Author Topic: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?  (Read 12845 times)

lifejoy

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In a nutshell: DH is ok with spending money when he sees the value in a purchase. When he does not personally see the value in a purchase, the thought of making said purchase is upsetting to him. This would be fine, normal even, except that we share a bank account ;)

Together we paid off $100,000 of our combined student loans in about four years. It's a great achievement. I restricted my spending significantly and so did he. But now I want to do things, like have a few pieces of new clothing and take a course and __fill in the blank with things that are important to me___. DH doesn't always agree with the purchases I want to make.

If it helps you to know, I am a people-pleasing ENFJ who is sometimes guilty of putting the needs of others before my own. I cannot think of a purchase request that my husband could have that I would want to say a firm "no" to. I would do everything I could to make his desire possible. He is also very stubborn so when I have tried to say no in the past, it is a tiny little "maybe we shouldn't" and it has no effect.

Because, essentially, I have never denied him the things he wants to buy, it hurts me that he's so frugal (cheap?) that he doesn't want the same for me. For example, I would happily live in a significantly cheaper apartment in order to afford the things I want, but HE would not be happy in a less nice apartment, and so we don't live in a cheaper one. Why does his preference get to "win"?

I'm feeling stuck. I feel like I have lost personal agency. I feel like my husband is a parent saying "no". It is making me think weird thoughts like hiding money etc :(

He is a kind and caring person who made me dinner last night. I need you to know that. But this money stuff can fill me with a rage! I don't want to feel like a woman who is beholden to her husband and cannot make financial decisions for herself.

We've tried the "fun money" thing. When it works, it works, but usually someone ends up spending other money by accident and the system collapses.

I don't know what to do from here. I care about saving money, but I also care about enjoying my life now. I've followed DH's career around the world and its been a big sacrifice for me. To not have a lot of freedom about where we live or the jobs I have, and then to ALSO not be able to spend money how I want, is making me feel small and disempowered. Like I'm the supporting character on the DH show.

I have expressed all these feelings to him, but I need smarter minds than ours to provide some direction. Thanks in advance! <3

Cromacster

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2016, 06:37:42 AM »
You pretty much described the dynamic between me and my wife.  I am like your husband and my wife is like you.

Our solution is to keep separate accounts.  We still have a few joint accounts for bills, travel, and goals, which we deposit a set amount each month.  We also have our savings goals for what we save/invest.  After those whatever is leftover is ours to spend.  It's not the most efficient way to obtain a higher savings rate, but it eliminates most of the feelings of resentment when purchasing something the other may not agree with.

This may not work for everyone.  It also helps that our salaries are very similar.

One option might be to let him read your post.  You laid out how you feel.  If he reads it, it might help him understand.  He might not realize what he is doing and how it affects you.

Hope you can figure something, situations like this can cause alot of stress.



« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 06:40:07 AM by Cromacster »

Miss Piggy

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2016, 06:46:32 AM »
I second the suggestion for separate accounts.

I assume you are working and bringing in money, yes?

There's no reason you can't enjoy a fun purchase now and then, especially if you two are meeting your savings goals.

ender

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2016, 06:47:55 AM »
We've tried the "fun money" thing. When it works, it works, but usually someone ends up spending other money by accident and the system collapses.

Your entire post feels like a symptom of this root problem. The entire purpose of "fun money" is avoiding the problems you talk about (of course you can still disagree on how much to have).

Why/how do you end up accidentally spending the money? Do you not budget?  Does one or both of you not respect the plan you have? Are you not able to come up with a budget as a couple (other than "don't spend money")?

I suspect if you are able to talk through this aspect you will resolve a lot of the inner turmoil you feel now.

Also, my guess is he does not realize he makes you feel this way at all. Nor does he realize he is inadvertently stomping on your attempts to say "no" when you say things like "maybe we shouldn't."

BFGirl

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2016, 07:01:48 AM »
Oh lifejoy!  Hugs, hugs and more hugs!

I am also an ENFJ.  Your description sounds so similar to my marriage to my former spouse. If my ex thought it had value then it was okay.  Whatever I wanted to purchase was a "waste".  My career definitely took a backseat to his because someone had to be there for the kids.

It is great that he makes you dinner, mine did too.  But it is not about those things.  You need to feel like you are an equal in the relationship and not his child.  I ended up feeling like I had no say so in the marriage, unless I was driven to the point of giving ultimatums.  A marriage needs to be about partnership and making decisions together, not one person having the final say so.

On money, I used to talk to my husband about purchases.  I was never told "no", but he would always question what I wanted to do and made his disapproval apparent.  Finally, I quit talking to him about it.

To make a long story short, he maneuvered most of the money into his name (basically stopped putting his check in our joint account).  As a result, I opened my own accounts.  Ultimately it ended in divorce. 

You need to be firm with him  about coming up with a budget that allows you to save but also have some freedom to spend on things important to you.  Tell him you want you to set goals that meet each of your needs.  It will need to be a compromise.  If he won't do this, then I think you should at least seek counseling for yourself.  Every time I tried to sit down and talk with my ex, he stonewalled me.  Either wouldn't commit or would say something to get out of the discussion and do whatever he wanted.

I am not proud of some of my behaviors during the marriage.  We made lots of money and saved lots, but I also did a lot of revenge spending.  I wasted a ton of money this way that it would be nice to have now.  At the time, it was one of the only ways I felt empowered in the marriage. 

You are an important part of the marriage! You deserve to be heard! Be willing to compromise, but make sure you are treated as an equal partner.  Please PM me if you would like.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 07:08:41 AM by BFGirl »

homestead neohio

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 07:04:04 AM »
Some thoughts based on limited info provided:

You've got to talk about it, even if confrontation is not your thing.  If he's like a lot of nice guys (sexist comment justified because I resemble this remark), he's not picking up on your subtle clues.  You both need to own the parts of this dynamic that are your own.  You are not being assertive, he is not being fair.  Most money arguments are not about money, but power.  Don't start this talk when angry, but create an environment conducive to him listening and make sure he hears how you feel.  If he's not getting it, tell him "You're not getting it!".  It can take something jarring to break through old patterns.  The experience needs to stand out.  If confronting him about this is hard for you, tell him that too.  Tell him this has been going on for a long time and is building to a point where you are seriously frustrated.  Follow good rules of engagement, not accusing him ("You never X), using "I" language ("I feel that Y" or "It seems to me Z").  Tell him what you need that you are not getting.  Trust?  Freedom?  Feeling that you matter, too?

Does he know your preference for a cheaper apartment and some nice things?  Does he realize this is a compromise for you, or did you just say "sure, honey" when he suggested moving in to that place?  Consider this may all be a big surprise to an oblivious and loving husband.

Sounds like with following him around you've let this go long enough.  If you just keep following him around and being accommodating, the pattern will continue, which will escalate your frustration with the current dynamic.  It's discouraging that a fair approach like "spending money" has not worked.  Did he overspend and there were no consequences?  Or did you overspend?  If my wife or I spend beyond our budgeted "fun money", we are in debt to "us".  We don't get future fun money until the debt is paid off.  We both agreed on budget amounts for fun money and know them.  We respect this commitment to our budget and shared goals.

