Money is a topic that does not come up too often with couples in a serious dating relationship – finances for the most part are kept separate. However, that all changes once you tie the knot, the money all goes in and out of the same pot. Unfortunately, money matters are a huge point of contention for many couples. Relationship experts say finances is are polarizing issue; usually there is one spouse who tends to spend, spend, spend and one spouse who tends to worry and save.
It’s no secret that saving, rather than spending on non-essential items, is a better strategy for financial success. So if you’re the money saver in your marriage, how can you get your spouse to slow down your cash outflow? Experts say there are a few ways to reign in your spouse’s spending:
See Where The Money Is Going
Before you can make anything happen in regards to a budget, you have to see where the money is going. Go back and look at the transactions for the past three months of both your own accounts and your spouse’s accounts. See what you are both spending money on. If there are several luxury items or services listed in your transaction history, then there is certainly room for you to cut back. This is also the step when you may freak out at how much your spouse has spent and at what they’ve spent it on. However, no matter how outrageous you feel your spouse’s spending is, try and refrain from getting angry and yelling at or insulting your spouse. This will only make things worse.
Talk With Your Spouse
Rather than getting angry, talk openly with your spouse. You can tell them you’re angry, frustrated or hurt by their spending habits as long as you do so in a calm, genuine fashion. Try not to throw out accusations and refer to money matters as “ours” rather than “mine.” Tell your spouse how truly concerned you are about your financial future as a couple and how you want to make a plan for success. Most spouses will understand this and be open to changing their spending habits.
Set Some Ground Rules
Budgets and rules for spending will be different depending on the specific financials of a couple, however, there should definitely be rules. For instance, many couples make a rule that stipulates they cannot spend any more than $50 or $100 on one item without approval from each other. This requires that all big purchases be discussed first, which is a very good thing. Other rules could include creating a monthly limit for eating out, buying clothing or other nonessential items and services. All rules should apply to both spouses.
Look for Red Flags
If your spouse is hiding purchases from you or completely closed to discussing changing their habits, there could be an underlying issue behind their behavior. This could include a lack of trust or shopping addiction among many other things. In this case, seek professional counseling as soon as possible, as this behavior is a warning sign that the marriage could be in deep trouble.
Jessica Drew is a freelance writer and frugal shopping enthusiast who writes about a variety of financial topics such as credit cards, student loans and cheap flights.