Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Money, Sex and Having it All

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Money puts a lot of pressure on relationships.  They say that families are held together by love, but the truth is that money has a way of dividing people.  Whether it's lots of money or hardly any at all, a difference of opinion on how to spend it is often the beginning of family turmoil and stress.

That's why I'm so relieved to be in a relationship with a guy who pretty much thinks about money the same way I do:  not at all.   OK, that's not exactly true.  But what I mean is that we hardly ever have to talk about money.  He has his money and he pays for his share of our expenses.  I have my money and I pay for my share of our expenses (relative to his, of course, since I'm not currently earning an income from a job).  We rarely have to discuss where our money goes because we simply trust each other to take care of whatever needs to be paid for.

So for the record, I'd like to suggest that having no money issues in our relationship translates successfully into having no sex issues in our relationship.  Because do you know what a turn-off it is when you DON'T trust your partner to be responsible with money?  (I'm speaking from experience here!)

In a nutshell, here's my tongue-in-cheek advice:  Want better sex?  Straighten out your money issues.

Our children benefit from our laid back approach to money.  For one thing, we don't have much to fight about!

But seriously, the children see that we are very deliberate about how we spend our money that is left over after the basic necessities are paid for.  We model for them that spending money is about making choices.  Since the amount of money we have to spend is finite, spending it on one thing will prevent us from spending it somewhere else.

The truth is, I'm neither frugal nor cheap nor thrifty.  I know what I like to spend money on and I'm willing to forgo other purchases in order to attain the things I want.
  • I spend almost $0 on my hair by using baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo and by not using styling products.  Instead, I use my extra cash for the occasional splurge on makeup.
  • We almost never get take-out food or fast food.  Instead, I pay a premium for top quality local produce and meat.
  • I spend less than $500 per year on clothing for my children, relying instead on hand-me-downs.  But I always buy high-quality snowsuits and winter boots for them, since winter outdoor play depends on being warm and dry.
  • Our children are not enrolled in lessons and activities that require fees.  By saving a lot of money in this area, we are able to make sure each of our children have a bike and a scooter, and we have purchased family memberships to the Zoo, the Science Center and the Pioneer Village.
  • I don't spend any money on my house except for necessary repairs.  You won't find fancy decor here!  In fact, you won't find any decor! Instead, we take the children on a few little trips to hotels every year.
  • We don't buy our children new toys and books on a regular basis.  Instead, we give our children money every week which they can save or spend.  However, they are expected to buy each other birthday and Christmas presents out of their own money.  So far, they have done very well to buy things for themselves and for each other.  In fact, their generosity is incredibly touching.
These are just a few examples of how we make sure that the way we spend money is in line with our values, as described in our Family Mission Statement.  We make money choices that reflect our desire to live in Freedom and Joy.  Stressing about money matters just does not fit into our family.

Our attitude toward money is much like everything else we do in our Radical Unschooling lifestyle. We are mindful about our choices, organic in our approach to teaching children about budgeting and relaxed about letting go of that which we can’t control. Our children understand that Daddy gives up his daily Freedom so that he can go to a job to get money so that the rest of our family can live in daily Freedom. They understand that Daddy uses his days of Freedom (the weekend) to enjoy the things that his money can’t buy i.e. time and activities with his family. They understand that money is never in unlimited supply and that having more money is not more important than being together.

They see in our actions that doing is more fulfilling than having.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also heeds her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having an allowance.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.


  1. Great post, Patti! I love your attitude toward money as a part of your holistic approach to family life. I'd be curious to know how you handle allowances, payments for chores, etc, if you feel like sharing.

    And I'll have to check on the no money problems, no sex problems one of these days ;)

  2. This resonates with me, as a lot of it is how we do it as a family too... Though I was extremely frugal before I met my husband, and he was more of the spending kind, we have balanced each other out nicely after so many years
    I do think that radical unschooling and authentic parenting help to balance things out and put things in perspective

  3. I've often heard that money tension is what causes most marital discord, and I can definitely see why. I think it's interesting that you and your partner choose to keep your money separate; I don't hear that solution very often and would love to hear more about it. I also totally agree with prioritizing what you want or need.

  4. thought provoking post - thank you. fortunately we're like you, we have different things to pay for so there is no concerns about what we then spend our own money on. It works for us and we never argue about money. And yeah, the sex is good LOL!

  5. You know, you're probably not too far off with the whole no-money-woes = better-sex-life theory ;) It's so nice not to have to stress about who is taking care of the finances (and how)!

  6. Great post! I agree with your theory about money & sex issues, too! Ha!

    Your arrangement sounds solid and easy to follow and I agree with Lauren, I don't hear about it going this way very often! My husband and I pool our finances and I pay bills and I agree, there is some issues that can crop up with this method!

    I love your family mission statement and seeing how your financial attitude and practices work into that. Very inspiring!

  7. LOL! I sooo agree with you about the sex and money connection! It's true that attitudes towards money are central to a marriage -- beyond love, it's also a business relationship. My husband and I sort of do what you do with family finances - I spend mine and he spends his. If you feel like sharing, I'd be curious to know how/if you negotiated how much YOU get since he is the bread winner of the family.

  8. SO many relationships are destroyed over money issues.

    We each definitely have to prioritize where our money goes and if we don't - our children learn that as well.

    Great post!

  9. Differences over money have definitely caused trouble in my relationship with my husband, but over years of working things through together, our practices have come into alignment. Also, it helps (???) that money is tight these days — neither of us can disagree about the fact that we need to be careful.

    I like that you're able to connect your approach to spending back to your mission statement.

  10. I enjoyed reading this, it's nice to have an insight into other's spending priorities. It helps me to assess whether or not we're spending in the right areas.
    I also always make sure we have the money for good-quality outdoor wear. We get loads of hand-me-downs too, mainly from my cousin. I get to see all the pretty clothes being passed down from her 2 girls to my 2! Lovely.