Does your husband or significant other have a bad spending habit? You’re in luck because I was a husband who had bad spending habits! In this article, I will tell you what worked and what didn’t work to get my spending under control.
Insights About My Readers
You may be surprised to find out that 70% of my readers are female. I certainly was surprised when I first looked at my website analytics. The majority of the people who contact me with money questions are also female. As I started to write this post, I thought about the different possibilities for why the majority of my readers are female. My first conclusion was that it may be due to my chiselled features and rugged good looks. However, my wife quickly dispelled that theory.
A Man’s Perspective
The more I thought about it, the more I found I needed to look at it through my own perspective as a man. As a husband, I find it very difficult to admit my insecurities. The truth is, I can’t fix everything and I don’t know everything, but far be it from me to admit that. I think there’s a good number of us men who think and act like this. It’s hard for us to reach out for help because we feel we are the protectors. We feel we are the ones that need to have all the answers for our family.
By reaching out for help or looking up information about our finances, we are acknowledging our deficiencies. Many of us feel that looking for help is a sign of weakness. In reality, admitting we don’t know everything is actually a form of strength.
Ladies, for this post, I’m risking my safety by telling you this insider information! I risk getting beat up in a back alley by an overzealous male because I just exposed his secrets! All joking aside, we really are wired this way and have trouble reaching out and communicating (shocker I know).
If you are a man reading this, I applaud you and I encourage you to continue looking for answers. I can just hear my wife chuckling as I type this because it’s like the pot calling the kettle black.
How Do You Stop Your Husband / Spouse’s Bad Spending Habits?
First and foremost, your husband needs a reason to recognize his bad habits. If he thinks everything is fine, why would he want to discuss this “budget” you keep bringing up? I assume you are obviously more aware of your financial situation, hence the reason you are on this blog. Before you approach your husband about his terrible money habits (again), recognize that you will typically get more bees with honey. What I mean, is this is a delicate process. Initially, he is not going to want to admit he needs help. Before you approach him, I would encourage you to continue your financial research as much as possible. The goal is to counter his protests with facts rather than your emotion.
How My Wife Changed My Habits
When my wife and I first married, she was the saver and I was the spender. Years later, it’s ironic that I am now the financial blogger. However, just because I am the face of this blog, don’t let that fool you. My wife is the power and influence behind everything I write!
I can distinctly remember when I had my, “aha” moment in regards to our finances. My wife came to me and showed me I had spent over $1,000 at restaurants over the past month. She approached me in a non-confrontational way and shared what she had discovered in our finances. When I saw those numbers, it was an immediate shock because I had never tracked my spending. My entire money plan was to avoid spending more than I made. I took “KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)” to a whole new level…
The Kid Glove Approach
When she was actually able to sit me down and show me the numbers instead of telling me how awful I was with money, it had a much greater impact. Had she started to nag me and tell me we needed to do a budget and push me to spend less, I would have resisted. However, when she showed me the numbers, she was able to create buy-in from me. It was impossible to deny that I was wasting a ton of money on things that didn’t add value to our life.
After she presented me with the information, I decided right then and there that it was time to get our finances under control. It felt like it was my decision to start a budget, rather than hers. It’s funny how influential you women can be…
I wrote another great article about marriage and finances that will help you understand how to communicate in a relationship. Refer to Is Money Affecting Your Marriage? for more information.
The Steps To Stop His Spending
1. Create A Budget – By Yourself
Before you approach him, examine your finances to see where your money is going. This can be done by creating a budget. You can also use my free budget printable here if you do not have a current budget. Once you have this information, it will be much easier to convince him to curb his spending and to get on board with you financially. You will be able to answer his questions and approach him in a non-aggressive manner, armed with facts about your finances. Again, If you need information on creating a budget, download my free budget printables here and refer to my budget article.
2. Creating Common Ground
When you are armed with the budget, you are ready to move in. Approach him at a good time and bring up the finances in a non-condescending manner. Bring up your goals and how you want the two of you to work towards common goals. This is not a blame session, this is a positive conversation geared towards working on a positive outcome.
The whole goal of this strategy is to find common goals and motivations for both of you to get on the same page. Too often, we let our emotions get in the way and start finger pointing at the other person’s bad habits. Being armed with facts instead of emotion, you have a much better chance of working towards a positive resolution.
3. Create A Vision With Your Husband
A budget and retirement plan is great, but it seems rather meaningless without goals and dreams. Shared visions are incredibly important for you and your spouse and I encourage you to seek those out. In order to create real financial action, we need to find our “why.” Our focus and goals in this life help drive our actions for today.
When you present the current financial situation to him, convince him that with his help, both of you can fix this. Tell him about your goals and dreams and ask him what his are. Show him how these goals and dreams require money – and show him the path to get there!
His goals may involve golfing on the weekend and driving a big truck. This is certainly possible – if he helps you with the budget and pays cash for these items. Offer to give him some control over the financial situation as you work together.
4. Establish Your Financial Why
When I was finally on board with creating a better financial situation, I needed my “why.” I distinctly remember writing down my goals on a piece of paper. I wrote down my 5 year and my 10+ year goals on a piece of paper and told my wife to do the same. After she completed her list, we compared them. It was awesome to see that we shared several common goals but also had unique goals that the other was not aware of.
For instance, we both would like to retire and have a beach house someday. Who knows if it truly is possible, but it gives us something to aim for. One of our short term goals involved paying off our house early. With these common goals, we have a specific purpose to work towards and a plan for our money to accomplish them.
By sharing our goals and working together, we hold each other accountable for our spending. Our financial plan has actually brought us closer because we dared to dream together. With these dreams, we both realize that we can achieve them if we work together!
5. Sharing Control Of Your Finances
As men, we like to be in control – as do women. So with money, how do both of you take control at the same time? After my wife created financial buy-in with me, we took different financial roles. We took on financial roles that matched our personalities.
In our relationship, I am the visionary. I can easily see the long-term goals that she has trouble envisioning. My wife is articulate and a perfectionist, so the monthly budget is right up her alley. Using my strengths, I am responsible for retirement planning and investing. We align our goals and dreams and design a plan to get there. She is excellent at paying attention to the small everyday money details and I compliment her with vision. Win-win for both of us control freaks!
We routinely share our progress with each other. I show her how retirement planning is going and she shows how well we have stuck to our budget. By working together, we hold each other accountable and encourage each other at the same time.
A Recap Of The Process To Stop Your Husband’s Bad Spending Habits
- Create a budget on your own to see where your finances really are. If you need help starting, use my free budget printables and refer to my detailed article on budgets.
- Approach your husband in a non-confrontational manner, armed with facts rather than pent up emotion. Show him your finances and what you have mapped out.
- Discover your goals and dreams – both your shared and unique dreams. Find common ground to work together to achieve as many of your goals as you can.
- Establish your “why” with your husband. Solidify the reason you need to work together to achieve these goals.
- As hard as it may be, if you both are control freaks, work on sharing financial responsibilities. Divvy up the responsibilities based on personalities and strengths.
The best advice I can give you? Do not give up! You both work extremely hard and marriage is not easy. It took time for my wife to get me on board with our finances. It took time for me to admit I was being stupid with our money. Once she finally was able to convince me to change, we have been unstoppable. We work together and celebrate our successes. We have enough stress in our lives and being able to remove financial stress has been invaluable to our relationship. Please continue reading my articles for motivation and support and if you need more help, feel free to contact me!
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