Author Topic: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)  (Read 7289 times)

Captain and Mrs Slow

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How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« on: February 11, 2016, 12:25:11 PM »
Just wondering if any of you have any tips on how you handle financial discussions with your spouse. Number of years ago was out at Ikea with some friends and one of the ladies bought some kids stuff and she made a comment about how her husband is going to complain about her spending money. It's something I tell every young couple I meet, number one issue in marriage isn't sex or kids it's money!

So guys how do you say no without coming across as the bad guy

Ladies how do you discuss the budget with your husbands?

Thanks
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 11:48:05 PM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

neo von retorch

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 12:34:47 PM »
It's always about the goals you share. My wife loves visiting Paris, but we don't do it every month because she is also excited about not having to work, and having us both have more time together in the future. It's not about "saying no" because you shouldn't try to change or control someone's behavior.

rubybeth

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 12:42:46 PM »
This question feels sexist. In my marriage, I manage the money because I'm more detail-oriented and enjoy it much more. My husband is frugal by nature and doesn't spend much, and what he does spend is budgeted for. Same goes for me. We budget for household items that need replacing, and for entertainment and restaurants and travel. We have a very reality-based budget, by using averages from the previous year or so of spending. Shared goals, as the other commenter noted, is very important. We both value free time more than stuff, and shopping isn't a hobby for either of us.

KMMK

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 12:45:52 PM »
Pick the right partner, negotiate shared purchases, and have a certain amount of separation so no one is controlling the other.

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 12:50:25 PM »
"Pick the right partner" is a very important step 1. :)

When we got married we set a budget together and talked/negotiated about where we were putting our money. A very important part of making this work is really talking about what our big/long-term goals are as a couple. Figuring that part out and writing them down really clarified a lot of things for both of us. When purchase decisions come up we can both consider them in the light of what our long-term goals are. Does this support our long-term goal? If not, do we value it enough in the present to push back the goal?

We started with our own separate play money and I think that is a great way to transition from having total independence over your money to managing things as a couple and not feeling like you have someone breathing down your neck. Now we pretty much never dip into those accounts because we are on the same page about everything.

Need2Save

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2016, 12:52:35 PM »
My first thought was...well I technically make more money than Mr. CB so why would he give me a hard time for spending on something from time-to-time?  But come to think of it, he buys more discretionary stuff than I do (excluding groceries and necessities).   

The real reason it's not a problem for us is we are aligned in our focus on staying within our planned budget, savings for our mutually agreed to goals, and crossing the FIRE finishline together.  The person you are quoting probably does not have a healthy financial relationship or has an unhealthy relationship with her own spending which has led to unhappiness in their marriage. No one should live in fear of their spouse.  By having open discussions about how much each can 'budget' for discretionary spending from time to time couples can avoid such feelings of guilt and fear.

partgypsy

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2016, 12:56:45 PM »
We discuss purchases over $100 before buying the item. Sometimes things less than $100 if it is something discretionary. I would feel annoyed being yelled at for every little thing I bought, and I'm sure my husband would feel the same.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2016, 12:57:08 PM »
This question feels sexist. In my marriage, I manage the money because I'm more detail-oriented and enjoy it much more. My husband is frugal by nature and doesn't spend much, and what he does spend is budgeted for. Same goes for me. We budget for household items that need replacing, and for entertainment and restaurants and travel. We have a very reality-based budget, by using averages from the previous year or so of spending. Shared goals, as the other commenter noted, is very important. We both value free time more than stuff, and shopping isn't a hobby for either of us.

I agree that this sounds (probably unintentionally) sexist. OP, might want to consider removing that bias in future questions as it could start up a topic drift you won't enjoy.  ;)

I am the wife, and I made the big money in the marriage (almost twice what the husband brought home), and I manage all finances because he could care less as long as we have money to pay for things.

We have budgets set for specific categories. Food, eating out, clothes, whatever... it's got a ceiling and we mutually agree to not exceed it. I track spending in Mint and can let the husband know what the current tally is in any category at any time if he's got something in mind.

We have a specific category for individual "fun" money - it is a flat number where there are no questions asked and no permission needed, but going over said budget for fun money absolutely requires a mention and discussion if it is significant.

We agree on most everything so there has rarely been any issues regarding spending. On the few occasions where someone went off the rails and blew a bunch of money? That was the husband again, as he is the one that was bad about how many items/collectibles he might buy in a given month when he used to get on a roll. He's much better now.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2016, 01:50:36 PM »
Just wondering if any of you have any tips on how you handle financial discussions with your spouse. Number of years ago was out at Ikea with some friends and one of the ladies bought some kids stuff and she made a comment about how her husband is going to complain about her spending money. It's something I tell every young couple I meet, number one issue in marriage isn't sex or kids it's money!