One thing that has helped me is having shared goals that I know my wife is as invested in as I am, then working together via compromises to ensure those goals are met.  Congrats on paying the 100,000 in loans in 4 years... you guys can do this!  What is your next common goal?  He may relax on your personal spending a bit if he knows you are together on big goals and those goals will be met.  That takes away some fear that you are not together on big issues and that those goals happen.

You can try sharing why the things you want to spend money on are important to you, but he might not get it because he's not similarly motivated.  Regardless, he needs to trust and respect you enough to give you some lee-way, the way you do him, and in a fair manner.  If you have deep insecurities about appearance due to something in your past (for example), share that with him.  If you've shared it before, share it again AND help him make the connection that this is WHY buying X is so important to you right now. 

Also consider in some cases he may be right, that buying that jewelry is not what makes you beautiful.  That you are already beautiful, or that living a beautiful life makes you beautiful.  If you can free yourself of the need to spend money for products just so you can feel good about yourself, that is time well spent.  The modern Marketing Machine is against you, but you can call bullshit.  You may have some stuff to work on, but that still doesn't mean the relationship should be unequal or unfair in distribution of power and money.

You'll probably know by his reaction in the first 3 minutes of a confrontation if he is listening and caring.  This is tied up in gender roles, who makes how much, etc. but it comes down to caring for each other.  If he's a controlling power-monger who has manipulated you into thinking he cares about you and sometimes cooks you dinner, but really doesn't care, all this talking will go very poorly and you should consider your options.  Better to learn sooner than later.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 07:10:57 AM by homestead neohio »

BFGirl

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2016, 07:10:33 AM »
Some thoughts based on limited info provided:

You've got to talk about it, even if confrontation is not your thing.  If he's like a lot of nice guys (sexist comment justified because I resemble this remark), he's not picking up on your subtle clues.  You both need to own the parts of this dynamic that are your own.  You are not being assertive, he is not being fair.  Most money arguments are not about money, but power.  Don't start this talk when angry, but create an environment conducive to him listening and make sure he hears how you feel.  If he's not getting it, tell him "You're not getting it!".  It can take something jarring to break through old patterns.  The experience needs to stand out.  If confronting him about this is hard for you, tell him that too.  Tell him this has been going on for a long time and is building to a point where you are seriously frustrated.  Follow good rules of engagement, not accusing him ("You never X), using "I" language ("I feel that Y" or "It seems to me Z").  Tell him what you need that you are not getting.  Trust?  Freedom?  Feeling that you matter, too?

Does he know your preference for a cheaper apartment and some nice things?  Does he realize this is a compromise for you, or did you just say "sure, honey" when he suggested moving in to that place?  Consider this may all be a big surprise to an oblivious and loving husband.

Sounds like with following him around you've let this go long enough.  If you just keep following him around and being accommodating, the pattern will continue, which will escalate your frustration with the current dynamic.  It's discouraging that a fair approach like "spending money" has not worked.  Did he overspend and there were no consequences?  Or did you overspend?  If my wife or I spend beyond our budgeted "fun money", we are in debt to "us".  We don't get future fun money until the debt is paid off.  We both agreed on budget amounts for fun money and know them.  We respect this commitment to our budget and shared goals.

One thing that has helped me is having shared goals that I know my wife is as invested in as I am, then working together via compromises to ensure those goals are met.  Congrats on paying the 100,000 in loans in 4 years... you guys can do this!  What is your next common goal?  He may relax on your personal spending a bit if he knows you are together on big goals and those goals will be met.  That takes away some fear that you are not together on big issues and that those goals happen.

You can try sharing why the things you want to spend money on are important to you, but he might not get it because he's not similarly motivated.  Regardless, he needs to trust and respect you enough to give you some lee-way, the way you do him, and in a fair manner.  If you have deep insecurities about appearance due to something in your past (for example), share that with him.  If you've shared it before, share it again AND help him make the connection that this is WHY buying X is so important to you right now. 

Also consider in some cases he may be right, that buying that jewelry is not what makes you beautiful.  That you are already beautiful, or that living a beautiful life makes you beautiful.  If you can free yourself of the need to spend money for products just so you can feel good about yourself, that is time well spent.  The modern Marketing Machine is against you, but you can call bullshit.  You may have some stuff to work on, but that still doesn't mean the relationship should be unequal or unfair in distribution of power and money.

You'll probably know by his reaction in the first 3 minutes of a confrontation if he is listening and caring.  This is tied up in gender roles, who makes how much, etc. but it comes down to caring for each other.  If he's a controlling power-monger who has manipulated you into thinking he cares about you and sometimes cooks you dinner, but really doesn't, all this talking will go very poorly and you should consider your options.  Better to learn sooner than later.

This is very good advice

boarder42

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2016, 07:13:47 AM »
You pretty much described the dynamic between me and my wife.  I am like your husband and my wife is like you.

Our solution is to keep separate accounts.  We still have a few joint accounts for bills, travel, and goals, which we deposit a set amount each month.  We also have our savings goals for what we save/invest.  After those whatever is leftover is ours to spend.  It's not the most efficient way to obtain a higher savings rate, but it eliminates most of the feelings of resentment when purchasing something the other may not agree with.

This may not work for everyone.  It also helps that our salaries are very similar.

One option might be to let him read your post.  You laid out how you feel.  If he reads it, it might help him understand.  He might not realize what he is doing and how it affects you.

Hope you can figure something, situations like this can cause alot of stress.

this is how my wife and i are as well.  we have a Grocery CC and Gas CC we split the mortgage and utilities and i add all that up and she pays me her share of it each month, and we keep the rest of our money.  it really helps all those disputes.  If there is a big item that will benefit both of us we discuss it, if we cant come to an agreement on what we should pay the one who wanted it typically buys it.  (this is happening alot as we just moved houses)  She buys all the decorations she wants and i dont get upset at the spending b/c its from her pile.  we are already forced saving over 60% so its not a big deal. 

VaCPA

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2016, 07:17:03 AM »
You guys just have to find a way to compromise. There's a reason so many marriages fail and money is a cause sometimes. It isn't easy. My wife and I have a similar dynamic. Even though I wouldn't consider myself all that Mustachian by this boards standards I have always been pretty frugal(accountant in me). My wife was not at all when we met. I got her to pay off all her credit cards and really manage her money better, but she still likes to splurge on things. She pays for fairly expensive facial cream products, she does this healthy shake thing which is a decent monthly expense, I recently gave in and let us get a maid service she'd been begging for for awhile. Things people here would probably have a minor heart attack over. Personally I'd rather cut all those expenses but it makes her happy. The thing is she also has a good job and works really hard, puts a lot of money in her 401k as well as company stock plan, is an amazing mom and manages our kids and household.

You just have to find the right balance between spending and savings that you guys are both happy with. Nobody here can tell you what that is though. I can tell you the balance is not always easy to find but you will find it if you talk about it and really work at it.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2016, 07:17:15 AM »
In a nutshell: DH is ok with spending money when he sees the value in a purchase. When he does not personally see the value in a purchase, the thought of making said purchase is upsetting to him. This would be fine, normal even, except that we share a bank account ;)

A few points:

1. his actions upset you and your actions upset him...that's life sometimes your job is not to make him happy 24/7 that's his problem. Your job is to treat him respectfully and be loving. If the money you want to spend is reasonable within the context of your incomes/savings goals and other financial plans just do it and don't worry about whether he'll be happy about it or not. You have to live your own life.

