Which one are you, are you the spender or the saver? In my marriage, I am the saver and my hubs is the spender. Throughout our five years of marriage, this has resulted in many disagreements and way too blown-out-of-portion arguments.
Chances are you have a similar predicament in your relationship after all, opposites attract. My hubs has blown through over a $100 a week before just in eating out and I could beat him over the head and scream and yell until my heart’s content, but what would that really solve?
Personal finance is personal and it can get hairy when you throw another person in the mix that holds different perspectives on money from yours. Over the course of our marriage, my hubs and I have had to work through some serious issues, and many of them correlate to money. As I am sure for many of you, your issues revolve around money or the lack-there-of.
In order to keep the peace and the happiness flowing in our marriage, I have had to come up with a few ways of dealing with my hubs spending habits. But, before I share them, I want to caution you that if your marriage is already suffering, whether entirely money related or not, you may need to consider improving your marriage first before attempting to work on your money issues.
What are your spouse’s strengths when it comes to money? Do they spend a lot but work endlessly to make sure they have scored the best deal? Before attempting to work out money issues, find some positive attributes to your spouse’s spending habits so when you bring up the issues, you are not attacking them. Starting the conversation off on a positive note helps to keep the conversation productive and less argumentative, this allows you to reach a better resolution. (If you cannot find anything positive about their money habits, find something positive about another area of your lives. Are they great at getting the kids to eat their dinner or helping you around the house?)
This is the key to a successful marriage in my book, I am not a pro at this thing called love but as a child from a divorced family, I can attest to communication as being key to a successful relationship. In order to have financial peace in your home, you have to communicate your concerns and issues with each other.
I remember a couple of years ago; I made a huge budgeting mistake, a bad one. It almost completely wiped out our savings. I was so upset with myself and I did not know how I was going to tell my hubs, who I constantly yell at for making us go over budget that I was the one to blame this time. It was difficult to sum up the courage to tell him what I had done, but it brought us closer together because we had to find a solution, together. He was not happy about the mistake but he forgave me, which reminded me of how often I was failing to forgive him for his money mistakes.
As I just mentioned, you have to and need to forgive your spouse when they overspend. If you are communicating effectively with one another, you have to make sure you continually make it comfortable for your spouse to come to you when they have made a mistake. By offering your forgiveness when they do, you have a better chance of making your money work for you.
Make a Plan
This seems like it should be the first step in dealing with a spender of a spouse, making a plan, but in reality, it comes after the hard stuff. Before you can make a plan, and expect it to work, you have to figure each other’s strengths out, communicate openly and honestly and most importantly be willing to offer forgiveness when needed. Once those have all been addressed, then you can sit down and make out your plan.
Create your budget together, or if your spender is like mine, you create the budget and allow them to view the budget and have veto power over it. Give them a copy of the budget so they will know what and where they are allowed to spend money. (I like to tape it to my hubs’ steering wheel to make it difficult for him to miss it….. 😉 )
One of the most effective ways I am able to combat my hubs’ spending problem is by reminding him of our savings plan. Create a savings plan together and remind each other of it often, especially when spending money that does not contribute to your plan. It is never easy to hear someone point out where you have failed but remember that you two are in this thing together and you have to lift each other up as much as remind the other of the bigger picture.
How do you deal with a spender in your marriage or relationships?
Check back tomorrow for another post in our 31 Days of Real Life on a Budget series!
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