Very frustrated with my partner's lack of understanding of my YNAB ways.

Very frustrated with my partner's lack of understanding of my YNAB ways.

I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now (we are 25 and 29) and when I met him I was a HUGE spender but also a HUGE earner so I didn't think it was a big deal but he didn't love that side of me.

Boyfriend is the opposite. He does the jar method religiously (1.1 Jar #1 – The essentials (50% of the total) 1.2 Jar #2 – Entertainment (10% of the total) 1.3 Jar #3 – Savings (10% of the total) 1.4 Jar #4 – Education (10% of the total) 1.5 Jar #5 – Bigger Purchases (10% of the total) 1.6 Jar #6 – Gifts and Charity (10% of the total) and practices it 100% and is super disciplined with saving and being SUPER frugal (e.g. will starve himself for a month if they didn't hit his savings goal).

After many trial and error attempts with YNAB and many other budgeting apps I've managed to make my spending and budgeting and saving habits almost perfect (hitting all my goals almost every month while increasing my net worth by $1000 or more per month consistently) and spend below my means and save around $1000 per month on a $3000-$4000 paycheque.

He hates that I spend (and set a goal of $1000) a BIG chunk of my money on food and am hoping to spend $150/month on a cleaner (he is a big clean freak too and doesn't value a cleaner but he won't clean for me so I said I will just hire a cleaner as I HATE cleaning and we have fought a million times about how I suck at cleaning and tidying) but honestly it is the ONLY thing I really value - I don't care for luxurious trips or buying a lot of material or clothes or anything.

I freaking love food, delivery apps, meal prep apps and eating out as it was a big part of my life for a long time (used to be a bodybuilder) and food has always been my favorite thing in the world.

It is what I value in my life and I want to spend money on good food (yummy restaurants, meal delivery and meal prep services), a cleaner and my fitness and health (gym memberships and trainers).

I wish he would respect that especially since I am paying the bills right now while he recovers from burnout but it seems like he just won't care to truly understand my YNAB habits and continues to say I am living a "baller" lifestyle and when I suddenly make less money it will be a struggle for us and I should continue to be frugal like him and eat a little every day and "ration" our food and do our own cleaning (even though I have told him multiple times I will pay for my own cleaner and he can continue cleaning his own stuff to his standards).

Anyways rant over. Not sure what to do as it is a constant battle with us both being at home all day and I honestly am getting a little tired trying to explain my YNAB ways.


TLDR: My JAR method and neatfreak partner doesn't understand my YNAB ways of budgeting and constantly tries to argue with me that the things I value (yummy food/meal prep services and cleaner) aren't important and shouldn't have such a high goal budget even though food/meal prep services and a cleaner is what I value (I don't want material things or to travel or do anything else after work). He also doesn't work right now and I hate that he judges me for my "baller" lifestyle. :(

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  • All I can say is that you’re doing it right. You’re spending to your priorities while still saving money. I also hate to clean and hire somebody to clean my house. He needs to knock it off. It’s your money. Especially when you’re the one providing right now. You need to set some boundaries with him.

    Like 4
  • Hello Purple Lobster.

     Well done on tackling your finances, and sticking to a budget which allows you to save and get ahead.  

    I think this is about different economic values (frugal versus what your partner sees as you partying like Rome's burning), and these are in stark relief because your partner is currently unemployed during a global pandemic, and likely worrying very much about his future (which is completely understandable).  He is sticking with fiscal prudence, and doing his best to ensure that he continues to be the same contributing member of the household.  He's not asking you to financially support him, so maybe give the fella a break on this front.  

    Maybe he's also worried about what will happen if you lose your job.  Having said this, it must be frustrating that your partner doesn't see how well prepared you are should the dung ever hit your employment fan, so's to speak.

    I've also lived in share houses for many years, and cleaning is one thing that can bring a household undone.  As much as I would rather do my share of cleaning than pay for the luxury of a cleaner (unless I was ill or physically unable to clean), and would never pay for a cleaner on account of a slack-arsed household member (yet respect their right to pay a cleaner to cover their share of cleaning); at the same time I think your partner should back off and respect your right to employ someone from your own funds to get in and clean for a couple of hours every fortnight or whatever arrangement suits you.  If he's worried about security, then make sure you're home when the cleaner is there.  Regardless of this being one partner's idea of poorly-timed extravagance, and the other's a necessity, the end goal is the same - a clean home, the benefits of which you will both enjoy.

    Ultimately, neither of you has any right to impose your values on the other to the detriment of the other's well-being,  but you can come to an agreement to support each other with respect. 

    Respect doesn't cost a cent, but it means a lot.

    I wish you both all the best.  You will get through it.

    Like 3
  • PS.  Just came home and read this again, saw that you are currently paying "the bills".  Regardless of how this tips the economic seesaw in the short term (and in a relationship it can be swings and roundabouts), it still comes down to being understanding and respectful of each other.

  • It doesn't seem like this is about a lack of understanding of your YNAB ways but rather a fundamental difference in values, spending and priorities.   

    Like 8
    • Mamba I was going to say the same thing. It sounds like there needs to be a discussion on what is important to each of them and how they can manage this together. If you are that far apart on these things, it will only continue and whether you use YNAB or not, things will continue to be a battle.

      "constantly tries to argue with me that the things I value (yummy food/meal prep services and cleaner) aren't important"  This concerns me because they are not important to him but they are important to you. That is a bigger issue than what tool you are using to manage the goal. If you have very large differences in what you prioritize, you need to have a discussion about that and come to a good understanding about what compromises each of you are willing to make. Not saying that it means you have to agree to either his goal or your goal but how you will work together to meet your shared goals. Maybe you will have to put less towards food and maybe he agrees to do more cleaning (since he is home all of the time?). 

