posted by Joe Anaya on March 17th, 2014

I live a comfortable life. Combined, my wife and I (mostly my wife) make enough money to have a nice house, feed our family, occasionally go on vacation. My wife hates spending money. I’m a cheap date. So between the two of us, we’re pretty good with our money.

That’s why it’s always trouble when my wife declares, “We need a budget.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for financial responsibility. I know every month we have a little more in our checking account than we did the month before. I know we don’t own expensive cars or even make car payments. (We typically pay cash for a used car.) I know we don’t’ have any expensive hobbies. I’ll even hem and haw about whether to spend $50 for the new Madden NFL game or make enough roster moves to play another season on last year’s version.

But I go through the motions for my wife’s sake. Knowing full well the end result will be I’m “not allowed to eat out for lunch anymore.” We go through the hard costs: mortgage, insurance, utilities, etc. We’re already have a low flow toilet and florescent bulbs, so there’s nothing to be saved there.

Now the controllable costs. Groceries: my wife loves coupons. She makes me shop at Vons, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Costco to get the best prices. No savings here.

Clothes: Because I work in Hollywood, jeans and T-shirts are acceptable fare. Maybe once a year, I’ll pick out a new shirt with buttons. My wife works in corporate America so she has a higher standard of work attire. (Really almost every other industry has a higher standard than Hollywood, unless you’re an agent or movie star.) But as mentioned, she hates to spend money, so she’s no more of a clotheshorse than necessary.

Gas: I work from home. My wife drives a Prius. Good here.

And so on through all the items in our budget. Then we get to entertainment. The entertainment category is a conversation that goes like this.

“Netflix with DVDs AND DirecTV with HBO is too expensive,” she complains.

My rebuttal is, “It’s part of my work. I have to know what’s on TV and in theaters. Plus that makes it a tax deduction.” It’s like saying, “I have a coupon.” So, she relents.

Then comes the last item in our budget, Dining. One of my favorite things to do is to eat out. I don’t really care where, as long as I don’t have to prepare it or clean up afterwards. So, I’m happy at Dos Amigos burrito place, the burger joint, or a sit down fancy restaurant. Plus, since I work at home, even a fast-food lunch is a nice break out of the house.

My wife on the other hand, has literally walked out of a restaurant because she forgot to bring the coupon. (The biggest tease she’s perpetrated since we’ve been married.) She accuses me of not understanding the “latte effect.” The idea that if you spend $4 everyday for a latte you’ve unwittingly spent $100 in a month.

The difference’s are:
A.) It’s not “unwittingly,” I know I’m spending the money to enjoy a meal.
B.) She’s the one who stops at Starbucks everyday. I don’t drink coffee. “That’s not the point,” she argues.

Yeah, I know what the point is. Everyone’s life stays the same, except I’m not supposed to go out to lunch anymore. I hate budgets.

File Under King of the Castle