2. as others have noted you can have separate accounts. At least for your discretionary spending. If you can't keep your spending budgeted to the money you or him actually have available to spend and that's causing problems that's a whole different problem that needs help and I can see why somebody would get upset.

3. what you need to communicate to him is your need for your own spending money that's not judged and to agree upon an amount. That amount should be based on your financial goals and how much he's spending. If you can't or have not really agreed upon your joint financial goals that's your first mission. I know you said you communicated this all to him, but I get the impression you meant to say you told him all these things...which is not the same thing as communication which is a 2 way process that leads to mutual understanding of something.


BFGirl

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2016, 07:18:33 AM »
You pretty much described the dynamic between me and my wife.  I am like your husband and my wife is like you.

Our solution is to keep separate accounts.  We still have a few joint accounts for bills, travel, and goals, which we deposit a set amount each month.  We also have our savings goals for what we save/invest.  After those whatever is leftover is ours to spend.  It's not the most efficient way to obtain a higher savings rate, but it eliminates most of the feelings of resentment when purchasing something the other may not agree with.

This may not work for everyone.  It also helps that our salaries are very similar.

One option might be to let him read your post.  You laid out how you feel.  If he reads it, it might help him understand.  He might not realize what he is doing and how it affects you.

Hope you can figure something, situations like this can cause alot of stress.

If I ever marry again, this is the way I would prefer to handle things.

MrDelane

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2016, 07:20:00 AM »
Why does his preference get to "win"?

I'm feeling stuck. I feel like I have lost personal agency. I feel like my husband is a parent saying "no".

To me this is the crux of everything that you wrote.
This isn't about money or budgeting as much as it is about control and compromise in the relationship.  Communication is key.  He needs to hear (and understand) how you feel.

I would definitely suggest talking to him and expressing your feelings on the situation (focusing on how this makes you feel, not focusing on what you think he is doing wrong).  This will not get fixed by changing your actions or approach alone - it will take the both of you. 

Yes, you could start using separate accounts, but that will only serve to side step the issue in this case, but I suspect the dynamics of the relationship will stay the same (and the ramifications of that will bubble up in other ways).

I would also consider counseling to facilitate communication between the two of you.
It can work wonders if you're both willing to be open.

lifejoy

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2016, 08:16:08 AM »
Just a note to answer some questions:

I have told him everything that is in my original post. He is well aware of my feelings, but I want to admit that I don't always make them known in the strongest way or immediately. This is now changing as I practice making myself heard, but my knee-jerk reaction is to swallow my own needs and just let him do what he wants. So for the well-meaning advice to let him know how I feel or show him this post, I'm way ahead of ya! :) [But I will concede that sharing my feelings is not the same as being heard or properly communicating. I need to work on this differently, I think.]

The "fun money" thing has sometimes worked and sometimes not, with both sides going over at one point or another. I think the issue might be because we only do the "fun money" thing when we're using cash, and it's all too easy to be like "oops I used my visa". I think a separate bank account system could work well, DH doesn't want to do separate bank accounts for some reason. I think he deems it unnecessary. Also, the "fun money" system is something we stop and start, which makes it fruitless to save one's "fun money" as there's no carry-over from month to month. Thanks for making me identify the problems we've had with this - it's making me see how we might do it better.

And yes - I have an income and contribute to the relationship financially :)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 08:22:57 AM by lifejoy »

lifejoy

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2016, 08:19:41 AM »
You guys just have to find a way to compromise. There's a reason so many marriages fail and money is a cause sometimes. It isn't easy. My wife and I have a similar dynamic. Even though I wouldn't consider myself all that Mustachian by this boards standards I have always been pretty frugal(accountant in me). My wife was not at all when we met. I got her to pay off all her credit cards and really manage her money better, but she still likes to splurge on things. She pays for fairly expensive facial cream products, she does this healthy shake thing which is a decent monthly expense, I recently gave in and let us get a maid service she'd been begging for for awhile. Things people here would probably have a minor heart attack over. Personally I'd rather cut all those expenses but it makes her happy. The thing is she also has a good job and works really hard, puts a lot of money in her 401k as well as company stock plan, is an amazing mom and manages our kids and household.

You just have to find the right balance between spending and savings that you guys are both happy with. Nobody here can tell you what that is though. I can tell you the balance is not always easy to find but you will find it if you talk about it and really work at it.

How did you get from "this expense doesn't seem worth it to me" to "if it makes my wife so happy, it's worth it to me"? My DH doesn't seem to realize that some spending is an investment in his wife's happiness and he should just LET IT GO (within reason).

lifejoy

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2016, 08:21:57 AM »
Why does his preference get to "win"?

I'm feeling stuck. I feel like I have lost personal agency. I feel like my husband is a parent saying "no".

To me this is the crux of everything that you wrote.
This isn't about money or budgeting as much as it is about control and compromise in the relationship.  Communication is key.  He needs to hear (and understand) how you feel.

I would definitely suggest talking to him and expressing your feelings on the situation (focusing on how this makes you feel, not focusing on what you think he is doing wrong).  This will not get fixed by changing your actions or approach alone - it will take the both of you. 

Yes, you could start using separate accounts, but that will only serve to side step the issue in this case, but I suspect the dynamics of the relationship will stay the same (and the ramifications of that will bubble up in other ways).

I would also consider counseling to facilitate communication between the two of you.
It can work wonders if you're both willing to be open.

I think you make some very good points. Unfortunately I have shared with him that I feel this way, but I don't think he gets it yet. I will have to find a new way to express myself, one that resonates with him. Hmm. Food for thought.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2016, 08:56:48 AM »
Hmm. In my relationship, I spend hardly anything and my husband has a few expensive hobbies. We worked it out by doing the fun money thing, and we don't bother with separate accounts because I have forced myself to look away from his spending and let him enjoy it. He gets a certain amount per month and it rolls over if he doesn't spend it. I don't get fun money because I don't need it - I never feel constrained and saving money is what makes me feel happy.

If your husband doesn't like separate accounts, what about buying yourself a visa reloadable gift card and transferring an agreed upon amount to it each month? You get to spend whatever you want and it's not a secret money account that he has to be concerned about.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 09:04:06 AM »
I don't have much to add, other than I am in the exact same position as you with my SO (where I am you, and She is your husband).

Kinda a bummer-town, so I feel your pain :/

VaCPA

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2016, 09:09:02 AM »
You guys just have to find a way to compromise. There's a reason so many marriages fail and money is a cause sometimes. It isn't easy. My wife and I have a similar dynamic. Even though I wouldn't consider myself all that Mustachian by this boards standards I have always been pretty frugal(accountant in me). My wife was not at all when we met. I got her to pay off all her credit cards and really manage her money better, but she still likes to splurge on things. She pays for fairly expensive facial cream products, she does this healthy shake thing which is a decent monthly expense, I recently gave in and let us get a maid service she'd been begging for for awhile. Things people here would probably have a minor heart attack over. Personally I'd rather cut all those expenses but it makes her happy. The thing is she also has a good job and works really hard, puts a lot of money in her 401k as well as company stock plan, is an amazing mom and manages our kids and household.

You just have to find the right balance between spending and savings that you guys are both happy with. Nobody here can tell you what that is though. I can tell you the balance is not always easy to find but you will find it if you talk about it and really work at it.

How did you get from "this expense doesn't seem worth it to me" to "if it makes my wife so happy, it's worth it to me"? My DH doesn't seem to realize that some spending is an investment in his wife's happiness and he should just LET IT GO (within reason).

I didn't come around to some of those things overnight. But she did compromise on her spending habits for me, paid her credit cards off and generally made a big effort to manage her money better. So I try to compromise too. I know when I'm pushing on her too hard because we start fighting, and ultimately it's just not worth it. It's not like we're struggling to pay bills. We do really well and still save a lot even with some discretionary spending so I try not to sweat it much and let her have her fun. You guys just need to talk about it and get on the same page and figure out where the balance is where you're both happy with your budget.

I truly believe happiness is paramount. Some people here are very judgmental and a bit condescending towards others spending habits they deem 'unmustacian'. I get that's the point of the forum, so it's all good. But in reality if those spendy people are extremely happy who cares how they live their lives, and who even says they're doing it wrong. *Ducks to avoid objects being hurled at him*

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2016, 09:23:53 AM »
Quote
DH is ok with spending money when he sees the value in a purchase. When he does not personally see the value in a purchase, the thought of making said purchase is upsetting to him. This

Do you see value in absolutely everything he purchases?  If not, his ideas of spending money seem extremely unbalanced. I'd have a discussion with him about you as an equal partner. If he gets to spend money on things he values, you should get to spend money on things you value.

My husband and I don't do "fun money" as we don't line item budget, but we both spend money on things we want that the other has no interest in. However, we both recognize that for the good of us as a couple, neither one of us can go crazy on this spending. We keep it in balance.  And if one of us splurges, the other often cuts back for a bit to keep a smaller total spending level.  My husband just upgraded to a kitchenaid pro, for instance. So this month I'll try not to buy anything extra for me.

Axecleaver

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2016, 09:29:00 AM »
Mrs Axe and I follow this dynamic. When we were much younger, she would sometimes spend our joint dollars on thoughtful gifts for me, which always made me uncomfortable. It wasn't dollars I'd have spent on myself. As we have matured, she found her voice and advocated for herself aggressively.

The system we settled on is "our money" and "her money." Stop grinning - it works! The biggest problem we have is that I make 10x what she does. So she saves the money she makes from her job in a separate account, and has 100% agency over how those dollars are used. I'm currently "borrowing" from this account to get us through a cashflow issue, so it doubles as an emergency fund. She will use hers for stuff like vacations she wants us to take, charitable donations, or gifts to family that are above and beyond our agreed guidelines.

rubybeth

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2016, 09:38:41 AM »
Mrs Axe and I follow this dynamic. When we were much younger, she would sometimes spend our joint dollars on thoughtful gifts for me, which always made me uncomfortable. It wasn't dollars I'd have spent on myself. As we have matured, she found her voice and advocated for herself aggressively.

The system we settled on is "our money" and "her money." Stop grinning - it works! The biggest problem we have is that I make 10x what she does. So she saves the money she makes from her job in a separate account, and has 100% agency over how those dollars are used. I'm currently "borrowing" from this account to get us through a cashflow issue, so it doubles as an emergency fund. She will use hers for stuff like vacations she wants us to take, charitable donations, or gifts to family that are above and beyond our agreed guidelines.

This is very similar to how my parents function. My dad outearned my mom since she worked part time after having kids, but she got income from other sources (doing odd jobs, picking up extra shifts, etc.) and saved that in what she called her "travel fund" since she cared a lot about going on trips, while my dad did not. She also put her inheritance from her parents into this fund. It works well for them.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2016, 09:39:29 AM »
Why does his preference get to "win"?

I'm feeling stuck. I feel like I have lost personal agency. I feel like my husband is a parent saying "no".

To me this is the crux of everything that you wrote.
This isn't about money or budgeting as much as it is about control and compromise in the relationship.  Communication is key.  He needs to hear (and understand) how you feel.

I would definitely suggest talking to him and expressing your feelings on the situation (focusing on how this makes you feel, not focusing on what you think he is doing wrong).  This will not get fixed by changing your actions or approach alone - it will take the both of you. 

Yes, you could start using separate accounts, but that will only serve to side step the issue in this case, but I suspect the dynamics of the relationship will stay the same (and the ramifications of that will bubble up in other ways).

I would also consider counseling to facilitate communication between the two of you.
It can work wonders if you're both willing to be open.

+1

I wouldn't jump to counselling until you've tried to express yourself multiple times in a variety of ways. 

Think about how your husband relates to the world.  I'm a logical, concrete, sequential kind of thinker.  I'm not emotional and abstract.  If my wife is freaking out, I shut down. (Not good, but I can't relate and that is my initial reaction.  I'm working on it.)  I know something is wrong, but I'm not "getting it".  Analogies work for me.  I can have a mental example that I can "see" or remember.  Something my wife might say that would be helpful to me is, "I feel trapped.  Do you remember that time you worked for that horrible boss who did XYZ and you felt so stuck, with no options?  That's how I feel right now."  Then I get "I feel trapped".  Or, "It's like I have to be building a tower very quickly, and I started it off uneven, but every day I have to keep building it higher and higher, even though I know it is unstable and the whole thing is going to fall."  Then I really get "my efforts are futile".

If he's still not getting it, counselling can be really great.  He may need to hear from some independent observer that you seem really unhappy, or that his stance on spending money is inconsistent.  At least you are talking, and it should not come as a total surprise you are not happy.  Good on you.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2016, 10:09:50 AM »
And yes - I have an income and contribute to the relationship financially :)
Yes, but you are making sacrifices to "your" income because of his job.  In reality it is all your (plural your) income. 

Honestly, for most personal purchases, you shouldn't need permission, as long as they agree with your goals.

This dynamic is one of the things that scare me the most about marriages.  I wish you success in finding something that fits both of you.

Lagom

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2016, 10:20:22 AM »
Quote
You need to be firm with him  about coming up with a budget that allows you to save but also have some freedom to spend on things important to you.  Tell him you want you to set goals that meet each of your needs.  It will need to be a compromise.  If he won't do this, then I think you should at least seek counseling for yourself.  Every time I tried to sit down and talk with my ex, he stonewalled me.  Either wouldn't commit or would say something to get out of the discussion and do whatever he wanted.

Joint counseling can be great, but I would be very hesitant about using individual counseling to work through marital issues, if your goal is saving your marriage. It doesn't sound like OP is interested in this anyway, but it's a sore point for me based on past experience (both mine and a close friend's). At a minimum, the therapist should be told that your #1 priority is saving your marriage. That might sound obvious, but when it's a 1 on 1 dynamic and not joint counseling, therapists will not always take the importance of the relationship into account if they think it's somehow in conflict with the happiness of their client.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 10:26:00 AM by Lagom »

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2016, 10:34:01 AM »
Quote
You need to be firm with him  about coming up with a budget that allows you to save but also have some freedom to spend on things important to you.  Tell him you want you to set goals that meet each of your needs.  It will need to be a compromise.  If he won't do this, then I think you should at least seek counseling for yourself.  Every time I tried to sit down and talk with my ex, he stonewalled me.  Either wouldn't commit or would say something to get out of the discussion and do whatever he wanted.

Joint counseling can be great, but I would be very hesitant about using individual counseling to work through marital issues, if your goal is saving your marriage. It doesn't sound like OP is interested in this anyway, but it's a sore point for me based on past experience (both mine and a close friend's). At a minimum, the therapist should be told that your #1 priority is saving your marriage. That might sound obvious, but when it's a 1 on 1 dynamic and not joint counseling, therapists will not always take the importance of the relationship into account if they think it's somehow in conflict with the happiness of their client.

I don't know that joint counseling is needed here yet, but I agree it is better for a couple to work on their issues together.  However, if she thinks counseling will help and he doesn't want to go or pay for it, then individual counseling can give her some tools to help make her needs better known and/or deal with the emotions she is experiencing.

MrsDinero

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2016, 11:08:35 AM »
This is one reason why I cannot see merging all my accounts with Mr. D.  Right now we have a His/Hers/Theirs setup and it works, however I try to keep my annoyances in check because

#1 We have agreed on certain financial goals together
#2  He is doing his part to meet or exceed those financial goals
#3 I don't want him to start getting annoyed with my hobby purchases (yarn addict)

I'm not sure if 100% marriage counseling is needed for OP.  It sounds like they have a pretty good relationship, it is just the differences on spending habits.

I would start by sitting down together and reassess your mutual financial goals. 

Are your financial goals still working for you?  Should they be changed? 

I would also revisit the "fun" money idea.  This time when are you talking about fun money, focus more on why it failed in the past.  Brainstorm on how a failure can be prevents in the future.  If it was a problem that fun money was in cash then remember you can always buy a Visa/Mastercard gift card or prepaid card to use for online purchases.

Last resort I would recommend moving to joint individual accounts.  Since the 2 of you have had merged accounts for a while, moving to joint individual accounts can be a very emotional move.  I can understand why he would resistant.  When you say "let's move to joint individual accounts" he might be hearing "I don't trust you anymore with my money" and might see the move as a step towards separation which would probably scare anyone.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 11:16:25 AM by MrsDinero »

boarder42

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2016, 11:13:50 AM »
This is one reason why I cannot see merging all my accounts with Mr. D.  Right now we have a His/Hers/Theirs setup and it works, however I try to keep my annoyances in check because

#1 We have agreed on certain financial goals together
#2  He is doing his part to meet or exceed those financial goals
#3 I don't want him to start getting annoyed with my hobby purchases (yarn addict)

I'm not sure if 100% marriage counseling is needed for OP.  It sounds like they have a pretty good relationship, it is just the differences on spending habits.

I would start by sitting down together and reassess your mutual financial goals. 

Are your financial goals still working for you?  Should they be changed? 

I would also revisit the "fun" money idea.  This time when are you talking about fun money, focus more on why it failed in the past.  Brainstorm on how a failure can be prevents in the future.  If it was a problem that fun money was in cash then remember you can always buy a Visa/Mastercard gift card or prepaid card to use for online purchases.

Last resort I would recommend moving to joint accounts.  Since the 2 of you have had merged accounts for a while, moving to joint accounts can be a very emotional move.  I can understand why he would resistant.  When you say "let's move to joint accounts" he might be hearing "I don't trust you anymore with my money" and might see the move as a step towards separation which would probably scare anyone.

joing account = merged accounts

i think you mean individual accounts with a shared joint account

Lagom

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2016, 11:14:11 AM »
Quote
You need to be firm with him  about coming up with a budget that allows you to save but also have some freedom to spend on things important to you.  Tell him you want you to set goals that meet each of your needs.  It will need to be a compromise.  If he won't do this, then I think you should at least seek counseling for yourself.  Every time I tried to sit down and talk with my ex, he stonewalled me.  Either wouldn't commit or would say something to get out of the discussion and do whatever he wanted.

Joint counseling can be great, but I would be very hesitant about using individual counseling to work through marital issues, if your goal is saving your marriage. It doesn't sound like OP is interested in this anyway, but it's a sore point for me based on past experience (both mine and a close friend's). At a minimum, the therapist should be told that your #1 priority is saving your marriage. That might sound obvious, but when it's a 1 on 1 dynamic and not joint counseling, therapists will not always take the importance of the relationship into account if they think it's somehow in conflict with the happiness of their client.

I don't know that joint counseling is needed here yet, but I agree it is better for a couple to work on their issues together.  However, if she thinks counseling will help and he doesn't want to go or pay for it, then individual counseling can give her some tools to help make her needs better known and/or deal with the emotions she is experiencing.

Agree this doesn't sound like a scenario where counseling of any kind is imperative, although I don't think it's ever a bad idea, even in a 100% happy relationship. And apologies for the minor thread hijack. As I said, this is a sore point for me :)

The problem with individual counseling (specifically with regards to marital issues) is that the therapist's only concern is the well-being of their client. While obviously a noble goal, this can lead to them validating thoughts and/or behavior that might in fact be contributing to marital discord. It also makes it more likely they'll suggest options like (in extreme cases) considering divorce, if they think their client is in a relationship that is holding them back from happiness. While that still sounds good in theory, the issue, of course, is hearing only one side of the story makes it impossible for the therapist to have an objective view of the situation. Thus the partner in counseling is potentially being enabled both to think that they are not a significant part of the problem, and also that the problem might not be solvable.

This is exactly what happened with me and my ex-wife, and also with a (female) friend of mine. In both cases, our spouses categorically refused to go to joint counseling, claiming that their individual counseling had "clarified" things for them. In both cases, they also refused to acknowledge that they had played a significant part in the breakdown of the relationship. In my case, my ex even used her therapist's words to justify cheating on me, as if it were totally reasonable behavior given her doubts about the relationship (which she had harbored for years without telling me). In retrospect, our marriage was doomed from the start and I was too blinded by traditional notions of commitment to see it until the end, but nevertheless the ordeal left me with a distinctly sour view on individual counseling for these sorts of things. That said, YMMV :)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 11:17:04 AM by Lagom »

MrsDinero

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2016, 11:15:26 AM »
This is one reason why I cannot see merging all my accounts with Mr. D.  Right now we have a His/Hers/Theirs setup and it works, however I try to keep my annoyances in check because

#1 We have agreed on certain financial goals together
#2  He is doing his part to meet or exceed those financial goals
#3 I don't want him to start getting annoyed with my hobby purchases (yarn addict)

I'm not sure if 100% marriage counseling is needed for OP.  It sounds like they have a pretty good relationship, it is just the differences on spending habits.

I would start by sitting down together and reassess your mutual financial goals. 

Are your financial goals still working for you?  Should they be changed? 

I would also revisit the "fun" money idea.  This time when are you talking about fun money, focus more on why it failed in the past.  Brainstorm on how a failure can be prevents in the future.  If it was a problem that fun money was in cash then remember you can always buy a Visa/Mastercard gift card or prepaid card to use for online purchases.

Last resort I would recommend moving to joint accounts.  Since the 2 of you have had merged accounts for a while, moving to joint accounts can be a very emotional move.  I can understand why he would resistant.  When you say "let's move to joint accounts" he might be hearing "I don't trust you anymore with my money" and might see the move as a step towards separation which would probably scare anyone.

joing account = merged accounts

i think you mean individual accounts with a shared joint account

Thank you!  Corrected :)

Apocalyptica602

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2016, 12:19:40 PM »
I'd like to go back to the fun money thing. It's a system my wife and I use so admittedly I'm a little biased in how well it works.

She earns more than I do so we take proportional amounts every week from our paycheck and transfer it into separate accounts that we each have sole custody over. Judgement free spending.

You said this doesn't work for you, please expand on why? You mentioned overspending and the system 'collapses'. That's a discipline problem. There have certainly been times either of us have spent our 'Fun' accounts down to double digits and said 'I can't buy X thing I want because I'm BROKE.' Even though our family is FAR from broke.

This has a side effect of forcing you to prioritize what will give you the MOST happiness, without worrying about your spouses' wasteful spending or feelings of inferiority. If I want to save up and drop $600 on that beefy video card that would make my wife roll her eyes normally? No problem. If she wants to drop hundreds of dollars on some designer purse that I think is the epitome of antimustchianism? Doesn't bother me in the least bit.

I'd suggest trying the fun money again, while consciously working on the root cause of why you overspend, and the discipline / communication issues that come along with that.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 12:23:44 PM by Apocalyptica602 »

Frugal D

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2016, 12:36:22 PM »
The title of this thread is weird to see in the MMM forums.

Shouldn't it be changed to, "How can I get rid of my desire to spend money?"?


Tyson

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2016, 12:40:36 PM »
Maybe it's time to radically re-think your budget mindset.  For a long time you were focused on paying off student loans, so you were sacrificing current purchases in order to meet that goal.  Now they are gone but it seems you both still have that "scarcity mindset" where spending money is a reckless and selfish act. 

The way I'd suggest framing the conversation is this - determine your basic budget for your basic needs (food, shelter, savings, etc....) This should not take up ALL your money.  You should have some money left over that you can use for whatever you want.  It's not "fun" money.  It's living money.  Once your basic goals are met (including savings), then spend the money and enjoy your life. 

The main thing is to rid yourselves of the scarcity mindset, once your budget is set up. 

Obviously a higher savings rate gets you to FIRE faster, but I'd make the argument that the time between now and FIRE is important, you have to live during this time, too.  So it's important to live and budget in a way that you can actually enjoy your life.  That doesn't mean becoming a spendypants.  But it does mean striking a balance so that money is a tool for enjoyment, not a source of ongoing stress.

Rezdent

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2016, 12:46:47 PM »
Hi LifeJoy,

I highly recommend a book (with audio CD companion) named "Crucial Conversations".

This sounds like what the authors call a crucial conversation:
"As opposed to a casual discussion, crucial conversations happen between two or more people when opinions vary, stakes are high, and emotions run strong."

This book can help you work through and diagnose the correct component to work on (content, pattern, relationship?) and how to talk to others in a way that encourages safety, openness and agreement.

The skills I have taken from that book help me everyday with DH, our kids, coworkers, bosses...everyone.

starguru

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2016, 01:04:03 PM »
DW and I keep completely separate accounts.  Always have.  I think when we got married we intended to merge accounts, but we had a prenup since we both already had substantial assets and we just never got around to it.  We are both aware of our financial picture, and she is comfortable with me making all financial decisions (i.e. she trusts me to manage her investments).  Couldn't be happier.

The advantage to this, of course, is we each have our own money to do with as we please.

TVRodriguez

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2016, 01:08:45 PM »
In a nutshell: DH is ok with spending money when he sees the value in a purchase. When he does not personally see the value in a purchase, the thought of making said purchase is upsetting to him.  . . . .

DH doesn't always agree with the purchases I want to make.

. . . . Why does his preference get to "win"?

. . . . I don't want to feel like a woman who is beholden to her husband and cannot make financial decisions for herself.

Here's an idea:  STOP ASKING HIM.  BUY WHAT YOU WANT.  You are an adult, and you have demonstrated your ability to be smart about money by paying off $100,000 in student loans in 4 years.  If you ask him for his opinion on things you want to buy, he will give you his opinion.  And you will cave.  So don't ask him.  Instead, decide for yourself if something is worth it and if you can afford it, then just buy the things you want.  Let him deal with the fact that you will be spending money.

Call me crazy, but this works in my marriage.  I used to ask my DH what he thought about this or that purchase, and you know what?  He almost always said "we don't need that; it's too expensive," and would sometimes find a cheaper version of it.  He was sometimes right but often wrong.  I'm good with money, and I know it.  So I decided to stop asking him.  Things improved dramatically.  And those expensive earrings that I bought myself for my birthday 5 years ago without asking him are the last ones I ever bought and are the ones I still wear almost every single day.  Wearing them right now, in fact.

boarder42

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2016, 01:11:37 PM »
In a nutshell: DH is ok with spending money when he sees the value in a purchase. When he does not personally see the value in a purchase, the thought of making said purchase is upsetting to him.  . . . .

DH doesn't always agree with the purchases I want to make.

. . . . Why does his preference get to "win"?

. . . . I don't want to feel like a woman who is beholden to her husband and cannot make financial decisions for herself.

Here's an idea:  STOP ASKING HIM.  BUY WHAT YOU WANT.  You are an adult, and you have demonstrated your ability to be smart about money by paying off $100,000 in student loans in 4 years.  If you ask him for his opinion on things you want to buy, he will give you his opinion.  And you will cave.  So don't ask him.  Instead, decide for yourself if something is worth it and if you can afford it, then just buy the things you want.  Let him deal with the fact that you will be spending money.

Call me crazy, but this works in my marriage.  I used to ask my DH what he thought about this or that purchase, and you know what?  He almost always said "we don't need that; it's too expensive," and would sometimes find a cheaper version of it.  He was sometimes right but often wrong.  I'm good with money, and I know it.  So I decided to stop asking him.  Things improved dramatically.  And those expensive earrings that I bought myself for my birthday 5 years ago without asking him are the last ones I ever bought and are the ones I still wear almost every single day.  Wearing them right now, in fact.

i'd say this is pretty sound advice from a guys perspective. we have split finances and she still asks me what i tihnk... and my answers are similar to above.  then she gets mad at me when i say i'm not interested in it.  if its something you wnat/need get it.

kinetic

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2016, 01:22:01 PM »
We had similar problems although we both let each other buy what we wanted.  But mine would be a $25 at Office Depot (let's not talk about my love for office supplies) and he would buy $200 scuba tanks.  or we would both notice (in our joint account) that there was some extra money in the account after all bills paid and we would both earmark it for something different and end up overdrawn.  good times.

our solution was allowances.  we both opened personal checking accounts at capital one 360. every payday, agreed-upon amounts get deposited into both allowance accounts.  we don't ask each other about how we spend that money.  he just saved up for and bought a used motorcycle he can use for street and trail riding.

anyway i hope the two of you can move past this issue so you don't rage inwardly.  no fun living with someone you feel like isn't "getting you".

nobody123

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2016, 01:22:43 PM »
How did you get from "this expense doesn't seem worth it to me" to "if it makes my wife so happy, it's worth it to me"? My DH doesn't seem to realize that some spending is an investment in his wife's happiness and he should just LET IT GO (within reason).

I didn't come around to some of those things overnight. But she did compromise on her spending habits for me, paid her credit cards off and generally made a big effort to manage her money better. So I try to compromise too. I know when I'm pushing on her too hard because we start fighting, and ultimately it's just not worth it. It's not like we're struggling to pay bills. We do really well and still save a lot even with some discretionary spending so I try not to sweat it much and let her have her fun. You guys just need to talk about it and get on the same page and figure out where the balance is where you're both happy with your budget.

