A.D. asks from Raleigh, NC on December 14, 2009
Need Advice on Influencing Husband to Spend Less Money!
I am sure I am not the first spouse to be in this situation, especially in this economy. My husband and I have differing philosophies on spending, and it seems that the gap between us continues to widen. When we first married we were both making good money and spent as we liked, although I was always the one who spent on more practical things (groceries, home improvement, etc.). That worked for us until 2 years ago when I became pregnant and left my job to be a stay-at-home mom - a decision we both made. He has not changed his spending habits and continues to spend without regard to how much money we have in our accounts, while I buy our child clothes on eBay and put off getting a haircut as long as possible. Each time I try to address this he becomes very defensive and accuses me of being cheap. With the holidays coming up and us having some down time, I'd like to address this issue in a respective (and non-resentful manner). I should also mention that communication skills are not his best quality and he has previously made it clear to me that he will not go to therapy with me for any issue. Any advice/ideas you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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C.R. answers from Greensboro on December 15, 2009
I had the same problem with my husband. Growing up, his family always had money and mine did not. I went into the marriage coupon cutting and going to consignment stores while he always had to have name brand items and would buy things without thinking (one year he went on a spending spree and spent around $2000 that we did not have on Christmas presents).
The one thing that has helped us is going through a Financial Peace University course at my church. The course was written by David Ramsey (he also has a syndicated radio show and has a show on Fox Business). He teaches practical lessons on how to keep a budget, how to pay off all debts and how to save for the future. After the course, my husband has become a financial fiend. He price shops everything and is now wearing shoes we bought from WalMart and goes to a consignment shop for clothes. Whenever we talk about expenses, he actually talks in terms of wants vs needs. Oh...and look out if we can't put money into savings every month. This course has completely changed our lives.
If you are interested in finding a course in your area, you can follow this link: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/.
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K.E. answers from Louisville on December 14, 2009
Does every woman have this problem with men? I had it early on too and what I did was I made HIM sit down and do the budget (with my supervision of course) so that he had to face the reality of the situation but also so he felt like he was making the decision to invest in other other options such as savings or the children's college funds. Going back to work isn't going to resolve the issue. It will only give him more money to spend and of course you will have to work ten times harder than you already do working AND raising your children. Unfortunately, with men, changing bad habits are very similar to changing bad habits in children. Give him the budget and give him choices with the budget. See what decisions are made by the "man of the house" when limited options are presented in front of him.
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C.R. answers from Knoxville on December 15, 2009
Can you try telling you want to sit down and talk about a budget with him. Prepare things so you have no interruptions, after the child/ren are in bed or if you can get someone to take the(m) away for an afternoon activity. Get all the bills out and write down all of them, all the due dates. Keep revolving bills together i.e. mortgage, car payments, loan payments, utilities etc... Other bills that are short term that don't get paid continually i.e. a credit card that does not get used all the time, gifts for birthday, Christmas, etc... Then list income as well. Remember to use only the income that is regular. List bonuses, overtime etc... on a separate line. This is income that can be used but not counted on for the monthly budget because it may not always be there. It is important to not be judgemental or mad about how money is spent. My Dad always felt like I make $_ per hour, I should be able to buy what I want. When he sat down and really saw how much everything cost together then he realized that he could not just go out and spend because the money was accounted for. Do this without being mad or upset about the money. If you get upset with him it will just put him on the defensive mode. This would also be a good time to write a wants and needs list. You NEED housing, food, car, car insurance, clothing etc... WANTS are things that would be nice to have but you can get by without it. Things on our WANT list are a new TV, new furniture, new car. At some point some of these things may change to NEEDS, like a car, if your car no longer runs and you need transportation to work so you can make the income. If you and your husband pray together, pray before hand for God to grant you the wisdom and peace to work through this. If you don't pray together but you do pray then start asking God to grant you the wisdom to talk to your husband about the money issues. Ask him for His wisdom to work through you for the good of your family unit. Remember to pray a thankful prayer afterwards as well.
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M.C. answers from Houston on December 14, 2009
Come up with a budget. Plan to have so much extra money a month but during special occasions this will change. Both of you will get an 'allowance'. If he spends his-it's all gone and you can save yours for you. Your allowance shouldn't include things for the baby. That should be included in your budget for bills, utilities, credit cards and saving accounts.
I hate to say it but he sounds extremely selfish. Do you guys get 'you' time like dates and stuff? It could be a reaction to a dynamic that's changed in the relationship. I hate hearing "well I pay the bills..."
Maybe it is time for you to go back to work, but I do know how nice it is to stay home with the baby. Your married and the money he makes is for both of you to control.
