Poorganic Splurge? What?!?

Posts where I tell you to spend lots of money are few and far between, but this is one of them, so you will probably want to read to find out what inspires me to relax my vice-like grip over our money.

One of my budgeting victories was figuring out how to allocate money for a “date night” for the ProvidinaTOR and me.  I don’t mean a “budget date” where we have to lower our expectations although realistic expectations are huge.   (Please note that the linked post was written prior to our real foods brainwashing, so we were happy eating at McDonald’s.  Now, I might feel differently. Maybe. Depending.)

Despite our savvy with cheap dating, I found that there were many months when the prospect of yet another free or cheap date did not excite either of us.  Faced with couponing my way through another mediocre date, I often opted for staying home.  Since I manage our finances, my husband hated having to ask me if there was money to take me out, only to find out that it was already mostly spent on groceries or a bill.  It wasn’t fun.  We ended up skipping dates and then getting irritated at each other and the kids when we could just NEVER afford to go out.  It stunk. It deflated us. It made us discontent and resentful.  It made me want to snarl at the rich-folk who had a weekly date night. Grrrr.

Then I thought about how we tithe at least 10% of our gross income back to God through ministries because we believe that all money is HIS. Giving first to Him really establishes our relationship and our stewardship around Him.

It occurred to me that second to God, the money He gives us should establish our relationship and stewardship around a thriving marriage and family.  Since we always managed to scrounge up enough when we made tithing a first priority, I decided that I would “tithe” to us, albeit in a secondary way. I would Tithe to the Relationship.

Here’s what I did and do now. (See photo.)

  1. Get paycheck
  2. Tithe on gross income to God by way of church, missionaries, Compassion child, Letter Verses, etc.
  3. Deduct all bills and regularly recurring expenses.
  4. Take 10% of the remainder for Tithe to the Relationship.
  5. PLAN a date for the weekend immediately after payday.
  6. Use the remaining money for variable expenses like groceries, gas, and household items.

Let me just tell you, Tithe to the Relationship IS AWESOME!  Both of us agree that it has been a game changer in terms of our relationship and our budgeting.  For one thing, it makes payday fun instead of a bill paying drag.  It makes dating fun, instead of a lamo-fast food drag.  My husband enjoys taking me out and spending money on me since I have a hard time overcoming my guilt about spending it on myself. I like being treated like . . . . a girl on an expensive DATE–not a tired out mom cheapin’ it at MickeyDs.

Most months, tithing to our relationship gives about $100 for one monthly date. That IS HUGE for us!!

We found a delicious Indian restaurant through a coupon at Restaurant.com (which I always shop at through Ebates.com to get money back!) Now, I get a monthly coupon for “our place,” so we can order whatever we want and not even share.  We sit outside, relax, and pretend for one glorious evening that it is just the two of us. Thankfully our parents are both in town and babysit for free, so we are a bit spoiled in this regard, but even if we had to pay a babysitter, we could still go to a really nice dinner.

It’s not just awesome because of the Indian food, however. Tithe to the Relationship means we start off the month connecting, sharing, and dare I say, investing in our marriage as a priority to BOTH of us.  After God, our marriage is number one.  Additionally, I think we both find it a lot easier to resist our need to splurge or eat out during the month if we’ve had a nice solid date night.  Forgetting TTtR, I suspect, was actually one of our downfalls during the Not-so-$500 month because we didn’t get our usual date night, and the rest of our consumables budget suffers when I feel like I have to make it up in fancy groceries.

What do you think? How do you afford date night? Do you think I’m being wildly indulgent?

16 Responses to Poorganic Splurge? What?!?

  1. Johanna Fenton October 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    This is awesome, Katrina! I LOVE this idea.

  2. Erin October 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    You should absolutely date your hubby!!! Absolutely! I don’t think you are being wildly indulgent – especially when you have 3 kids and need some “man and me” time. :-)
    How does our house afford a date night? Sadly, we usually use one of the military events as our date night. I wish we could date more… I will have to see if your plan works in our budget.
    Have fun dating your hubby!

  3. Anitajoye October 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    i love it. our date budget is $40 a month, but it isn’t enough really. we use coupons and groupons and sometimes pitch in our own allowances to be able to spend a bit more. i love that yours is $100.

