Financial Feud: Buy a Jacuzzi vs. Save the money

Financial Feud

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In Dispute:

$8,000

The Argument:

Paul

My wife wants to buy a Jacuzzi and sauna for the backyard, but I don’t think it’s a good investment. She says she would personally get a lot of enjoyment from them and argues that our four kids would also use them over the years. I say they’re a waste of money -- about $8,000 for the equipment and installation -- because I think they’ll get used for six months, then collect dust, just like other pieces of exercise equipment we’ve purchased in the past. AM I RIGHT?

Expert Opinion:

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Paul

The Argument:

We often get into arguments about things that my wife says will improve our quality of life, but I think will get used briefly and then sit idle. Sometimes these things can cost money just to own, too (like a Jacuzzi, for example).

A Jacuzzi in the backyard sounds delightful, but you’re right to think about the overall worth of the investment. Really, you and your wife are arguing over values. It sounds like you prioritize saving and investing, whereas your wife gets a kick out of spending money on things that the family can enjoy on a day-by-day basis. You mentioned arguments like these aren’t uncommon, and that makes perfect sense, because arguments over values are often the most difficult to resolve.

To start, I’d recommend arranging some quiet, stress-free time with your wife where you can sit down together and talk about each of your financial values, and how each of you thinks money should be managed. Then, create a budget -- together -- that reflects both of your values, and make sure you’re putting money aside to meet your individual needs.

In this case, that might mean agreeing to a set amount of money that can be spent on exercise equipment or fun. If the final cost of the Jacuzzi/sauna doesn’t fall within this budget, create a short-term plan to save up over time or reassess the worth. You’ll both have to make some concessions, but that’s just part of being in a relationship.

Before shelling out $8,000, or making any big-ticket purchases for that matter, it’s important you and your wife reach an agreement that you both find satisfactory. Otherwise, one of you might feel as though you drew the short straw, which could create resentment over time and exacerbate your financial conflicts.

About the author

Joy Smithson is the program director for the financial stability initiative at United Way of Southeast Mississippi.

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