Now that I have gotten to a point where I can wrap my mind around my financial situation, I can see where there are holes in my defense. By holes, I am referring to instances where I am spending more money than necessary. A hole in my defense, for example, occurred, when I received my cell phone bill, and I had gone over. My bill, which I had planned to pay at $112, came to $165. This is a major hole in my defense. A couple of months ago, I switched my plan from the "all you can eat", unlimited plan, to a more affordable plan, and I guess I'm paying the price for it this month. My lack of concern regarding my minutes led to a hole in my financial defense. This is a small lapse when compared to how much I spend on my girlfriend.
I love my girlfriend very much, but our relationship is now my highest expense (excluding my basic bills and considering I've cut out spending eating out) If we aren't going to the movies, then she wants to go to a comedy club or out to the bar with her friends. She is constantly bombarding my life with her constant demands of my time and money. My wallet is screaming out for help nearly everyday. How could I ever get to the top without the frugality that she so clearly lacks. She can spend more money in 30 minutes than I make in a week. I am probably exaggerating a bit here, but the concern still exists regardless.
Obviously, I'm learning to better handle my expenses, but at the same time, I want to spend quality time with my girlfriend. Not spending money is a little far-fetched, but I came up with some ways that you can save money on those ever-growing relationship expenditures.
1. Red Box - This little thing was the best invention of the new millennium. Aside from their convenient locations, they offer the best deal for movie rentals available. While you are at the grocery store (saving money cause you're not eating out), you can stop by these wonderful machines and get new rental DVDs for just a dollar a night. Coupled with a cool recipe, you've got yourself a cheap dinner and a movie.
2. Local Attractions - Nearly every city has somewhere for you to go and take a walk or browse for free. If you can get past the gas prices, you can find cheap accommodations in your back yard. Not to mention how caring and thoughtful your girlfriend will consider you for making the suggestions. I'm from the DC metropolitan area, so we have monuments and museums at our fingertips to (freely) explore.
3. Just above fast food restaurants - If you must eat out, consider your options. I don't know about all girls, but my girlfriend is just as happy eating at Chipotle, as she would be eating at Ruby Tuesdays. Find restaurants where you serve yourself, like Panera Bread or Noodles and Company. These are great places that are a little better than fast food, but not as pricey as a dine-in restaurant. Budget right and save the nicer restaurants for special occasions. Not only will you save money, but then your special occasions are actually "special".
4. DVR - If you have cable, I'd suggest a DVR box. I'm not a huge TV-buff, but having shows, that both my girlfriend and I can tolerate, readily available helps for us to find a common ground when we stay in the house. And the more time we spend in doors, the less money is needed.
5. Video Games - I know this sounds weird, but finding a game that both you and her can enjoy leads to hours and hours of entertainment. I spent $100 on Rock Band, but we've spent a countless number of hours playing it together on the weekends with friends, when we could be out spending money at bars.
6. Drink in - At our age, we still go out regularly. Although, I'm usually the Designated Driver, I'd suggest that if you are going to drink, drink in. You can mix drinks at your house, and a drink that would've costs you $12 can now cost you $3.
Whatever you do, the most important part of the process is communicating to your partner what your financial goals are so that you can work together toward the cause. If you just use a little creativity, you can still have a very spicy relationship without spending as much on it.