Husband Spending Too Much Money! HELP!

Updated on May 03, 2010
J.H. asks from North Collins, NY
13 answers

My husband is a spender. We've tried to save up for a home and we want to move our family there. However, he just gets distracted with all his "interests" such as RC boats, watches and all the other stuff. He doesn't like hobbies involving physical exercise, and always finds excuses not to go out. His hobbies are costing us and really are bringing the family apart. I would really like some help in finding methods to help him. He knows he is a spender, but he just can't stop.

Additional Stuff:
He always counters by saying that we have the "adequate finances", and he always feels threatened when I tell him we have to save. Please help.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Orlando on

If you are saving for something specific like a home, perhaps you should see a financial planner, then at least it will be an outside person showing him the problem.
When you talk to him make it about how you feel not about what he is doing, that way it will be less threatening. I would also discuss how important buying a house is to him, maybe it's not that big of a priority to him.

Edit My Answer
2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Sounds like an addiction. Buying things releases pleasure chemicals in the brain, and some people get hooked. And purchasing new stuff can also help people ignore older problems for a little while, like debt, disappointed dreams, a dismayed spouse…

I suggest you start by approaching this as an addiction, reading books about addiction and codependency, and getting some professional help, for yourself, if your husband remains in denial. Good luck. This can be a tough one.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

He could get a second job and any money from that job would be his to spend however he wants. Or if he can work overtime at his present job what ever he makes extra can be his mad money. Or you can take the same amount of money he spends on his toys and do what you want to with it. You can make a nice savings account that way. Tell him how much cheaper it will be to stop spending money on himself now than when the court orders him to pay you spousal and child support if he doesn't wake up.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I believe Peg M probably hit the nail on the head - endorphins are released just as with any other addiction - I don't think a financial planner would be as important as a therapist (I'm not kidding). I think both are wise, but you have to address why he spends on himself when there are other priorities and how to compromise.

We have a similar situation. My husband is the spender, I'm the spend thrift. He had to get into debt consolidation before we got married which wrecked his credit, and he has had a really hard time with the house, cars, etc. being in my name only because his credit score has brought us down. He's worked really hard and has gotten his in the low 700's for which I'm incredibly proud.

The solution that's worked well for us since getting married almost 6 years ago has been to have a joint account into which we equally contribute based upon monthly expenses (mortgage, car, day care, groceries, utilities, kids clothes, house-hold emergencies, 529 accounts, etc).

What's left over from each of our paychecks goes into our individual accounts. I save mine, he spends his on what he wants to without compromising our joint financial obligations.

When I was laid off last year, we were fortunate to have over a year's worth of my salary liquid in my account in the event finding a job proved to be a problem. His account usually has a few hundred dollars that he spends on his iPod, upgrading his cell phone, movies, etc.

It's worked well to help us balance having completely different approaches to finances while both being responsible to the expense we have jointly created.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have to laugh. My husband is a spender, too. But he spends 'cheap'. In otherwords we have to shop all weekend at discount places, and with coupons and garage sales and second hand shops. Perhaps you could enlist your husband in the fun. And we save lots and get that shopping out of his system. I myself could happily go for walks and read books. He does however annoy me with the fact that he sends his family money all the time. Too much of it. So I started to do what the other poster said and save the same amount of money for me. Try that for a bit. And You will be surprised at how much you save. If you do not have the same amount for you then save twenty dollars a week. That adds up. Nice little down payment on something (a vacation perhaps?-small house?) just keep saving yourself. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If he can't help himself, then Shopaholics sounds like a good idea.

If you can agree on a certain amount to save each month, you can set up an account where money is automatically moved from your principal checking to that account. You could set it up as a 5 year account where money can't be taken out without a big penalty and needing both your signatures (so he can't sneak it out). Then the money is just not there to be spent - out of sight, out of mind.

But I wouldn't be ashamed to have him go to shopaholics - it is super common and if he is addicted, no shouting, crying, hiding money or being sweet can change it. If he is addicted, he will find a way to spend saved money, too.

I go to Alanon which is a support group for people who have addicts in their life - I have found it phenomenally helpful for my own life even while the addicts in my life have not found sobriety. You don't need to wait until he is recovering to live a full life even within the marriage. Alanon is national so you can just google it to find meetings in your area (literally every night!).

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My husband and I have our own seperate "fun money" checking accounts. So we have four accounts -- bill money checking account, savings account, my fun money, his fun money. Each gets money direct deposited into it from every paycheck.

My husband calls his -- his allowance. We worked out a budget and put money in there accordingly. It was made clear what you get is what you get. His gas money, lunch money and some additional funds go in there. He can spend that as he wants, so if he packs a lunch and goes cheap for lunches - he has more money he can spend on fun toys. It works out great for both of us. Before I would get all bent out of shape if I saw him drop $18 dollars on a lunch out with coworkers, now I don't even see it - and I don't care. It's not OUR money he's wasting, it's his. If he spends like that he won't have money. On the flip side, if he saves up and buys himself some $300 do-dad, also no sweat. It came from his own funds and he didn't touch the main funds. Plus it adds a little extra something that we can treat each other to a date night using our own private funds. It brings some romance back... Doing this completely ended our money fights.

