Author Topic: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!  (Read 28174 times)

JoyBlogette

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2014, 12:54:40 PM »
If she agrees to never go into debt again, pay of the credit card, and cut it up.

+1

lazysundays

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #51 on: June 25, 2014, 01:33:26 PM »
I second financial peace university. I also think ynab would be great because she can look at the app while at the store.  That's where the paper budget sheets fail- they aren't with us to reign us in at the store.  Mint sucks. It only shows you the damage done; it doesn't prevent the damage.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #52 on: June 25, 2014, 01:48:48 PM »
T-Rex,

Lots of great advice so far.  One I will echo is for each of you to have an allowance you get each month to spend however you want.  This was really important to getting my wife onboard and I enjoy having money I can spend on hobbies, eating out occasionally etc. 

I think this is especially important when you are going month after month just paying off debt.

They keep separate finances.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #53 on: June 25, 2014, 01:50:21 PM »
Do I detect fraternization...?

j/k

Really though, she needs to learn how to handle money. That's really hard to do in the Marines, because so much is provided for us that we're never motivated to learn.

Let this be her motivation. Let her stew in this stress until she learns how to handle herself. Do NOT rescue her, she is a grown ass woman with a job of her own.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #54 on: June 25, 2014, 09:50:06 PM »
According to my calculations, she can do it with a few hundred left over each month.

Thanks for all the advice! Hopefully in one year, I will be sharing both our stories in the celebrations thread.

Yes to sharing the celebration, and what made it all finally click into place for her.
These are tough discussions to have with a loved one, my spouse is not as careful about finances as I am. We tried splitting expenses, he wouldn't always pay. He borrowed money from me, didn't always pay it back. But he would have a check or be owed money at work and wouldn't cash the check or fill out the forms for reimbursement (grrrrr!).  I ended up with all the household bills, and he had to cover his expenses, and yet he ran up credit card debt.  Now, he won't tell me how much he owes...
I don't want you to end up with any crap like this. But sadly I am still not in a position to tell you how to avoid it!
Also, I am not sure if you are in a state that recognizes your marriage, so not sure what obligations or liabilities you may face now or in the future.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2014, 12:07:18 AM »
Let this be her motivation. Let her stew in this stress until she learns how to handle herself. Do NOT rescue her, she is a grown ass woman with a job of her own.
+1

No offense but 21 is still a girl in this modern age.
In a nutshell.....she needs to grow up :)

Agree, I was not responsible at 21.
[/quote]
Aw, I'm only 22.

T-Rex

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #56 on: June 26, 2014, 03:02:48 AM »
Do I detect fraternization...?

j/k

Really though, she needs to learn how to handle money. That's really hard to do in the Marines, because so much is provided for us that we're never motivated to learn.

Let this be her motivation. Let her stew in this stress until she learns how to handle herself. Do NOT rescue her, she is a grown ass woman with a job of her own.

LOL. It sounds that way, doesn't it? I was living the fancy Navy life with single BAH, and she was living the rough Marine life in the barracks. Makes a huge difference in pay, especially in areas with high rent!

I can't really rescue her or force her to stick to a plan that would work. I'm hoping she will get motivation. Sometimes I wonder if all the Marines and sailors in debt helps retention! Especially when you see "but they offered me $5000 to reenlist."

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #57 on: June 26, 2014, 03:11:03 AM »
Preacher:  "So, you go to Best Buy and you see this beautiful 46 inch flat screen TV and you know you just have to have that TV.  You tell the salesman to ring it up, you pull out your Navy Fed card and..."
Marines [in unison]:  "BAM!  Paid for!"

This is tragic! That is how I felt about my first card until the day I realized I almost maxed it & had no way to pay it in time. Luckily, it only had a $500 limit (I was pretty broke). Marines & sailors get pre-approved car loans and credit cards with much higher limits than that. I wish frugality was part of military culture.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #58 on: June 26, 2014, 07:56:37 AM »
T-Rex,

Lots of great advice so far.  One I will echo is for each of you to have an allowance you get each month to spend however you want.  This was really important to getting my wife onboard and I enjoy having money I can spend on hobbies, eating out occasionally etc. 