  4. Positively Alene October 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    You always challenge me!! Need to be more initial about date night! Somewhere along the last few months we’ve let it slide. This. is. not. good!!! Love you
    Positively Alene recently posted…31 days of anonymity {day 2 – dear husband}My Profile

  5. Kay Bruner October 3, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Indulge! Enjoy! Be happy together forever!!!

  6. Jen October 3, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    This is a brilliant idea. I’ve been struggling trying to balance transitioning to cleaner, organic food and maintaining enough in our budget for other family activities. The marriage has been feeling the brunt of the sacrifices, unfortunately. Definitely going to try to institute this ASAP (as in tomorrow when we get paid again!) TY!

    • Katrina October 3, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Hooray! I’m glad you like it. Have a fun date and remember the poorganic mantra, people (relationships) are more important than things (food).

  7. Teri October 3, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    You’ve told me this before, but I’m glad for the refresher. Luckily for me, I get a couple of super fancy dates each year due to his work events (which are free if you don’t count the babysitter) but we aren’t very good about making a regular date night. And you know I’m pretty tight fisted too, so when it comes to paying a babysitter, we often opt to stay in. I like the idea of budgeting for the dates so I won’t feel so stingy. Do you prefer one indulgent date each month or to break it up into a couple of smaller dates?

    • Katrina October 3, 2012 at 8:44 am #

      One initial monthly date seems to work best for us from a babysitting and scheduling standpoint. Plus he gets paid monthly, so it just makes sense in my mind. I think if I had to “hold” onto the date money for a later weekend, I would spend it on kleenex, or diapers, or bananas or something. You guys need a date night!! What about a babysitting swap with another couple, so that you could use your full tithe for yourselves? :)

      • Teri October 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

        And that’s the problem – I hate babysitting swaps! We’ve tried them before, several times in fact, and I just don’t think it’s worth it. I would rather save my money and give it to a babysitter than to watch someone else’s kids voluntarily. But, that’s just me 😉

        • Katrina October 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

          Yeah. Just hire a babysitter and do one big date. :)
          Katrina recently posted…How to find RestMy Profile

  8. Rebecca October 3, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    What a great idea! I believe God takes pleasure from your tithe to the relationship-making it a priority. Thanks for sharing.

    How do you stop thinking about the people you know or have met that have even less money than you. We are on a budget but it doesn’t necessarily compare to a couple friends and to the people I have met outside of the USA. And I can’t stop thinking about them when I spend money on us.

    • Katrina October 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      I do often think about how I compare, but decreasingly so. I feel like if you have given cheerfully and generously FIRST to God (and the ministries or people that He directs you toward), then the rest a chance to practice good stewardship. For us, tithe to the relationship is an example of good stewardship at work–not just financially, but in terms of our time and our focus on each other. The money is actually kind of an incidental component that enables us to designate the time for a date. Much like God resupplies what we give to others, I feel like tithing to our relationship enables us as a couple to be better equipped to “resupply” the needs of our family. I’m sure a lot of people would look at the $100 and feel I could have spent it better in some other way, but I just have to answer to God–not to men.
      Katrina recently posted…Poorganic Splurge? What?!?My Profile

  9. MyPeaceOfFood October 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    I love this idea. I think you can work anything in as long as you put it “first” …

    Um …

    This is why I’m spending so much on food instead of giving.

    You see, I have a built-in excuse that my husband is not at all on the same page as me about giving. He doesn’t even have a giving page, if I’m being honest. And so somehow, although I could just give as much money away as I want because he has no clue about our finances, that doesn’t seem right either.

    I’m working on it. We are in therapy and I have a budget coach. So maybe in our case, the date night needs to be this high up on the list also, so that we can continue to work on our issues and open the lines of communication.

    Thank you for this.
    MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…Feeling goodMy Profile

  10. Sarah October 4, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I love this idea! I have always had a line item on my budget for date night, but we don’t typically go on our date RIGHT after pay day. Often the money gets spent on something else before we get to go out :-( I am takin this advice to the bank! Thanks Katrina!

  11. Elizabeth May 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    My children are grown now but I’d like to share that having date nights regularly through their years at home made a HUGE difference in my marriage. When the kids flew the nest we still had a real marriage, one we’d cultivated via date nights over the decades. So many people seem to wake up one day when the last child leaves and look at their spouse only to not even know who he/she is or what they are together anymore. We are better parents and grandparents for having had regular date nights!