Jump directly to the Content

Penny-Pinching Lovers

With $200 or less, readers make a big-time investment in their marriages

In the Closet

Keith and I admired a dress we saw in the Land's End catalog. Then one evening after feeling covetous, I told him, "When I look at this catalog, I see lots of things I want. But as long as I leave the catalog alone, I don't want them."

Keith solemnly replied, "Sometimes it's enough just to want the things in your own closet."

Impressed by his wisdom, I went off to my night job. I never stopped to think how out of character his statement was for someone whose two favorite words are "Buy it!" I didn't know Keith had ordered the dress.

In the morning, when I was changing after work, I yelled, "Hey! There's a blue dress in the closet!"

Keith solemnly replied, "Sometimes it's enough just to want the things in your own closet."



Before my husband left on a business trip, he spent $29 on a cheap computer modem so we could e-mail each other. We were trying to settle into a new home, and it was a hard week. I was homeschooling two of my kids while keeping up with a two-year-old, and I was seven months pregnant. It was great, after a challenging day, to find a message from Victor. I wrote back with all my thoughts and the day's adventures.

Somehow our e-mail messages helped us "talk" with greater clarity. That separation enhanced our intimacy instead of weakening it.


Magic Fingers

While we were engaged, Lisa found a massage course listed in a community college catalog. She looked at me, and I knew what she was thinking. I told her, "If you pay, I'll go."

All but two of the people in the class were women, but they applauded when they heard my reason for being there. I learned the basic strokes and got a feeling for the different muscles.

Today, Lisa claims the $28 enrollment fee was the best investment she ever made.

LISA and ALFREDO UMAN;A San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Big Comfy Couch

My husband, Robert, has been best friends with Hector since childhood. Hector's folks had a big, brown corduroy sofa. That couch went off to college with Hector, where it endured all-night study sessions and frat parties. Then it went with him when he married.

When Robert and I got married, we lived with Hector and his wife in order to share rent expenses. When we moved out, we had no furniture or bedding, so Hector sold us two twin beds, a dresser, an old TV and VCR and the couch—all for $200.

Now we've got other furniture, but we refuse to get rid of our cushy heirloom. It's part of the family—and its cushions are still inviting!


A Childhood Dream Come True

My husband, Mike, always listened as I told him some of my hurts from childhood. Once I mentioned how my dad, who didn't spend much time with my brother and me, used to take us occasionally to ride go-karts. Then he brought home an old go-kart for my brother, but my brother didn't care about go-karting, while I wished and wished that I could have that go-kart. It hurt that my dad never noticed it was me who longed to work on the go-kart with him.

Forty years after that painful childhood time, Mike brought home a broken-down go-kart he'd bought for $25. He told me to get in, and he pushed me around the block. I laughed until I was crying. But they were tears of healing because of Mike's love for me.


A Penny Saved …

I was somewhat surprised when Burdette, then my boyfriend, sat me down and handed me a little black box. Inside was a shiny 1996 penny. He explained that when he was about 10 years old he began saving pennies. In high school, he decided he'd keep saving them to use as a down-payment on an engagement ring someday.

Now, after 20 years of saving pennies, Burdette wanted to take them to the bank. He asked me to marry him and a few days later we took 16,985 pennies to the bank—and came up just $10.15 short of the down-payment on my ring. I could see he thought I was worth the wait.


Made to Last

We spent $200 on our wedding rings—and they're priceless to me now. Our first couple of years were rocky; we even contemplated divorce. Then I suffered two miscarriages, which created more pain and stress. But God showed us how to love, be patient and persevere. Back at the altar, when we exchanged these rings, I believed our marriage was made by God. Now I know our marriage was made by God to last.


Suck It Up!

My husband, Allen, should probably work for Consumer Reports. He loves to research appliances. When I needed a new iron, the shopping lasted three weeks and required a 20-mile excursion to a specialty outlet. So last year when the vacuum cleaner broke, and Allen couldn't repair it, he began a new research project.

When he'd learned all there is to know about vacuum cleaners, he told me his choice cost $200—which exceeded our budget. But he was so sure that this was the one, I gave in.

In two months, I've only used that vacuum cleaner once. But every chance he gets, Allen is showing off how strong the suction is or how the attachments work. The kids are so excited, they can't wait to vacuum their rooms.

That was money well spent. Maybe we need a new washing machine …


Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Free CT Women Newsletter

Sign up for our Weekly newsletter: CT's weekly newsletter highlighting the voices of women writers. We report on news and give our opinion on topics such as church, family, sexuality, discipleship, pop culture, and more!

Budget; Marriage; Money
Today's Christian Woman, Fall, 1998
Posted September 12, 2008

Read These Next


Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter

Follow Us

More Newsletters