you the anticipation both of us felt as we travelled to the mall like a proper, grown up couple going furniture shopping. Although, then again, this grown up business does seem to be becoming a bit of a habit, if you remember here.

Of course, his generosity in terms of patience in the furniture stores didn’t extend as far as the family wallet. He lasted all of five minutes in the first shop before he had his first tanty and I had to send him packing to the tv store, which brought back horrible memories of Hawaii and our lifetime ban from Avis. Which left me an hour – negotiated up from half an hour – to find the furniture we will most likely wee and die on, before he changed his mind.

And I did it. The furniture had been ordered and is due to arrive before Christmas, and I am …well …not nearly as excited about it as I thought I would be, as I admitted to Tightarse the other night.

‘So if what would excite you if you could buy anything?’ he asked me, stifling a yawn.

Well… not the material stuff, anymore. We are lucky, we have everything we need. No, these days what gets me really excited is the thought of giving, having new experiences, learning about new stuff, the luxury of time (if I have the option), being a part of social change, and er…food. The prospect of taking the kids out to dinner and giving them free range to pick what they want from the menu – even dessert; shoving $50 in their hand when they need it – because I remember how much we appreciated the gesture from my in-laws when we were hard up; travel, education, and the freedom to do exactly what I want. All of those things excite me more than plush new sofas that someone will spill red wine on the minute I’ve unwrapped them – although, needless to say, I still made sure they will arrive before Christmas, in time for the family visit from the UK.

Isn’t it funny how our priorities change with age?

What excites you now?

Blowing The Budget At Christmas

The biggest bonus about doing your Christmas shopping online is being able to sneak in extra personal purchases, so when you’re being tortured by the in-house financial Gestapo about over-spending, you can fob them off as presents. 

Blowing Your Budget At Christmas
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As you are aware, I am unfortunately married to Tightus Pocketus, and so during our VERY LONG marriage I have been forced to come up with underhand clever ways to make many of my personal shopping purchases surreptitiously.

 

Blowing The Budget At Christmas

 

Because for some reason my shopping prowess upsets him, and it’s becoming apparent, as we age together, that his inability to co-enjoy my purchases is beginning to affect his health.

 

You see, as we approach middle-age and have had to prepare for all that really boring ‘getting older’ stuff (yawn!), like retirement and health plans, the old man’s pockets have become even smaller when it comes to what he terms ‘unnecessary expenditure.

 

‘Unnecessary expenditure’ is categorised as anything fun or stuff that I like to spend money on, such as holidays, clothes, jewellery and shoes.

 

 

So every year or so, I have been forced to develop new tactics to enable myself to purchase those few NECESSARY extras without getting caught or persecuted by financial control. Cash has been my best friend in the past, as TP finds it harder to trace our cash expenditure from the bank statement, but there is a limit to what I can allocate to cash and occasionally I have come unstuck. According to TP, those times have been noted in our marital history as when I compromised the seal of trust that should be the foundation of a marriage – his words, not mine.

 

A few months ago, I asked NC to pay for something on my behalf and the old man accused me of dragging our innocent daughter down to my basement level of dishonesty and refused to speak to me for weeks.

 

I can’t remember if I noticed…

 

Which is why December is such a joyous month for shopping extravagancia when all those parcels FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS arrive at the apartment and Scrooge is so bogged down by the abject misery of what Christmas symbolizes for him – seasonal ‘unnecessary spending’ – that he is blind to my clever shopping tactics.

 

My excuse for hoodwinking him is that if he only demonstrated an ounce of understanding of what the average woman’s needs are at Christmas – new outfits for Christmas Day and New Years Eve as a bare minimum – I wouldn’t have to be so damned cagey about the whole process.

 

And there are just so many enticing, pre-Christmas, Christmas sales on at the moment, that I can’t actually understand why his analytical brain doesn’t see how much money I am actually saving us.

 

As NC pointed out the other day when she successfully sourced a $45 pair of shoes in the sales for $18 – ‘well, they were practically free!’

 

So proud.