Monday, February 12, 2007

Money Matters to the Miser

It baffles me that even though my husband is employed full time for the State of Utah and receives an attractive government benefits package, our income still qualifies us for government aid such as WIC and the Earned Income Credit on our tax return. I'm in no way complaining about the tax return part, but doesn't that sound kind of strange?

I had a happy moment yesterday while filling out an online survey. Even though we are ironically still considered impoverished by the government who provides our salary, when I was asked to provide some information about annual household income I did not check the first box. I don't know...something about that just made me feel really excited!
  • Under $20,000
  • $20,000 - $39,999
  • $40,000 - $59,999
  • $60,000 - $79,999
  • $80,000 - $99,999
  • $100,000 - $119,999
  • $120,000 - $139,999
  • $140,000 and Over

Okay. Frugality. I know its a good thing, but where do you draw the line between penny pinching and being a miser?...miser is only one "y" away from misery, after all. I am reminded of this question every night as my husband and I put ourselves to bed. See, when I was pregnant, I spent $8 on a body pillow so that I could sleep on my side on the pillow and with it between my legs. It was a very comfortable solution. Of course, I got addicted to it and continued to use it after my pregnancy was over--it was just so comfortable!

Then Chris broke his arm and had surgery and made a strong case for why he should get to use the body pillow--to elevate his broken, throbbing arm. Okay, I can handle that. Well, his arm has been fine for 8 months and counting, and he still has nightly possession of the body pillow. Every night we entertain a dialogue that sounds something like this:

J: "Honey, can I have the body pillow tonight?"
C: "Well, I guess you can sleep tonight and I'll just be tired all day tomorrow."
J: "Fine, keep it."
C: "Well, if you really need it..."

For some reason, he wins every night. For a while I tried this tactic:

J: "Honey, I'm post-partum. I need the body pillow tonight."

He saw right through that. So I tried this:

J: "Honey, I'm pre-menstrual. I need the body pillow tonight."

Then a week later,

J: "Honey, I'm post-menstrual. I need the body pillow tonight."

That didn't work for more than two weeks.

On several occasions, Chris has suggested that we simply buy a second body pillow, but I just can't seem to be okay with that...If I concede and purchase a second, it means (1) That I'm not special and therefore am not entitled to any special treatment, and (2) That he wins and gets to sleep with a body pillow every night. Even if it means that we are both well rested, I just can't bring myself to spend 8 dollars more on this issue.

Then today, we used part of that poor-people tax credit to buy a coveted new couch. It just seemed like time to replace the furniture that came from a garage sale 3 years ago with a ticket price of $20. Plus, our new couch was only $400! Lets just say the price was right. Today after an afternoon of seeminlgy endless errands, I came home, put the baby down for a nap and collapsed on our new sofa. I had to try out its nap-ability. Woah! An hour and a half later, my husband came home from work wondering why dinner wasn't ready.

I think it's ironic that we could have solved our body pillow/sleeping issues with only an $8 investment, but instead we spent $4oo and will now fight over who gets to sleep on the couch.


Elizabeth said...

Hey, nice couch! From the picture, it looks like you both enjoy sacking out on it.

Also, congratulations on no longer being the lowest income on the totem pole. You are moving up in the world!


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't another body pillow be friendlier than a couch in another room? Mom

Sarah said...

Stuff like this is so funny. I'm the same way - I have no qualms whatsoever on splurging each and every time we go out to eat (drinks, dessert, appetizers) but when I lost my 1/4 cup measure I couldn't make myself replace it because I could "get by" without it. My husband begged me for almost a year to replace it but I didn't think it was the frugal thing to do.

Nice job on buying the new couch! At least you aren't an all around miser ;)

Elizabeth said...

One of the advantages of buying a couch is it increases your feelings of self-worth. At least that is the way it worked for Frank and me. When we were first married, we just had folding chairs to sit on in the kitchen. We typically sat on the floor, maybe with pillows, for visiting or watching TV. It was embarrassing when HT or VT came and we had to drag the folding chairs out. Hey, it worked, it was cheap, but we noticed we were more confident and self-assured when we finally bought a couch to sit on. A couch and folding chairs felt much better than just the chairs.

I do have a question about the body pillow, though. Whose is it? In other words, if someone wanted to buy the other person a body pillow, so you both had one, would it be for your or his birthday, or for Mother's or Father's Day? Do you need to buy him a pillow, or does he need to buy you one? :)


Jenny said...

I'm under the impression that he now needs to buy me a body pillow since he so rudely stole mine. But since I'm the one that does the shopping, I refuse to buy one for myself.

And mom, have no fear, we aren't actually sleeping in separate rooms. I was just being witty.

Aunt Joy said...

Jenny, Just a thought. I was wondering what if Leah gets a hold of the body pillow and decides she Really Likes It! Now wouldn't that eliminate the problem of needing to buy ONE more or would it create a new problem of needing to buy TWO more? Just a thought remember? Nice looking couch by the way. Love Aunt Joy.

Anonymous said...

Is this body pillow something we should each have one of? Mom

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he offer TO BE your body pillow?

That would be romantic...-Marci