You surprised me with a new car… Was that in the budget?
Renée was recently reminiscing of when Nii surprised her with her first smartphone in 2011 while still dating. “While I appreciated the gesture, my phone bill shot up because, now, I had a data plan.” Renée’s budget is something Nii did not consider with his surprise. The surprise did not include Nii paying the monthly bill, and Renée’s income did not suddenly increase to accommodate the gift. “I could have just thanked him, but rejected the gift. So, that’s on me.”
Today, we were watching, yet, another tear-jerking video of a husband surprising his wife with a brand new car. Sweet right? Then, the question popped up, “How can one spouse surprise another with something as expensive as a brand new car?” That’s a huge commitment! At least a 5-figure commitment, either cash or credit, has to be made when buying a brand new car.
Now, we don’t know the financial status of anyone in these videos, so the question of whether they can afford it or not is irrelevant. Rather, it does beg the question, “Should one person commit the couple to this new expense without having discussed it first?” We’re not talking about a $100 or even a $500 gift. We’re talking at least $15,000, people!
We ask this question because we pre-assign where our money for each month will go. Aside from a little pocket change ($50 each) and a small miscellaneous line item ($200), each dollar is budgeted for a specific bill or item. So, neither of us can imagine that the other would spend or commit us to paying $15,000+ for a car… especially, if it weren’t in the budget! This would be a very heated “discussion” in the Darko household.
But, we recognize that not every couple combines their finances to even know what the other is spending. We also recognize that not every couple budgets. We would love to hear stories of surprises that either were expensive or resulted in an increase in monthly expenses. How did you handle it as a couple? Tell us in the comments!