Author Topic: How to convince my husband?  (Read 6368 times)

midmigurl

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How to convince my husband?
« on: August 14, 2014, 02:41:11 PM »
Hi everyone!  I need some advice on how to convince my husband that the mustachian lifestyle is the way to go.  Here are some background details.

He is 39 and I am 35.  We have 3 kids, and the only debt we have is our mortgage.  We make $80k+ per year, but it gets spent frivolously despite my attempts to plug the holes.  We are not in debt, like I said...but we are breaking even every month.  He is convinced that we'll be working until we're old and that the economy is against us.  I tell him that there is another way...he is imagining bread and water as every meal and darning socks and stuff like that.  No matter what I say I just can't seem to convince him otherwise.  He sees no way for us to live without income from 2 full time jobs, despite the fact that he's miserable at work.  He feels that the economy is too nutso and there's nowhere that we could put our money to keep it "safe."  In his mind, we will scrape and save to get to whatever amount to retire early and then still scrape just so that we don't have to go back to work.  How can I show him the numbers to convince him otherwise???  How can I make him be like, gosh...can't argue with these numbers!....

Annnnnnd....GO!!!

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 02:45:46 PM »
Welcome to the forum midmigurl.

Many of us have been at this for a while and are still asking the same thing about our spouses. The best results I've heard thus far surround selling the dream. Figure out the ideal scenario for your husband, then design a financial plan to get him there.

I haven't been able to fully sell the dream yet, this is just from success stories I've read here. Good luck!

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 02:51:46 PM »
Figure out the ideal scenario for your husband, then design a financial plan to get him there.

Cheddar Stacker is spot on. I think it's all about your ideal long-term vision. What would you want to do with your life if money was no object? And then, since money is an object, how can you create a tenable version of that life. I think that the mechanics (frugality, investments, etc) are secondary to buying into the dream of financial independence.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2014, 02:58:15 PM »
Figure out the ideal scenario for your husband, then design a financial plan to get him there.

Cheddar Stacker is spot on. I think it's all about your ideal long-term vision. What would you want to do with your life if money was no object? And then, since money is an object, how can you create a tenable version of that life. I think that the mechanics (frugality, investments, etc) are secondary to buying into the dream of financial independence.

After I discovered the Frugalwoods blog I thought: "maybe if I show this blog to my wife it will click." I don't know if it's the more dominant female spin on things, but I think it might resonate more with her. Still haven't dropped that hint yet though. I'll let you guys know if that works.

MDM

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2014, 03:12:09 PM »
We make $80k+ per year, but it gets spent frivolously despite my attempts to plug the holes.  We are not in debt, like I said...but we are breaking even every month. 
Welcome to the forums!

One place to start would be to analyze your spending (Mint, Quicken, YNAB, whatever) and agree on how much you could reduce.  Then sign up for 401k withholding to force your take home income down to that spending level. 

If you can reduce spending and start investing, then you can work on fine tuning things later....

Gone Fishing

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 03:29:15 PM »
Well, frivolous spending is a guaranteed 100% loss!  Not a perfect solution, but just start edging your 401(k) contributions up 1% at a time as long as it doesn't create a shortfall that ends up being carried on the credit card. At least you'll have something.  Another imperfect solution may be to explore CDs and annuities for a guaranteed return if that is what it takes to get hubby on board.  They are expensive in terms of inflation and fees, but if that is what it takes.  My hunch is, though, he really doesn't want to reduce his spending.  If he is very unhappy at work, his spending may just be self medication.  Any chanch he could find a better job?   Job hunting is a lot of work, and when you are unhappy and stressed to the max, your inclination to add on more stress is zero.  Try to encourage him any way possible.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 03:35:50 PM by So Close »

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 03:44:31 PM »
My husband was resistant until he had a few things go crazy at work that drove his hatred of his job way higher than his love of cars (his weakness).

My husband also thought that he wouldn't be able to retire until he was 70. I slowly started showing him calculators and numbers showing how we could retire sooner.

He finally came around when I came to him with some real numbers on how things looked with current spending vs how things could be if we made some small cuts.

Then work stuff blew up, and suddenly, DH wanted fuck you money. And he started questioning everything. Including our cars and home. He has embraced the concept fully and is now addicted to the blog!

I think it helps that DH is mustachian by nature. He is very physically fit, handy around the house, fixes our cars, and squeezes every last drop of toothpaste out of the tube. It was a total life shift for him to realize that cars and stuff were not the reason for living or for working. Its been a hugely positive shift for our lives and marriage as well.

4alpacas

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 03:57:51 PM »
Figure out the ideal scenario for your husband, then design a financial plan to get him there.

Cheddar Stacker is spot on. I think it's all about your ideal long-term vision. What would you want to do with your life if money was no object? And then, since money is an object, how can you create a tenable version of that life. I think that the mechanics (frugality, investments, etc) are secondary to buying into the dream of financial independence.

After I discovered the Frugalwoods blog I thought: "maybe if I show this blog to my wife it will click." I don't know if it's the more dominant female spin on things, but I think it might resonate more with her. Still haven't dropped that hint yet though. I'll let you guys know if that works.
Oh good call!  I love the Frugalwoods blog!

I struggle with my DH too.  I have a different problem though.  We make a lot of money.  We set aside a lot of money, so he doesn't understand why I "stress out" about saving more.  I've made the most progress by appealing to his practical side...and his lazy side.

We cut out delivery pizza by keeping a frozen pizza around.  No need to wait for the delivery man.

We've cut down on going out to eat.  The first step was to cut out convenience trips (too busy to cook) with frozen individual portions from bulk cooking.  We've cut back on general eating out by enjoying our kitchen experiments. 

We moved from a two bedroom to one bedroom apartment (savings ~$500/mo) for a better location closer to the park.  We did compromise and get a storage locker in the building, so he didn't have to get rid of anything. 

I've found that it's best to appeal to what your spouse values, not what you value.  But maybe it's because I've had NO progress selling the ER dream.

yddeyma

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2014, 05:18:51 PM »
I had the same issue with my husband.  About 10 years ago, fresh out of college and just married, I hated my job.  I did the numbers and figured out if I lived in a tent on public land and ate nothing but ramen noodles we could retire in about 3 years.  My husband's response, "but I don't like ramen noodles".  Apparently camping was not an issue for him!

Fast forward ten years, two babies and one large mortgage later and I was back to contemplating that tent (another low point in my career, to be honest).  Before you even start on your journey, you've got to set a goal.  I had to be specific with what I wanted to accomplish by spending less and why (how it will impact our life).  So, for me, I want to work fewer hours so I can focus on my health and my family.  My husband knew I was unhappy at work, and unhappy with my health and with my general lack of energy that kept me from interacting with our kids.  He wanted to improve that, too. So he knew what I wanted to achieve and we also talked about what HE wanted to achieve until we had one common family goal.  This is key, it has to be a joint goal.   In my case, even if the goal mostly impacts me (work fewer hours), it ultimately is about a better life for all of us.  I reiterated this goal several times in multiple conversations to lay the groundwork for my master plan.  The more you say the goal out load, the more it becomes a reality.  After that I implemented the following:

Step 1.  Track Your Spending - This is a vital step, I use Quicken but you can do in Mint for free.  You can't cut expenses if you don't know where its going.

Step 2. Cancel the Stuff No One Needs or Uses - I mean the stuff you don't remember you're buying that he won't even notice.  For us, this was a couple of magazine subscriptions, an out-dated subscription to the consumer reports website, and some other little things.

Step 3. Cancel the Stuff YOU Don't Need (And That He Won't Notice) - This is stuff of your own that he doesn't care about.  For me, it was a few website and magazine subscriptions, I cut back on my Kindle habit and started checking stuff out from the library, started going to the thrift store if I needed clothes, started being more aware of food waste and sticking to a grocery list (I was very bad about over buying things and they would go bad before I could eat them).  Maybe for you its cutting out getting your nails done and doing them at home.

Step 4. Have A Conversation About Stuff the Family Doesn't Need - This is the easy stuff that you could probably just get rid of but need to check with him first.  For us it was a monitored house alarm system we never set, monthly pest control and lawn weed spray service (both of which we could do ourselves in 15 minutes/month), switch to Page Plus Cellular, etc.  But it also included some financial things that I needed his input on.  For instance, our life insurance needs had changed.  As our net worth grew and our expenses went down (less debt) we really didn't need as much coverage.  Ditto for auto insurance, we could easily have lowered coverage but just hadn't evaluated in awhile.  This is where you really start to challenge not just WHAT you're spending on, but also HOW MUCH you're spending on it.  Don't assume that any expense is fixed.  Challenge how much you're paying.  Once you've evaluated everything, take it to him and say I want to do XYZ.  This only took one conversation and he agreed with all my conclusions.

Take a Break - At this point, you've probably shaved several hundred dollars (or more) off of your monthly budget without even really making any tough sacrifices.  So give it a rest for a week or two so you don't turn into a money nag.

Step 5.  Have the Difficult Conversation - This is where you list all the things that would save you money, but would take a conscious lifestyle change.  This could include selling your cars and buying cheaper, more fuel efficient ones.  Selling the house to move to a lower cost of living area of the country, or heck just across town to a cheaper house.  Cancelling cable, eating out less, going out on the town less, reeling in your spending on hobbies or clothes or food, etc.  It helps to limit your focus area.  I chose to focus on three our biggest expenditures: sell our expensive car to get rid of the car payment, cancel cable and move to a cheaper house.  Over the next few weeks, after the kids had gone to bed, I would casually bring up the pros/cons of one of the items on my list and we'd talk it out over the next few weeks until we both agreed on a course of action.  It wasn't done in one 10 minute conversation.  It took weeks of evaluating.  Eventually, we jointly decided to ditch the car and the cable.  Selling the house was a no-go for him and to be honest, I was always on the fence about it.  But the main thing was we BOTH agreed to everything after talking it out.

Step 6 - Keep a Punch in the Face List.  This is a list of things you KNOW you should do and MMM would definitely do but for whatever reason you aren't going to do.  It might include continuing to spend a gazillion dollars eating out, or keeping your pricey house or car, etc.  Tape this list to fridge so you have to see it every day.  For me, there are things on the list that won't bother me even if MMM shows up at my door.  But there are other things that make me wince every time I see it, and that I am sure I will be re-evaluating in the future.  And that's the point, to keep evaluating.

So, that's how I got my husband on board.  It wasn't that hard, but you definitely can't do what I originally did which was say, "We need to ditch all of our wordly goods, go live like hermits and eat ramen noodles so that I can quit in three years."  That would overwhelm even the most reasonable of people.  You also can't expect to do it in in one conversation.  Lifestyle changes take awhile.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

GuitarStv

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 05:31:48 PM »
I'd lead in with the many things in life that are both awesome and very low cost that you want to do more of.  Starting with sex.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 08:37:09 PM »
Figure out the ideal scenario for your husband, then design a financial plan to get him there.

Cheddar Stacker is spot on. I think it's all about your ideal long-term vision. What would you want to do with your life if money was no object? And then, since money is an object, how can you create a tenable version of that life. I think that the mechanics (frugality, investments, etc) are secondary to buying into the dream of financial independence.

After I discovered the Frugalwoods blog I thought: "maybe if I show this blog to my wife it will click." I don't know if it's the more dominant female spin on things, but I think it might resonate more with her. Still haven't dropped that hint yet though. I'll let you guys know if that works.

Oh good call!  I love the Frugalwoods blog!

