15 January 2014

Living with a Spendaholic Spouse

It's not easy when you and your spouse are on different pages, especially when it comes to finances.

Getting your spendthrift to change their ways isn't easy. Often they don’t like to take advice from their spouses, and it may be difficult to “make” him or her change.  Actions speak louder than words, it might be clich├ęd but it's true, and what you do and how you handle your finances might help him (or her) see the reality of the situation.

A dose of reality is often all that's needed to get someone's attention. Perhaps an appointment for the both of you with a financial advisor helps to put financial realities into perspective.   A good financial advisor can give realistic tips on how to achieve these goals without making anyone feel financially incompetent.

Credit cards make it way too easy to overspend.  Work on paying down the balances, and then cancel them.  Watching the balance shrink each month is a great motivator, perhaps keeping a record of the shrinking debt will keep your spendthrift focused.

If frivolous spending is a problem, agree on a fixed amount of “fun money” for any extras each month.  Each person can spend it how he or she wishes, but can’t go over that amount.  Pretty soon, it will be clear how quickly taxis and lunches out can make that money disappear.

It can’t hurt to model the behaviour you would like to see emulated.  Continue to demonstrate thoughtful spending.  Suggest eating at home sometimes to save some extra cash, for instance.

And don’t forget the value of an honest, heart-to-heart conversation.  Try to get at the root of spending behaviours, and work together to find a solution.  Spending and budgeting are family issues and as a family you need to work on them together.

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