I never expected that having a baby would change my and my spouse’s relationship with (and in terms of) money. Of course, we knew that having a baby costs money. And that raising a baby costs even more money. But I never thought that having a baby would change how my spouse and I view money. And as a whole, I would say that this huge life change has actually improved our relationship when in comes to money – in three notable ways:
1) We Put Our Wants Second
Before Baby both my spouse and I had different wants that competed for the limited amount of income we collectively brought in. To be honest, we’ve almost always been on the same page about money and haven’t had too many fights. But we each still had things we would rather spend money on and we couldn’t both buy everything we individually wanted.
But now, with Baby, our wants have somehow merged from individual wants to collective wants. For example, now we value spending our money on things that we can both enjoy – and enjoy together – like going out to dinner, to the movies, or traveling. And we are happy putting these second. Why?
2) We Put Our Baby’s Needs First
Now that Baby is here, his needs always come first. There is never any question about that. Right now his needs primarily involve health care, food, and diapers. And certainly there are varying degrees of “need” in all these things. For example, does he “need” organic cotton disposable diapers? Probably not. Does he “need” organic baby food. Again, not likely. But these are decisions we’ve been on the same page about as a couple. (Note that he’s not actually eating real food yet – that’s a decision yet to come. And for the diapers – we opted for a cloth diaper service – which is cheaper than even Costco bulk disposable diapers.)
3) We Value Time Over Money
One of the biggest themes you will see when this site officially launches is the theme of time and money. Money can’t buy time. And it takes time to make money. But with a baby, your perspective of all of this changes. Having money is just a means to get and spend more quality time with our son. For instance, if my spouse or I ever wanted to not work, we would need an alternative source of income.
I have no doubt that raising a child will lead to plenty of money disputes in our marriage. But, perhaps surprisingly, I think it will also prevent many more money fights.
This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more great content about Relationships and Money check out the Relationships and Money Roundup.