On Couches, Loss and Compromise


Life is funny. Sometimes the universe just shows up in a certain way – to teach us a lesson, or steer us in a new direction. My latest lesson stems from selling a couch online, and while it is a positive one overall, it does take me slightly off track from my goals.

What selling a couch taught me about life! Follow along as I learn about compromise and personal finances with my spouse on stayathomeyogi.com

The Couch

After several attempts on Craigslist, and in Facebook yard sale groups, I finally sold our second couch through the Wallapop app. I had hoped for much more (it was a quite nice leather, power reclining couch that we inherited from my in-laws), but ended up making $300 on the sale.

I did NOT put $300 towards our debt.

I know, I know! I made a big deal about sending a tiny $2 payment towards my debt, and then when I have $300 cash in hand I don’t knock out more debt? What the heck? Am I a hypocrite? Have I fallen off the wagon?

No, I’m just human. Human and married. 🙂

My husband and I do not always agree about our finances (I discussed this before here) and we are working hard on finding compromises on this journey to financial fitness.

The Loss

In early March (before the couch sold), my husband’s grandmother sadly passed away. On a positive note, she was 93 years young and was in great health up until her last moments (no nursing homes, no hospital stay). She lived a long and happy life, and loved her family to pieces. Unfortunately, it had been a few years since we spent time with her in person, and we were never able to introduce our sons to their great grandmother.

We had to make the decision not to attend grandma’s memorial service (about six hours away from us by car). It would have required time off of work for my husband (and since he works in a commission environment, that is lost income), as well as money spent on gasoline and a hotel (and with no cash available that would have meant adding to our credit card debt).

During this time of grief, my husband expressed that he didn’t want to pass through another year not celebrating birthdays or enjoying life. He works very hard, and doesn’t get to enjoy the money that he earns. My birthday was fast approaching and even though I never make a huge deal out of it, my husband needed permission to spend.

The Compromise

So we compromised. I split the $300 into three categories: $50 to savings (to satisfy my need for security), $100 to debt (an extra credit card payment), and $150 to enjoying life (aka the “Birthdays, Holidays and Gifts” line of our monthly budget).

If I were single and had no children, maybe I would be attacking my financial goals with the gazelle intensity that Dave Ramsey encourages. Or maybe I wouldn’t. I’m not in a contest to win most frugal blogger or most strict budget. Life calls for flexibility.

Our situations are all different, but this is what’s currently working for us.

On Couches, Loss, & Compromise. Learning to compromise and find balance in my marriage and in my debt payoff journey. Follow my story at stayathomeyogi.com

Have you made any compromises lately?

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  1. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the money you have. I tell my husband that all of the time. He’ll buy something and feel guilty. We only have one life and need to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

    • We can’t take any of our money with us when this life is over! I try to remember that. But I also don’t want to leave debt behind when I go and burden my family.

  2. Wonderful post and story. What a difficult decision whether to attend the service and I can see why he wanted to use that extra money for something enjoyable. My hubs is the same way, I’m more like you heh. But still you put some toward the debt and that is important.
    Julie S recently posted…Gratitude and Goals March 18, 2016 #GratitudeGoalsMy Profile

    • I’m just hoping all of these small amounts continue to move us forward. It’s a frustratingly slow journey sometimes. 🙁

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. Death has a tendency to make us want to live more, and it sounds like a very reasonable compromise that you’ve made with your husband. Gazelle intensity can be a useful tool, but everything in moderation lets us be human and live our lives.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…Finding Good Cheap Wines to Fit Your BudgetMy Profile

  4. I’ve learned that much about marriage is compromise. The alternative of one spouse winning at the expense of the other isn’t grounds for a healthy relationship in the long term. Our compromises tend to revolve around my health a lot: you go do the thing that you want to do today, and I’ll stay home and rest and not do them.

    It’s not perfect but it is better than either one of us wholly getting our way at the expense of the other.
    Revanche recently posted…Just a little (link) love: Deadpool&Wolvie editionMy Profile

    • It’s a process isn’t it? Compromise and marriage. You’re right that one person can’t “win” all the time, it’s bad news for the long term health of the relationship!

  5. It’s good to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Life is short and we have to allow ourselves to enjoy it. I tell my husband that all of the time. He’ll buy something then feel guilty.
    Healing Mama recently posted…AAT – I Need Help Deciding Where to Work!My Profile

    • My husband doesn’t feel guilty at all! LOL I’m just the bad guy who has to remind him that we really need to sacrifice our wants and get out of debt. 🙁

  6. We have a hard time enjoying our money as well. It sounds like you made a wise decision to enjoy some of it while still tackling your debt. If you’re too strict with your budget you are bound to fall off the wagon!
    Tori recently posted…What Every L&D Nurse Wished You KnewMy Profile

  7. It’s all about balance – I am really frugal, but now and then we buy something nice because it stops resentment and that mindset of “scarcity” where we start looking at what everyone else has and feeling deprived. I think you found the perfect compromise!
    Leanne@crestingthehill recently posted…The A-Z of Positive Personality TraitsMy Profile

  8. So very sorry for your loss. But it was a small victory that you were able to compromise and split the $300 into important categories. It definitely seems like you’re making progress! Thanks for sharing your story!
    Christina Berry | Inspired Life by Chrissy recently posted…Gwen Stefani: This Is What the Truth Feels Like {Sponsored}My Profile

  9. After almost 19 years of marriage, we have learned to negotiate the budget when the need arises., such as when ‘extra’ money comes in. We put birthdays in our budget years ago when we realized life would be more fun if we budgeting those special celebrations.
    Sorry to learn of your Grandma’s passing. How awesome for her to live to 93!
    Shirley Wood recently posted…Crockpot Broccoli and Sausage Macaroni CasseroleMy Profile

    • 93 years is a pretty good life right? And she was so healthy right til the end. Thanks for the kind words Shirley 🙂

  10. I think the compromise was fair. I’m glad you were able to save some and pay some on debt. That’s smart!

  11. Sorry about the grandmother’s loss. Sounds like you are being very smart with your finances.
    maria @closetohome recently posted…Nutritious After School Snacks: Banana Muffins with Cream Cheese IcingMy Profile

  12. Glad you were able to sell your sofa. I am sorry for your loss. I think that at times you have to make tough decisions about where to put your money. We all deserve some fun too.
    Cynthia L recently posted…Menu Plan Monday #68My Profile

  13. It is all about balance in life. What are we working for if we don’t enjoy the fruits of our labours? Thank you for sharing with us at #OvertheMoon link up and hope to see you next week.
    sue recently posted…Patrino Karnivale – A Greek TraditionMy Profile

  14. I completely understand this. My husband goes through this as well. It makes paying down debt with “GAZELLE INTENSITY” near impossible. I do the best I can and hope that he hangs along for the ride as much as possible.

    Good luck, and enjoy a much needed debt payoff break.
    Liz recently posted…10 Things I Want To Do in DenverMy Profile

  15. In a way, I think your compromise is a beautiful way to celebrate your grandma’s life. It sounds like she lived her life to the fullest and would want you and your family to do the same as much as possible. Bravo for taking the hard step to find that balance. I think you should be pleased. Maybe rename your fun fund after your grandma for a good reminder!

  16. Condolences on your loss. I missed my grandmother’s funeral because it was 2 weeks before my wife’s due date for our twins and an eight hour drive away. I know that can be tough. Wishing you and your family all the best in your efforts.

  17. Flexibility is important for sure, as is compromise. Enjoy spending a little money, and pat yourself on the back for adding to savings and subtracting from debt too!
    Amanda recently posted…4 Ingredient Popcorn Cereal BallsMy Profile

  18. Hi Erin, your husband is right, life is too short not to be able to celebrate special occasions in life. That doesn’t mean spending a fortune, but it may mean being able to spend a little without having to worry too much.

    At least you did put some of the money towards paying a credit card bill and a bit for security. I hope you had a fabulous birthday and that your husband enjoyed being able to treat you a little.

    Debbie recently posted…Clean Monday At Spiliotissa Monastery, ZakynthosMy Profile

  19. I am definitely planning on writing about paying off debt when you are raising kids. It’s a whole different ballgame, and too often the big debt free stories come from people without kids.

    But aside from that, I think you made a great compromise here! It’s so tempting for us nerds to want to drive as hard as we can to our goal, but we do have to keep in mind what our free spirit other halves need as well.

    And I’m sorry to hear about your loss.
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…Easter Brunch MenuMy Profile

    • That’s so true Jamie that those inspirational stories are often of childless couples, single people or cases where the only debt is school loans for a very lucrative career field. We all make our own choices, but it can feel very discouraging for us – trying to get out of debt with a family! I’d love to read that post if you wrote it!

  20. Girl, I think you got this down. Marriage is not only about love and partnership, it’s about compromise and giving your partner what they need. So your husband needed to be able to spoil his wife, for just a bit. I think that that is an acceptable deviance from your budget concerns.

    When you work so hard and never really get to see your money it is Soul crushing. Isn’t it? I am so happy that you got to go out and have a little bit of joy in the midst of the sadness. He will remember the time you two spent together, it’s not about spending a lot of money, but it’s the ability to enjoy life.

    You’ll get there, I think paying down your debt is more about life then it is about budgeting. You’re both learning together and you bring different strengths to the table. In the end you’re going to have far more than cash in your savings account when you’re finished. Priceless.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Just what I need! A Whole Lot of Grateful.My Profile

  21. Erin, first, I am so sorry about your grandmother-in-law’s passing, but so happy about the joyful points of her life. It sounds as though you and your husband made a very reasonable compromise. While we should make and pursue financial goals, we must enjoy life as motivation for all of the hard work that goes into it. Enjoy yourself while holding onto your goals. You’re doing an incredible job of (and certainly better than I, LOL!)

    • Aww Regina I bet you’re doing fine on your goals, lol! 🙂 You’re right that we do still need to enjoy life.

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