So guys how do you say no without coming across as the bad guy

Ladies how do you discuss the budget with your husbands?

Thanks

We keep separate bank accounts and agree on anything joint that's going to cost more than $100 or so before the money is spent.

We usually agree on the joint stuff, but when we don't there are three choices:

1. the person who wants the expense pays for it themselves
2. it doesn't get bought
3. the discussion gets shelved and brought back to life when something has changed in the situation

catccc

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2016, 02:00:01 PM »
Agreed, you might be better off if you change "wife" to "spouse" or "partner."  If you don't you are just going to get a bunch of ladies telling you they are higher earner and never have this problem, which won't be helpful to you.  And so here I go:

We never argue about money.  Not once have we had a disagreement about money.

I'm the breadwinner, earning 3-4x what my husband earned when we got married.  I'm still the breadwinner, but he is the SAHP and works part time making slightly more than minimum wage (it's a fun job for him.)  He also has hobbies like his motorcycle, and likes to go out once a week (or slightly less) and will buy a beer at a bar.  Big bucks!!  Not really, but I trust that he gets value out of the money spent. (Obviously the beer itself is not really a good value, he knows that.  But socializing with friends is something that he does value, and I'm glad to see him do it.)

I don't understand how you are saying "no."  We don't not let each other do things, nor do we need permission from one another to do things or spend money.  We do talk to each other.  Him: "Hey, I'm going to do an upgrade on the xyz system on the motorcycle, I think it'll be about $100.  Me: "cool, knock yourself out."  Me:  "I really want to go to this music festival, but tickets are $150!"  Him:  "If you think it will be fun and worthwhile, go!"  Notice we are informing one another and telling each other how we feel about something, not asking for permission.

This works because we understand what the other values, even though they are different.  It's not a tit-for-tat system, either.  I don't think I should get to go to an extra show because he decided to buy a coffee equipment "toy."  Also, we both place a low value on certain things- the "stuff" that people usually like to buy- electronics, clothes, etc. 

I suggest setting some parameters you can both agree to follow, and go from there.  She shouldn't feel like every $ she spends is going to be inspected by you and deemed worthy or not.

IDK, I'm also getting a weird control issue vibe from this.  And you are talking about a single comment she made an number of years ago.  Can you expand more on how you guys currently handle money?  Joint accounts?  Both working?  what kind of stuff do you argue about?

JLR

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2016, 02:17:08 PM »
Not much discussion here. No arguments, either.

He earns the money and I make the budget plan and execute it.


Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2016, 02:48:00 PM »
Ha Ha Ha yes I'm stereotyping a bit. I thought of using the word partner but decided Husband/Wife seemed to fit the situation better but you're right either or can be the spendthrift, seen just as many spendthrift husbands as wives. Edit: I did say spouse not sure how I could have worded the question any different

OK a good friend commented to me that he didnít realize how expensive marriage could be (he got married in his 30s when his career was well established). His wife loves wigs and looks really good in them. Every time I see her I comment about how that particular hair (aka the wig) suits her! Now hereís the situation theyíre out somewhere and come across a wig that looks just gorgeous on her but itís not in the budget.  Soooo as a husband what do you?

Response A: itís not in the budget (logical response) which naturally leads to an argument about said husband being a cheapskate

Response B: Sure letsí buy it (emotional response) Wife is happy and husband avoids an argument (at least till they get home and he updates YNAB)

Yes Iím stereotyping a bit but this is the exact situation I ran into today and last week. We're trying to figure out how to communicate. The deal we made was she could have an unlimited shopping budget if she bought everything on sale. Problem is I tend to approach it logically,

"why do you need more pants tops jackets you told me you have enough

WRONG ANSWER!!!!!!

We've been married 32 years and she's always earned more and I've always handled the budget
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 03:05:47 PM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2016, 03:02:49 PM »
We also agreed that we both view the budget very very differently. I'm logical and love the control a budget gives us.  She hears the word budget and breaks out in a cold sweat.

We also agreed that we need to find a way to approach shopping that makes both of us happy. If she joins me we end up buying a bunch of extra stuff ( I do all the shopping). If we go clothes shopping and I mention that she doesn't really need another what ever she gets upset and says I remind her of her dad, even though she told me she doesn't really any more of this item.

I think the bottom line is that she'll never be able associate the words budget frugality with any positive connotations. If I say, I want to be careful so we can go on a cruise this fall, she hears we're broke and can't spend a penny!