I struggle with my DH too.  I have a different problem though.  We make a lot of money.  We set aside a lot of money, so he doesn't understand why I "stress out" about saving more.  I've made the most progress by appealing to his practical side...and his lazy side.

We cut out delivery pizza by keeping a frozen pizza around.  No need to wait for the delivery man.

We've cut down on going out to eat.  The first step was to cut out convenience trips (too busy to cook) with frozen individual portions from bulk cooking.  We've cut back on general eating out by enjoying our kitchen experiments. 

We moved from a two bedroom to one bedroom apartment (savings ~$500/mo) for a better location closer to the park.  We did compromise and get a storage locker in the building, so he didn't have to get rid of anything. 

I've found that it's best to appeal to what your spouse values, not what you value.  But maybe it's because I've had NO progress selling the ER dream.

Aww shucks. Thanks you guys. I really appreciate your kind words about Frugalwoods!

Cheddar Stacker--I'd love to hear how your wife receives it, if you do decide to share it with her.

Astatine

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 04:01:50 AM »

[long awesome post - edited for brevity]

...This is key, it has to be a joint goal.   In my case, even if the goal mostly impacts me (work fewer hours), it ultimately is about a better life for all of us.  I reiterated this goal several times in multiple conversations to lay the groundwork for my master plan.  The more you say the goal out load, the more it becomes a reality.  After that I implemented the following:

Step 1.  Track Your Spending - This is a vital step, I use Quicken but you can do in Mint for free.  You can't cut expenses if you don't know where its going....



This was an utterly awesome post. Thank you so much for writing out your steps. I've done some of them but not in such a concious way. I love concrete examples for working out *what* to do.

midmigurl

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2014, 06:25:17 AM »
Thank you all!  I do appreciate your posts and ideas...it gets me thinking in different directions when I have a new perspective.

I guess I can't say we spend it ALL frivolously.  We do already have 401k's...I have been saving 25% of my income to mine since 2006 (before we got married...and I've never changed it).  I talked him into starting his a few years ago and he saves 6% so that he can get his employer match.  I also have a roth that I have some savings in, though I haven't added to it in a few years.  I also have a Scottrade account that I added to back when I started working but again haven't added to in a few years.  I pay attention to all of it, but I currently don't have much left over to add to them.

I like the idea of utilizing Mint to see where our money is going.  I have been working to cut back on things.  Our biggest killer is eating out.  It's been a tough habit to break (What do you want for dinner? I dunno, what do you want?  Everything is frozen. There's nothing in the fridge. Let's eat out.), but I've been trying to utilize eMeals to have grocery lists and menus on hand to know what we are eating for the week.  DH let me take over the checkbook a few years ago and during that time I was able to get all of his debt on his old credit cards paid off down to the point that all we now have is the mortgage.  I myself have never carried a balance and I cringe at the idea of doing so.  He on the other hand would pay minimum balances or maybe a little over...think oh, I've got all this other money...and go spend it.  It's gotten much better on that end...so we are making progress in the right direction.  I just can't figure out how to convince him of the next step.

I'm sure that spending is a self-medication on his part for being unhappy with his job.  I have showed him that in our current situation we have just enough to pay off our bills each month and we have no room to save with our current spending rate.  He was surprised to learn that.  He did give up on some things, but he's still not seeing that bigger picture that it doesn't have to be this way.  He doesn't see how you can be happy without spending a lot of money, but yet he spends a lot of money and he's not happy.  Soooooo frustrating. 

Thank you all for listening! :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How to convince my husband?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 10:08:18 AM »
I personally like either old fashioned pen and paper or YNAB for tracking spending, especially when you're making massive habit shifts. Mint is inherently passive, whereas I tend to stay much more on top of spending when I record each transaction as it happens.

A common complaint about this method is that it takes so long to enter each transaction. If you have that many receipts in a month, that's a BIG problem!

My wife still doesn't quite get the connection between keeping expenses low and being able to retire in 10-15 years, but she really really likes that end goal.