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Help, I’m in Love With a Cheapskate!

5 reasons why being married to a smart spender might be a good thing

Agree to disagree: In instances where one partner was less into penny-pinching than the other, many of the couples I interviewed addressed that issue by establishing at least one separate account that was under the sole control and discretion of the "spender," as opposed to the "saver," in the family.

Make the splurges count: Almost all of the cheapskates I surveyed said they do splurge. One of the interesting differences when it comes to cheapskates and splurging is that they are far more likely (by about 10 to 1) to splurge on activities or experiences rather than material objects or possessions. If you believe what many social scientists say about experiences and activities ultimately resulting in far greater lifetime happiness than amassing more possessions (see the excellent book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, for example), then it stands to reason that cheapskate couples are making smart choices when they splurge on things like travel, time with family and friends and recreational pursuits. These are the kinds of things that tend to make us happier as individuals, couples and families.

Always keep 'em laughing: I was continually amazed — and amused — by how much time most of the couples I interviewed spent laughing. They had keen senses of humor, often of the self-deprecating variety, and were quick to laugh at themselves and their frugality. And in the case of cheapskates who married other cheapskates, there was often an ongoing good ribbing over who was cheaper! Marge: "Fred is so tight with a buck he squeaks when he walks!" Fred: "That's nothin'. Marge pinches a nickel until you can hear the windows in Monticello break!" You get the idea, and you've probably also heard that couples who laugh together stay together. Remember, laughter is free and good for any relationship.

Jeff Yeager is the author of four books including How to Retire the Cheapskate Way and The Cheapskate Next Door. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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