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