Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
We’ve been travelling for six months now and, at the rate we’re spending, we can afford to keep going for the next six centuries! And it’s not because we’re millionaires or anything … it’s because my husband, Tom, is obsessed with travelling on a shoestring. If we splash out on a stay in a caravan park you can guarantee it’s either Christmas or my birthday, if we ‘eat out’ it will definitely be fish and chips, and a scenic helicopter flight or a river cruise are completely out of the question. Tom seems to take more pleasure out of how little money we spend than he does from enjoying the places we visit and meeting the people we meet. And it’s only getting worse. We may not be rich, but we’re not exactly poor, either. How can I get him to loosen the purse strings a little?
I think it is often difficult for people who have only recently retired to re-adjust to the fact that they are not earning a full salary any more and some tend to over-compensate. You mention being able to keep travelling for the next ‘six centuries’ on your current budget, so I can safely I assume that Tom is drastically ‘under-spending’. The obvious thing is to sit down and discuss the issue. Let him know you want to spend more time in van parks, or have more meals out, or perhaps treat yourselves to a flight over the Mitchell Falls. I am not sure who works out the budget in your rig, but you need to come to an understanding about what you can and can’t afford. He needs to listen to your Big Lap dreams and you need to be mindful of his financial caution … however illogical you consider it.
Who made Tom the Treasurer and all-powerful dictator of your Big Lap, Kate? Retirement and leaving behind the comforts of home to live on the open road changes a lot of things … and one of them should be your apparent subservience. You’re a half a century or so beyond the pocket money stage, so start asserting yourself. If Scrooge doesn’t want to spend $10 having a meal at the local club that’s his problem, and if he doesn’t want to go on the Yellow Water Cruise, go without him. Once he starts realising that you can spend your cash without asking his permission, I think you’ll find he wants to come along just to keep an ‘eye on things’. But I suspect money is just a part of the problem here. It’s time for him to start showing you the same respect you show him.