What do you want money for?


We Want Money Only To Part With It

How many times do you just go shopping and buy something because you say, oh I need that or I want that? Trust me, it happens to us but not as often as it used to. Its’ no secret that before we started to budget as a couple, spending was a free for all even though we spent less than we earned and made sure we had no debts. Money and marriage changed our lives but we put the plan in motion after getting marriage advice about marriage problems and money.

There was never any thought put into what we want money for when we rented. Life was too easy for us at the time and that’s probably why so many people who leave home don’t understand why earning money is very important outside of living at their parent’s house. That is of course unless their parents taught them about money early and/or charged them rent.

Now and then

Before we bought our current home we were ready to sign the paperwork to purchase a business that would have changed our lives, even looking back today. Getting our finances and marriage off the ground seemed to catapult like a burning flame. Life took a turn that we never expected and I landed myself back in school as did my wife. Both of us are happy we declined but it wasn’t until we talked about what we wanted the money for which we were about to spend that the picture seemed clear. It was not a small amount of money either and I’m sure the franchise is now worth much more to buy into since it is even more successful today than it was back 5 years ago.

It was at the moment when we decided to call them up and say that we no longer were interested when we asked each other what we should do with our money. We had well over $100,000 in cash waiting to be spent but we weren’t sure what to spend it on. Renting was fun for us because we didn’t have to worry about paying any real bills or any type of home maintenance. We were free to go where we pleased and life was good for us. Renting was like candy to us since I owned a home from the age of 21 and my wife 30. We were set free from any burdens of home ownership and we were taking advantage of it every chance we could.


What we decided to do was brainstorm ideas about what we could do with our life savings which was essentially the sale of our homes and general savings. I wish I had kept that sheet we scribbled on because there were all sorts of wild and funky ideas but by far the most important was to own a home that we could call our own. It was time for us to move out of the no-responsibility nest in our early 30’s and back into home ownership.

Home ownership was only 1 item on the list but it was by far the biggest item to date. It wasn’t so much what we wanted to do with the money that we already had it was also about what we wanted money for in terms of our future. Some people thrive living the minimalist life, but we do like to spend money but only if we can pay cash for it. Money in a marriage is important only because when there isn’t enough or when the bills aren’t getting paid that’s when problems for some, not all start to happen.

Problems in relationships

It may not happen right away but eventually it may. A friend of my wife’s said that people tend to give up on marriage too easy these days when relationship problems arise. She’s right, they do and it’s mostly money and career choice that fuel the fire. For others it may be job loss or injury but it always centralizes around money.

A friend of mine struggles to find someone to love because he has less than a stellar job and the women he dates make more money than him. He’s been told that it’s not him it’s his job because they want more out of life and they don’t want to lead him on. I’ve told him not to worry because not all women are after men with money, someone is waiting for him. Now, he’s back on plenty of fish a dating website hoping to catch that one in a million.

Clearly those women know what they want to have money for and there are women out there that want the entire package, good looks and money. Some women are happy with just being in love and taking things as they come. The best relationship advice I have for a man which I’ve learned about myself is to love what you do and love yourself first. I’m just happy that I had the strength in love with my wife to carry me through to the career I am in today.

The same goes for men who expect no less but that’s where couple’s need to get serious about money talks right from the beginning, or common relationship problems will creep in. That can get depressing but “the truth shall set you free”, so they say. Money has different meanings to different people and not everyone wants money to live the life of the rich and the famous, some just want to live. There is nothing wrong with wanting the simple life but it’s still important to understand how money may affect you whether you are in a relationship or not.

Money and relationships

So, what do we want money for? 

Since we were already married and on the same page for the most part about money we followed through on a few steps that helped us light the way. We wish everything in life would just fall into place but sadly, that’s not the case. Relationships take work, that’s no secret and if you take a relationship for granted you will quickly see how resentment will build up. For us, it was important to open up all avenues so we knew exactly what we wanted money for as a couple.

Money can become a huge power struggle for some couples, especially if one or the other earns more money. That is why we quit comparing financial numbers and only focused on what was more important, us. This is what we did below, and even though it may sound outrageous, it works for us.

Make a list

So the first thing we did was create a list since we already knew how much we both earned. We were far from our max earning potential so the list is going to change. The list was to pin-point briefly what we wanted to spend our money on and what we wanted money for. Nothing was deemed irrelevant because it was what we wanted and desired the most.

We did not judge each other, rather we compromised. Sometimes I think if we think that each others dreams are not important at some point we may look back and be bitter at the other for not allowing or at least thinking about whether it was an option or not at the time. If my wife told me her dream was to go to let’s say Spain then we would add that to the list. If we don’t create a list of what we want in life (bucket list) then it’s easy to become depressed over what we could have done, but never did.

Sort the list

So, if I remember correctly on our list we wanted money for buying a home, a new-to-me vehicle, to have a child, new furniture, trip to Spain (yes that was real even though I’ve been many times) etc. What are your dreams? There were items on the list that we thought really didn’t need to be there so we scraped the ideas and moved on. Saving money for our future in terms of investments was paramount as was an early retirement because we didn’t want to work until the bitter end if we didn’t have to.

We knew from running numbers that in order to make our money dreams happen we needed to earn a certain amount of money. We now knew what we wanted money for and we had to go out and grab it. We are both quite determined individuals and although I could have settled for minimum wage when I arrived in Canada as a permanent resident the opportunity for success was staring me in the face, so I took it.

Follow through

Taking all the information that we’ve learned in terms of what we wanted money for we then put together a plan. No the plan is not final; it never is as something always gets in the way but the plan is there. It’s a 5-year plan so we know where we want to go and a general idea about how we are going to get there. We are now 4 years living in our new house and the plan although slower than anticipated is falling into place nicely.