This is almost the same thing my wife and I went through.  She came from a "live for the day" financial background, and I'm much more conservative.  We both have moved toward a middle ground.  I think she "wastes" money on things, but I keep it to myself as long as she doesn't spend more than we agree is OK.  Ultimately, if the $25 she spends on some decor makes her happy, it's probably a good investment for our sanity.  She doesn't complain when I buy expensive craft beer (my vice) because she knows I enjoy it.  Do we occasionally question each other on why a purchase was made and not like the other person's answer?  Sure, but as long as the bills are paid and we're progressing towards our goals we accept it.  Could I pressure her into living a much more frugal lifestyle?  Sure, but I don't think that either of us (or the kids) would be happy if we didn't enjoy some of the benefits of having an above-average salary and only our mortgage to pay off.  We don't want to live as minimalist of a lifestyle as some folks on this forum desire, and that's fine with us.

I think we don't argue about money because we share the big-picture, long-term goals on what we want to amass money for.  We sit down for an hour or so once a month to have a discussion on our progress and any big expenses coming in the next month.  She trusts me to handle the details of how to get the piles of money accumulated, while she handles the details of how we spend the money (furniture purchases, vacation planning, etc.) once we achieve our target amount.  She is much better at maximizing the value of our money once it is accumulated, while I don't have the patience to bargain shop or do tons of research on things.  We compliment each other, and trust that the other person has the best interests of the family at heart.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 01:24:48 PM by nobody123 »

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2016, 03:47:34 PM »
"I have expressed all these feelings to him, but I need smarter minds than ours to provide some direction."

This is the key sentence. What was his response to this? Was he dismissive or receptive? What course of action did he suggest?

If you don't fully share your feelings it will be difficult for him to change his behavior. Unless you have clearly stated these feelings to him it is not known if he is doing this accidentally, or deliberately as a means of control.

In any event this seems like a pretty serious problem to me. Financial issues cause so much stress on relationships. These things need to be cleared up. Much of the above advice is solid. There is no right way to run couple finances, what works for someone may be a disaster for another. What has to be present though are the themes of fairness and respect. It seems to me you feel that the current way things are handled is neither fair nor respects your values.

My wife and I have a common vision, although if either of us were solely at the helm things would probably look different. We either agree or compromise on the big stuff. The little stuff I don't even worry about. Life is too short for that.

Communication is the key. If you don't express your frustrations effectively (and I mean really communicate them rather than subtly dace around the edges), and he does not change there is real danger of some serious resentment building up.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2016, 04:53:18 PM »
Hello fellow enfj! 

I feel for you.  My DH for years and years would spend all the 'fun money' leaving me without for clothes or courses or activities too. He was ok to spend until the joint account was done each month.

What worked was a bit like the other descriptions, but we called it personal allowances. I set the amount and we agreed what we would use it for ( haircuts, lunches, activities, clothing, things ordered on line from China)

At first it was cash that we took out together from the atm, and put into envelopes with our names on it ( one each). After 6 months he decided separate bank accounts for this instead with auto load was easier.

Oh, the joy of finally having my own money. I had only had joint accounts before.

 For everyone that thinks is is abou relative income, it is not. He was Sahd and I was sole income for many of those years.

Cassie

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2016, 05:02:42 PM »
My ex and I had this problem when we were married. He made me feel like a child. Then I tried just to buy things without asking and he would bitch so much it was terrible.  Finally I opened my own bank account and put some of my $ in there which actually solved the problem.  We ended up divorcing eventually but it had nothing to do with $.

galliver

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2016, 06:47:44 PM »
Why does his preference get to "win"?

I'm feeling stuck. I feel like I have lost personal agency. I feel like my husband is a parent saying "no". It is making me think weird thoughts like hiding money etc :(

He is a kind and caring person who made me dinner last night. I need you to know that. But this money stuff can fill me with a rage! I don't want to feel like a woman who is beholden to her husband and cannot make financial decisions for herself.

I have expressed all these feelings to him, but I need smarter minds than ours to provide some direction. Thanks in advance! <3

I think you need to hear it in very plain English: He is being inappropriately controlling in your relationship. His being kind and cooking notwithstanding, this is at least bordering on the line into abusive behavior on the money front. He should not always get to "win". He should not get to wield a "hard no" when you can't even be heard with a "maybe we shouldn't." He should not act or feel like your dad. This is NOT ok. Sit for a minute and absorb that sentiment, not just from me but from everyone who has said it, into your very soul. Use that to support your will next time you're in a conflict.

As far as these high-stakes conversations go, here are a few more ways to phrase or explain things. People have given you some but seems like more perspectives from more relationships can't hurt here:
  • Put him in your shoes. Come up with a situation where you think he would feel the way you do now, and narrate it to him. Sometimes it can be a direct swap, but sometimes it takes some creativity to find something they feel the same about.
  • Ask him how to communicate with him. In your case, I'm thinking "DH, I don't know how to tell you I disapprove a of a purchase. Last couple times I tried my concerns were dismissed. What should I say to make it clear I am not convinced?" I think this can be effective twofold: one is possibly giving you an insight into what he hears better, another is to make him listen for the "code phrase" he gives you. You can also use this after you've reached an understanding on something feelings-related, so you can best describe for his understanding how you feel in the future. In our case it was something like "When you do X that makes me unhappy/uncomfortable, I've tried putting the conversation off until we are calm, and I have tried telling you right away, and both seem to make you irate. How do I tell you how I'm feeling without making you feel rejected or attacked?" 
  • Reiterate your interpretation of what was said. If our language was unambiguous, we wouldn't have the phrase "I didn't mean it that way." Too many of our spats have to do with mishearing and misinterpreting what someone says and why they said it. It goes both ways. Our conversations go better when we try to put it out there: "When you say 'we don't need that', I hear 'I don't care about things that excite you." Mind you, I was the one this was directed at; bf would share with me gadgets he thought were cool, just to share, and my kneejerk response was to be a wet rag on his appreciation of the design/engineering/etc. I've gotten better since.
  • Hold hands. It came from this forum (I hope not from you, that would be awkward haha). It works surprisingly well to make the conversation more about collaborative problem solving than adversarial. Sit on the bed, hold hands, and look into each other's eyes while having hard conversations. Feels silly at first but it's MUCH harder to get angry that way.

I'm really curious why he's so opposed to individual "allowance" accounts. Potential hiding of money? Make them joint accounts, just earmarked for your respective use(s). Fees? Online banks and some credit unions don't have them. Confusion? Don't get 20 accounts! You'll just have 3 (checking). I have 3 checking accounts by myself and I keep track. Like seriously what's the issue?  I also like the prepaid card option.

On a final note, while I generally wouldn't advocate extreme measures or ultimatums, but as an adult there is no reason your money should be in an account/system where you have no say or agreement in what it is doing or used for! So, if I was truly at the end of my rope in your situation...I'd threaten to take out any money I felt I didn't have agency over after it went into the joint account(s). And then I'd do it. Pay your fraction of the basic expenses that you do agree on, but anything earmarked for savings or discretionary goes in a separate account (you don't need his permission to open one; it's not the 1970s). Don't hide it; tell him what you did, and tell him you WANT to go back to joint finances because it's better for family unity, but you don't think it's right for you to put money in and then have no say in its use. While I think this risks him feeling betrayed like you went behind his back and thus damaging your relationship, it would also be quite an attention grabber to really convey how serious this is for you.

