(As told to Anish AR)
My husband won’t spend any money at all
“Abhay, please give me Rs 200 for buying some vegetables,” I asked him. He yelled, “I will not. You can use your money.” As stunned I was from the outside, inside I found it hilarious. I was stunned because he refused to give his own wife a petty amount of 200, that too for vegetables that he will also eat. I found it funny because of my stupidity to have asked him for 200 when last week he took back 20 that I borrowed from him for the auto-rickshaw I took from work.
Who is my husband?
My husband worked in the merchant navy as head engineer. He was on the ship for 6 months and would come back home for 2 months. He did this for almost 20 years and took voluntary retirement to come and live back home. My daughter is married and settled in Canada and both my mother and mother-in-law passed away a couple of years back. We are now in our early 60s and ideally, we should be enjoying our lives after all the hard work we have done for the past 3 decades.
I have always believed that ‘you are your best investment’. While saving money for old age and for bad times is a must, it should not be done at the cost of your present to the extent my beloved husband does. And mind, money is not a problem for him. Had it been, I would have well understood the situation and supported him, like the way I looked after his ailing mother, our daughter and my own mother who was also ill.
He is an introvert by choice
I’m fond of eating and exploring different restaurants. I have a very big social circle; however, my husband is a loner. I realised he does not want to go out because he would have to spend. What’s more, he is so stingy that he uses my vehicle to go out, if he has to, because he does not want to fuel his own. One day I decided to call my daughter’s in-laws home for dinner. I told my husband that we should order some food and drinks for them. “Are you crazy!” he shouted. “If you are calling them, then make something at home and no need for drinks,” he added. To save a couple of thousands he was even ready to jeopardise this delicate relationship. I called up my daughter’s in-laws and somehow managed to cancel the evening.
He pesters our daughter to give back the money he spent on her education
“Maa, he messages me only on the 30th of each month to remind me to give him the money he spent on me. In the whole month there isn’t a single message asking me about my wellbeing,” my daughter said to me on Skype. My husband has been after my daughter to return the money he spent on her education ever since she started working. I am absolutely amazed at how he can even ask for the money we spent on our daughter which was a part of our responsibility, and importantly, a choice. But soon after his retirement, his focus has shifted even more on money than ever before.
Related reading: 15 clever ways of saving money as a couple
We do not go out, ever
We have never gone out for dinner, movies or shopping. Luckily, I have a job, which I think is a blessing in disguise. I go out with my friends and office colleagues for dinner, shopping, etc. My husband, however, does not like it. His thought process is that if he can’t enjoy, others shouldn’t either. I have never received any gifts from him. He does not mind going out, however, if someone else is paying. One day, a few common friends and we took a cab to go to a shopping mall. After we reached, my husband did not even offer once to pay for the cab ride. Out of shame, I, later on, gave half the share to them. Being frugal is one thing, but being stingy and obsessed with saving money is another.
Being frugal is one thing, but being stingy and obsessed with saving money is another.
I wonder if he really made any money?
After having spent so many years dealing with his madness, I started wondering if he even made any money while on the ship. If he had, would he have been so stingy and money-minded that he cannot see his strained relationships? As his wife, I have no clue about his investments, if he has any. I don’t even know in which banks he has his accounts. If I ask, he doesn’t tell me. When I tell my friends this, they think I am exaggerating, but honestly, I’m not.
I have learnt to live life the way I want. I have stopped caring. After all, I have a daughter who is well settled and I have everything I need. I may not be wealthy, but I am definitely happier than my husband. I often tell him that a man suffers after his wife dies but a woman can somehow manage. Not realising what I mean, he replied, “Sure, you are bindaas! You can find someone else even.” How I wish!!