Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!

 
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Bigg Challenge
We received an e-mail from Diane, one of our newsletter subscribers. Diane says her husband has a passion for electronics and their credit card debt just keeps rising. She wants to know how to confront him and get their family finances back in order.

Bigg Advice – 4 tips to stop the bleeding without getting bloody

#1 – Plan for a conversation, not a confrontation.
You want to solve the problem, not have an argument. So use the word “we” frequently and “you” infrequently. Now that may be tough when you’re not the spender. If it’s easier, talk about the “situation”, so you remove yourself, too.

#2 – Make it an event.
Gather up any needed information and go out for cup of coffee or a very inexpensive dinner. This signals that you’re not planning on arguing, so your husband’s defenses will be lower. Find a place that’s private and doesn’t have a lot of background noise, so you can hear each other.

#3 – Agree to this rule, “Pay today or say no way.”
Repeat this rule out loud to each other, over and over again. This is where you have to start. Stop the future bleeding today so you can focus on the problems from the past tomorrow.

Saying it is one easy, doing it is hard. If your situation is really extreme, put yourselves on a cash allowance and agree what expenses that covers. If it’s less extreme, you can use debit cards that draw on separate accounts – one for you, one for your husband.

#4 – Create a fun account.
Set aside an agreed percentage of your incomes into this account. IF, and only IF,   you’re able to pay all of your other bills in full, THEN you get to spend this fun money.

So if you’ve met your goals, your husband gets bonus money for the gadgets he wants. By the way, you’ll get bonus money, too. This is how you get his “buy-in” and keep him from going into withdrawal, which is crucial because you can’t do it alone.

Don’t think you have to be debt-free to trigger any bonus money. You just have to see a reasonable level of progress. Sometimes a small investment in rewards pays bigg dividends.

For example, you may agree that when you’ve reduced your debt by 25 percent, you’ll draw down 10 percent of your fun account.

As you get your financial house in order, check out our article on the five piggy banks. This will help you keep it in order.

Thanks, Diane for sharing your bigg challenge. We wish you bigg success!

Do you have a bigg solution for Diane? Share it with a comment.
Are you facing a bigg challenge? We’d love to help!
E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We don’t know who originally came up with our bigg quote today, but we sure like it!

“Between work and family, I’m really not spending
enough quality time with my money.”

So give yourself time to get to know your money so it can get to work for you!

Next time, since it’s leap year, we’ll look at leaping from place to place. You can see the world while you work! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by greggoconnell, CC 2.0)

6 replies
  1. Dan
    Dan says:

    Just wanted to add a comment from the male perspective. My wife has an addiction to buying clothes and things to for the house. I’ll try using some of your suggestions. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. I'd rather not
    I'd rather not says:

    My wife and I made an agreement to move to upstate NY so that we could raise our baby and she could stay at home. The one hitch, she’s not working to do this, thus a one income dictates we have no money to spend. Her answer to go and get credit she “once had a way of paying off”. I am between a rock and a hard place. I don’t make enough to sport her extra payments and I don’t feel like I deserve getting stuck looking for an extra job to pay off her irresponseable behavior. Discussion only leads to……I’ve taken care of it, I’m moving back home. We’re in our early to mid 40’s and moving home isn’t the solution with a baby and a divorce……..what the hell do you suggest I do. There is nothing left from week to week to set up a kitty for fun!

    Reply
  3. George & Mary-Lynn
    George & Mary-Lynn says:

    We may have more questions than answers for you. If you want, you can e-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com so we can discuss your situation more specifically and privately. The biggest problem is that the lines of communications are broken; if they can’t be mended any other way, professional help is your best answer. With all of that in mind, here’s what we suggest:

    Before you talk with your wife again, try to see things from her perspective. She went from having her own money to being completely dependent on you. We’ll grant you that this was a decision the two of you made together. However, she may feel completely out of control of her own life. She acts out that frustration by spending money she doesn’t have because she is temporarily able to escape her feeling of helplessness.

    This is one possibility. You know your wife; we don’t. We may be missing the mark. In your comment we see both frustration and confusion. Do everything you can to push the frustration aside long enough to understand what’s going on with her. Really understand her because that’s the first step in finding a solution. Then, and only then, you’re ready to discuss this situation with her because you’ll have the proper mindset.

    When you approach her, assure her in your own way. An example: Tell her you love her. Tell her you love your little baby. Tell her you want to stay together. Tell her that, with her help, you want to build a beautiful future for the three of you. Tell her that you want to understand what she’s feeling.

    Then shut up. Listen intently. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Don’t be judgmental. Do what you said – try to understand her. As she opens up, look for points of agreement. Find your common goals. Ask her for help in reaching a solution to your financial difficulties.

    You can’t control her actions, but you’re in full control of your response. By demonstrating to her that you’re trying to understand her, you’ll be more likely to get her to work together toward a solution. Let us know how it goes.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much! Bigg Challenge We received an e-mail from Diane, one of our newsletter subscribers. Diane says her husband has a passion for electronics and their credit card debt just keeps rising. She wants to know how to confront him and get their family finances back in order. Bigg Advice – 4 tips to stop the bleeding without getting bloody #1 – Plan for a conversation, not a confrontation. You want to solve the problem, not have an argument. So use the word “we” frequently and “you” infrequently. No […]

  2. Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!…

    How to stop the bleeding without getting bloody….

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