If you are anything like me, you are a saver. Judging by your visiting the site, I think this is a safe assumption. If you have a significant other, I’m willing to bet he/she is a spender. That is just how the world works. I know plenty of guys and girls who are in the same boat I am…trying to figure out how to hold on to the money coming in, while not pissing off the other person bringing in the money.
It’s a hard task to pull off tactfully, but there are are things that can be done to help avoid spousal spending, while keeping calm in the house.
You do not necessarily have to keep completely separate finances, but if you both have different accounts, it adds a bit of “freedom”. This is true even if you also have a joint account. If does not make the relationship any weaker if you have to keep spending money in places where the other can not get to it. For some relationships, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Avoid Stores by Going Out Elsewhere
If your significant other is just a mallrat, or is addicted to the Home Shopping Network, the best thing to do is distract them. As long as they are receptive, when they get the shopping bug, take them out for a walk, or some other activity that is far removed from the shopping world. You can save money and it may even strengthen your relationship. This may also be an ideal time to bring up finances and open the lines of communication there.
Show Him/Her Unused “Junk”
I do this (tactfully, of course) all the time. My lady friend absolutely loves to buy stuff. Just about anything at all, really. I think there are just too many decent products out there who’s advertising makes her think “I need this”. Good for them, but bad for our finances. I find it pretty effective to clean out the closet and show her everything she has wasted money on that we just do not use. Granted, there are some things here and there that prove invaluable. But for every ONE of those, there is about 50 things that just collect dust. If I’m not too much of a jerk about it, she is usually pretty quick to recoil and help me get rid of whatever crap she just had to have.
Talk About Money
Since opening a dialogue at home, our finances have improved immensely. Our emergency fund is at 100%, and we are both much more aware of what comes in and goes out. Our budget is still a work-in-progress, but I’m optimistic that I will get it ironed out soon. I realize that many households constantly fight about money. It is just too sore a subject for some people to discuss openly. This is especially true of those with poor money habits.
One of the best ways to improve these habits (yes, even with the wife/husband) is to keep bringing it up. Letting them know that it is an issue that is near and dear to your heart should be enough of a hint that they will be happy to get on board with you, even if they too have to make some sacrifices.
Even better than talking about money, is having a budget that both parties abide by. You can even make yourself look better by setting aside some of “your” money from the budget to give to your spouse to spend, spend, spend. If you’re like me, you won’t care that you don’t have the extra money. And since you’re with a spender, they will
be more than happy to take that money and head to the mall.
How does it work in your house? I’m sure nobody has the “ideal” setup, but I am anxious to know how you guys handle a spender in the house…furthermore, what do you do to curb yourself if YOU are the spender?