Here you are with your budget all lined out, great intentions to save but your spouse is doing their own thing and wrecking your financial goals!
Having been married these past ten years, we still have our periodic money dates because if we’re not working together towards the same goals, then no progress is made. Here is how we keep each other accountable for our unnecessary spending.
Share Your Goals
Once a month I draw up a quick balance sheet of our net worth on a white board, take a picture, and compare it to last month. I do it on a whiteboard in bright colors to get my husband involved instead of just plugging everything into a spreadsheet. If your spouse rolls their eyes every time you start to talk numbers, this may work for you too!
After everything is written out we talk about any progress made or the reasons for a decline. We then talk about our short-term and long-term financial goals, what we want to see by a certain time frame, and whether we are on track to meet those goals. Your wants may not always be the same but we find they are generally close enough to where we can compromise.
Accountability can be hard for the spender in your life whether that is you or your spouse. Me and my husband text each other throughout the day because let’s face it, not spending money can sometimes be really hard (especially if you forgot to bring your lunch to work that day). For me, I like to set mini-challenges. For example, let’s see who can spend less than $20 this week (discretionary spending). Both being competitive, this challenge has been known to last longer than a week!
On the flip side of that, I am sure to send him a message if I’m planning to make a purchase out of the ordinary. For example, the other day I went to Hobby Lobby and was about to check out with about $80 worth of ‘stuff’ in my basket. Holding me accountable, he asked me questions such as “can this wait?,” “do you really need this stuff now?,” and so on. Just having a quick conversation helps your spouse have an idea of purchases you are making throughout the day so they’re not caught off guard and where they don’t feel like they need to hide anything from you.
Out of Control Spending
If you have tried all of the above and your spouse is out of control with their spending, they are probably more aware of the issue than you think! Without getting angry or into the blame game, break out the last couple months of bank statements and discuss their discretionary spending. Talk about what you both COULD HAVE done if it wasn’t spent on all the unnecessary stuff! If they really want to get control of their spending, suggest using a prepaid debit card or the envelope system.
Communication is key so do what works for you both to keep the topic light-hearted and non-confrontational. Money isn’t so great when you don’t have anybody to share it with.
Disclaimer: I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM (CFP®), but I am not your CFP® or financial advisor. The information in this article is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This article does not create a financial planner-client relationship. The author is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions of failure to act related to the content in this article. If you need specific financial advice, consult with a licensed financial advisor or CFP® who can tailor advice regarding your specific circumstances. Additionally, sometimes I use affiliate links to support my website. This means I may earn a small commission, which is no additional cost to you, for referring and discussing products and services that I personally use, or have used, and trust. Thanks for your support!