Family or Marriage Finances & Money

Are you “paying for peace” at home?

We have two water heaters at home. The last owners decided that when they built on another bathroom, they wanted dedicated hot water for that new shower. It’s not an efficient plan as now we have two tanks of water to heat, if we so choose.

Well, when we first moved into the home, Stacie laid claim to the new bathroom and relegated me to the (smaller) original bathroom. Since we both wake up at the same time for work, it worked out to each have our own bathroom to get ready. However, that also means we’re heating two tanks of water when we could be heating just one.

Why in the world would we waste money like this? One word:


Yep, we’re spending double on heating water when we could save all that money and use just one bathroom (the smaller one, connected to the main water tank). But we’re spending the extra money so we don’t have to argue or fight. As nice as saving money is, it’s also nice to have the bathroom all to yourself every morning, isn’t it?

To give some more details into our water heaters, one is a 60 gallon gas heater (the main one) and the other is a 40 gallon electric tank. We do save money on the electric heater by only running it for 3 hours per day by using an electric timer (similar to this one, installed by an electrician). We’ve also insulated both water heaters with an insulated “blanket” made specifically for water heaters (just like this one, found at any Lowe’s or Home Depot) to keep more of the heat inside the tank. I’d like to replace the electric tank with a tankless heater, but it’s still a relatively new tank and the additional costs aren’t worth it right now.

Do you pay for peace in your life?

Do you ignore your spouse’s or kid’s spending to avoid fights? Do you hide your debts to avoid confrontation? Do you keep duplicates around when you could be sharing (iPods, books, computers, automobiles)?

What could you simplify in your relationship, but would probably cause some battles at home?

Photo by quazie

About the author

Clever Dude


  • When it comes time to replace the small one, replace it with a tankless water heater. Problem solved.

    Keep in mind that if you are heating your house, the ‘wasted’ hot water energy is simply leaking in to your house anyway.

  • Sounds worth it to me! My husband and I also each have our own bathrooms (though they are on the same water heater) and it does make life much easier and we’re never in each other’s way.
    We do have our own iPods and other gadgets, but share a laptop. Sometimes it does seem like it would be easier to each have our own, but it works out because I can use my work laptop for general internet surfing if necessary. And we don’t have to have two laptops sitting around!

  • I don’t see how you’re spending double if you’re only heating one tank for 3 hours a day. It takes the same amount of energy to heat water for two showers, whether that water is coming from two tanks or one tank.

  • @Johanna, yes, not quite double, but think about it more. If we each use 20 gallons (no idea, just throwing out a number), then her 40 gal tank needs to heat half its water back up to temp after the shower (till the switch cuts it off), then heat the 40 gal to temp when it kicks back on. My 60 gal tank has to heat a third of its water back up, and then keep it heated throughout the day.

    It’s the same amount of water to heat back up to temp for both our showers, but we lessen the time that it has to keep it heated by cutting the power on the electric tank. We heat the water back up after the shower so she has warm water in the evening for washing her face, brushing teeth, etc.

  • When you replace them you should look into those tankless hot water heaters. They’re fantastic and no tank of hot water sitting around wasting energy.

  • I’m not speaking from a couple point of view because I am single, but I do live with a roommate from college. We have two video game systems because we both prefer one over the other. Sure it’s not necessary and a waste of money for both of us, but I like one, and he likes the other. And we keep them both hooked up to the same TV.

  • Just to play devil’s advocate here, is it absolutely necessary that you each get up and get ready at the same time every morning? Can’t you work out a rotating schedule? Sure, it’s just easier to have the extra bathroom; however, instant gratification and “paying for peace,” as you called it, are why the nation is saturated with debt. Instead of taking the extra effort to make a schedule (or whatever applies to anyone else), they simply take the path of least resistance. While it’s easier, it’s not always good for their finances. Now, I’m not suggesting this set-up is detrimental to your finances, just playing devil’s advocate here, but not having the second tank wouldn’t hurt you either.

  • Ha! I liked your post. My husband and I each have our own laptop (and a desktop, but let’s not go there…) We recently went overseas for 4 months and decided it was foolish to each bring our own laptops. We thought we would be able to share. We are, after all, young, rational, professionals who love each other. HA! The laptop turned into the biggest cause of fighting in our relationship. Ridiculous, I know, but there it is. Now we’re back in Canada and peace has returned to our relationship. 😀

  • The best peace-keeping money I ever spent while living with a significant other was on a cleaning lady. I hate cleaning. One ex also hated cleaning, and the other ex didn’t like wasting precious weekend time on domestic stuff. Money well spent!

  • Nothing as large as a water heater but some peace savings duplicates in our life are…

    Toothpaste (different brands as well as squeeze from the top/bottom issues)
    Digital cameras (I want small, he wants SLR)
    iPods (we even hold on to our older ones and use them for specific purposes)
    Desktop Computers
    Working at the same job site and driving separate 98% of the time (for 6 years)
    My husband has his own savings account with $ he can spend on whatever he wants (never mind that we have 5 savings accounts total)

    @ Kristy – I think as long as other areas of a family’s finances are on track there is nothing wrong with making a conscious use of $ to make your life easier. Money doesn’t buy happiness but I think it can sometimes buy peace!

Leave a Comment