I think I'm going to need to figure out a better approach to talking about this
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 03:07:18 PM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

Lanthiriel

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 04:18:44 PM »
I too am the wife that manages the money. We get "spending money" in separate free checking accounts that is our discretionary spending. He tends to save up and use his to buy things like a PS4. I generally spend mine throughout the month on going out with friends or new clothes. If one of us wants to take a trip that the other isn't interested in, that comes out of our individual spending money accounts. For big items like a car or a vacation, we chat through the decision, usually over the course of several weeks or months. This means that one or the other of us rarely needs to say no. Usually logic prevails, and if it doesn't, the other person realizes that there is an emotional investment to the spending that isn't going to subside (i.e. when I wanted a puppy for love and snuggles and hiking).

We just had a very good example of this. We finally decided what we wanted to do with our two spare bedrooms (don't face punch too hard; we're in an 1100 sq ft ranch), and for one of the bedrooms the husband wanted a (video) game room. This is his primary hobby and something I'm not going to change about him, so I agreed. This meant buying a new TV. He picked out a flashy $1400 model, and I agreed to pay for half of it out of joint and he would pay the other half from his spending money because I disagreed that we needed the latest and greatest TV. When we get to Best Buy, the same model, 5 inches smaller, with 1 downgraded feature was only $900. I told him, "if you really think hard about it, and know you will use these features, I'm still willing to go halfsies on the model you want. But I want you to really think about whether or not this is worth $500." I took a couple of laps around the store and when I got back, he agreed with me that for the things he would use the TV for, it wasn't worth the money to make the upgrade. This was a month ago, and he is THRILLED with his new TV and with the fact that he still got to hang on to $250 of his spending money.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if this is a good example of marrying a smart, rational person or an example of how to compromise on spending.

galliver

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 06:34:58 PM »
We also agreed that we both view the budget very very differently. I'm logical and love the control a budget gives us.  She hears the word budget and breaks out in a cold sweat.

We also agreed that we need to find a way to approach shopping that makes both of us happy. If she joins me we end up buying a bunch of extra stuff ( I do all the shopping). If we go clothes shopping and I mention that she doesn't really need another what ever she gets upset and says I remind her of her dad, even though she told me she doesn't really any more of this item.

I think the bottom line is that she'll never be able associate the words budget frugality with any positive connotations. If I say, I want to be careful so we can go on a cruise this fall, she hears we're broke and can't spend a penny!

I think I'm going to need to figure out a better approach to talking about this

Not married, so the situation is a little different, since we have no (legal) reason to be "one entity" financially. But we are aiming that way so we are very open about finances and we've been living together 18 months so we have bought stuff and definitely made lots of spending decisions together. I am the lower earner currently since I am in grad school, but that won't always be the case (I hope!). Our deal is we split all our joint expenses, which started with the obvious rent, utilities, groceries but quickly grew to include meals out/dates and stuff for the apartment.  Individual expenses are stuff like cell phones, clothes, gifts, meals out alone (e.g. at work), haircuts, doctor/dentist/meds, other "stuff", etc. Finally, we have the same fundamental financial values: saving is good, debt is to be avoided, but we do want to live a little. We also try to avoid waste/turnover by getting things for the long haul. We aren't really minimalist and get somewhat attached to our stuff, but if we find we are genuinely not using something we are open to selling/donating.

In light of that arrangement, we used to have some discussions like this:
Him (usually): Look at this cool thing!
Me (usually): We don't need that.
Eventually he pointed out that sometimes, he just wants to share the coolness of the thing. Not always to get it. And I was pooping on his party. So now it's more like:
Him: Look at this cool thing!
Me: Cool! I like the A, B, C. It's a cool design. Did you want to get it?
Him: Yes, I think we could use it. (Or: "No, just thought it was cool." but then it ends there).
Me: But where would we put it? Does it go with our style? Doesn't X or Y thing we have already do what this does pretty well? Why do you want it?
At which point, he either convinces me to the point where I recognize the benefit, or I say "I don't know, I'm not really excited about it." And he either yields or makes it an individual purchase. Everyone is happy. POINT IS: Make sure you aren't being constantly negative. POINT IS: Adults shouldn't control each other. There should be some outlet for both partners to buy things they want the other doesn't approve of. That also means you don't get to whine or roll eyes when she(he) brings it home. You get to say "That's very nice, honey!"