At the end just by talking it over together and making notes we realized that earning enough money to live the lifestyle that we wanted now and in the future was what we wanted money for. We also wanted to make sure that we saved enough money so that the burden so many face that have money problems was not surrounding us. I suppose we are trying to be pro-active rather than re-active in some form or another. Do you want to make money, spend money or do both?

If anything, having a certain closeness with my wife where we can both collaborate and build successes is what brought us together and will keep us together next to the all important, being in love. Who knew marriage was going to be so tough yet so easy at the same time. In one hand and out the other, that’s what we want money for, to live life.

What do you want money for?


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  1. My husband and I work at our financial goals together while we are not always 100% likeminded of where we spend the money I do think having to work through obstacles and learn how to work as a team has made us a stronger couple. Example whenever we sell anything of major value I am the negotiator and I take the money…….it works he can still be the good guy and I enjoy practicing my negotiating skills and I have learned I am okay with silences and pauses in the conversation……man wisdom really does come with age 🙂 Another great thought provoking post Mr. CBB oh and thanks for the mention 🙂

  2. Very good point. I worked for years to make money because I thought that’s what people did. It wasn’t until we decided what we wanted to do with our money (get out of debt, then become financially independent, while enjoying travel and life along the way) that life got really fun instead of being so stressful. I still get stressed, but honestly, I have a great life and nothing to complain about.

  3. “they do and it’s mostly money and career choice that fuel the fire. For others it may be job loss or injury but it always centralizes around money.” I have to disagree with that statement only because I know a lot of people who get divorced because they either fell out of love, or were never really in love with the person in the first place…they just felt they had to get married. Although I do agree money problems are HUGE cause of problems and fights in a relationship. I also think when it comes to dating, it’s not so much the job per say, but how they handle the money they do have or if you can “feel” their financial stress. Since I have carried that around with me, believe me I can honestly say it’s probably a huge turnoff.

    Anyway, I agree that knowing WHY you want money and WHY it’s important to you is a huge step in financial awareness. If you don’t know what you want, then what are you working towards? Probably nothing. I’m working towards retirement, travel, a car, and a more peaceful, stress free financial life!

    1. I agree I could have worded that differently and added in all the millions of other reasons people get divorced like you mention falling out of love or not being in love in the first place.

  4. Our priority for a lot of years was raising the kids with me as a stay at home Mom. This meant some sacrifices but we did it. It also meant I was able to help out at the schools, go on field trips with the kids, be on a first name basis with the teachers and make a lot of the clothes for the kids. We saved on my wardrobe,( I live in jeans around the house) as well as a second vehicle. We have managed with only one for a lot of years.
    With this heat wave we are all suffering under central air is looking good. Hubby talked last year about getting window units for the rooms we wanted cooled down,but given how much power those use for one room at a time, I told him I’d rather save the money and get central air…. more money up front but cheaper to run and it cools the whole house. This would be something I’d be OK with spending money on if we had to replace the furnace some time down the road.
    It does help if you know what you are working for either on your own or as part of the team called marriage. These days we take pleasure in the small things, like the cardinal that is at the feeder right now as I write this. We’ve seen him, the female and this years babys…3 of them, best guess is two females and a male at our feeder!

  5. Oh to be a fly on the wall when you and Mrs CBB go to work on a plan! LOL, I am very spontaneous and it can definitely be my downfall when it comes to finances!
    I find that I tend to want money to spend on our little one, I’m tempted to spoil her every chance I get, as is my hubby! I guess there could be worse things to spend on! We just need to learn that when we do actually make a plan, to incorporate that into it, instead of letting that throw us off track 😉

    1. Oh I know, I bet we will be hit like a brick but luckily we have siblings that have kids so they’ve given us the low down. I’m sure if will be different when we have one but spending for now is planned and to be honest, we are far from perfect… just read our grocery game posts. Life is never easy for anyone. 🙂

  6. I would like to own my own home one day, have enough money put away to give the kids a good start with school and I dream of one day owning a grand piano 🙂

  7. It’s pretty hard to pry a dollar from my fist but I will set goals, save for a purchase and then thoroughly enjoy our new item. But, I would still really rather have the money in the bank! LOL 🙂

      1. Wait til you see my sales and freebies Mr CBB! I headed to the US at 6:00 am, treated myself to a wonderful breakfast and then the shopping began! Just got walked back in the door just after noon and the trunk is jammed again! LOL I am having a cold drink before I start offloading. 🙂

  8. Just like everyone at some point or another, I spent money on things I now would not consider important to spend money on: fancy clothes, fancy toys, fancy things.

    An immensely important reason for earning and spending money for me is time with friends and family. Money allows me to go out for drinks, meals, social events, coffee, etc with friends and family and the time I spend with them is something I value and believe spending my money on.

    Of course all within reasonable means, but time spent with family and friends absolutely trumps spending money on a new iPhone or other fancy new toy.

      1. I’m glad I found another Canadian personal finance blogger on WordPress because it’s been hard finding others!

        I’ve been really enjoying the Canadian Budget Binder so far and I plan on being a regular visitor here 🙂

  9. I used to spend quite mindlessly, fortunately I stayed within my means. But looking back, I wish I would have been wiser with what I spent my money on. Most of things I have already forgotten and really didn’t matter. They were just there. Now days, I am far choosier what I buy. Partly by necessity but also by choice. I want the things I spend my precious and hard-earned money on to mean something to me. Not something I bought because I was bored, which I used to do more than I care to admit.

    1. You are not alone. Many people go shopping when they are bored and end up buying ‘stuff’ they don’t need. What do you think fuels this boredom and what would you have done to fill that void if you could?

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