MrDelane

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2016, 07:29:33 PM »
I think you make some very good points. Unfortunately I have shared with him that I feel this way, but I don't think he gets it yet. I will have to find a new way to express myself, one that resonates with him. Hmm. Food for thought.

I wish I had the answer for you.  The reason I mentioned counseling is because that is what it took for me to finally start seeing things from my partner's perspective.  It's easy to see things are 'right' and 'wrong,' and it took me a long time to realize that EVEN IF I think my partner's opinion is wrong, her FEELINGS are still valid.  If I am doing something that makes her feel belittled or 'less than,' then whether or not that was my intention is moot.  Her feelings still need to be acknowledged and dealt with.

I'm not sure how to help you flip the switch in someone else's head.  But to me, the fact that you feel you have lost personal agency is the real issue.  That is something that goes beyond money, beyond spending and budgeting... and that is what needs to be recognized and addressed by the both of you.

It's possible you are overreacting... it's also possible he is not taking you seriously.
My point is, you can both be at fault (that is something that it took me a long time to realize as well).  The only way to find a balance and a solution is to continue communicating, but that really takes the both of you being willing to be open and, most importantly, being willing to listen and really try to view things from the other person's perspective.

I truly wish you the best of luck - relationships are always a work in progress.
You're on the right track.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 07:36:15 PM by MrDelane »

Ladychips

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2016, 07:35:03 PM »
Lots of good suggestions here on the money side of things, but I wanted to mention a communication technique.  Several years ago my husband and I were have a bit of a rocky time and decided to go to counseling.  The counselor suggested the following technique.

Pick an object... anything (we used a big mag flashlight).  One person holds the object and says whatever they want.  But it has to be just one sentence.  Then they hand the object to the other person.  Who must REPEAT what the first person said.  If they don't repeat it correctly, the first person takes back the object and says the same thing again.  The second person takes the object and repeats the first person's words.  Once that's done, the second person can say a sentence.  And then the first person takes back the object and repeats the words of the second person.  Only the person with the object can talk.  And only after they have repeated the other's words to the other's satisfaction.

I'll be honest and tell you I HATE this technique.  And I KNOW it sounds remarkably stupid.  But I also know people generally don't listen because we are too busy mentally forming our rebuttal while the other person is talking.  And often when we talk, we talk about so many things at a time that we overwhelm the other person.  This technique a) forces each person to listen and b) only say one thing at a time.  I promise that the conversation won't go in the direction you have decided on beforehand... but it really worked for us.  We ended up having so much empathy for other person.  And once we started listening, we realized small changes on our parts were hugely beneficial to the other.

We don't use it very often... really only when one of us is in emotional pain.  But when we need it, we use it.

The feelings in your post were powerful.  I hope you and your spouse find ways to come together.

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2016, 08:28:44 PM »
I'm loving these responses!

Yes, I too have read on MMM that talking to your spouse while holding hands makes things better. It's a great tip and I made sure to do it last night when I wanted to rip his head off Haha! I was so mad.

I also like the person who said I may be overreacting, or not. It's true! I like that reminder to all of us that I've only presented one side and who knows how accurate I am. I'm very open to that.

I'm mesmerized by the idea that some people just spend whatever and their spouse has to deal with it, and somehow it works. Proof that every relationship is different and we have to find what works.

My marriage is just shy of two years old. We are still finding our way when it comes to sharing some parts of our life. I really appreciate you all sharing advice and personal experiences.

DH just called me to say that he's on his way home, and maybe we could have strawberries with chocolate fondue and a good talk? I love this guy. I'll be back with an update but I'm just really happy that he wants to talk more. That we both do. You've given me some good tools to make this a useful conversation.

rubybeth

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2016, 11:11:37 AM »
I'll be honest and tell you I HATE this technique. 

This is a method taught in the Catholic marriage preparation courses, and I too, frequently dislike it, because my DH wants to do it over the stupidest misunderstandings, and I just want to forgive the dumb communication and move on. ;)

I will just add that I have had to learn that marriage isn't about being right/winning. By that same token, it's not about keeping score. It sounds like you are doing some score keeping (sacrificing your career, moving "for him," etc.). But it also sounds like your DH isn't totally understanding your need to have decision-making control in the process of spending money, and this could only get worse as he starts to earn more. Being the breadwinner doesn't entitle him to make all the financial decisions.

Marriage therapy to help you both feel heard would also be my recommendation, but I'm married to a therapist. :D

MrDelane

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2016, 10:14:53 PM »
I will just add that I have had to learn that marriage isn't about being right/winning. By that same token, it's not about keeping score.

We constantly work to remind ourselves that it's not supposed to be 'me against you,' it should ideally always be 'us against the world.'

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #47 on: May 22, 2016, 06:12:29 AM »
I'll be honest and tell you I HATE this technique. 

This is a method taught in the Catholic marriage preparation courses, and I too, frequently dislike it, because my DH wants to do it over the stupidest misunderstandings, and I just want to forgive the dumb communication and move on. ;)


Oh man, I wish this had been taught in our pre-cana. Because making fun of the various things about that retreat has entertained DH for the past 12 years, and this would be even better!  (They just taught us the kindergarten "whomever has the object talks, and the other person listens"- none of the repeating stuff.)

rubybeth

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #48 on: May 22, 2016, 08:18:26 AM »
I'll be honest and tell you I HATE this technique. 

This is a method taught in the Catholic marriage preparation courses, and I too, frequently dislike it, because my DH wants to do it over the stupidest misunderstandings, and I just want to forgive the dumb communication and move on. ;)


Oh man, I wish this had been taught in our pre-cana. Because making fun of the various things about that retreat has entertained DH for the past 12 years, and this would be even better!  (They just taught us the kindergarten "whomever has the object talks, and the other person listens"- none of the repeating stuff.)

Yeah, the repeating/paraphrasing in your own words and then the other person can correct you is also annoying, but I guess it works when emotions are running high. It serves to make sure that the other person is really listening. You and your husband could take a refresher course to mock it. ;)

galliver

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Re: How can I talk to my husband about my desire to spend money?
« Reply #49 on: May 23, 2016, 11:48:11 AM »
I'm loving these responses!

Yes, I too have read on MMM that talking to your spouse while holding hands makes things better. It's a great tip and I made sure to do it last night when I wanted to rip his head off Haha! I was so mad.

I also like the person who said I may be overreacting, or not. It's true! I like that reminder to all of us that I've only presented one side and who knows how accurate I am. I'm very open to that.

I'm mesmerized by the idea that some people just spend whatever and their spouse has to deal with it, and somehow it works. Proof that every relationship is different and we have to find what works.

My marriage is just shy of two years old. We are still finding our way when it comes to sharing some parts of our life. I really appreciate you all sharing advice and personal experiences.

DH just called me to say that he's on his way home, and maybe we could have strawberries with chocolate fondue and a good talk? I love this guy. I'll be back with an update but I'm just really happy that he wants to talk more. That we both do. You've given me some good tools to make this a useful conversation.

So how did it go?