Saturday Edition: The Change Marriage Brings

The Saturday Edition is a post by Kamel. This is the 5th installment.

Something big changed in my life once I got married. But I didn’t really notice it (or maybe I did, and it took me a while to accept it) until recently. My technology purchasing habits completely changed. Here are some examples of how I used to roll:

  • I used to purchase 2-4 Blu-Ray movies each Tuesday (new release Tuesday!) at either Best Buy if I was impatient, or Amazon when I used to have Prime.
  • I would upgrade my gizmos around once a year. New larger TVs, new Macs, new iPods, new gaming consoles, new Receivers, Routers and Speakers. I always had to have the latest ones. And if the doodad was new, I’d just buy it day 1. I waited in many lines starting at 4-5am.
  • I would always haggle in stores. And get my way about 90% of the time.

Now, I didn’t just up and buy new stuff. I wasn’t a billionaire. I was clever about it. I would know when something new was around the corner and then I’d sell my current gadget on craigslist, ebay or to friends/family before the new thingy came out. I would use the cash earned from that and usually just pay a small “upgrade fee”. Sometimes I would even end up making money! I even did this with my brand new car and ended up going from a new 2004 model to a new 2007 model (back in 2007) without paying a dime and with no increase at all to my monthly bill.

So now that I am married, I realize that all this crap is no longer just mine. It is ours. Same goes for our income and expenses. The whole, mine and yours is out and now its just our money and our expenses. And you know what? I really like this, even if it was hard to transition into. For example, the iPad. I wanted one. Lauren did not ever want to associate herself with one. We argued, and we ended up not getting one. BUT THEN, my dad gave us one as a gift. (Lauren edit: This actually caused some major, major fights.) Fast forward 1 year later… Lauren uses the iPad considerably more than I do. “Can I have the iPad?” is a line I hear a lot before going to bed, or when we have downtime. (Lauren edit: this is true, I must say. But I still think it’s a TOTALLY USELESS TOY and has no real function in the world. And is overhyped and is basically a giant phone.)

For movies and games, she said I could buy as many as I wanted, so long as they didn’t overflow our movie shelf. (Lauren edit: It’s not just a “shelf” it’s two three-shelved movie cases.) So if it was full and I wanted new ones, I’d have to sell some old ones. This was actually a brilliant idea. It keeps the house neat while keeping our collection fresh. Though for games it’s been harder since I get tons for free and am not allowed to sell them. But we just toss those in drawers or I keep them at work or give them away.

Anyways, so I got the feeling several weeks ago that a new iPad was around the corner, so I went into old Kamely mode and began to lay out a master plan for how to get one. I would sell my current one, take the cash and use it to buy the new one. Since most people don’t know a new one is coming, I could still get almost the full original value back for it. Meaning I could have my new iPad for just around $50. I tell the Lauren my plan and she says “NO, you’re not selling our iPad”. Why? “Because we don’t need the new one.” Now… she has a good point, we don’t need a new one. So I try to convince her a bit, but in the end even though she said, “Go for it if you really need one,” I didn’t. She was right, we can skip this one for the time being. (Lauren edit: What he didn’t mention was that he also just traded in a bunch of stuff to buy a PlayStation Vita while I was at work and he had a day off. I don’t think that we constantly need to keep financing the latest and greatest. I also am annoyed by the 18 month turn around that apple has that keeps everyone buying buying buying. So I don’t want to feed the beast.)

We make decisions like this together. And I like it because I never really had anyone to bounce plans off of before. I just sorta did them and sometimes I’d regret it later (Like selling my 1940s Leica to get a PS2 and games one time…) and sometimes I love it (Sold my iMac and got a MacBook Pro and made about $500 in the transaction). I have Lauren help me foresee the bad ones and she encourages me on the good ones. For example, last week she was all in for my DS to PS Vita swap I did at Gamestop. (Lauren Edit: See?)

In the end, this part of my life will never go back to the way it was. I won’t be single, spending money any way I want to, I won’t have unlimited space all to myself to fill with gadgets and gizmos. But it works out so much better this way. We lay out plans and if one of us says no with a good reason, we change it up and do something better or nothing at all. It saves us from making mistakes and obtaining way too much unnecessary crap. (Lauren Edit: Amen.) And for a few things, Lauren just let’s me do my thing without any involvement in the purchasing. Like when it’s time to get a new car and I have to be a tough haggling customer with the dealer (as you SHOULD). Lauren would rather just pay the sticker price and be done with it, HA, so I’ll get us the deal and she’ll be happy to hear about it later. All of the give and take that marriage presents, makes us both better people. I think the partnership of it all is one of the best parts.

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