On the flip side, I can be much more impulsive with clothing purchasing. In December I went to Ross to shop for Christmas gifts and came back with 3 pairs of jeans and maybe a top. Oops. I think it's because I figured out at some point that if I check for pants that fit/things I like when I'm NOT desperate and am in the mood to shop, I am much more likely to find things I like and less likely to be swayed and buy things that are "ok" and not a great bargain either. It's worth noting I don't have a large wardrobe (though not bare-minimums) and I would throw out half of what I had if I didn't need lab clothes I can get dirty/ripped/stained without regrets. So not a 20-identical-jackets situation. In contrast, my bf kept moaning and groaning whenever we needed/wanted to dress nice until I made him come to the mall with me when I was shopping for a gift for grandma. He got 5 or 6 button-downs and a vest in his size and is now dapper for all occasions. :) POINT IS: Be aware you might have different spending priorities.

When we had just moved half across the country while also moving in together, we ran up some debt ($3-5k) on a 0% card (that was primarily mine) for Reasons. The deal was that we would pay it off ASAP, definitely before interest kicked in. A few months later he got resistant to my pressure to make the maximum payments I could make on it, reasoning it out as making 1% on the money if it sat in savings instead being a better deal (it's a few dollars but why not take a few free dollars?). I insisted that I was emotionally uncomfortable with having that debt and with changing the deal we had made. He accepted that and matched me the remaining months until we were done. [The whole situation was one of my less-comfortable financial moments...but ultimately redoubled my interest in saving and showed me how hard even a relatively small debt balance could be to pay off, so good learning experience with fortunately zero cost!] POINT IS: I don't know...maybe that you need to be supportive of each other's needs even when it doesn't make 100% sense (as long as it's not massively damaging or something).

So here's what you do...

Make her a nice dinner. Clean up. Wrap it up with a bowl of ice cream. Snuggle together on the couch (include a cat if there is one). Put on the candles.

Turn to her, hold both her hands (something I learned on this forum! works wonders!), and say "Honey, I want to talk to you about something that's really important to me. Can we do that? I think we're having a lot of trouble with how we talk about money, and I don't want that between us, because you're the light of my life and I love you and [blah blah blah]. So can you tell me why it upset you when X happened because I'm really confused and I don't want to hurt you again and I want to know how I can communicate to you better about this." Try to avoid getting sidetracked into talking about the budget, etc. You're talking about how you talk. Avoid becoming defensive; you *asked* for feedback on your communication, after all. You might have a fight. You might sort things out. They are not mutually exclusive.

Once you figure out what sets her off, sit down in a similarly calm, good-vibes atmosphere and talk about money, and your PLAN (not budget ;) ), and being SENSIBLE (not frugal ;) ). Obviously, there's a finite amount of money coming in each month. You have certain fixed expenses (rent, food, utilities, transportation, etc) and you don't want to be a retirement horror story so you have to set some aside for that.  That leaves you with $X,XXX to spend on your various priorities: cruise, shopping, early retirement, etc. That's what you really have to hash out...not necessarily how to save THE MOST money, but what is most *important* to you... and of course, her wants don't trump yours, but neither do yours trump hers. Listen.

cats

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2016, 06:58:18 PM »
Well, my husband is not into wigs, but if we are out shopping and he wants to buy XYZ and I'm not so sure, I usually just say "well okay, what are we going to use it for/where will we put it?"  He does the same to me.  I guess the trick is that neither of us are saying "that is a stupid thing to buy", more like, "well, it hadn't occurred to me that we needed that item but I'm open to being proven wrong". When we talk things through, most times we do wind up deciding we don't want/need the item after all, seems to happen about equally for each of us suggesting a purchase (so it's not always him saying no or me saying no). 

In general I'd try to avoid blaming one spouse or the other for all silly/nonessential spending unless there are some really hard numbers to back it up.  I know I tend to spend more on small but more frequent purchases (e.g. makeup or frou frou toiletries), while my husband tends to make less frequent but larger purchases.  Since my purchases show up more often in our accounts, we had both kind of assumed I was the more "spendy" partner, but then when we added up how much we each spent on personal "wants" over the course of a year, the spending turned out to be about the same for each of us.

tobitonic

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2016, 08:06:33 PM »
Not much discussion here. No arguments, either.

He earns the money and I make the budget plan and execute it.

This, basically. I'm the CEO, she's the CFO. Works well.

use2betrix

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2016, 08:13:45 PM »
I make all the money and manage it all. I'm 27 and my wife is 22. She does everything you could dream of not regarding making the money or managing it lol.

Her support is part of the reason I'm able to be as successful as I have been.

We have no money issues. We discuss basically all spending because we are basically on constant communication. We both have the same goals. Occasionally I'll get some idea to splurge and occasionally she'll reel me back in.

I could not imagine a relationship where money is a hot topic. That'd be very hard. We've never argued about it at all. We've been together 4 years and she's been a joint user on my credit card account for 3. I've been very fortunate. She has worked some here and there and then pitches in a bit but she still saved well then.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2016, 08:16:46 PM »
I don't have a wife. So many problems can be avoided that way

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2016, 11:50:26 PM »
OK edited the title to say spouse

We finally worked it out, agreed we should do talk about the budget before hand not afterwards!

And we agreed that the reminder word is "we're saving for our holidays"

thanks everyone for your thoughts

Goldielocks

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2016, 11:58:47 PM »
The easiest way is to agree to somewhat generous personal spend "allowances" per month, then hide most of the rest of the money. 

Bring out the net worth sheets once a year for joint discussion and create a file with all the bank accounts listed as the "in case of emergency / death", here is where the money is at".    Really most spend thrifts won't look beyond their daily account balance.

Jk, but I think it could work.

Telecaster

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2016, 12:31:57 AM »
I am so lucky to have the wife I have.  We started worlds apart on spending and finances.  She grew up poor, so she dreamed of having money one day and doing all these fabulous things she never got to do. 

So as she became a professional and had a good career, she wanted to spend money on things she never had.  That was tough for me, because I didn't want to spend money on unnecessary stuff.  We never argued about money, but I tried to explain why unnecessary stuff was unnecessary.  And that saving money wasn't deprivation, it was freedom.  And eventually she bought in.  In he interim, we had to compromise both ways.  We've had a few stresses about money in the early years, because we didn't have much back then and we didn't quite see eye to eye.  But since then, no arguments, no stresses.  I'm super lucky.

I often tell people the key to happiness in this life is to spend less than you make.  But the other key is to have a spouse who thinks the same way.   


Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 02:06:00 AM »
The easiest way is to agree to somewhat generous personal spend "allowances" per month, then hide most of the rest of the money. 

Bring out the net worth sheets once a year for joint discussion and create a file with all the bank accounts listed as the "in case of emergency / death", here is where the money is at".    Really most spend thrifts won't look beyond their daily account balance.

Jk, but I think it could work.

The problem we've been struggling with is that she earns the money and I manage the budget and I always felt like bad guy. Her sister solved it by going out and getting a job and paying her portion of the bills, than her husband has no say over what she spends. That's a bit extreme for me. Looking back what did work really well was when we discussed spending in advance. Holidays are a good example of this. We always had a great time and usually came in at or under budget. More importantly we never had any arguments. 

So going forward since the theme of this year is frugality we will discuss spending in advance. Her birthday is coming up and we're going out with friends. We'll talk in advance what we want to spend, drinks are the real killer. This will avoid me complaining about the bill at the end and her being upset.

Anyways appreciate everyones comments!








rubybeth

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2016, 06:54:32 AM »
Okay, though about this a bit more and thank you for changing it to "spouse" instead of "wife."

I didn't mention in my first post, but I have also always earned more than my dear husband, and he's cool with that, and so he's also been pretty cool when I want to spend lavishly on something, but he also knows how to gently remind me that we are paying off debt/saving for something big and that maybe "now" isn't the right time for said purchase. Something like, "I know you want ____, and I hear how important that is to you, but we are saving for _____ right now; do you think it's worth it to wait on that goal?" and then usually I agree with him and don't bring it up again. :)

But he also encourages me to get good quality things when its matters--for example, this fall I was fretting because my commuter boots (I walk to work) were falling apart and we no longer waterproof (they were cheap $40 boots). I'm in Minnesota, so having good quality footwear and a warm jacket is important for all the walking I do. I really didn't want to spend upwards of $100 on leather boots, but DH said it was worth it if they would last longer than a year, and that it was important to have good tread so I don't slip and get hurt, and also how important it is to stay warm because the risk of frostbite is real--and this is a man who has done legitimate winter camping, so I believed him. I ultimately spent $160 on boots and they are awesome and DH was perfectly happy with my choice.

Instead of calling it a "budget," we call it a "spending plan," and we have sat down with the spending plan and agreed that the amounts looked reasonable/do-able (including some discretionary money for each of us). We also have a spreadsheet with our goals listed--things like "travel to Sweden" and "replace couch" are on there, and we have a spending plan to actually achieve those goals. It's kind of a game. We've also made saving money into smaller games at various points, to keep up morale. We had a rule that we couldn't go out for coffee unless we went to the gym 12 times in the previous month, for example. It helps when both partners are in agreement about why certain things are being sacrificed, vs. feeling that one partner is pushing his/her agenda on the other partner.

ooeei

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2016, 07:22:35 AM »
The deal we made was she could have an unlimited shopping budget if she bought everything on sale.

The problem is there are always things on sale.  Plenty of stores have everything "on sale" all the time.  You can go out and spend $2000 in a day on sale items if you try hard enough.  It's just a marketing word, and doesn't mean anything about the value you get for your purchase.

Why not talk in advance about how much you both think is reasonable to spend in a year on clothing?  Divide it into months and go from there.  It also helps to talk about your goals, why not spending so much money on clothes will be more fun in the long run.  It's much harder for some people to save money if they think they're doing it so they can retire when they're 65 with a bit more money in the bank.  If they are putting it towards a cool trip, or can retire in 2 years instead of 5, there tends to be a bit more motivation. 

My girlfriend really likes her job, so doesn't care too much about early retirement. She has worked some jobs she really didn't like, so it helps her to keep in mind this great job may not last forever and having the option to quit is a good idea.  She also wishes my job had more flexibility so we could do more stuff together, so that's another motivation.  You have to find your wife's reason for wanting to save up money rather than spending it on clothes.  If she just really loves clothes more than anything else, maybe she's fine working an extra few years to be able to buy them.

In addition I know for me, waiting on purchases helps keep me under control.  I see a new computer or random electronic thing, and want it REALLY BADLY for a week or two, then couldn't care less about it.  I pretty much instituted a 2 week cool off period for purchases (often it ends up being more like a month) for myself, as I found myself not using all sorts of things I bought on impulse.  My girlfriend does the same with clothes now, as she has plenty of stuff in her closet she bought and has never worn.  She loves looking at very "dress up" clothes and dresses, yet we rarely go anywhere to wear those.  She's resigned to basically admiring them now rather than buying them and sticking them in the closet.

Zikoris

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2016, 11:47:12 AM »
Make shared values, life goals, and lifestyles a priority during the dating process. That deals with 90% of the problem. Keeping your finances separate deals with the remaining 10%. I'd feel very differently about my boyfriend's video games if I was paying for a portion of them, and he'd probably feel the same about my diet coke and ballet lessons.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2016, 01:25:10 PM »
We talked about it today and there are 2- 3 dynamics at work

First thing was my wife finally admitted she has an issue with instant gratification. She absolutely hates talking about the budget and anytime it comes up I'm left feeling like the bad guy No we can't afford it, type of thing. She canít see that saving money here means more for other better things. Her sister is the same way and she solved the issue by working 80 hour work weeks.

The second issue is I have ADD so I have a problem letting go. That and guys like to solve issues where girls prefer to talk it out while us poor guys just listen

The other issue that came up was how to deal with unexpected spending. Two examples, we decided it's time to replace her winter coat and it makes sense to buy a quality LLBean one, we both agreed to wait for an end of the year sale and if it's sold out it's OK. So we're out shopping and she sees some cheap coat, I didn't really care for it so my comment was "well why do you need another coat for". She got really mad said I was acting like her dad. Second situation was we went out for a meal with friends and it's been a long time since we've been out and I had forgotten how fast drinks add it, a lunch meal was nearly 70Ä and I made a comment about ouch expensive and everyone felt bad and she was embarrassed by that. A normal person would have waited to get to the car to have a big argument about it. So what we realized was that we came to discuss in spending in advance. We're going out shopping what do we do if something comes up that isn't on the list, say shampoo. What should I do?

I think the reason I get so upset is I put a lot of hard work into the budget and she struggles to see the rewards of the frugality. Iím also a bit anal about it too, I cancelled cable because I saw 50Ä a month as a waste, we get free movies with Amazon prime and Iím more than happy to rent them. She sees that as too much hassle.

BTW did I mention that I sooooo badly want to go back and rehash everything! Yes that probably is the root issue of it all. LOL

MonkeyJenga

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2016, 01:36:26 PM »
The second issue is I have ADD so I have a problem letting go. That and guys like to solve issues where girls prefer to talk it out while us poor guys just listen

Totally. WIMMIN BE SHOPPIN TALKIN!

EngineerYogi

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2016, 01:58:26 PM »
The best thing my husband did for us when we got married was open up a joint account and made all money "our money." It was incredibly hard for me at first, we had to move, he was the primary bread winner and I took a huge cut in pay with my new job while I was still in college. I was spendy, always had been and he started criticizing my coffee shop and fast food purchases. I was convinced he was trying to control me, these were things that made me feel like an adult and made me happy (albeit temporarily). Why was he trying to take that away?! In reality, we were broke and couldn't afford the purchases in the first place. We started paying bills together, planning spending and established a $50/month allowance for each of us. (Our income at the time was roughly $26k annually combined) The allowance gave me some "freedom" to make purchases that weren't criticized. If I wanted to go shopping (generally reserved for my birthday or the beginning of the school year (we were young when we got married)) we would discuss a budget before hand and I would take cash with me and could not over spend.

Fast forward 9 1/2 years, we now make comparable salaries (mine's a little bit higher, it's a nice thing to be competing at ;) but of course all money is still "our" money) that are significantly higher than we first got married (now at ~$180k annually combined) and still manage finances the same way. We increased our allowances over the years as our incomes increased, but we're actually both putting our allowances toward some debt pay off right now to accomplish a shared goal.

Bottom line, your spouse needs to be aware and involved in the spending plan in order to understand how their spending impacts both of you, not just themselves. By keeping the budget a secret you are indeed controlling the situation and them in turn. Setting mutual goals and reviewing those goals and progress towards your shared goals regularly is key. Planning for spending or allowances has been paramount for my spouse and I. The trick to the allowance is it is discretionary spending you don't get to critique the other's choices, but it is finite. Perhaps remind your spouse that you are also on a budget and adhering to the plan to meet your shared goals.

Goldielocks

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2016, 10:16:34 PM »
The easiest way is to agree to somewhat generous personal spend "allowances" per month, then hide most of the rest of the money. 

Bring out the net worth sheets once a year for joint discussion and create a file with all the bank accounts listed as the "in case of emergency / death", here is where the money is at".    Really most spend thrifts won't look beyond their daily account balance.

Jk, but I think it could work.

The problem we've been struggling with is that she earns the money and I manage the budget and I always felt like bad guy. Her sister solved it by going out and getting a job and paying her portion of the bills, than her husband has no say over what she spends. That's a bit extreme for me. Looking back what did work really well was when we discussed spending in advance. Holidays are a good example of this. We always had a great time and usually came in at or under budget. More importantly we never had any arguments. 

So going forward since the theme of this year is frugality we will discuss spending in advance. Her birthday is coming up and we're going out with friends. We'll talk in advance what we want to spend, drinks are the real killer. This will avoid me complaining about the bill at the end and her being upset.

Anyways appreciate everyones comments!

Let us know how that goes!  :-p

Freedomin5

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2016, 12:48:25 AM »
All the comments in this thread reminds me of the term "financial therapy" - understanding your core beliefs about money and where those beliefs came from.

For some, money = control. E.g. OP's spouse's comment about "being like her dad" when OP commented on her spending.

For others, money = security.

It sounds like for many on theis forum, money = freedom.

It may be helpful to try to understand your spouse's money beliefs, as it may give you a point from which to start discussions. For example, for various reasons dating back to childhood, money = security for the future for me, which means it is to be saved. Not so for my spouse where money = adventure/being able to do what you want in the present, which equates to spending. Understanding how each of us views money allows us to customize a financial plan that meets both of our unique set of needs. It also helps us to identify and change beliefs that may be maladaptive or cognitively distorted.

For example, because we have a relatively good grasp of the meanings we attach to spending/saving, our plan is simply that my spouse can spend everything he earns (he pays rent, food, etc.) while I save everything that I earn in vehicles that benefit both of us (I put it towards both of our retirement funds, investments, etc.). If I need to spend, I will ask him to reimburse me (usually as a lump sum rounded to the nearest hundred at the end of each month) so that I can dump it back into savings. This way, he doesn't feel restricted in his spending, and I don't feel restricted in my saving.

gooki

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2016, 01:24:43 AM »
Haven't read all the replies. What works for us is to pay ourselves a modest weekly allowance to do what ever the fuck we want to, no judgement from the other party.

The remaining funds stays in the joint account where all non essential purchases are discussed before making them.

ender

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2016, 07:27:55 AM »
It's always about the goals you share. My wife loves visiting Paris, but we don't do it every month because she is also excited about not having to work, and having us both have more time together in the future. It's not about "saying no" because you shouldn't try to change or control someone's behavior.

I feel like this really is it.

Sharing goals. If you can't share goals, you'll never be able to agree on the more tactical and day-to-day financial decisions.

You argue about the day-to-day decisions when they are not matching your goals. But arguing about them is fruitless if you aren't talking through why you are arguing about them -- the mismatch in how the day-to-day affects your goals.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2016, 10:50:53 AM »
Hey everone

Wanted to give a quick update, the underlying issue was some credit card debt from last year (medical expenses) decided it made more sense to take out a loan to pay it off than trying to pay it down, it removed a lot of the pressure. Also realised that we need to be more proactive on our spending. So before going out somewhere that might involve spending (shopping coffee with friends) we talk a out it.

Not spending is a lot like losing weight, takes discipline and effort

Cassie

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2016, 11:33:44 AM »
It sounds to me like you are not working and she is yet you are controlling all the $. That would not work for me. If I am out alone and I buy something I do not expect my hubby to bitch about it when I get home and I certainly don't expect him to complain how much a meal costs, etc.  I think you should set a monthly fun budget and use that $ to go out with friends. When that $ is gone then you don't go out until the next month. Also set a certain amount of $ aside that you each can spend without having to account for it to the other person. That should cut down on the arguing too.

