Most things couples disagree about are relatively unimportant:
- What TV character said “goodnight, John boy?”(Google the fact disputes!)
- Which restaurant to choose tonight? (whoever didn’t pick last time!)
- Should we get green peppers on the pizza? (yes, they're good for you!).
Maybe one partner is a bookworm, while the other is a film bug— and he and she can never agree on whether that John Grisham thriller is better on the big screen or in the pages of the book.
One lover may have the travel bug and ants in their pants to see the world, while the other is a roly-poly homebody.
Maybe he’s a social butterfly while she’s a caterpillar snug as a bug cocooned alone in her rug.
After all, opposites DO attract.> Yet one subject is central to a lot of inter-couple arguments.
>> What topic gets him and her mad as a hornet more often than not?
>>> What's the number one issue that couples fight about?
No, it's not whether to watch ESPN or the Hallmark Channel.
It's much ado about MOOLAH.
Money is a big part of anyone’s life-- how to earn it, when and where to spend it, what to do with it, who to give it to, how much of it to save.
Naturally, a topic that broad is bound to create some tension between partners in a couple who may disagree in one or more of these areas.
Financial conflict is a natural part of relationships.
44% of partners say that they sometimes argue about money, according to the 2021 Fidelity Investments Couples & Money Study.
However, one lesser-known reason couples so often argue about money is because ants (savers) are for some reason often incredibly attracted to grasshoppers (spenders)-- and vice versa.
Indeed, like a proverbial moth to a theoretical flame, these two “opposites attract” types frequently marry each other.
We should know (we did).
> For what it’s worth…
>> Mrs. Cubic Zirconia is by nature an ant.
>>> Mr. Cubic Zirconia is naturally more of a grasshopper.
Together, in the push and pull of a marriage and business partnership together, we’ve each become a better version of ourselves.
So if you’re a grasshopper married to an ant or an ant married to a grasshopper-- or one in a mixed pair of nuts considering getting married to someone who’s kinda your financial opposite-- then you should read today’s message carefully.
As you may know, ants are money savers while grasshoppers are spenders.
One great way to highlight the natural differences between savers (ants) and spenders (grasshoppers) is the Pixar’s animated movie “A Bug’s Life”.
If you haven’t seen the movie, the film’s main character is an inventive and oddball worker ant named Flick. His ant colony works together to protect and feed each other-- but the ants are victimized each year by a group of grasshoppers who prefer to steal food from the ants instead of gathering their own. The grasshoppers claim they’ll provide protection as long as the ants give a food offering each year. The relationship works for years until Flick causes a disaster that causes the ants to no longer be able to supply food for the grasshoppers. The grasshoppers’ leader demands the ants to produce twice as much food as they did before. As a result, the ants will not have enough food to store up for themselves. In the story, Flick tries to fix the problem he created by traveling outside the ants’ territory to recruit warrior bugs to help fight off the grasshoppers.
The movie is loosely inspired by Aesop’s fable where we learn, in short that…
- Ants are thrifty and efficient, work hard and save, exercise plenty, look to the future and manage to get everything they can out of everything they’ve got.
Grasshoppers prioritize rest, play and partying, and tend to spend more than they earn (eat more than they harvest).. It could be because they’re lazier and more wasteful than ants, though in a judgment-free zone we’d just say they prefer to enjoy today without worries about tomorrow.
The ant saved up for winter while the grasshopper didn't.
The grasshopper values rest and partying while the ant works hard all summer long during the blistering heat.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool for building his house and laying up food for the winter-- when there’s so much fun to be had dancing and playing today.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
- Come winter, the grasshopper has no food or shelter and dies hungry in the cold.
With 86% of American insects…er…human couples starting off their marriage in debt, it should be clear to anyone that worrying about money woes is not making a mountain out of an ant hill.
Here, we've organized some money-saving tips that can help couples reduce their spending and achieve more balance when it comes to money perspectives.
Roughly half of marriages end in divorce, so if you want to enjoy a more perfect–- and peaceful-- union with your love bug, you'll want to reduce battling about money and definitely stick to fighting over something less life-and-death-- like which movie to watch.
This can be easier said than done -- especially when an ant (saver) marries a grasshopper (spender).
A marriage between the two can be troublesome.
And a marriage between an ant and a grasshopper might end badly, in our opinion…unless…
The two agree to do some of these 9 things detailed below.
1. If it’s the right time, move in together
If you don’t already live together and are considering a cohabitation situation, it’s without a doubt that two people sharing a living space can save a huge amount of money versus each living separately.
Not only do rent and utilities become easier to manage when you split the cost for one place instead of each paying a similar amount for your own place, but many other expenses become cheaper as well. Have you ever heard the phrase that two can eat as cheaply as one? Same goes for a number of other things!
