Author Topic: What can I do about my husband's overspending?  (Read 21575 times)

mlejw6

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What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« on: September 08, 2015, 10:00:44 AM »
Mustachians! I need your help!

I am at my wit's end and don't know what to do in this situation.

I am the one in control of our marriage finances. All income goes into the central checking account and gets disbursed to the budget with YNAB (You Need a Budget). My husband agrees that I do a better job controlling the money, and goes along with the budget pretty well. We both also have separate accounts with personal money. These are funded with our monthly allowance of $100/month and are used for anything we want, gifts for each other, and things not covered in the budget (clothes, haircuts mostly). Previous to using YNAB, I still controlled all the finances and paid off his credit card debt (a couple thousand dollars) that he had amassed before we got married. After paying off his credit card, I gave it back to him, saying it is his responsibility now to use it and pay it off monthly. HOWEVER...

Last year I found out he still had debt owed to Paypal. He had racked up about $700 in debt, mainly by giving money to his adult daughter. When I found out, I gave him all the money that was supposed to go to savings (and my allowance) to pay off this debt. I was angry, and he was upset I was not giving myself my allowance, but I could do without it. I just didn't want anymore debt.

Fast forward to this month. He accidentally uses the wrong CC to pay for a personal item. I ask him to just forward some money from his account to the joint account to pay for the expense. He doesn't have the money in his account, and was planning on using the credit card float until he got his allowance in September (around the 20th).


When I asked him why he bought this item that he knew he didn't have the money for, he just said, "I'm not like you." I don't understand why he continues to spend money he doesn't have. We do pretty well, and any overspends in our budget can be covered from other categories. But, I don't see his personal accounts. I can't cover overspends I don't see, and he doesn't tell me about them because he's embarrassed and doesn't want to disappoint me.

I learned, at the same time I learned about his paypal debt, that he pays a monthly fee for his personal checking account. I couldn't believe it. I haven't paid for a checking account since I was in college! He said he could make it a free account, but I'm sure he hasn't done that yet (almost a year later). So, already $12 of his $100 allowance is gone every month.

I used to have budget meetings, but he would always say, "Whatever you want to do, do that." So, I stopped having budget meetings, because he wasn't giving any input. I don't know how to bring this subject up to him because he will either get defensive and angry, or he will (more likely) get sad and depressed and mopey and not say anything. Add to the fact that I have social anxiety and don't have confidence in my ability to express myself clearly (especially in such an anxiety-ridden subject), and we have a big problem. What can I do? I thought about giving him a bigger allowance, and me a smaller one, but frankly, I don't think that will solve the problem of him spending money he doesn't have. He will just expand how much he buys to overspend again.

TL;DR
My husband gets $100/month in allowance that he is free to spend anyway he wants, but can't stay in budget with this money. I am anxious to talk to him about it because he feels very sensitive and hopeless on the subject. What can I do, if anything, to get him to understand that he should not spend more than he has?

Greg

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2015, 10:19:35 AM »
Tough one.  I don't know, but it sounds like he's not on board with the idea of living within a budget... yet.  If it were me in your situation, I'd see if I could get him to surrender his CC.  Maybe daily or weekly budget meetings until it's under control.  Not much help, I know.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2015, 10:37:56 AM »
Sorry to hear about your situation but I'm optimistic you'll be able to do something about it!

Few scattered comments from someone who follows a similar system of allowances:

1) I'd maybe consider having another budget meeting with your husband and going over definitions of what you should consider 'personal spending'. It stuck out that you mentioned 'such as clothes and haircuts' since this is a issue my wife and I had originally. Obviously if I want to go buy a another dress shirt or pair of shoes on a whim when I have plenty of perfectly fine dress shirts and shoes... it should be a 'personal money'. But what about replacing a piece of clothing that has been worn so many times it's completely worn out? We consider that 'family spending'.

It also has a side effect of encouraging working through a wardrobe and taking stock of what is really needed and what isn't, and wearing stuff out rather than wasting it.

Haircuts we consider family spending as well, since I get a cheap trim once every 1 to 1.5 months, and she gets a slightly more involved cut every 6 months. It would cause an unreasonable drain on our allowances for what we consider 'absolute minimum required grooming' - as long as you're in agreement this is almost like a 'bill' rather than luxury. Obviously if she wants a $150 highlight job, it's on her. Alternatively, look into cutting your and his own hair for the cost of a trimmer.

(Full disclosure - we're still not perfect at our definitions and it requires clear and open communication, accidentally use the wrong card, reimburse the family account, discuss if a purchase is 'borderline' i.e. she wants to buy something that she thinks is a family need and I disagree or vice versa)

2) It's inexcusable that he's paying a fee for a checking account while simultaneously lamenting his lack of money. Just tell him 'wouldn't you like an extra $144 a year to buy stuff with?' and don't let him be lazy about it. Nothing more to say about that.

3) It's a little unnerving that you're so anxious and nervous to broach this subject with your HUSBAND. I understand the social anxiety aspect as I certainly have that to an extent as well. I find that I definitely communicate about difficult or delicate situations in written text better than words, especially if it goes bad and a quick-thinking argument pops up or someone shuts down.

Maybe consider writing out your thoughts and concerns and let him read it. I'd recommend keeping 'you' (him) out of it as much as possible, make it about 'we' - 'our' goals, 'our' budget, 'our' personal spending. Also reiterate that you're happy he trusts you to handle the finances and will still take on the bulk of the work but communication is more helpful than blind support.

It's upsetting that he's embarrassed or ashamed of his inability to handle his allowance and moreso that he feels the need to hide it from you, reassure him that you want him to be open no matter what.

4)Almost under no circumstances give him a bigger allowance and yourself a smaller one, at least as a result of his inability to stay within budget. This is encouraging and enabling behavior. My wife has a larger allowance than I do because we decided to do it proportional to our gross incomes (and she makes more than I do.) You might find if you layout specific expectations and redefine boundaries on what you consider personal spending that EFFECTIVELY it feels like his allowance is bigger anyway, not to mention not paying $12 a month in FEES!

EDIT: For formatting and readability - sorry I tend to write very stream-of-consciousness when I'm on a roll.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 10:40:51 AM by Apocalyptica602 »

nobody123

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2015, 10:58:58 AM »
Did you both agree to the $100/month, or did you dictate the amount?  Are there clear guidelines on what that money is for, or is there a chance it could be looked at as $100 in mad money on top of what he thinks the family should be paying for?