I think this is especially important when you are going month after month just paying off debt.

They keep separate finances.
So they can't have allowances?

T-Rex

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2014, 08:07:10 AM »
T-Rex,

Lots of great advice so far.  One I will echo is for each of you to have an allowance you get each month to spend however you want.  This was really important to getting my wife onboard and I enjoy having money I can spend on hobbies, eating out occasionally etc. 

I think this is especially important when you are going month after month just paying off debt.

They keep separate finances.
So they can't have allowances?

How do you mean about allowances? I showed her how much she could spend without sacrificing the savings/debt reduction goals. Is that what you mean? She said she would be interested in a joint account for certain things. What's the best way to approach it?

CommonCents

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #60 on: June 26, 2014, 08:21:06 AM »
T-Rex,

Lots of great advice so far.  One I will echo is for each of you to have an allowance you get each month to spend however you want.  This was really important to getting my wife onboard and I enjoy having money I can spend on hobbies, eating out occasionally etc. 

I think this is especially important when you are going month after month just paying off debt.

They keep separate finances.
So they can't have allowances?

How do you mean about allowances? I showed her how much she could spend without sacrificing the savings/debt reduction goals. Is that what you mean? She said she would be interested in a joint account for certain things. What's the best way to approach it?

Agree with T-Rex that allowances in the context of separate finances is really the wrong term/concept.  A child gets an allowance, because the parent controls and doles out the money, based on decisions set by the parents (e.g. good grades, completing chores, etc.).  I note this parent-child relationship is a direction we're trying to help T-Rex get away from. 

Sometimes married couples decide together that they each have "mad money" to spend as they like.  You might call that an allowance, although I still think that's a bit of a misnomer.  If T-Rex helps her wife determine how much of her wife's money her wife can spend each month and pay her bills, I call that a "budget" not an allowance.  Very different things.  T-Rex has no control over how much is doled out to her wife or how her wife spends it.

arebelspy

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #61 on: June 26, 2014, 08:48:06 AM »
Quote
Let this be her motivation. Let her stew in this stress until she learns how to handle herself. Do NOT rescue her, she is a grown ass woman with a job of her own.
+1

No offense but 21 is still a girl in this modern age.
In a nutshell.....she needs to grow up :)

Agree, I was not responsible at 21.
Aw, I'm only 22.

Noob!

In all seriousness, some people mature faster than others, and for an issue like this, it's not even about being responsible, but just being knowledgeable.  There's plenty of 40 year-olds who get themselves into this situation and are otherwise responsible adults; they just don't have it together financially.

You may, at 22, whereas someone twice as old might not.  Odds that a 21 year old does is slim.  But at some point you have to learn, and I think that's what the people you were quoting were trying to say.  :)
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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #62 on: June 26, 2014, 09:09:03 AM »
It's clear her lifestyle it rough on phones.

So it seems like a fancy smart phone with class screen should be out of the question.  Buy the cheapest used phone for which you (she) can still get service.  Her lifestyle clearly can't accommodate a nice phone. 

Alternatively or in conjunction with that, perhaps she can leave her phone in the car/barracks room/locker/whatever.  Does she really need it on her when she's in those tall trucks all day? 

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #63 on: June 26, 2014, 09:18:03 AM »
Or have the cheapest tracfone/etc for 5$ a month to take to work, and keep her nicer one at home.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #64 on: June 26, 2014, 08:00:28 PM »
I'm glad you guys had a good talk. It's really, really hard when you aren't on the same page. My husband, long past that age (we married at 20 and are both 33 now) felt like he "deserved" things/had earned them/wanted them NOW--even when, since he didn't have the money, he clearly hadn't "earned" them. MMM helped get us on the same page--well, at least MORE on the same page. He's still more the spender and I'm more the money hoarder, but he's much more able to focus on long-term goals now.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #65 on: June 26, 2014, 09:36:24 PM »
I believe that when a couple gets married they should combine incomes, debts, obligations, and goals, and work together to budget and spend and solve debts.
It will be hard, then so much easier once you get it worked out!

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #66 on: June 26, 2014, 10:32:48 PM »
I believe that when a couple gets married they should combine incomes, debts, obligations, and goals, and work together to budget and spend and solve debts.
It will be hard, then so much easier once you get it worked out!

+1

T-Rex

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #67 on: June 27, 2014, 12:26:32 AM »
I believe that when a couple gets married they should combine incomes, debts, obligations, and goals, and work together to budget and spend and solve debts.
It will be hard, then so much easier once you get it worked out!

I would consider it if we were actually physically together, but we aren't, and she is alone and still beginning to learn how to use money. Getting married then combining finances immediately before a long deployment is the beginning of many military horror stories...

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #68 on: June 27, 2014, 02:30:45 AM »
Firstly, I need to apologise for making assumptions about gender further back in this thread.  Sorry.

Could you have a joint account which you each pay into for joint expenses (currently rent, in future rent and groceries) while keeping other accounts separate?  If both you and your wife could set up an automatic transfer on payday from your own accounts into the joint account, she would end up only seeing the balance of her pay after basic expenses are accounted for, which might be a psychological help to her in limiting the rest of her spending.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #69 on: June 27, 2014, 09:19:05 AM »
T-Rex,

Lots of great advice so far.  One I will echo is for each of you to have an allowance you get each month to spend however you want.  This was really important to getting my wife onboard and I enjoy having money I can spend on hobbies, eating out occasionally etc. 

I think this is especially important when you are going month after month just paying off debt.

They keep separate finances.
So they can't have allowances?

How do you mean about allowances? I showed her how much she could spend without sacrificing the savings/debt reduction goals. Is that what you mean? She said she would be interested in a joint account for certain things. What's the best way to approach it?

Agree with T-Rex that allowances in the context of separate finances is really the wrong term/concept.  A child gets an allowance, because the parent controls and doles out the money, based on decisions set by the parents (e.g. good grades, completing chores, etc.).  I note this parent-child relationship is a direction we're trying to help T-Rex get away from. 

Sometimes married couples decide together that they each have "mad money" to spend as they like.  You might call that an allowance, although I still think that's a bit of a misnomer.  If T-Rex helps her wife determine how much of her wife's money her wife can spend each month and pay her bills, I call that a "budget" not an allowance.  Very different things.  T-Rex has no control over how much is doled out to her wife or how her wife spends it.
If you don't like allowance then feel free to substitute mad money or any other term.  It works for us.  We have agreed bills to pay each month and money for different expenses during the month.  Then we have our allowance (or mad money) we can spend on anything we want.  Works for us.  If it doesn't work for you don't do it.  That would seem to be Common Sense (cents) to me. 

T-Rex

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #70 on: June 27, 2014, 11:30:13 AM »
I started calling everything left over after goal and expense money her "extra money".

I pointed out that since her pay has gone up, she has spent more than the amount of her debt on beer and clothes shopping. That is exactly the sort of thing that could never happen if I was home!

Big breakthrough: she has agreed to stick to the plan after I showed her that she has a lot of money even after working on goals. She even made the suggestion that she prioritize her high interest debt (I had proposed splitting it evenly for the sake of simplicity) so there is some part of her that is even more practical than Dave Ramsey.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #71 on: July 03, 2014, 01:28:29 AM »
I'm kind of stuck. She doesn't understand that only paying the "payment" "on time" for the car is stealing money from her. Should I just be happy that she will pay off her credit card? I'd really like her to understand that interest is stealing money out of her pocket. If she continues at the pace she is paying of the car she will have almost $6000 left on it by the time her contract is up, which is pretty scary to me.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #72 on: July 03, 2014, 01:35:05 AM »
I'm not sure how it's "stealing" money from her, but she's an adult and a grown woman. 

The best thing you can do is communicate with her, kindly and lovingly.
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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #73 on: July 03, 2014, 02:15:53 AM »
I'm not sure how it's "stealing" money from her, but she's an adult and a grown woman. 

The best thing you can do is communicate with her, kindly and lovingly.
+1

It's maybe that you're using incorrect language? It's not stealing, it's increasing to total cost of the item. Why not find some interest calculators for her to play with? Maybe start with "if you only pay the minimum, you will have paid $10k for $6k worth of stuff. If you pay down $x more, you will have paid $8k for $6k of stuff - which means you have $2k to spend on more things". Do the maths for her and give her numbers like that so she can see the total cost, then leave her to play so she can start to grasp the concept on her own?

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #74 on: July 03, 2014, 02:51:19 AM »
I think of it as paying money for the privilege of being in debt for an even longer time, which isn't exactly stealing, but it is not a good deal in this scenario.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #75 on: July 03, 2014, 04:02:52 AM »
It must be frustrating that you can see a better way to manage the debt but your wife can't.  But you have made big strides already in getting her to agree to a budget, pay off her credit card and make payments on her car.  I'd suggest seeing how the agreements you've got so far settle into a routine before suggesting anything more.  Most of us find small steps easier than the biggest leap in sight.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #76 on: July 03, 2014, 05:09:51 AM »
Yeah, it is frustrating. As much as I would love to motivate her, and for it to make sense to her, I think things would be more likely to improve if I was there in person.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #77 on: July 03, 2014, 05:46:35 AM »
I think it's early yet (I know that's not what you want to hear).  When DH and I met, his belief system was that monthly car payments are an inevitable part of life, that personal loans are a useful financial tool, and that he was being financially smart by paying an extra $100 a month on his $6,000 credit card bill.

Eventually, as he saw me paying off debt, he started to get a little more aggressive on the credit card.  The more he saw the balance drop, the more motivated he got.  He planned to pay the personal loan and car payments on schedule.  Since they weren't credit cards they "weren't the bad kind of debt."  I pushed a little, but not too hard

A funny thing happened when the card balance was at $0 though.  He saw that it was much easier to pay off than he'd ever dreamed, so he went ahead and got to work on his personal loan.  Once that was paid, he started thinking "Hmmm.... how cool would it be to drive a paid for car?"  And now his car payment is next in his sights.

I guess it's kind of like weight loss.  Some people can think "A pound of fat is 3500 calories, so if I eat 2,000 calories a day and burn 3000 calories, I will lose roughly 2 pounds a week."  Some people have to eat the grilled chicken breast, drag their ass to the gym, step on the scale, and see the numbers drop.

Perhaps if she works hard on paying down the card, she'll start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and see that it's not as impossible as she thought.

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #78 on: July 03, 2014, 06:49:29 AM »
RE: The phone: I am the clumsiest person ever and drop my phone all the time. I now use the heaviest duty Otterbox Case, and it's been amazing. (I've been using Otterboxes for over 2 years now). They're expensive, but you can get them for less on ebay. I drop my phone on a daily basis, but have not damaged my phone since converting to Otterbox. They're thick, so people make fun of me for the case, but I don't care!

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #79 on: July 03, 2014, 07:00:01 AM »
It must be frustrating that you can see a better way to manage the debt but your wife can't.  But you have made big strides already in getting her to agree to a budget, pay off her credit card and make payments on her car.  I'd suggest seeing how the agreements you've got so far settle into a routine before suggesting anything more.  Most of us find small steps easier than the biggest leap in sight.

I agree with this.  Let her get used to the changes she has already agreed to and then talk about the car in several months to a year when the changes are now routine.   Be happy that you have made this progress.  If you keep pushing, she may rebel and go back to what she was doing before.  No one likes to be nagged.   

CommonCents

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #80 on: July 03, 2014, 07:22:39 AM »
I'm not sure how it's "stealing" money from her, but she's an adult and a grown woman. 

The best thing you can do is communicate with her, kindly and lovingly.
+1

It's maybe that you're using incorrect language? It's not stealing, it's increasing to total cost of the item. Why not find some interest calculators for her to play with? Maybe start with "if you only pay the minimum, you will have paid $10k for $6k worth of stuff. If you pay down $x more, you will have paid $8k for $6k of stuff - which means you have $2k to spend on more things". Do the maths for her and give her numbers like that so she can see the total cost, then leave her to play so she can start to grasp the concept on her own?

Agreed.  Ask her if she would have still wanted to buy the car if it were $X instead of $Y.  Then tell her that she IS paying $X when you include the interest over the life of the car loan.  Perhaps also try "if you paid this much more each month, you'd pay it off in this time and you'd pay this much less".

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #81 on: July 03, 2014, 08:36:11 AM »
Yeah, it is frustrating. As much as I would love to motivate her, and for it to make sense to her, I think things would be more likely to improve if I was there in person.

Here's the thing though.  It may be so much worse for your relationship if you were there right now, while you're both frustrated about this.

Take this forced distance as an opportunity to practice the idea that you cannot control her.  Regardless of being married, she is a different person.  You'll have to live with that just as much when you're close as when you're far, and if stuff doesn't change as fast as you like when you are there, you may get even more frustrated, which is not a good thing.

Take this opportunity to take a more relaxed, laid back approach to "converting" her.  Don't force it, and don't get upset.  Teach, guide, and use loving communication.

Good luck!
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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #82 on: July 03, 2014, 08:53:34 AM »
Relevant Lifehacker post today:
How Can I Be Frugal When My Significant Other Isn't?

http://twocents.lifehacker.com/how-can-i-be-frugal-when-my-significant-other-isn-t-1597707214/
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

T-Rex

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #83 on: July 03, 2014, 09:15:21 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to let it go. I'm just terrified because she is talking about future dreams and it seems like we are never going to get there with her beliefs & lifestyle. I wonder how many of us are at this alone?

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #84 on: July 03, 2014, 09:22:07 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to let it go. I'm just terrified because she is talking about future dreams and it seems like we are never going to get there with her beliefs & lifestyle. I wonder how many of us are at this alone?

Here is a poll, less than six months old, with 435 responses at the time of writing, that answers your exact question:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/poll-your-significant-other-and-mustachianism/

:)

You aren't alone.  There's plenty of threads about getting the spouse/SO on board. 

And many of them take awhile, but often eventually get to the "YES!  They did something Mustachian on their own/said something that showed they see the light" phase.  Be patient.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #85 on: July 03, 2014, 10:00:07 AM »
It's never too late to eject. Hear my story...

When I was in college, I worked 2 and 3 jobs 6-7 days a week on top of a full class load. My ex-GF could barely hold down a job and was frequently unemployed and paying gas/health insurance/meds/tuition out of her savings.  I paid for literally everything else that I could, expecting that it would work out in the end. She finished school, got a $65k / yr hourly night shift job, and gave in to higher spending.

I moved to join her after a year, with a lower paying job (and no debt from all that working!), and also gave in. New truck, new TV, new motorcycle... etc. She continued to want to spend hundreds eating out all the time, shopping, etc, while I was content to cook, and even wanted to teach her.

In the end, our lifestyles were very different. I've got a duplex I live at nearly free now, she has a 2 year lease on the large apartment we shared.  I have doubled my net worth, she hasn't paid off her 8 year old car.  It's not the inability to make the numbers work that was a problem for me, it was the unwillingness to try.   You just have to reality check yourself and see if your partner is actually giving it 100%. Send her a link to this website, have her start reading.

arebelspy

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Re: Spouse Maxed Out and Overdrawn, please help!
« Reply #86 on: July 03, 2014, 12:56:35 PM »
Another article that might help:
http://lifehacker.com/hamburger-negative-comments-with-positive-ones-to-avoid-1599615263

Don't be afraid to tell her your financial mistakes.  Seeming perfect while criticizing will likely just result in your SO getting defensive.
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