MrsDinero

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2016, 11:42:59 AM »
Pick the right partner, negotiate shared purchases, and have a certain amount of separation so no one is controlling the other.

Mr. D and I have separate accounts.  We use a spreadsheet to document all shared expenses and we reconcile each month.

Even though we have different accounts and he makes more than I do, we talk about all large items and how much to spend.  I don't police his purchases or hobbies and he doesn't police mine, however we both have the same FI goals so we don't feel the need to. 

When we do need to make a large purchase we will sometimes argue (or discuss) about how much to spend and what we REALLY need, but we always come to an agreement where we both are happy with the decision. 

Rollin

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Re: How not to argue about money with your wife
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2016, 11:54:50 AM »
This question feels sexist. In my marriage, I manage the money because I'm more detail-oriented and enjoy it much more. My husband is frugal by nature and doesn't spend much, and what he does spend is budgeted for. Same goes for me. We budget for household items that need replacing, and for entertainment and restaurants and travel. We have a very reality-based budget, by using averages from the previous year or so of spending. Shared goals, as the other commenter noted, is very important. We both value free time more than stuff, and shopping isn't a hobby for either of us.

I agree that this sounds (probably unintentionally) sexist. OP, might want to consider removing that bias in future questions as it could start up a topic drift you won't enjoy.  ;)

I am the wife, and I made the big money in the marriage (almost twice what the husband brought home), and I manage all finances because he could care less as long as we have money to pay for things.

We have budgets set for specific categories. Food, eating out, clothes, whatever... it's got a ceiling and we mutually agree to not exceed it. I track spending in Mint and can let the husband know what the current tally is in any category at any time if he's got something in mind.

We have a specific category for individual "fun" money - it is a flat number where there are no questions asked and no permission needed, but going over said budget for fun money absolutely requires a mention and discussion if it is significant.

We agree on most everything so there has rarely been any issues regarding spending. On the few occasions where someone went off the rails and blew a bunch of money? That was the husband again, as he is the one that was bad about how many items/collectibles he might buy in a given month when he used to get on a roll. He's much better now.

I see your point...ouch. I'd hate to see if I used that same phrase in my post, or something like "I bring in 95% of the money, so...". My point is that I don't see the reason to state which spouse makes the most, as using that in a marriage could be problematic. A friend who is familiar with divorces (from a legal and financial perspective, not that he was divorced) stated that it can be said that SAHM's or SAHD's work way more than their spouses on an hourly basis, and if you were to run a calculation on that number it would often exceed the working spouse's income.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2016, 03:22:45 AM »
OK I have an update: I realized that while I do talk money alot itís usually related to investing or retirement but that the only time we ever talk about budgeting is when we are in a crisis. So not surprisingly it stresses her out. Solution: discuss each months spending goals as well as talk before going out. Do we want a starbucks today or not?

Secondly we both know from experience that rigid rules donít work very well for us. So rather to set guidelines. For example shopping have a budget and stick to a list. I have a tendency to go to Aldi with the intention of buying 1 item and ending up grabbing 10!

Regarding clothes sheís got a great eye and waits for things to go on sale. Our clothing budget is probably a bit high but Iím ok with that.

Finally she realized that growing up poor affected who view of money!

So yes there is hope!



rubybeth

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Re: How not to argue about money with your Spouse (title edited)
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2016, 09:57:02 AM »
OK I have an update: I realized that while I do talk money alot itís usually related to investing or retirement but that the only time we ever talk about budgeting is when we are in a crisis. So not surprisingly it stresses her out. Solution: discuss each months spending goals as well as talk before going out. Do we want a starbucks today or not?

Secondly we both know from experience that rigid rules donít work very well for us. So rather to set guidelines. For example shopping have a budget and stick to a list. I have a tendency to go to Aldi with the intention of buying 1 item and ending up grabbing 10!

Regarding clothes sheís got a great eye and waits for things to go on sale. Our clothing budget is probably a bit high but Iím ok with that.

Finally she realized that growing up poor affected who view of money!

So yes there is hope!

This is a wonderful update! I'm so glad you recognized some of what was causing additional stress in talking about money. I'm the same with Aldi, too--I go to buy what's on my list and grab extra things (luckily in the US, Aldi is very inexpensive so I feel I can 'splurge' on things there without busting the budget).

Also, I think appreciating what your spouse does to help (i.e. watching for good clothing on sale) is important--I know my husband telling me he appreciates my work on our finances is very nice. Just that recognition is so important. :)