      Good luck!

  • His Jars are equivalent to YNAB categories. His jars aren't very granular, but it's the identical concept. So I don't think that he doesn't understand your way of budgeting at all. As Mamba points out, this is really about differences in priorities. The spending plan/budget (whether jars or electronic categories) is merely a reflection of those priorities.

    Like 5
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 8 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I absolutely agree. Both of you are using zero-based envelope budgeting, just different implementation methods. Personal values and priorities don't magically change and it is a really high barrier to overcome. I don't think there are any magic words you can say to suddenly make him understand where he didn't before.

       Are you in fact expecting to suddenly make less money? It sounds like he is stating that as a fact rather than a possibility that we all face (I'm employed full time in a job that I can do from home during a global pandemic, but I've been laid off twice since 2007). I make good money so I allocate it based on my priorities - which include planning for the future (which is why I have a loss of income category that would cover me for 6-8 months). But if I lost my job tomorrow, guess what? I would adjust. As much as I would be devastated to do it, I would have to stop paying for my housecleaner (I've been paying her on schedule even though she hasn't come since early March) and cut back on eating out and other things. But I would make it work. And hopefully so would you with the help of YNAB (If you haven't already, I highly recommend a loss of income category).

      Like 6
  • Nice job on reigning in your spending and figuring out what expenses add most value to your life!

    Have you two had a real sit-down chat (not a fight) about your long term money goals? I don't think you mentioned what you and your boyfriend are saving for: is it retirement, an emergency/job loss fund, future vacation, buying a house?

    If you have a healthy 3-9 month emergency fund saved up, then there's no need to worry unnecessarily about what happens to your lifestyle if you suddenly make less money. Adjusting your lifestyle is a gradual process that can adapt to the ebbs and flows of life. In fact, it sounds like you have reduced your cost of living rather than increasing it.


    It sounds like you two have been together a little while. Perhaps you have been forced closer due to COVID-19. Maybe he is anxious because of his recent burnout and lack of income. How serious are you both about this? Do you think he is approaching these worries from a place of love or control? If you both want to make this work, you will have to learn to respect each other and figure out compromises. Not only are you frustrated with him for not understanding you; he may be frustrated with YOU for not understanding him.

    Have a discussion with him now from a place of empathy and respect. Do not resent him for the burden he has put on you. The goal is to eventually reach of a place of understanding, not to become the exact same person with the exact same behaviors. I hope you will both listen and identify your true desires. If you can't agree on everything (no couple does!), then you may agree on which areas one or both parties can make allowances.

    Remember, YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM HERE. If you can't be on the same team, then it may be better to part ways.

    Like 5
  • Agreeing on some long-term goals can help bring couples with different financial perspectives closer together. He's not doing a good job of selling you on the 'why.' This is where YNAB beats the jar method. What is the 'savings' jar for?

    If you sacrifice (and I'm not saying you should, saving over 25%/mo is AWESOME btw 👍) what goal (that you value) are you getting closer to faster? 

    How do you know if you're on track for a goal if you haven't identified any goals? If you've agreed on goals and you're funding them, nobody should be nagging anybody about what the extra is used for. That agreeing on the goals is the "fun" part. Once that's hashed out life is easy peasy :) Money fights are (pretty much) over.

    He didn't love that I insisted on fancy travel (fly economy?! am I an animal?!) and I didn't love his need for the latest Apple whatever (Marie Kondo who?). We both want to pay off the mortgage early though (coloring in those squares on the mortgage payoff chart is a thrill 🥂, truly). So we carved an extra house payment out of the tech and travel categories. Win win.

    Totally unrelated but this is my favorite MMM article that cured my fancy travel fetish:

    Like 1
  • Lots of good advice on shared goals and problem solving in relationship. I think it's also important to notice that there is such a thing as financial/emotional abuse. And women can get stuck in it when we receive a lot of advice like "2-way street," "compromise," etc. In a healthy relationship, those are great mottos to live by. In an unhealthy relationship those words will take you down.

    The idea of paying someone's way while they quietly sneer at my priorities and the things that make me happy is . .  awful. What happened to all his savings that he can't pitch in?

    Does he seek and respect your happiness in other ways? Is he happy for you to be happy, even if the things that make you happy are different from what he likes? Do you ever feel you must walk on eggshells or hide things from him? No need to answer here, but think about it. If he can't enjoy & support your joys that differ from his joys, then this isn't a budgeting issue at all, it's a control issue.  In that case, compromise and negotiation only lead to gaslighting. So I would do a more general check-in on your relationship before proceeding.

    Like 5
    • Ivory Storm  This. Be very wary of someone who projects their insecurities onto you a lot or tries to mold you into someone you're not.

      Like 3
  • I didn't get the "quietly sneer" vibe.  I did get one of immaturity and self interest.

    One of the big things people fight about in relationships is money and if you can clearly see that your partner has diametrically opposed values it may be time to get out.   For both parties.    

    By her own admission, he is super frugal and she spends $1,000.00 a month on dining out.  That is a recipe for continued conflict and the only way it will work for the long term is by both of them compromising. 

    I don't think I would live with someone whose values were the complete opposite of mine, no matter which end of spectrum I was on.   These differences are further magnified because they are both in the home due to the pandemic.   

    At the end of the day, her money is her money and she has a right to spend it on whatever she wants to.  But that doesn't mean its the financially smart thing to do.   

    Like 2
  • Honestly, DTMFA.  He sounds super-controlling .  In order reach a compromise, both people have to be willing to bend a little, but he wants you to get a personality transplant in order to make him feel more comfortable.

    Like 2
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