2. Consolidate two similar “single” expenses into one couple’s cost
This is often one of the fastest ways couples can cut costs when they start to “get serious” about the relationship and thinking of themselves as a unit rather than two individuals sharing a meal (and/or a bed). This step could even be put in place before cohabitation-- considering how much of an average person’s take-home pay is spent on things that can easily be shared. Simply put, you consolidate expenses that can easily be combined or streamlined by elimination of duplicate expenses.
Easy things to consolidate include magazine subscriptions and digital entertainment recurring costs, plus even phone bills for some couples can be shared (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia are considered a little ‘weird’ that as of writing this, they’ve had one cellphone between them for the 7 years since 2015).
3. Don’t be embarrassed to furnish a new place with used furniture
Especially if it’s not your “forever home”, why be embarrassed about buying used furnishings? For example, if you’re moving into an apartment together and need furniture because you’ve both only really lived in furnished homes before, the cost for everything purchased as new can really add up.
The wear-and-tear is rarely even that noticeable on quality tables, chairs, lamps, curtains, shelves, couches, bookcases, and so much more that can be bought super-cheap while bargain-hunting at flea markets, garage sales or thrift stores.
If one half of your awesome twosome wants to spend, spend, spend…why not compromise by having him or her choose what furniture he/she wants, take a picture, get a price and then agree to wait 6 months before buying it? If he/she still feels the same way after a cooling down period, then the grasshopper can go ahead and buy it! But in the meantime, his/her more ant-like partner can be looking for something similar for much less cost-- and if you get that cheaper version the ‘ant’ wants most instead, why not allow the grasshopper to spend at least a bit of that saved cashola on whatever crazy idea pops in his or her head?
4. Smart-money engagement
Debt is a can of worms. It’s advised that a couple should start their marriage off with as little debt as possible. One way to do that is set the tone early with an engagement proposal where the only butterflies in your stomach are a slight anxiety over whether she’ll say ‘no’-- rather than concern that you’re going into debt over an exorbitantly priced diamond engagement ring.
Expensive jewels are luxury items. ‘If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it’ is rarely bad advice for those who want comfort today and better tomorrow. So, couples must ask themselves if a ‘real’ jewel today is worth compromising their future financial security. CubicZirconia.com gold, .925 sterling silver, or pure 950 Platinum rings are beautiful diamond alternatives.
If you’re considering an engagement proposal, why not opt for a dazzling 5A cubic zirconia engagement ring?. It sparkles, it shines, and the money you save choosing our CubicZirconia.com gold or platinum engagement ring product over an expensive natural diamond looking the same could buy you the equivalent of an SUV, all new appliances for your kitchen, or the down payment on your first home.
5. Set up a monthly budget together (and commit to it!)
Today is the only day for a grasshopper. But an ant understands that tomorrow won’t take care of itself. If you could listen in like a fly on the wall to couples who successfully create a working relationship-- despite one being more of a saver and the other more of a spender-- you’ll likely hear evidence that he and she compromised with some sort of budget that allows some good fun today and great security tomorrow.
Don’t go all bug-eyed on us. A budget doesn’t have to be a four-letter word; it’s just how you're going to manage your money. To create a basic budget, just add up your bills, calculate your earnings, and then consider what's left over. That leftover portion-- be it large or small-- is often a trigger for a money argument between two partners in a couple.
The ant wants to put it in savings and have grilled cheese for date night; the grasshopper wants to replace the stained carpeting and go get surf n’ turf at that new swanky restaurant on Saturday night.
What ideal solution would you learn if you could bug the private conversations of successful ant-and-grasshopper couples? Simply it’s to first save half for a rainy day and spend half on fun today. Surf OR turf, grasshopper-- not both.
6. Manage money together with “Money Meetings”
Traditionally in many marriages, one spouse would manage the money, and would do all the banking and accept the responsibility to split incomes and make sure the bills for the household get paid. But hey, this is the 21st century, y’all: you’re two adults, and you both share a responsibility for the couple’s finances.
It’s not a bad idea to sit down together once a month for a “money meeting” where a couple can track spending, pay the bills, review transactions-- including what’s paid on auto-pay-- discuss various financial risks, transfer money to savings, earmark cash to spend on whatever you want, make investments and revisit their short-term and long-term financial and life goals.
By managing the money together, and regularly talking about your dreams and concerns, you'll find it easier to brainstorm solutions and make sure the money earned all goes to the right places.
Even busy little bees can find an hour to do this. Having a nice ritual helps a lot. Maybe you brew some coffee and sit at the kitchen counter for this talk over breakfast. Maybe you eat lunch out together and crunch the numbers then. However you get together, it doesn’t matter-- just be ready, willing and able to regularly face your financial obligations together.