I would guess it also depends on how much income he's bringing in.  If I was bringing in $100K a year and was given a $100/month allowance so my wife could put $4900 of my take home in savings I might be likely to overspend my allowance and not care, especially if she was frugal and I was not.

Hiding the fact that he is funneling money to his kid isn't good.  You need to discuss why he is doing it, and figure out if / why your common resources should be helping another adult.

If most of his issues are because he's disorganized, give him his allowance in cash, close his checking account, and take away the PayPal and credit cards.

AZDude

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2015, 11:04:31 AM »
My wife and I both had trouble staying withing our "allowance" money at one time. This was a few years ago, and both of would constantly charge stuff to our main account toward the end of the month when our personal money ran out. We talked about stopping the practice, and things would be good for a month before relapsing. It was frustrating for everyone, but it was really just a case where we went from "spend whatever you want" to having a very draconian budget in place.

Eventually, after talking it over, we changed our budget to reflect reality, upped our personal money, and have had no problems since that point. In fact, years later the personal money amount was lowered because we had adapted to actually using a budget and watching our spending. Now the monthly statement on our joint account is short and clean.

So, I would say maybe you need to adjust your budget, giving your husband more personal money, and as a compromise, he agrees to give up his credit cards? After a while of him maintaining a regular budget, you can adjust downward.

Also, pester him about the checking account and getting it to be free. That is just him being lazy and giving money away. It has nothing to do with frugality. Be nice, but persistent in getting him to change that ASAP.

Good luck

partgypsy

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2015, 11:04:59 AM »
Maybe I am not one to talk because I haven't even gotten to the point of having a budget that is tight enough everything is counted and have separate allowances. Part of it was, we couldn't decide what was personal and what was household, etc. Examples were things like restaurant, buying extra stuff at the grocery store whether it is booze or things for the kids, buying household stuff like placemats, and of course the examples already given like clothes and grooming, etc.

So maybe first have a review of what is included or not included in personal allowance spending. It could be, that some of the things he is spending on should be in another category. Could be that he simply can't keep to the $100 a month budget, what then? Is that a firm line or is there another way to accommodate it within the budget? Does he get a bonus or any additional monies through the year that he could save and also use as part of his allowance? 

TheAnonOne

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2015, 11:09:36 AM »
Did you both agree to the $100/month, or did you dictate the amount?  Are there clear guidelines on what that money is for, or is there a chance it could be looked at as $100 in mad money on top of what he thinks the family should be paying for?

I would guess it also depends on how much income he's bringing in.  If I was bringing in $100K a year and was given a $100/month allowance so my wife could put $4900 of my take home in savings I might be likely to overspend my allowance and not care, especially if she was frugal and I was not.

I can agree with this. I make many times more than my wife, if she said "You only get $100 a month" I would probably be furious. It's a joint venture in life but neither of you will ever have the same level of spending.

Also, I don't know your income but $100 a month seems awfully low for spending money, even for this board.

COlady

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2015, 11:10:47 AM »
I'm not sure what your household income is but $100 a month is nothing. Like previous posters said, did he agree to the $100 per month?

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2015, 11:14:09 AM »
Tough one.  I don't know, but it sounds like he's not on board with the idea of living within a budget... yet.  If it were me in your situation, I'd see if I could get him to surrender his CC.  Maybe daily or weekly budget meetings until it's under control.  Not much help, I know.

Thanks. I feel like this should be a worst-case-scenario. Though, it may come to that, I don't feel like we are there yet.

RunHappy

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2015, 11:20:57 AM »
I agree with the others that asked if he agreed to the $100.  $100 may not be a realistic number for him especially in Alexandria, VA.

First I would find out what he is spending his money on, other than his adult daughter.  If his daughter is having money trouble maybe you both can come up with a plan of action to help her rather than just throw money at her problems.  This is something you need to be united on, especially if you are doing joint accounts.

Second I would be concerned with this statement
"He accidentally uses the wrong CC to pay for a personal item. I ask him to just forward some money from his account to the joint account to pay for the expense. He doesn't have the money in his account, and was planning on using the credit card float until he got his allowance in September (around the 20th)."

I'm not sure how a person accidentally uses the wrong credit card, but also that he overspent so much that he was using the CC to float himself.  It sounds like he has a serious spending problem.

Maybe going to a cash only existence (for both of you) would be a worthwhile experience until you each can get a handle on the finances:  him living within his means and you maybe giving him a little more money.

charis

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2015, 11:21:11 AM »
I don't really get the personal allowance/separate accounts thing.  We have joint everything, including credit cards and both of our spending is very transparent.  Neither partner should be ashamed of (or shame about) their spending to the point that they would rather hide it.   What's the point of separate accounts when you have to pay his overages anyway and there are unknown fees involved?   You should be fully aware of money that he is diverting to his daughter.  It's not a bad thing, but maybe it doesn't need to be artificially separated from the whole pot.   It sounds like this tension is coming from how you have constructed the household finances.

If he agrees that he needs to stay within a certain dollar amount of spending for certain things, then he can give up the credit card for a while so he can feel the pinch and be more willing to forgo purchases.

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2015, 11:25:33 AM »
Don't impose your own values upon him. Don't judge him if he has different values. It's one thing if you two are mired in debt due to a lifetime of overspending. It's another if you make decent income, and are achieving reasonable goals you BOTH find reasonable. MMM just isn't for everybody.

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2015, 11:27:05 AM »
Sorry to hear about your situation but I'm optimistic you'll be able to do something about it!

Few scattered comments from someone who follows a similar system of allowances:

1) I'd maybe consider having another budget meeting with your husband and going over definitions of what you should consider 'personal spending'. It stuck out that you mentioned 'such as clothes and haircuts' since this is a issue my wife and I had originally. Obviously if I want to go buy a another dress shirt or pair of shoes on a whim when I have plenty of perfectly fine dress shirts and shoes... it should be a 'personal money'. But what about replacing a piece of clothing that has been worn so many times it's completely worn out? We consider that 'family spending'.

It also has a side effect of encouraging working through a wardrobe and taking stock of what is really needed and what isn't, and wearing stuff out rather than wasting it.

