Money Fight: When Should You Talk With Your Spouse About a Purchase?

This may come as a surprise to you but my wife and I hardly fight.  We make jokes about how lame our fights are, I won’t go into details on this as I prefer to stay married.  When we do fight I mean its almost comical in how opposite we fight about things.  I treat every fight that we have had the exact same, I say what I think is right or what I needed to get off of my chest and approximately 2 minutes later I am asking what we are having for dinner or where we plan to go during the weekend like nothing had every happened.  Mrs. Even Steven on the other hand will hold on to this fight as long as possible, most likely plotting her revenge in the years to come.  She chooses to not talk to me, and act like I have destroyed her Barbie collection from her childhood.

During the time we have been married, almost 5 years, I don’t believe we have had a really good and by good i mean bad money fight.  Most of our money discussions involve numbers and facts, if anything it’s more difficult to get a good budget meeting going with Mrs. Even Steven, unfortunately she would rather watch the Kardashian’s (strictly prohibited in the Even Steven Money household) than discuss how much we spent on our restaurant and eating out budget.  Then the other day it happened, we had a Money Fight and I think it was all my fault.

If you checked in last month you may have seen that I purchased  NCAA March Madness tickets here in Chicago to enjoy my 2016 Year of Freedom.  I am no stranger to purchasing sporting event tickets, in fact in the past I have purchased tickets to resell for a profit on websites such as Stubhub.  I remember buying and selling tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers during a playoff run which netted a profit of $100 each ticket, which was a very nice return on my investment.  Following up on some of my past experiences I wrote an article in the past on how to make extra side hustle money on Lebron James heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers by purchasing season tickets to resell, for more evidence on this being a good idea I would check how well season ticket holders made out a few years ago with the Miami Heat and of course the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I did not make the season tickets to the Lebron James led Cavs myself for a number of reasons: including the upfront cost, potential loss of investment, and my personal debt balance.  I am providing a back story because I want you to have all the details when reading over our Money Fight.  As previously mentioned this past month I was able to attend the NCAA tournament right here in Chicago, luckily I was able to purchase tickets on Craigslist for very close to face value.  However, I decided not to purchase the previous games held Friday because the price of the tickets were too expensive for my ticket budget.  As the team I follow, the Syracuse Orangemen made there way to the Final Four I began looking into tickets for the following year.  The reason I chose not to attend this year’s Final Four was mostly because of how expensive the tickets would cost for heading to Houston, the site of this year’s Final Four.  Of course flying to Houston, grabbing a hotel, eating and drinking (can’t bring a bag lunch) all factored in as well.  The end result was I realized this could be a potential buying opportunity in the future.  Jim Cramer hits the “Buy, Buy, Buy” button and we all know we should listen to Jim Cramer.*


I immediately began researching where the Final Four was in 2017, great news the Final Four would be held in Glendale, Arizona (suburb of Phoenix) and not very far away from where I have family.  I actually went and visited this past March for spring training with some friends and to visit my parents, so in short I have a place to stay if I go down!  This is great news.  I went and checked out the process for tickets and it was a ticket application or lottery of sorts, here is the blurb on the website itself:

Complete your ticket application today in order to be entered into the selection process to determine which applicants will receive 2017 NCAA Final Four tickets. Applications will be accepted from March 13 through May 31, 2016.

Each applicant may request up to four (4) tickets and must apply in his/her own name using his/her home street address (no PO boxes). Duplicate orders will be cancelled without notification at the conclusion of the application period.

All completed applications will include a $25 non-refundable application fee which includes an official NCAA Final Four championship program and shipping/handling.


2017 NCAA Final Four

The 2017 Final Four will take place April 1 and 3 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. All-session tickets are available at the price indicated below.

NOTE: You are purchasing a ticket application. If your application is accepted, actual seating assignments will be determined at a later time and disclosed on or before December 2016.

What actually scared me away from making the purchase the day I read about the tickets?  The $25 non-refundable application fee!  I’m not overly excited to get a program for $25, feels like the ultimate jerk by the NCAA move to me.  I did not make any purchases, I might have briefly mentioned the tickets and the application fee to Mrs. Even Steven, but with no real intent on purchasing the tickets.

Then about a week later, I said you know what I’m doing it.  I want to go to the Final Four next year in Glendale, Arizona, what’s a $25 application fee, I will get to see my first Final Four and besides the tickets the only extra costs will be airfare and any extra food or drink that I would purchase while I was there.  Those who have parents, literally almost everyone (I get what I just said), know that your parents usually plan to cook, BBQ, and provide every meal and snack you could ever want.  I love animal crackers, you know the ones that come in the little box with a string on top, if I made any mention of this in the weeks coming up to the visit, I promise you I would have a 6-pack of delicious animal crackers waiting in the pantry, #parentswholoveyoufacts, currently not trending on twitter.

Anyways, speaking of me ripping the heads off wild game animal crackers, I went through the application and made the purchase.  Here are some facts I need to share about this purchase.

  • I made an impulse buy, like when you go grocery shopping and grab the $1.29 candy bar while you wait in line
  • Tickets cost $200 per ticket and a $25 application fee
  • I purchased 4 tickets totaling $825
  • During the purchase I realized they were charging me in full $825, I naively thought it was going to be $25, with a $800 hold/authorization like a car/hotel
  • I made the purchase with my credit card because my business/Paypal account did not have the necessary funds
  • I purchased the tickets with the intent of personal use
  • I DID NOT ASK, TELL, OR SHARE ANY OF THIS WITH MY WIFE, this part is important

Almost immediately I began to regret my decision.  I realized that in my current position, I am extremely busy during the end of March and early April, the games are scheduled for April 1 and April 3, that’s bad.  Pivot, I began to research selling the tickets……..frantically.  I came across an article on SeatGeek that gave me the hope that I made the right decision.  At the time of the selection show, early March, Final Four tickets were reselling for on average of $749, with the lowest tickets starting a little below $400.  Since SeatGeek has been keeping data, the average sales price has been in the range of $358-$897, take each as an outlier and the average price is in the $650 range.  Based on this research I made a decision at that moment that this was a purchase for profit only.  I feel pretty safe that I can get $825 back and  break even be Even Steven, based on the data (seat location aside) I can make a profit on these tickets, in fact I think doubling my purchase price is my expected return on investment (ROI), I can say that now that I made the decision that this was a business purchase, right?  I’m good right, so I pat myself on the back for this change of fortune.  Now all I have to do is let my beautiful wife know that I spent $825 without saying a peep……..There is a chance I am currently writing this from a hospital bed after being pummeled by Mrs. Even Steven, read on if you are curious, feel free to make side bets with your friends, just remember “Gambling is illegal at Bushwood and I never slice”**.




If you have made it this far as usual for those who read my blog, Congratulations!  If you skipped down and wanted just the money fight action, that’s OK to.  After this day-time purchase was made I finished up a day at the office, took the train home, walked the dog, made some dinner, and waited for the wife to come home, you know the usual. Then in a lifelike Seinfeld episode we began to talk about our day over dinner, “How was your day, today?”  Speed ahead to 53 seconds if you are short on time.



I then began to explain my purchase of the NCAA Final Four tickets.  The initial purchase, the immediate regret, the purchase made on a credit card, my new intentions of selling the tickets, and how much they cost.

My wife's reaction

My wife’s reaction

How I thought this was going to go

How I thought this was going to go


As I saw the facial reactions change with each passing word, I realized I was in trouble.  Since this is a Money Fight, the remaining narrative will be told by channeling my inner Marv Alberts and explaining the fight with a blow by blow boxing punch analogy.  Mr. ESM is me, Mr. Even Steven Money and you guessed it Mrs. ESM is Mrs. Even Steven Money for those following along at home.

Welcome to Money Fight 2016

  • Mrs. ESM means business, you can see the scowl in her eyes, she means business folks
  • Mr. ESM does not look prepared for this fight, I just don’t think he knows what’s coming
  • Mr. ESM throws a jab that clearly misses the target as he mentions the purchase was made to make money, you know a business purchase
  • Mrs. ESM is fast and darts away easily, only to throw multiple jabs to the face as she tells him they talk about every purchase we make, makes mention of how much $825 is, and asks if I have enough money to pay for the $825 credit card bill.  OUCH!
  • Mr. ESM is clearly stunned, but goes into attack mode questioning the recent $50 purchase of a dress at a department store
  • Mrs. ESM dips away and counters with the pictures she sent while she was at the store showing the pictures of the dress she purchased
  • Mr. ESM is dazed, I’m not sure he has anything left, then out of no where he asks about the money she purchased all of the CPA books and training courses with, folks I don’t think this is going to end well as that was a clear hay maker that missed the mark entirely
  • Mrs. ESM is about to finish him off as she destroys him an uppercut and big right hand that has Mr. ESM laying on the ground being counted out as the comparison just angers her more and she goes into complete shutdown mode after explaining how that is not in any way related to buying basketball tickets

The Money Fight happened, I lost and in fact never had a chance.  I made multiple mistakes along the way, but most importantly is I did not have an open and honest communication about a money purchase in the Even Steven Money household.  In true Even Steven Money fashion, our money fight happened and I moved on right away knowing I made a mistake and what to do in the future.  Mrs. Even Steven reacted in true form, holding on to the fight details for days to come, even making jokes about it as she slowly got over it all.  It’s important in any relationship to have open communication about money, maybe you have a different set of guidelines as it relates to making purchases, but I cannot stress enough from my own personal Money Fight just how important it is to be on the same page about money.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Fight, Good Night!


* I haven’t watched Jim Cramer and Mad Money in a couple years, while I don’t love individual stock purchases and making choices based off of what any one person says, I do respect the guy as a hard working guy who battled his way to the big time, I mean the guy was living out of his car, thanks Mandi Woodruff.

**Caddyshack quote and possibly the greatest golf movie every created, if you disagree I ask that you stop reading this blog, you just don’t understand me!

17 Responses to “Money Fight: When Should You Talk With Your Spouse About a Purchase?

  • Ohhhh boy. You never stood a shot! I have had some regrets about my $1,000 Tesla deposit, but it is fully refundable – so I’ll let Elon hold it for a little while longer. Communication is key in relationships I’ve learned… as I’m sure you are too 🙂

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      That’s really cool is the 1K deposit for the Tesla 3 that’s coming out in 2017, I think that’s what I read. Communication is key, I’m going to write that down:)

  • Brave to start a fight you can not win!
    We each have a limited amount of fun money to spend each month. No need to discuss, talk… TO be honest, it is far less than 825USD.

    Good comms and open discussion on wants and needs are key to avoid money fights

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      Haha, well said. The $825 was part of my savings/business account so I am with you on the $825 being more than usual. Open discussion would have been key in my situation, much agreed.

  • Chadnudj
    6 months ago

    FYI… fellow Chicagoan here.

    Pro tip: don’t ever buy Final 4 tickets. Wait until the day of the Final, and scalp tickets for dirt cheap.

    Final 4 tickets get sold in blocks for both games — semis and finals. Two of the 4 teams in the Final Four lose in the semis. Do you think the half of all fans of those two devastated, losing teams are going to stick around to watch some other team they have no feelings toward play in the Final?

    My buddy and I went down the 3 hours from Chicago to Indy the year Butler and Duke were in the Final. I think MSU and West Virginia were the other two teams. Needless to say, they both departed afterwards, and despite a STRONG local Butler presence, you could still get tickets for the Final at or below face. I think we waited until right after tipoff and ended up paying $25 a ticket for tickets admittedly pretty far back/up (but not all the way at the top). We still got to spend the entire Monday enjoying the pageantry of the Final Four (including hanging out at a bar when Butler’s band and cheerleaders came in to play the fight song), got to see a great game, and were able to drive back to Chicago that same night (thereby avoiding a hotel since we drove in Monday morning early). Indy was awesome, everything was walkable, and we had a blast.

    That, my friend, is how you do a Final Four.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      I have to say well done my friend. Although I hope this is not the case when I sell my Final Four tickets:)

      • Chadnudj
        6 months ago

        Just be sure to sell all tickets BEFORE the semis, not AFTER.

  • That one was over from the start haha. Looks like you tried your best but the training just wasn’t there :). The wife and I normally talk about each purchase but we have a limit of $100 for a single item that we need to talk to the other about, mainly because it is very rare for us to spend that much on something that wouldn’t include the other.

    Open discussion is always best. Get up, brush yourself off, and get em next time!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      You know that is one thing that I brought up with Mrs. ESM and having a limit on the amount spent, but this was also during the Money Fight so probably could have chosen a better time. We almost always talk about every single item we purchase from Amazon to heading out for a round of golf. I think I need to have this discussion post Money Fight and see how we do.

  • I would have thought it was $25 today & pony up the $800 if you got selected.
    Thankfully my wife & I really haven’t had too much of a money fight yet, mainly because I’m too cheap to spend more than $50 without her.
    Josh recently posted…4 Ways To Save Money At Lowe’sMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      Totally agree, they suckered me in I tell you! I like your approach, can’t leave the house can’t get in trouble;)

  • Nice post, EvenSteven! You have a good sense of humor and I enjoyed reading your post. You didn’t stand a chance and I think you knew going in :).

    I have been married for almost 15 years now – to the same woman of course. We discuss any major purchase. Sometimes, it is a series of loud discussions – the major purchase happens only if we both agree.

    Both have veto power – I do have to admit I go to the dog house when I veto something. Once the initial anger subsides, my wife sees my point of view. Over the years, this has kept us from making financial mistakes.


    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      Thanks for reading Michael! Oh man I don’t know if I want to have veto power in our relationship, I don’t think my marriage would make it through a discount clothing store, veto, veto, veto. I love that it works for you, even with the dog house!

  • Whew! We hardly ever have money fights in our household either, but that sounds like a doozy!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      6 months ago

      Yeah it’s usually pretty quiet, but it happened and I think all for the better now in the future.

  • Whew. I hope you both learned how to avoid this in the future. I would be so mad if my significant other spent a significant sum of our money and then tried to explain it away.
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Treat Your Employees Well – The Easiest InvestmentMy Profile

  • My husband and I agreed not to make purchases over $100 without talking to each other. He recently made a $5,000 decision without talking to me. I’m pretty upset because he lent it to someone who has a history of living above their means. I told my husband I forgive him, but that money could have paid off a major bill.

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