Do the budget and show him you're not being cheap-you're being stepped on. Do the bills at the begining of the month when the paycheck comes in, put money into savings, allocate money for gas($100-200), groceries (200-350)and any other misc expenditures (christmas, clothes, haircuts...). Leave some for cusion. It might end up that you really only have $50 for 'fun money' or whatever you want to do with. This would mean 25 for you and 25 for him.
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K.D. answers from Raleigh on December 15, 2009
I like the FPU class that a lot of people suggested. It's a class not therapy, so that should help. Maybe look into and talk to him and tell him the reasons YOU want to go to it and what YOU want to learn and tell him you want him to go too for support.
I would open a second account for essentials and on payday transfer some of the money to that account for food and clothes and haircuts. I would talk to him about it, of course. But tell him it will help YOU to stay on a budget.
Is he charging a lot on credit cards? You didn't mention whether he is or not. If he is, that is a whole other problem and I sympathize.
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C.M. answers from Raleigh on December 15, 2009
Why don't you suggest that you would like to start tracking a family budget. You can set it up in Excel or an accounting software like Quicken. Don't make it seem like you want to use it to control his spending, but rather as a way you both can get a better understanding of your finances. Once he sees how much he is really spending (and on what), it may shock him into better spending habits. My husband and I started tracking our spending over 10 years ago. Now we set a budget every year and try to keep our spending within that budget. We include EVERYTHING (travel, groceries, gas, childrens clothes and accessories, personal spending money, and on and on). It worked wonders for our spending. We had been spending hundreds a month on eating our until we saw it on paper. Now we rarely eat out because we saw how much money we were wasting.
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M.M. answers from Jacksonville on December 15, 2009
While I was in the hospital having babies, we have 4, he had to do bills. It opened his eyes a little bit. We still have this problem though. It gets very bad if your hubby ever deploys.
Now I tell him what the credit card balances are and the bank accounts and i actually made him get a consolidation loan. He put over $5000 on credit after the Iraq deployment and then about that much after Afghanistan.
Also if your name is on the credit cards call them and have the limit lowered and then let him go try to get something and get denied. Same with bank accounts. You can get your own under your name and start taking the money that needs to be delegated for food and groceries to a different account. THen when he uses the debit card they deny him. SOmetimes they have to see real action from someone other than us before they actually listen.
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A.C. answers from Charlotte on December 15, 2009
I'm not sure how old you guys are but this sounds like a common martial situation. I'm sure you've heard the annoying line "I'm a grown man and I'm going to do what I want to." That's there mentality about anything that involves them putting the breaks on coming and going, spending and not spending. You've heard people say that "Boys need their toys." I have to say, that honestly as long as you are paying your bills on time, able to have groceries, and can provide for your child + put money in savings for those emergency situations, I wouldn't balk about it. When my oldest son was born I had been married for 3 years and we were rolling in the money. When he was born, we had a discussion about how we were going to manage money. I told him I didn't care if there was a dime in the checking account as long as bills were paid, we had food to eat, and I could provide for the baby (medical, clothes, etc.). I had to learn how to stretch a dollar. I had to go online and find coupons for haircuts, eating out, baby sales (clothes, equipment, etc.). I got frugal and he didn't change. But we both agreed that every year when we got our tax refund that would go into our savings account and be our cushion for emergencies. There were times when I had $5 in my checking account. But I didn't care. I would tell him we have this much money and then he would slow down until funds were replenished. The most important advice I could give you two right now is to build a savings account. If you are worried about spending and he's not willing to change his habits you need this to fall back on. Trust me, having a savings account will eliminate a lot of your worries. If you don't have a savings account, then I would advice YOU to start one even if you have to save $10 here and there and then when your tax refund comes ask him to put it into savings. Also, buy a big jar and just ask him to start throwing his loose change in it every night. You would be amazed at how much money you have in loose change at the end of the year. I did this the first year my son was born. We had $950 in December that we used to buy Christmas presents with. You just have to learn how to be frugral. You don't have to be cheap. I buy my children's clothes when they are on clearance (this winter I will buy for next winter). As far as communicating with him, you need to understand things from his perspective. It's not that he thinks what you do is less than him by being a SAHM but he goes to work everyday and he feels he's entitled to spend what he wants if he's earning it. When you talk to tell him you understand that he works hard and that you just want to make sure that bills are paid, baby is taken care of, food is on the table, and that money is being saved. He's probably not going to want to listen so you will just have to be the money savvy one and implement ways to save. I know you're not going to want to hear this but every woman has to learn how to stretch a dollar, every woman has to do without, every woman has to sacrifice. Get used to it. It only lasts until the children are grown. I've found that my husband doesn't worry about money as much as I do. He never will worry about it. Hope all works out.
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