Haircuts we consider family spending as well, since I get a cheap trim once every 1 to 1.5 months, and she gets a slightly more involved cut every 6 months. It would cause an unreasonable drain on our allowances for what we consider 'absolute minimum required grooming' - as long as you're in agreement this is almost like a 'bill' rather than luxury. Obviously if she wants a $150 highlight job, it's on her. Alternatively, look into cutting your and his own hair for the cost of a trimmer.

(Full disclosure - we're still not perfect at our definitions and it requires clear and open communication, accidentally use the wrong card, reimburse the family account, discuss if a purchase is 'borderline' i.e. she wants to buy something that she thinks is a family need and I disagree or vice versa)

2) It's inexcusable that he's paying a fee for a checking account while simultaneously lamenting his lack of money. Just tell him 'wouldn't you like an extra $144 a year to buy stuff with?' and don't let him be lazy about it. Nothing more to say about that.

3) It's a little unnerving that you're so anxious and nervous to broach this subject with your HUSBAND. I understand the social anxiety aspect as I certainly have that to an extent as well. I find that I definitely communicate about difficult or delicate situations in written text better than words, especially if it goes bad and a quick-thinking argument pops up or someone shuts down.

Maybe consider writing out your thoughts and concerns and let him read it. I'd recommend keeping 'you' (him) out of it as much as possible, make it about 'we' - 'our' goals, 'our' budget, 'our' personal spending. Also reiterate that you're happy he trusts you to handle the finances and will still take on the bulk of the work but communication is more helpful than blind support.

It's upsetting that he's embarrassed or ashamed of his inability to handle his allowance and moreso that he feels the need to hide it from you, reassure him that you want him to be open no matter what.

4)Almost under no circumstances give him a bigger allowance and yourself a smaller one, at least as a result of his inability to stay within budget. This is encouraging and enabling behavior. My wife has a larger allowance than I do because we decided to do it proportional to our gross incomes (and she makes more than I do.) You might find if you layout specific expectations and redefine boundaries on what you consider personal spending that EFFECTIVELY it feels like his allowance is bigger anyway, not to mention not paying $12 a month in FEES!

EDIT: For formatting and readability - sorry I tend to write very stream-of-consciousness when I'm on a roll.

1) That's a good idea. I occasionally tell him what his personal spending is for, but I know he forgets. And, perhaps there are adjustments we could make, depending on what he needs. I like the idea of differentiating personal want vs. family need.

2) Thanks for the support! I will address this with him tonight.

3) Thanks for the suggestions. I certainly realize it is a problem that I find it so difficult to speak to him, but alas, anxiety feeds onto itself.

4) Thanks for the tips and encouragement! It's just what I need!


pbkmaine

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What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2015, 11:29:29 AM »
When we were working, DH and I had the following agreement: 50% of our bonuses, net of tax, went into savings. The other 50% we could spend any way we wanted, including taking it into the backyard and burning it. There was no discussion about it and no permission needed. The money for each of us went into our individual savings accounts.This had an interesting effect on formerly free-spending DH. He tried to optimize his spending any way he could. He deferred purchases, clipped coupons, bought used. He was so frugal with his "slush fund" that he once remarked he could buy a fancy (used) sports car with the balance. "Go ahead," I said. "It's your money." He never did, and ended up transferring the money into joint savings. But he was happy with the fact that he could, if he wanted to. He's been retired now for 3 years. 3 years ago, I put $10,000 in his slush fund for retirement. I have not put another dime in there since. Today I looked at the bank statement. There is $9,000 in that account.

DH grew up poor. They were not in rags, but there was no money for college or any extras. He had to make his own way in life. He likes a feeling of abundance. So I have always tried to make him feel rich.

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2015, 11:31:57 AM »
Did you both agree to the $100/month, or did you dictate the amount?  Are there clear guidelines on what that money is for, or is there a chance it could be looked at as $100 in mad money on top of what he thinks the family should be paying for?

I would guess it also depends on how much income he's bringing in.  If I was bringing in $100K a year and was given a $100/month allowance so my wife could put $4900 of my take home in savings I might be likely to overspend my allowance and not care, especially if she was frugal and I was not.

Hiding the fact that he is funneling money to his kid isn't good.  You need to discuss why he is doing it, and figure out if / why your common resources should be helping another adult.

If most of his issues are because he's disorganized, give him his allowance in cash, close his checking account, and take away the PayPal and credit cards.

The $100/month was a compromise between what he wanted (more) and what I wanted (as much money to go toward savings/debt pay down as possible). Perhaps we need to revisit our goals? It is certainly not me taking his money, as I make more than twice what he does.

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2015, 11:35:23 AM »
Is that a firm line or is there another way to accommodate it within the budget? Does he get a bonus or any additional monies through the year that he could save and also use as part of his allowance?

There is room in the budget to expand the allowance, but it would come at a cost of reducing savings/debt payments. He has no other income except a very small quarterly stipend from his tribe, which is entirely his to spend as desired.

nobody123

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2015, 12:18:52 PM »
The $100/month was a compromise between what he wanted (more) and what I wanted (as much money to go toward savings/debt pay down as possible). Perhaps we need to revisit our goals? It is certainly not me taking his money, as I make more than twice what he does.

I think that's an excellent idea.  A meeting to discuss goals will probably be better received than a "why can't you stick to your budget?!?!" meeting.  I would honestly approach it open-minded, and see if you could increase his allowance and / or subsidize the daughter.  If those things are important to him, they should at least be considered.  If the debt you're trying to pay off is mostly the result of his spendy ways, then that should factor in as well.  I wouldn't even talk dollars and cents at the meeting, I would hear his views on how he thinks the household income should be allocated.  You can offer up your opinions as well, and hopefully identify a lot of common ground.  Then tell him you'll look at the budget and adjust it to take his feelings into account, and schedule a follow-up in a few days to talk about the dollars and what is realistic in your particular situation.

If an extra $50 or $100 a month in his allowance eliminates the budgetary overspend and therefore your frustration, it might be worth it even if you take an extra few months to pay off your debt.  Heck, if you can get by on $50/month, let him have the $50 you're not going to spend and look at it as buying some household peace. 

My point about the $100 relative to income is still valid.  If the community pile is such that $100 is a pittance, I would be more willing to view it as a guideline as opposed to a hard limit, especially if the consequence of my overspend is that we simply save less money that month.

Argyle

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2015, 12:36:14 PM »
It sounds as if he is not fully in agreement about reducing debt and accumulating savings at the same rate you are.  Since he has turned over the finances to you, it seems as if he has agreed to your constraints, but my guess is that that's more because he didn't think ahead and arrive at an awareness of what his own principles are.  From what I gather, he's a bit reluctant and passive in talking about finances.  So for the good of the partnership, I think you need to make it a low-stress conversation in which you bring out his own thoughts about expenditures and savings, while being careful not to overrule him with your decisions.  For this to work you need to arrive at the same goals together.  And it may be that he's just not as hard-core a mustachian as you. 

Faraday

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2015, 12:58:40 PM »
Mustachians! I need your help!
I am at my wit's end and don't know what to do in this situation.
I am the one in control of our marriage finances.
...(stuff here).......
I used to have budget meetings, but he would always say, "Whatever you want to do, do that." So, I stopped having budget meetings, because he wasn't giving any input. I don't know how to bring this subject up to him because he will either get defensive and angry, or he will (more likely) get sad and depressed and mopey and not say anything. ....

TL;DR
My husband gets $100/month in allowance that he is free to spend anyway he wants, but can't stay in budget with this money. I am anxious to talk to him about it because he feels very sensitive and hopeless on the subject. What can I do, if anything, to get him to understand that he should not spend more than he has?

I used to have the same problem with my DW. You have a lot at stake here. If DH gets a mistress and/or leaves you, everything you've accomplished so far will be in ruins.

You seem to be in a panic despite your (apparent) significant progress. Your anxiety and pain are the clearest things coming through in your posting.  Are you making progress you can be proud of? Are you able to demonstrate that progress to the DH?  Where are you in your journey to FIRE?

Go with your husband down to the bank and help him fix his $12/month checking account. And while you are there, make sure YOU get your name on that account too.   Don't just nag him about it - turn it into a date. Show that you are willing to work to hold onto that 12 bucks.

It would not hurt to dress to the nines when you do this. Make it a pleasant thing for him, not some confrontational bitch-slap. Keep his eyes on you and not on the tellers. He'll remember how good you looked long after he's forgotten why you went.

I'm not telling you to patronize your husband: I'm telling you to do everything you can to guarantee success. You are talk talk talking. Talk is cheap.

You don't really say WHERE you are in your journey to FIRE. That's important. (FIRE is the reason you are being such a hardass, right?) Are you in that painful phase where you're just now paying off debts but have no savings/investments to show for it, or are you a little further down the road, trying to build up your stash, or do you have a pretty sizeable stash and hubs wants to relax a little and blow some?

He's already given you full control of the finances. So he screws up every once in awhile. How big is that $700 mistake in comparison to your entire budget? Is it a drop in the bucket, or is it an entire month's spending?

As you succeed on the frugalism journey, you share the growing optimism and success with your partner. Maybe you do something for him that's little-to-no cost so he doesn't feel the need to get your attention by blowing up the budget every once in awhile?

Identify other budget items that have a far larger impact than his spending. My spouse's spending was nickels and dimes compared to some of the other things I was able to identify and eliminate. Things like: cellphone bill (now Republic Wireless customer), no cable TV or satellite TV, 10% improvements in Taxes and insurance.

Good luck OP. Come back and tell us if you make any progress!

Fishindude

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2015, 01:04:50 PM »
$100 Per month isn't much to play with.  I could see how that would be tough to stick to.
Seems like the easiest solution would be for hubby to pick up some additional work where he can earn extra money to play around with however he sees fit.

Easye418

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2015, 01:08:36 PM »
These stories make me cringe.... I was there at one point in my life though.  It's how you get in under control and how your partner considers budgeting.

I make it very clear that if my wife wants to divert from our goals in life/ budget that it has extreme consequences and there must be comprimising. 

That being said, I overbudget to give us wiggleroom.  I have us paying debt in a hyper manner.  Nearly 50% of our take home pay is going to eliminating Student Loans and then it will be put down on getting the Mortgage to 0.

When both the SL and Mortgage are 0, then I will increase my savings to 50% and "start loosening the belt"
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:14:36 PM by Easye418 »

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2015, 01:26:18 PM »

I used to have the same problem with my DW. You have a lot at stake here. If DH gets a mistress and/or leaves you, everything you've accomplished so far will be in ruins.

You seem to be in a panic despite your (apparent) significant progress. Your anxiety and pain are the clearest things coming through in your posting.  Are you making progress you can be proud of? Are you able to demonstrate that progress to the DH?  Where are you in your journey to FIRE?

Go with your husband down to the bank and help him fix his $12/month checking account. And while you are there, make sure YOU get your name on that account too.   Don't just nag him about it - turn it into a date. Show that you are willing to work to hold onto that 12 bucks.

It would not hurt to dress to the nines when you do this. Make it a pleasant thing for him, not some confrontational bitch-slap. Keep his eyes on you and not on the tellers. He'll remember how good you looked long after he's forgotten why you went.

I'm not telling you to patronize your husband: I'm telling you to do everything you can to guarantee success. You are talk talk talking. Talk is cheap.

You don't really say WHERE you are in your journey to FIRE. That's important. (FIRE is the reason you are being such a hardass, right?) Are you in that painful phase where you're just now paying off debts but have no savings/investments to show for it, or are you a little further down the road, trying to build up your stash, or do you have a pretty sizeable stash and hubs wants to relax a little and blow some?

He's already given you full control of the finances. So he screws up every once in awhile. How big is that $700 mistake in comparison to your entire budget? Is it a drop in the bucket, or is it an entire month's spending?

As you succeed on the frugalism journey, you share the growing optimism and success with your partner. Maybe you do something for him that's little-to-no cost so he doesn't feel the need to get your attention by blowing up the budget every once in awhile?

Identify other budget items that have a far larger impact than his spending. My spouse's spending was nickels and dimes compared to some of the other things I was able to identify and eliminate. Things like: cellphone bill (now Republic Wireless customer), no cable TV or satellite TV, 10% improvements in Taxes and insurance.

Good luck OP. Come back and tell us if you make any progress!

Thanks, mefla, you've given me a lot to ponder. We've definitely made progress in the past. In 2014, we paid off $10,000 of our student loans. I'm sure others have done better, but I was proud of that. I told him, but I think I may not celebrate our successes enough for him. I'm usually just thinking, "Okay, now how can we do EVEN BETTER?"

We currently have $25k student debt we are trying to pay off. Our net worth is about $12k, mostly in retirement accounts. We started with a negative $33k net worth in 2013 after I graduated. Our monthly budget is about $4k/month not including savings, so $700 is not a drop in the bucket, nor our whole monthly budget.

Easye418

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2015, 01:42:35 PM »

I used to have the same problem with my DW. You have a lot at stake here. If DH gets a mistress and/or leaves you, everything you've accomplished so far will be in ruins.

You seem to be in a panic despite your (apparent) significant progress. Your anxiety and pain are the clearest things coming through in your posting.  Are you making progress you can be proud of? Are you able to demonstrate that progress to the DH?  Where are you in your journey to FIRE?

Go with your husband down to the bank and help him fix his $12/month checking account. And while you are there, make sure YOU get your name on that account too.   Don't just nag him about it - turn it into a date. Show that you are willing to work to hold onto that 12 bucks.

It would not hurt to dress to the nines when you do this. Make it a pleasant thing for him, not some confrontational bitch-slap. Keep his eyes on you and not on the tellers. He'll remember how good you looked long after he's forgotten why you went.

I'm not telling you to patronize your husband: I'm telling you to do everything you can to guarantee success. You are talk talk talking. Talk is cheap.

You don't really say WHERE you are in your journey to FIRE. That's important. (FIRE is the reason you are being such a hardass, right?) Are you in that painful phase where you're just now paying off debts but have no savings/investments to show for it, or are you a little further down the road, trying to build up your stash, or do you have a pretty sizeable stash and hubs wants to relax a little and blow some?

He's already given you full control of the finances. So he screws up every once in awhile. How big is that $700 mistake in comparison to your entire budget? Is it a drop in the bucket, or is it an entire month's spending?

As you succeed on the frugalism journey, you share the growing optimism and success with your partner. Maybe you do something for him that's little-to-no cost so he doesn't feel the need to get your attention by blowing up the budget every once in awhile?

Identify other budget items that have a far larger impact than his spending. My spouse's spending was nickels and dimes compared to some of the other things I was able to identify and eliminate. Things like: cellphone bill (now Republic Wireless customer), no cable TV or satellite TV, 10% improvements in Taxes and insurance.

Good luck OP. Come back and tell us if you make any progress!

Thanks, mefla, you've given me a lot to ponder. We've definitely made progress in the past. In 2014, we paid off $10,000 of our student loans. I'm sure others have done better, but I was proud of that. I told him, but I think I may not celebrate our successes enough for him. I'm usually just thinking, "Okay, now how can we do EVEN BETTER?"

We currently have $25k student debt we are trying to pay off. Our net worth is about $12k, mostly in retirement accounts. We started with a negative $33k net worth in 2013 after I graduated. Our monthly budget is about $4k/month not including savings, so $700 is not a drop in the bucket, nor our whole monthly budget.

$4k a month budget without savings?  Is that take home combined pay?  It just seems like you have plenty of money to pay down your debts.

$10K down on Student Loans is a great victory.  I'm hoping for around $27k paid off in 12 months.  I have $61k in SL outstanding though.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:44:25 PM by Easye418 »

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2015, 02:02:53 PM »

I used to have the same problem with my DW. You have a lot at stake here. If DH gets a mistress and/or leaves you, everything you've accomplished so far will be in ruins.

You seem to be in a panic despite your (apparent) significant progress. Your anxiety and pain are the clearest things coming through in your posting.  Are you making progress you can be proud of? Are you able to demonstrate that progress to the DH?  Where are you in your journey to FIRE?

Go with your husband down to the bank and help him fix his $12/month checking account. And while you are there, make sure YOU get your name on that account too.   Don't just nag him about it - turn it into a date. Show that you are willing to work to hold onto that 12 bucks.

It would not hurt to dress to the nines when you do this. Make it a pleasant thing for him, not some confrontational bitch-slap. Keep his eyes on you and not on the tellers. He'll remember how good you looked long after he's forgotten why you went.

I'm not telling you to patronize your husband: I'm telling you to do everything you can to guarantee success. You are talk talk talking. Talk is cheap.

You don't really say WHERE you are in your journey to FIRE. That's important. (FIRE is the reason you are being such a hardass, right?) Are you in that painful phase where you're just now paying off debts but have no savings/investments to show for it, or are you a little further down the road, trying to build up your stash, or do you have a pretty sizeable stash and hubs wants to relax a little and blow some?

He's already given you full control of the finances. So he screws up every once in awhile. How big is that $700 mistake in comparison to your entire budget? Is it a drop in the bucket, or is it an entire month's spending?

As you succeed on the frugalism journey, you share the growing optimism and success with your partner. Maybe you do something for him that's little-to-no cost so he doesn't feel the need to get your attention by blowing up the budget every once in awhile?

Identify other budget items that have a far larger impact than his spending. My spouse's spending was nickels and dimes compared to some of the other things I was able to identify and eliminate. Things like: cellphone bill (now Republic Wireless customer), no cable TV or satellite TV, 10% improvements in Taxes and insurance.

Good luck OP. Come back and tell us if you make any progress!

Thanks, mefla, you've given me a lot to ponder. We've definitely made progress in the past. In 2014, we paid off $10,000 of our student loans. I'm sure others have done better, but I was proud of that. I told him, but I think I may not celebrate our successes enough for him. I'm usually just thinking, "Okay, now how can we do EVEN BETTER?"

We currently have $25k student debt we are trying to pay off. Our net worth is about $12k, mostly in retirement accounts. We started with a negative $33k net worth in 2013 after I graduated. Our monthly budget is about $4k/month not including savings, so $700 is not a drop in the bucket, nor our whole monthly budget.

I'm with  you on this, I did the exact same thing with my DW that's happening with you. I was absolute hell on her and I was miserable too.

I have a good friend and co-worker who's got this masterful touch: he focuses on the WANTS of the person he's talking to, not on the rarefied objective of "saving money".  He caused me to do two things:

1) Switch my strategy with the DW to what she wants. When we started our MMM journey, my first use of savings was to get her something she thought was impossible and had wanted for a very long time. Then, we went back to frugal savings. That sold her big-time.

2) I stopped focusing on her and her spending and instead started optimizing the zillion other ways we were losing money. After I quit pushing on her, she stopped pushing on me and started thanking me for making sure we have a secure financial future.

Eventually, she was able to see what we weren't doing and now she wants to contribute to that. We aren't really "there" yet, but we're getting there.

Keep in mind, your own vision on this is razor sharp. Give him time to get his own kind of sharp vision about it.

I want you to come back to this thread with success stories. I know you love his scurvy ass, or you wouldn't be so damned upset about this. And I know he loves your scurvy ass - he blows up the budget to get your attention sometimes.

nobody123

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2015, 02:21:54 PM »
Thanks, mefla, you've given me a lot to ponder. We've definitely made progress in the past. In 2014, we paid off $10,000 of our student loans. I'm sure others have done better, but I was proud of that. I told him, but I think I may not celebrate our successes enough for him. I'm usually just thinking, "Okay, now how can we do EVEN BETTER?"

We currently have $25k student debt we are trying to pay off. Our net worth is about $12k, mostly in retirement accounts. We started with a negative $33k net worth in 2013 after I graduated. Our monthly budget is about $4k/month not including savings, so $700 is not a drop in the bucket, nor our whole monthly budget.

Rereading your initial post, he made a $700 mistake a year ago and I'll guess a $100 one now.  That's $67 a month over the last year.  Is there constant overspending and these are just two examples?  If they are his only mistakes, and they were one-time things, I say just let it go.  If he's always spending $150 a month, just bump his allowance to that and eliminate your frustration.  I get that it's annoying to watch him "waste" money that could be going to reducing debt, but in the grand scheme of things, is it worth the headache to try to get him to get to your level of dedication? 

If you went full-MMM in a sort of one sided fashion after graduation and he's being expected to lower his level of "mad money" now that you take home more money, you might need to ease off a bit to a level he can live with too.  You said the $100 was a compromise and he really thought a higher amount is in order.  What was his level of mad money spending prior to your graduation / MMM adoption?


Frankies Girl

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2015, 02:45:35 PM »
Holy crap, reading all the responses from newer posters about how "$100 is nothing" and suggestions that the OP is somehow at fault for daring to try to stick to a mutually agreed upon budget... are y'all sure you're in the right place? Cause around this forum it is supposed to be about killing debts, spending little to no money on stupid things especially when you have hair on fire debt, and being a responsible person both in your relationship and in general...

OP and their spouse have debt. They had a budget including a generous $100/month fun money (which IS generous when you have the kind of debt they have), and yet the spouse is uninterested in doing anything to help their situation and shows a basic lack of interest in money at all unless it is spending it. The fact that he hadn't tackled the low hanging fruit that is the fee-based checking account just screams lazy and if it was me, disrespectful to the OP. He can't be bothered to go take care of this on his own because he just doesn't care.

OP has a total right to be pretty frustrated and feel abandoned and like they were forced into a position of parent/child instead of partners in this relationship. It is one thing to have a partner be the main financial person and handle the bills and inflow/outflows, but for the other one to basically ignore the money, refuse to even show interest in saving when it is super easy to do so and also to hide or at least forget to tell them about debts that they keep running up... there's a serious issue there, and it does come down to the spouse not respecting the partnership or the OP's efforts.

OP - it is time for a come to jesus meeting with your spouse. It should not require you dressing up and enticing your spouse to do things with bribery, since that is crass and manipulative and childish, I would hope that you have a relationship that is based on mutual love and respect. Tell him that is what you want. Ask him what he wants. Listen to each other. Figure out a gameplan that both of you can agree to. No yelling or name calling, just try to dig into the situation and get your point across that you feel like he's not listening to you and understanding that paying off the debts and sticking to the budget is very important to you, and that when he ignores it, or acts like he doesn't care, it is him also saying that your feelings and goals are unimportant to him - that you and your relationship are unimportant to him. He needs to understand that part. Because he's not acting like a caring, responsible partner. Y'all are supposed to be a team, and it seems like right now, he's off doing whatever and leaving you trying to keep everything together.

He needs to get on board and pull his own weight, and that means sticking to the agreed upon budget. If he can't stick to the spending budget and start helping you instead of hindering you with killing that debt, then he needs to give up the cards and go to a cash only spending system. No online purchases, no floating stuff through paypal. One hundred dollars in cash each month, and when it's gone he is done until the next month.

If he complains about the fun money amount, fine, then raise it - $150 or $200 - but again, he needs to stick to it if he agrees to it. It's a really simple thing, he promises to stop once he hits his limit and that way you know there won't be any nasty surprises down the road. Even if there is less money towards the bills, if you can get him to see that keeping his word and doing his part will make things easier on you and also less like you're his parent and more like his partner.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 02:54:00 PM by Frankies Girl »

hunniebun

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2015, 02:49:15 PM »
Don't impose your own values upon him. Don't judge him if he has different values. It's one thing if you two are mired in debt due to a lifetime of overspending. It's another if you make decent income, and are achieving reasonable goals you BOTH find reasonable. MMM just isn't for everybody.

Well said.  This speaks to me and my own situation.  We can only really control our own actions and trying to micro manage someone else only leads to frustration.

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2015, 02:52:53 PM »
Hi, everyone,

Thank you to everyone who responded! There are a lot of things to think about. I will definitely call an emergency budget meeting tonight, if only to fix this checking account charge. I'm thinking a cash-only allowance may be helpful for us. But, he will not like it because he buys a lot of stuff online (ebay mostly). Should I stick to cash only - no exceptions? Or - any online purchases need to be in the budget? I think he may not like it if he is not allowed any online purchases.

Argyle

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2015, 03:04:28 PM »
Because you have a higher income and you're officially in charge of the finances, you've assumed the role of decision-maker.  But being the record-keeper doesn't mean that you automatically have a unilateral say in how the money is spent.  Saying "if he is not allowed" and "he may not like it" and even "allowance" puts him in a child position.  I know you think of your $100 per month as an allowance too, but the difference is that it's a restriction you're comfortable with and he clearly isn't with the same level of zeal. 

So I propose that you reframe this as "How shall we go forward?  What do you think our priorities are — debt payment, spending on family, recreational spending, etc.?  What future things are you excited about being able to afford when we've paid off our debt and saved?  How does your ideal budget compare with mine?  How shall we arrive at an arrangement that works for both of us?"  I think "not allowed to" and things like that may well foster resistance, even if subtle and covert.

Frankie's Girl wrote "He needs to get on board..." — but the truth is that he doesn't need to.  Many people live their whole lives without getting on board.  He has to want to, to have something in it for him, and not to feel as if he's being browbeaten.  So I'd urge you not to find a way to force him to save the way you want him to, but to find a middle path that leaves both of you feeling heard and valued.

ender

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2015, 04:40:10 PM »
Quote
I used to have budget meetings, but he would always say, "Whatever you want to do, do that." So, I stopped having budget meetings, because he wasn't giving any input

I think you need to have a way to get him invested/involved in money.

I suspect you read these forums and think about frugality/ER a lot more than your spouse. That's normal. For you, not doing a budget or even talking about money with your spouse doesn't affect your financial vision/goals at all. However your spouse probably does not, and so without some sort of conversation about money, your spouse will quickly lose sight of whatever goals you were heading towards.

For you, the marathon you are running towards FIRE is along a clear path with clear goalposts. Your spouse probably feels more like aimlessly wandering in the dark with a blindfold on.

This can be both from inputs (budgeting, paying bills, etc) or even dreaming. Does your spouse dream of what the effects of wealth might be the way you do? Or have similar self-reflection on the goals?

So what do you do about that?

You need to have better mutually shared understandings about things. My recommendation would be you find some way to get him involved in messing with the budget. Make it yours collectively, not yours personally. Maybe get a bunch of pennies which can represent $10/each and notecards with your categories. Instead of a spreadsheet (which causes many people to just... glaze over) put the pennies on each notecard for the right amount. Talk about moving the pennies around. Or something.

I don't know what would work. But you do need to get him engaged more.

Faraday

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2015, 04:42:18 PM »
Holy crap, reading all the responses from newer posters about how "$100 is nothing" and suggestions that the OP is somehow at fault for daring to try to stick to a mutually agreed upon budget... are y'all sure you're in the right place? Cause around this forum it is supposed to be about killing debts, spending little to no money on stupid things especially when you have hair on fire debt, and being a responsible person both in your relationship and in general...
.....

I'm totally 100% in agreement with FG's position - this is fundamentally where they are at if they are in hair-on-fire debt. The DH HAS to be aware and involved with the debt (and it's shrinkage) or he's never going to see the benefit.

And what FG says about "are ya'all sure you're in the right place?" is correct. I'm getting damned tired of people getting "enabling feedback" and whining about frugalism. It's no-one's job on these forums to make someone feel better for spending money or for failing at frugalism.

But you cannot expect a spouse that clearly doesn't have the revelation of frugalism to simply be ordered onboard the bus. You've got to have a little bit of finesse, sophistication and love about this.  And you've got to face the fact that while you may not sell a reluctant spouse entirely, if you do a good job and you pull yourselves out of debt and manage to get a better future for yourselves, then even a reluctant spouse will get onboard (even if they think they aren't).

You can't torpedo the marriage over the concept of frugality. And if that's what does happen, then there are other things at work here, other problems, that the OP didn't bring up.

You don't get to enlist the MMM faithful as a weapon in your own personal war with your spouse. We don't sleep in your bed and we don't make you breakfast in the morning. Your spouse does.

THis "call a meeting" stuff seems to be telling. I don't "call a meeting" with my wife. I try to pick a good time to discuss things, if anything needs discussing, and we talk naturally, not scheduled.

Being subversive is both a curse and a gift.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2015, 04:44:52 PM »
Hi, everyone,

Thank you to everyone who responded! There are a lot of things to think about. I will definitely call an emergency budget meeting tonight, if only to fix this checking account charge. I'm thinking a cash-only allowance may be helpful for us. But, he will not like it because he buys a lot of stuff online (ebay mostly). Should I stick to cash only - no exceptions? Or - any online purchases need to be in the budget? I think he may not like it if he is not allowed any online purchases.

He can use PayPal for ebay at least and link it to his checking account. Maybe he could use a debit card instead of credit?

But only if he is interested. It is really unfortunate that he is defecting to you. Don't tell him why you think he is wrong. Tell him how YOU FEEL, and what YOU WANT. Make it about your wants, not his failings. Good luck!

Letj

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2015, 04:56:34 PM »
Mustachians! I need your help!

I am at my wit's end and don't know what to do in this situation.

I am the one in control of our marriage finances. All income goes into the central checking account and gets disbursed to the budget with YNAB (You Need a Budget). My husband agrees that I do a better job controlling the money, and goes along with the budget pretty well. We both also have separate accounts with personal money. These are funded with our monthly allowance of $100/month and are used for anything we want, gifts for each other, and things not covered in the budget (clothes, haircuts mostly). Previous to using YNAB, I still controlled all the finances and paid off his credit card debt (a couple thousand dollars) that he had amassed before we got married. After paying off his credit card, I gave it back to him, saying it is his responsibility now to use it and pay it off monthly. HOWEVER...

Last year I found out he still had debt owed to Paypal. He had racked up about $700 in debt, mainly by giving money to his adult daughter. When I found out, I gave him all the money that was supposed to go to savings (and my allowance) to pay off this debt. I was angry, and he was upset I was not giving myself my allowance, but I could do without it. I just didn't want anymore debt.

Fast forward to this month. He accidentally uses the wrong CC to pay for a personal item. I ask him to just forward some money from his account to the joint account to pay for the expense. He doesn't have the money in his account, and was planning on using the credit card float until he got his allowance in September (around the 20th).


When I asked him why he bought this item that he knew he didn't have the money for, he just said, "I'm not like you." I don't understand why he continues to spend money he doesn't have. We do pretty well, and any overspends in our budget can be covered from other categories. But, I don't see his personal accounts. I can't cover overspends I don't see, and he doesn't tell me about them because he's embarrassed and doesn't want to disappoint me.

I learned, at the same time I learned about his paypal debt, that he pays a monthly fee for his personal checking account. I couldn't believe it. I haven't paid for a checking account since I was in college! He said he could make it a free account, but I'm sure he hasn't done that yet (almost a year later). So, already $12 of his $100 allowance is gone every month.

I used to have budget meetings, but he would always say, "Whatever you want to do, do that." So, I stopped having budget meetings, because he wasn't giving any input. I don't know how to bring this subject up to him because he will either get defensive and angry, or he will (more likely) get sad and depressed and mopey and not say anything. Add to the fact that I have social anxiety and don't have confidence in my ability to express myself clearly (especially in such an anxiety-ridden subject), and we have a big problem. What can I do? I thought about giving him a bigger allowance, and me a smaller one, but frankly, I don't think that will solve the problem of him spending money he doesn't have. He will just expand how much he buys to overspend again.

