Author Topic: The Soft 'Stache Sell  (Read 3851 times)

ElectroStache

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The Soft 'Stache Sell
« on: April 19, 2013, 02:37:15 PM »
Hi Everyone,

New to the forum, but not the blog. Nor marriage, which is my topic here today. I've been married for 3 years now to a lovely lady who I love dearly.

But good lord does she like to spend.

It's really more of a psychological issue since she grew up poor. Once she left for college and then grad school, borrowing money and being in debt was an assumption. She told me the other day about the compulsion she feels when she goes into stores. I've grown up very comfortably and have been incredibly lucky my entire life. I've been absolutely neurotic about saving since I was a kid though. Likely part of my personality, which led me to become and engineer (yes, another one joins the fold).

Previously, we got in kind of deep, past the student loan debt we already had (likely will lay out a financial picture in another post). House, cars, frivolities. We got into some "heated conversations" over it as well. My thrifty nature vs her spendthrift nature and our arguments went volcanic pretty quickly. My compliance on some of the bigger ticket items without thinking it through also caused and continues to cause grief.

We've been doing better recently. We've pared back many of our line items on our budget. We've cut our food budget dramatically by switching to envelope budgeting to groceries; I've also taken over the food shopping to lower the compulsive spending. However, some other things still are still pretty glaring in our budget. I've tried and tried to get her to get interested in MMM, Get Rich Slowly and a slew of other PF and FI blogs out there, to no avail.

So my question is, how do you share the knowledge you gain from sites with your significant other? How can do I implement savings without causing issues/arguments? How do I get someone I love interested in something important to me, because it really affects both of us?

Thanks!

~ElectroStache

Spork

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 03:16:23 PM »

I absolutely don't know the answer (though I am interested in the pending discussion here...)

I know money disagreements are very often HUGE in relationships and can be their undoing.  There has to be some middle ground where she feels "safe/loved/taken care of"  (or whatever spending does for her) and where you feel "safe/able to reach your goals".

If it really is a psychological issue that runs deep... I might find some counseling on it -- either a couples therapist or a trusted preacher (if you're religious).

I've been married twice.  I won't say differences in financial thinking was THE thing that undid my first marriage... but it was ONE of the things. 

The second time around: I both found someone that thought the same as me... and I also think I may have learned a few things from mistakes I made the first time around.

The Bearded Bank Builder

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 04:08:42 PM »
For me, the best way to start was to tell my wife about some interesting things I had read on MMM, and start doing some of them. I let her know my goals for the future (retiring early, spending time with kids once we have them), and started acting on some of MMM's advice without specifically telling her she should too. Before long she was following my example, and next thing I knew I saw her reading on MMM herself!

The first thing though is probably a discussion about goals. It's awfully hard to change your habits if you're not sure what you're working towards and how your actions now affect those goals.

Good luck!

seanquixote

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 06:07:35 PM »


My wife and I were in similar shoes early on.  And I am not a Dave-ite altogether, but I will tell you that the thing that brought my wife around from the view that just because we have it means we can spend it...was ol' Dave Ramsey.  I am NOT a religious guy in fact just the opposite, BUT she kinda is...so if it works it works. 

Dave's message spoke to her and from that point on arguments about money were almost non-existent.  After several years of marriage we got on the same "goal" page.  And quite honestly it was a HUGE breakthrough for our marriage.  Doing the budget was not just MY job, it became OUR job...and that is important.  If your not working together ....well, you are not working together...and that sucks because that is what marriage is the TWO of you against THE WHOLE FUCKIN' WORLD!!!  Arrrrrgggghh....

Of course others may see that a bit differently, but THEY BETTER NOT GET IN OUR WAY Arrrghhh Raaaaahhhh!!.. sorry..sorry 'bout that.  Good luck.

Spork

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 06:20:37 PM »


My wife and I were in similar shoes early on.  And I am not a Dave-ite altogether, but I will tell you that the thing that brought my wife around from the view that just because we have it means we can spend it...was ol' Dave Ramsey.  I am NOT a religious guy in fact just the opposite, BUT she kinda is...so if it works it works. 


I like Dave.  I know folks here have some harsh criticism for him ... some of it deserved.... but I like him.

I, too, am not religious.  (Think of that last sentence as the world's biggest understatement.)  Dave talks to religious folk on a religious level because it's a common understanding they both have.  I heard him once talk to an atheist... and he still totally connected.  He didn't try to save him.  ...and he can face punch with the best of them.

olivia

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 09:15:29 PM »
Have you tried talking to her about her long term goals?  Or showed her exactly how much she is spending via Mint.com or a spreadsheet?  As someone who leans towards the compulsive side of shopping (another understatement, while we're understating :P ), seeing the monthly total of all my purchases is the only thing that helps snap me out of it.  I just didn't (and still kind of don't, unless I really force myself) see it at each purchase, particularly because my husband and I make a pretty high income combined, so it's easy for me to say "Oh it's just $100, no big deal."

And Spork touched on this, but is she truly happy?  With herself, her job, etc.?  When I'm unhappy, I absolutely will overspend.  I recognize this and fight it, but it's still a challenge.  I think therapy really could be a viable option if she has a difficult time cutting back her spending.

MsSindy

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 08:31:58 AM »
There are so many variables in a relationship, there's no telling what will work for yours, so I'll just tell my story.

My DH could care less about reading MMM, so I don't even try to get him to, nor do I quote MMM, ever.  Blogs are not his thing.  To gauge his interest, I said something like, "there's this couple that were fairly frugal and saved a lot of their money and now they're retired".  He gave me an 'meh' type response.  So I tried another tactic and when he was complaining about his work, I called it F-U money, and wouldn't that be nice to have.  Ding! Ding!  He resonated with that.  Okay, so now I had some common ground and we could form some goals about how much F-U money we would need and how best to get there - and what was worth giving up (eating out) and what wasn't (his hobby $$ and waterskiing).

There's a lot we could do financially to be truly badass, but DH isn't there, and probably never will be, so I do the best with what I have and keep chipping away with subtle conversations.  He's really good at fixing things, building from scratch, created me a huge veggie garden, doesn't buy electronic gadgets, so I take the positives and keep moving forward.  Could we get there a lot faster if we did all the MMM badass things?  Absolutely!  Does it make me a little pissed off that I have to wait?  Absolutely!  But I do my part in being badass and I'm patient on his part, and redirect, but never nag.  I haven't nagged for 20+ years and I'm not going to start now!

If your wife is a bit of retail-therapy type person, you need to redirect her.  For example, I use to shop at Target because they have good prices on food, but DH would always put extra stuff in the basket.  Then I started to shop without him, but I was still putting extra stuff in the basket - they have such tempting stuff!  So, I just shop my local grocery store which has no tempting items.  I go to Walmart about twice a year and buy multiples of things so I just stay out of those stores most of the year.  Also, make sure you're doing things together so she doesn't have time to go to the shopping mall or surf Amazon - go for a picnic, try mini-putt for the day, offer to do her pedicure - be creative.  Maybe she'll see how life can be so much better than spending on 'stuff'.

Good Luck!

galaxie

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 08:38:09 AM »
I got my husband on board with hypotheticals.  "Hey, so I did some math, and we could retire early if we do XYZ.  We don't have to work until we're 70.  I think that would be awesome, don't you?"

This was a little easier for us because he's not a spendy person and we hadn't settled into a high level of baseline spending (having just come out of school and then saved up for a wedding, we never went through a time with a lot of money available).  He mostly needed to be convinced about risks.  But what I'm saying is, if you can get your wife on board with the goals, the behavior change will come over time. 

Honestly, I think I'm the spendy one in our household even though it was my idea to save for ER.  Having ER as a goal has helped me slowly change my spending habits and feelings about money.  Using Mint helped, too, because then if I spend money it has to fit into a budget.

pbkmaine

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 09:09:54 AM »
One thing that seems to work for couples with different money attitudes is an allowance.  Both partners get a certain sum of money each month to use any way they please, no discussion or arguments.  It can include all discretionary spending if you'd like.  Let's say she has an allowance that is supposed to cover gas, lunches and coffee out, cosmetics and clothes.  if she wants to take her entire allowance and buy shoes, she can do it.  It's her choice then to bike everywhere, take lunch and coffee and live off the cosmetics she already has.  Here's the deal though: you do not get to comment on or criticize her choice. You keep your mouth shut.  That's the deal. 
 
Now, about her shopping habit: it can be very relaxing for women to do this. I know, because it's a stress reliever for me as well. You can always try to redirect this urge into something like exercise. But sometimes I just want to hang with my friends and try on clothes. So now it's Goodwill or Salvation Army instead. I don't buy a lot, but I also don't feel guilty when I do buy something. 

shelfins

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Re: The Soft 'Stache Sell
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 11:54:57 AM »
I recommended this to someone else on the forums recently, but I think for spender/saver couples where it's become a big source of arguments, John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is a must-read. In particular, I'd recommend taking a look at the chapters on ongoing marital conflicts (money--surprise, surprise--is one of the most common ones.) It gives a really good outline of how to go about having a conversation w. your spouse about a topic where you have different values and finding a way to reach a compromise that makes sure both of your needs are being met. And it's a hell of a lot cheaper than counseling.