Haylea and Matt swap credit cards Their Turn

Date #4 – Trading Credit Cards

We’ve been together for 4 ½ years, but during that time we broke up for 5 months and now live apart. Since we’re giving it another try, we thought doing one of these tests would be a good way to see if we are compatible!

HAYLEA: When I proposed Matt and I swap credit cards, I did it via text message and his response was exactly what I thought it would be: He asked where this was coming from and the said he understands why I would want to swap, but what’s in it for him?! When I explained the date he was much more open to it and throughout the test I heard “You were right, this is fun!”

I generally knew what my card was going to be used for—beer, food, and more beer. One of the funniest moments during the date was when we were grocery shopping; we usually use one cart to shop and eye ball how much each person should pay since we tend to eat dinner together most nights. I forgot Matt had my card at the time, and when he offered to take more on his end I was shocked. Then I saw my card being swiped and remembered why this offer came about.

At first, I was a bit uncomfortable using his card, but towards the middle of the test I forgot about the swap. What I learned from this test was that each person has different spending habits (obviously), but with that come different trade-offs. Understanding how your spouse spends their money is important because before this date I didn’t understand why Matt never packs lunch. I would get frustrated if we had leftovers from dinner the night before and saw he didn’t take them to work. I would ask him why he didn’t and his response was always “I didn’t feel like it.” After this test, I realized he doesn’t pack because that’s pretty much the only thing he spends money on. He doesn’t buy many groceries and when he goes out to lunch he doesn’t spend more than $9/meal. Now I can’t nag him about packing lunch because he spends significantly less than I do a month outside of rent.

This knowledge definitely helps our relationship because we understand how the other views money and how the other likes to spend the money they earn. When you put it all in perspective, it makes sense. Matt is very laid back and goes with the flow and his spending habits reflect that. I hope after this test he understands a bit more about my spending habits and just accepts the fact I like coffee, a lot.

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MATT: When I received the text message from Haylea about swapping credit cards I was a bit skeptical about what the credit card swap was really about, but after discussing it in more detail I agreed it would be a good idea. When the test initially began I had some reservations about the swap, wondering what purchases were going on my card. I know Haylea likes to get coffee, and frequently browses online shopping, but how often did the browsing result in a purchase?

As a finance and economics major in college these were the type of questions that interest me, but now the experiment was being done with my card! The first few days of the swap were always a bit interesting when I would reach to charge something on my card, and find a different one in its place, but this feeling faded over time to the point that I did not think about it, or the fact that my card was being used somewhere else, at all.

During our time together I have learned that while Haylea and I generally spend money on different things, we both believe in living within our means, which made it easier to trust Haylea with my card. One example of this occurred when Haylea and I went out to dinner. When we go out on dates, we rarely split the check, normally one of us picks up the entire bill. I try and pick up the check more than half the time as I enjoy our date nights a lot and feel that it is important to do so for me. When the check arrived and I was reaching for my wallet, Haylea stopped me and said she wanted to take me out that evening, which I really appreciated…until I saw my card come out! It made both of us laugh, and actually served as an experience that made our bond closer instead of causing any issues or feelings of animosity.

What I was able to learn at the end of the test when I examined how Haylea had used my card was that overall our level of spending was similar, but the purchases that made up the total were quite different. I enjoy getting lunch with my co-workers, who like to grab something not too expensive but still get out of the office, while Haylea enjoys packing lunch and having money to spend on coffee and the occasional snack. Where I spend money on craft beer, Haylea prefers to spend on clothing and jewelry. Understanding these differences in how each of us values what we spend on has allowed us to better understand, and grow closer to, one another.

“Their Turn” posts are a chance for readers to share their story doing a date from the book. Submit yours here.