If your husband is a really hardcore spender. Give him his account - don't link it to the main checking/bills. Take away his ATM card, credit card, etc. If you pay the bills - he shouldn't need access to the other.

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Does he pay the bills?
My hubby would spend everything we have but he has his own checking account. I get the paycheck and he gets an allowance. He has 2 credit cards that he has run up many times and when he is denied it is all his fault as I have my own credit accounts.
His checking account does not have a buffer zone so if he tries to spend more than what is in the account then the debit card is denied.
I pay the bills, I let him know if he can or can't have anything big, like over $150 or so.
Now he is living in VA and I in NC (job). We only have one paycheck and he admittingly hates bills and finances so it works for us.

We have a financial planner and that has helped my hubby a lot. It takes patience and a little manipulating on your part.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband had and still has a hard time with money. We decided to have our own personal spending accounts thru an on-line bank (ING Direct). We each get "X" amount deposited in our account from the family account every week. We can spend it on whatever we like. It was decided that personal hobbies, clothes, coffee, etc would be payed with our own accounts. We had to decide that before hand. The real beauty is I have no idea exactly what he spends on or how much so I am no longer stressing out. You may agree to then put the same amount you each receive every week into savings. It keeps it clean. Hope that helps.



answers from New York on

I love all the addiction advice. It seems very appropriate for your situation.

I would also set up the account to send money to a separate account ( for some serious savings. I personally wouldn't let him have access to that account since he has not dicipline but I wouldn't keep it hidden from him either.

Saving for a house seems a noble and worthy endeavor to me for the benefit of the family.

It would be nice if he really thought about how to make extra money to support his interests. Try to frame conversations with him that makes him feel like he thought of this instead of you. Something like, "I found this great online bank and was thinking I would give it a try by saving x-dollars per pay (initially keep the figure low so he won't feel threatened). What do you think of that?"

I understand the importance of wanting and saving for a house but it is also important to get this money/spending/saving thing straight too. Many marriages end because of the love of money. I hope this helps.



answers from New York on

Just curious - who actually pays the bills in your house? I did it for about the first 15 years of our marriage. My husband always thought we had more money than we did. He could never understand where all the $$ went - even though I was basically paying the bills with not much spent on anything else unless it was a necessity. A few years ago, I asked him to start paying the bills which he did happily. Now he understands that his paycheck doesn't go quite as far as he thought it did.

Having said that, we're both pretty practical with $$ and neither of us has anything we spend $ on that could be considered a bad habit. It would definately get under my skin if I were in your situation. Maybe he needs a reality check of how much $ comes in and how much is spent over the course of a month. Try making a list of those exact things including what's spent on his little toys. Good luck!


answers from Rochester on

Hi J.,

We are not quite in that situation, but my husband likes to spend a little more than I do--I used to spend all my money on books, but now that we are married and have children, I am pretty content to not spend money most of the time. His hobby is media, mostly music, and he used to come home feeling guilty and tell me he bought a CD. I pay the bills because he is not good with numbers and deadlines and I'm much more organized about it. We've also had our share of credit problems due to unemployment and low paying jobs, but we're mostly okay now.

What finally helped up (and he at least was in agreement with me, so it sounds like you're not there yet), was sitting down and discussing spending. I showed him our bills, our credit reports, our monthly income, etc. We both want a house someday and need to improve our credit, etc. We discussed how his job is difficult and has little about it that is rewarding and music has always been so important to him. We finally agreed on an amount that was reasonable (that we could afford and that, to him, was enough to indulge in his hobby and treat himself to a show once in a while), he has his own checking account and direct deposit "discriminatory" money, and he does not have to ask my permission to buy something, or call me and say "how much in the bank account," (since we only have one transaction register and I balance it), and he also uses that account for gifts for me (Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas), because he can transfer the amount we agree on for each other and I can't see where he bought my gifts. It has its ups and downs, but it has worked out better for us.

If you do not spend money at all, maybe you should also open your own "spending" account with a similar deposit. That was one other thing my husband hated--that he really wanted to enjoy his hobby but felt even guiltier because I would refuse to buy a dish drainer I liked because it cost $7 and we had a perfectly good Dollar Store one at home. If you have your own funds that do not come from a bill payment or grocery account, you can save it, or treat yourself once in a while and it might help him moderate his spending a bit. If he knows you won't treat yourself because he overdoes it on himself, maybe he would be more open to adjusting his spending. Whatever you do, if he is not financially gifted, do not villainize him or make him feel like he is the cause of any problems--try to see it as a joint effort, your goals as joint as well. Show him what you could do with savings over time and how that will bring you closer to your goals and make sure they are his goals as well. You can also see financial counselors who might help you both work through your issues as a couple.

Next question: Separate or Joint Bank Accounts