On Tuesday, Mrs. Luke 1428 did an awesome job in her first ever post on how to shop for the nerd in your family this Valentine’s Day. Today I would like to tackle the other side of the equation, which is shopping for the free spirit. That’s me!
Just to recap, the nerd is the person in the relationship who loves to stick by the numbers. Most typically, they are the ones planning the monthly budget and exacting control over when, where and how much money is spent each month. They get really frustrated when the budget is not followed and often get accused of being “too controlling” and not wanting to “have any fun”.
The free spirit is a spender looking for a place to happen. They don’t mind a budget but don’t see it as etched in stone. They will often spend money in the spur of the moment without consulting the nerd. They get really frustrated when they aren’t allowed to have any fun and are often accused of “not understanding” and “being too selfish.”
So, if you’re the nerd in the relationship, how do you shop this Valentine’s Day (or really any holiday, birthday, special occasion, etc.) for free spirits like me? Here are some tips:
1. Stretch the budget (a teensy-weensy bit) if you can. Beyond the actual purchase of a gift, stretching the budget a bit will do something far greater. It will show the free spirit that you are not a rigid budget-nazi. It will combat the image the free spirit has that you are a control freak. And you will score even greater points if you can sacrifice an area of the budget that is dear to you or use your own personal “blow money” when purchasing the item.
2. But don’t overspend. What? Isn’t the free spirit all about overspending? Won’t he or she appreciate the huge gift you uncharacteristically splurged on? Yes, but…you’ll make me feel guilty. Being the sensitive free spirit spouse I am, I’ve been sticking to a tight budget in my Valentine’s purchase so I won’t catch any flack from my “budget-nazi” nerd spouse. I spent $25 dollars on you thinking I was doing the right thing and you spent $250 on me. I will feel my gift is inadequate and will spend the next day searching for another gift to make up for my deficiency. By overspending in a surprise fashion on the free spirit, you also subtly reinforce the concept that it’s OK to splurge on a whim. That doesn’t help us in the long run.
3. Buy something the free spirit thinks you wouldn’t normally approve of. Recently Mrs. Luke1428 bought me a florescent yellow, long sleeve Nike running shirt to use on my before-dawn, cold morning runs. I had bought some cheaper alternatives in November because I knew the Nike ones were pricey and I might run the risk of getting a weird look when I walked in the house with it. Best part about this purchase was that she used her blow money on it. Way cool sacrifice on her part!
It’s your turn to chime in free spirits. Can you relate to any of these points? How do you want your significant other to shop for you this Valentine’s Day? How do you resolve money conflicts with your nerd spouse?
Prior Post: How to Shop for Your Nerd This Valentine’s Day