7. Set spending / saving goals
It's helpful for couples to be on the same page about their financial goals, so we advise you to talk about them together in regular monthly money meetings. Maybe once a year though you can have your meeting be to set goals for the next year. You can consider what you hope to save in a given year and what you'd like to spend at least some of the savings on.
If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, create a budget that allows for both. If your partner is a bargain-hunter, put him in charge of the spending part of the budget (while you invest the savings).
Sure, ants might want to go on saving indefinitely and fill up that honeypot in the off-limits, don’t-touch-it financial vault. Grasshoppers might want to bug out and escape the cold for a lengthy all-inclusive resort stay with the sun and sand in Cancun every year.
An ant and a grasshopper together need to compromise. That might mean a couple taking less expensive annual vacations than the two together could conceivably afford, but avoid taking on debt to do it…while perhaps planning a kick-ass vacation to make a beeline for Cancun to celebrate a special milestone like a 5-year wedding anniversary with an over-the-top luxury experience neither of you will soon forget.
8. Prioritize debt reduction
Soon-to-be-newlywed couples arrive at the altar with all sorts of debts-- student loans, car notes, credit cards, etc. And for many couples, the accumulation of debt continues until death does them part (if debt doesn’t break them up first).
These debts can be a real fly in your soup and take a toll on a couple's financial well-being. The wasps of debt buzz all about couples. What you owe or to whom is none of our beeswax-- but it definitely isn’t something you should hide from your life partner. Be honest about what’s owed, where, to whom and how much. Get together as a couple and prioritize reducing debt-- especially debt with costly interest adding up.
Good for the ant (save more). Good for the grasshopper (more to spend when not making costly interest payments for things you probably don’t even remember buying). The sooner you can pay off bad debts, the sooner the two of you can say goodbye to their negative impact on your financial health.
Not sure how to reduce your debts? Let us put a bug in your ear: instead of arguing about it, agree together to talk to a financial planner and read a book together with tips on getting (and staying) out of debt. You might be surprised at how much difference some professional advice can make. Together, you can protect your nest and enjoy a happier, financially healthier life together.
9. Have fun while spending less
You don't have to pay top dollar for a romantic date. Pack a picnic lunch and head to the beach. Invite another couple over for card games and homemade pizza. Fill your weekend with bike rides, used bookstores, and family barbecues instead of pricy clubs, expensive sporting events and fancy restaurants.
No one's saying you can't splurge occasionally, but it’s a good skill for the health of a marriage for a couple to learn to have fun without a lot of money being spent.
A walk in the park, a tandem hike, cooking together, a free community arts class, hitting up a free local concert-- all are good “cheap date” options.
You're rich in love, and that's what matters. And if you can earn more money over the course of your careers-- without increasing your spending every time you get a raise in income-- you may just find yourselves one day rich with money too.
An ant marries a grasshopper
Even if they love each other, sometimes an ant might wanna punch a day-dreaming grasshopper in the face.Sometimes a grasshopper might wanna kidney-punch that know-it-all ant.
We’re just suggesting to compromise a bit and agree to do some of these things instead. This is about celebrating your differences. It's important that ants and grasshoppers in a relationship feel that their needs regarding money are addressed.
Don’t slug a bug.
Ants aren't perfect, after all; for all their saving, they sometimes forget the necessity of using what’s been earned and saved to live a good, healthy and happy life.
Ants rarely lend and almost never borrow. So there’s opportunities missed there that may require risk or financial leverage. And the ant may be wise, but she doesn't know enough to relax or take a deserved vacation.
And grasshoppers aren’t awful, lazy or bad people.
Perhaps grasshoppers could learn to confine their monthly spending to a reasonable budget so that they can avoid the debt traps that entrap so many couples...but they’re good to have around when it’s time to have fun!
An ant can teach a grasshopper how to anticipate future pleasure-- rather than only just indulging it immediately. The ant teaches the grasshopper that If you do nothing but play today, you may have nothing left for tomorrow.
A grasshopper can teach an ant how to enjoy the fruits of their labor. And how to take a bit of a risk if the hoped-for return is greater than the risk of loss.
There’s a satisfying balance between getting all your wants today and planning for the future-- and it’s this balance that a well-matched but “opposite” couple can create in a relationship together.
An ant and a grasshopper can be a formidable couple.If you’re anything like us, then together, we believe the two of you can create a life that’s much more fun and successful than either of you likely ever could have been alone.
Today we’re just sharing a bit of what’s worked for us to find common ground as two people who came into a relationship with very different views on saving, spending, risk and investments.
We’re by no means perfect. We mess up. We disagree. We argue.
-- Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia