Paying for services cements your reliance on money and distances you from your most valuable teammate–your partner. Instead of using chores as an opportunity to grow closer, you’re using money to make the daily realities of your life less real.
This is today’s mantra from Mrs. Frugalwoods. It is all about self-reliance and working together with your partner to do whatever needs to be done, from plumbing to cabinetry to handling money.
Working together means letting other things, such as the internet, fall aside. Talking with your partner, working with each other, interacting, giving and taking, sharing – all of these require you get off the cell phone, turn off the TV, pull away from the computer or video game. All these other things are distractions and destructors of interpersonal connections, with real, live people. This means you don’t text each other, you talk – like in open your mouth and speak! – to each other – and listen to each other by closing your mouth and opening your ears and heart!
As a couple, here at 182, we are guilty of letting electronic distractions take the place of interacting at times. We both are introverts, so the quiet time in the morning is important to setting the tone for the rest of our individual days. I read the news, write these responses to the Uber Frugal Challenge, check the bank accounts, and read blogs I like. I work in a job that requires being “on” all the time, and for an introvert, this can be hard. Mr. 182 works from home in IT, so his connection to the outside world becomes via computer – clients, co-workers, and so on. His reality is a virtual reality, one where he may develop relationships with co-workers, but have no idea what they look like or sound like. Meetings occur via Skype, and people from multiple countries may participate. While this might seem ideal for an introvert, it requires being “on” as well – and focused outwardly in a quasi-human way. However, personal connections and work connections are different, just because of the nature of the situations.
What kind of community do we have here at 182? We share chores for the household – we both cook, but I clean up the kitchen after dinner and fill the dishwasher, Mr. 182 vacuums, I dust and do the bathrooms, Mr. 182 does the poop patrol, cleans the kitchen counters, puts away and parcels out frozen meals, and empties the dishwasher. He does the plumbing. I handle the finances and pay the bills and allocate money as needed and as we have chosen and discussed it needs to be used. We each do our own laundry. I dictate (yes, dictate) chores needing to be done as Mr. 182 doesn’t really think about those things.
Socially we do things together, with friends and family, together and individually. Our hobbies are quite different and often rather solitary. As introverts, too much socializing and not enough introspection shatters our sense of self and the world around us. I am an INFP and he is an ISTJ, if you like Myers-Briggs info. We come together with very different perspectives, which can be very frustrating and very refreshing. At times we communicate really well, and other times we are frustrated and annoyed. However, by doing things together and sharing, we lessen potential conflict. It is not easy but we do it. And, getting our financial house more in order has proven to be one of the biggest benefits to our marriage and relationship.
As Mrs. Frugalwoods wisely points out, using money to buy services distances you from your partner. It also decreases your own sense of being able to rely on yourself and your partner. Working together brings you together.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller