Different spending priorities

December 5, 2010 at 9:27 am (holiday, mr. maven, sharing expenses)

My bf and I are pretty sympatico with our socializing tastes. However, there is one main area in which we digress. He loves to throw dinner parties for people. Big meals that cost money to make. He has a very close friend that he wanted to have Thanksgiving with. Due to her having to work *on* Thanksgiving, he wanted to have it earlier, the Tuesday before, but due to the big snow we had, no one dared travel anywhere in Seattle and we cancelled it.

He still wants to have it and is planning on this Tuesday. Pumpkin chocolate caramel torte, Chicken roll with pancetta and mushrooms (he doesn’t like turkey), dressing, cranberry compote, vegetable of some kind, crostini with roasted garlic and carmelized onions, probably something else. Wine of course. At least 5 people are coming over.

This time around he is going to prep, buy and cook everything during the day, as he doesn’t have work this day. I’ll be working late since I have to close, so I should be home about the time people start coming over. This time around he is going to buy most of the items on his own, without me, so I won’t be responsible for paying for it. Is it crass to be happy that I am not stuck with the bill? It wasn’t my idea, and he wants to do it.

He is a middle-aged grandmother when it comes to holidays. He loves them. He loves buying the decor, putting up lights, buying ornaments and wreaths. Me, I like it too, but for holidays that are a single day, like Halloween, I don’t feel the need to go knee-deep (or chest-deep in his case) into celebrating. For non-xmas holidays, it’s pretty easy – if he wants to buy something, he does and I don’t pay for it. Just like he doesn’t buy home stuff when it is something I want to get.

Christmas turns into a different situation. There’s a tree, and lights, all of which I enjoy. He wants to get a big, real, extravagant tree. I want a tree, but maybe a little more modest (say $30 cheaper). I absolutely cannot bring myself to say I will only pay half of a modest sized tree and you get the rest (ie, pay for the upgrade to the large tree). So I pay half on the xmas tree (and only grumble a little in my head). After all, I will love it as much as him.

Due to us having 2 very young and very large cats, one of which is a feline version of an olympic athlete, we decided we would not have any dangerous ornaments on our tree. No glass, no ceramics, nothing that could fall/break and be a danger to eat or to lacerate paws. Last year his huge stash of red bulb ornaments was out so we had to get new ornaments and we discovered the woodland themed brush ornamnents (animals made out of natural materials). Non-breakable and oh so adorable! J bought a lot. I bought some. Same thing this year, he bought a bunch, but I didn’t buy any (I’m waiting until after xmas). We started to put up our outside lights yesterday, but he couldn’t find some of the lights we had bought last year. He bought an extra $35 in lights instead.

I consider a lot of his purchases extremely frivolous, though I would never say so to him. I also buy things I shouldn’t, if I am really going to concentrate on getting out of debt. But they are not things I want to give up (primarily art), so I haven’t. I’m paying off debt slowly and steadily, but my way. I’m not sacrificing every single thing for that extra $175 per month that all the Dave Ramsey families seem to do. I don’t have a second job, since I don’t think I could handle it. I like a mocha when I go sit at the bookstore to read a book (instead of buying it). I like getting a chunk of expensive cheese when shopping at the market. But I don’t want to buy someone else’s splurges, and sometimes I am able to avoid paying for them, but sometimes I can’t avoid it. This is the season that this is going to happen most. I think my gift/xmas fund is going to be more than I truly need for gifts, so I guess I’ll dip into it for the tree, dinners, etc. Wish I didn’t have to though, but I guess that’s part of being in a relationship/partnership with someone – compromise.

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