How I Put My Ex on a Budget

Most of you who read this blog probably know by now that I have a slightly compulsive personality. When I take an interest in something, I often become extremely preoccupied with it for a while before eventually losing interest. (Anyone who wants to guess at what my relationship with men has been like, please feel free.)

Right now, my issue of the moment is saving money. Like most Americans, I cannot help but worry over the state our economy is in. Gas prices are high and expected to keep rising, salaries are relatively flat, food costs more, etc. After a recent look at my personal spending habits and the shocking realization that I am spending WAY more than I should be on basic expenses (food, transport, you name it), I decided to put myself on a strict budget.

I also decided to put my ex on one, as well.

“C’mon,” I coaxed him. “We’ll see how well we can do on $100 per week for groceries. It’ll be fun! And I promise to do all the shopping.”

Somewhat skeptically, he agreed.

Monday was Day 1 of the $100 Per Week on Groceries Game. I went to Trader Joe’s and came home with food for three dinners, lunch for the entire week, and a bunch of snacks. And I was only $19 poorer for it.

On Day 2, it all went out the window. As I was preparing to make my cheap but gourmet dinner for the evening, my ex came into the kitchen.

“Can we have burgers tonight?” he asked, pitifully.

I shot him a death glare. “Burgers?” I repeated. “Burgers aren’t in the budget for this week.”

“But Erica, we make enough money. We can splurge on burgers.” Then, as if remembering himself, he said, “What am I saying? I don’t need your permission to have burgers for dinner. This is ridiculous.”

Exhausted from work, I decided it wasn’t worth arguing over and told him, yes, he may go to the store to pick up burgers. He smiled, realizing I wasn’t quite as crazy as he previously thought and headed off to the store to pick up his precious meat.

He arrived home about 20 minutes later and walked in without saying a word.

“Are you all right?” I asked. He was leaning against the wall, face flushed and dripping with sweat.

He stared at me for a few moments before speaking. Then he said, “We need to have a talk about rational behavior.”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you turn off the air conditioning in your car?” he asked. “To save money?” He looked like he was about to faint. Granted, it was probably close to 80 degrees out.

“Oh, yes,” I said proudly.

“You’ve gone off the deep end. That will save you probably $3 per year, you realize?”

I thought about it for a moment. “Yes, but everything counts. It all adds up.” I paused. “You’re welcome to use my air conditioning when you drive my car.”

“I am?” he asked.

“Yes, of course. Just pay me $3 for it.”

We didn’t speak for a while after that last night.

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13 Replies to “How I Put My Ex on a Budget”

  1. Great read and good move on going to Trader Joes…they rock. We need to do the whole budget thing around here too. I suspect that there are expenses that could be cut back or eliminated. I hope the rest of the budgeting goes well.

  2. 1. You should be turning your air off before you turn the car off anyway. It’s not good for your car to pull all of those resources when starting.

    2. Your ex is obviously an idiot if he doesn’t know how to turn on the air if it isn’t already on when he gets starts the car.

    3. Unless you’re driving with your windows up and the AC off in 80 degree weather, you’re not saving fuel, money or the environment. Perhaps you knew this and since your windows were not already down when he got in the car, your ex left them up just like he left the air off. In that case – congratulations on saving your $3.

  3. I’ve been thinking about starting an organzied budget. This pushed me over the fence. I will start tonight. I will have to check out Trader Joes. I don’t think they’re around the southeast.

  4. Thanks for the comment on my blog! Have we met before? Great post on saving money, too. I just checked out The Tightwad Gazette from the library–I try to read this helpful book once every few months. Two good websites are The Dollar Stretcher and the Simple Living Network (especially the forum). Good luck!

  5. I’ve been thinking about starting an organzied budget. This pushed me over the fence. I will start tonight. I will have to check out Trader Joes. I don’t think they’re around the southeast.

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