TL;DR
My husband gets $100/month in allowance that he is free to spend anyway he wants, but can't stay in budget with this money. I am anxious to talk to him about it because he feels very sensitive and hopeless on the subject. What can I do, if anything, to get him to understand that he should not spend more than he has?

You ask for opinions so I will give you my honest opinion. You are nitpicking!! This man is not a spendthrift from what you reported in your post. $100 a month for a grown man is just not enough of an allowance. What if he wants to buy his daughter a nice gift or she needs a small loan. I say up to budget (if you can) and give the man $300 to $500 monthly allowance. Case solved.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2015, 05:03:54 PM »
Why do you need hidden, private accounts? We handle personal $ as separate subcategories in YNAB. Easy-peasy.

wordnerd

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2015, 05:20:40 PM »
It seems that your $100 is not reflective of reality. You and your husband--and people here--can weigh in on whether it's "enough" but it's not working, and it's causing stress (and seemingly secrecy) in your marriage) How much does your husband routinely go over? If it's not a lot on average, I'd be tempted to bump it up a bit. Either way, reopen the discussion with your husband.

Also, it's not clear to me if you're already doing this, but I would allow him to carry over the balance from one month to the next. Does he never have the option to spend $130 on something optional even if only spent $20 in "fun money" last month? That would irk me.

seemsright

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2015, 08:26:49 PM »
I am going to chime in..

DH and I each have a $100 a month to do what ever we want. I never spend mine. I have started to build a wine collection and go wine tasting with friends and have started to spend some of it. DH his as fast as he can. But we each agree that it is not going to hurt us at all if either of us go into the red with our mad money.

I am still going to go wine tasting with friends as it is one of my fav things to do and DH does not drink. And DH is going to do what he does. It is not my hill to die on. I can afford to buy these things with or without mad money.
I am not sure what we would do with more money. How much money does a person need for mad money when all necessary are taken care of? If there is not money in your budget for clothes or hair cuts there is a bigger problem than not enough mad money.

I think you may need to change your definition of what you call mad money. If I go wine tasting...one bottle of wine and all tasting fees are out of family money. Any other wine or food comes out of mad money. that type of thing just to give you a idea.

11ducks

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2015, 06:25:26 AM »

DH grew up poor. They were not in rags, but there was no money for college or any extras. He had to make his own way in life. He likes a feeling of abundance. So I have always tried to make him feel rich.

All budgeting aside, I think this is really sweet. If more people focused on treating their partner as well as they could, a lot of people would be a lot happier

Retire-Canada

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2015, 08:08:51 AM »

TL;DR
My husband gets $100/month in allowance that he is free to spend anyway he wants, but can't stay in budget with this money. I am anxious to talk to him about it because he feels very sensitive and hopeless on the subject. What can I do, if anything, to get him to understand that he should not spend more than he has?

I read through this thread and based on what's been written it sounds like you have a child not a husband. At least that's the way you are treating him and how he is reacting. It's not surprising kids behave the way they do because they are working inside someone else's system with limited power to change their reality.

You have 2 ways to deal with this:

1. You treat him even more like a child and get deeper into his business. For example walk him into the bank and change his account so he pays no fees and then get yourself onto the account and monitor everything he does with "his allowance".

2. Have an adult conversation [not a freaking Budget Meeting!] about money and what he wants vs. what you want and see if you can get to some common ground without directing the conversation.

People are autonomous beings. There is a very good chance he will "never" behave with his money they way you would like. If you want to have a husband instead of a child you can't micromanage the tiny bit of financial freedom he has even if he is doing stuff you find appaling.

If you are having problems talking and understanding each other so you can't get resolution or agree on shared goals than appreciate that you don't have a money problem...you have a communication problem. That's a different beast and something you need to work on first before worrying about $100/month.

LiseE

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2015, 09:06:56 AM »
Quote
Eventually, after talking it over, we changed our budget to reflect reality, upped our personal money, and have had no problems since that point. In fact, years later the personal money amount was lowered because we had adapted to actually using a budget and watching our spending. Now the monthly statement on our joint account is short and clean.

We have the same setup with accounts and when we created our budgets it was a starting point always meant to be tweaked and modified.  Make adjustments but within reason unless you left out a major expense in one of the budgets.

+1

Bob W

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2015, 10:00:28 AM »
I don't see all the information?  How about a budget with lots of information.   $100 a month in mad money sounds very low to me unless you are on a very low income.   Where does all the money go?   

charis

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2015, 10:45:33 AM »
I don't see all the information?  How about a budget with lots of information.   $100 a month in mad money sounds very low to me unless you are on a very low income.   Where does all the money go?

She specifically said that they agreed to that amount so they can concentrate on paying their debt down.

$100 in "mad money" sounds very reasonable under those circumstances.   For us, we don't allocate mad money like this.  It's understood that we strive to stick to necessary spending while we are still in debt.   But we also don't sweat occasional unnecessary purchase.  I suppose that works better when both members of couple aren't big spenders and don't have separate accounts.


MissStache

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2015, 11:14:49 AM »
I have to say, I'm really shocked by how many people are saying that $100 isn't enough.  REALLY?!  What happened to this forum?  They have a lot of hair-on-fire debt so personally I think $100 is generous, especially since it is an amount they agreed on!  Not sure why so many people are harping on that rather that the actual issue, which is that OP's husband isn't holding up his end of the bargain.

There is some good advice here buried under the dubious stuff (the sexual trickery is my favorite one) and I think the best course of action is to talk to him about why this is happening.  Does he think it is a problem or does he not care?  Is he just losing track of where it is going?  Is it possible for him to move to a cash-only system or does he have to have a CC?  If so, could you give him a monthly pre-loaded debit card with $100 on it so he can still spend online but keep track of it?

Let us know how your conversation with him went, and I think that may help to re-focus the suggestions. 

intellectsucks

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2015, 11:27:32 AM »
My recommendation is not to focus on your husband’s spending but to focus more on your REACTION to your husband’s spending.  As others have pointed out, $100 in play money/mo is a pretty tight budget, it certainly doesn’t surprise me that he is going over a little from time to time.  Given your reactions, it also doesn’t surprise me that your husband is hiding the times that he goes over from you.  Let’s look at reality: you’ve described your husband as overspending somewhere between $700 and $1500/year.  This amount of overspending will not destroy your FIRE plans, but could destroy your marriage if you continue to make a big deal out of it.

Let me lay out a possible scenario: husband has $100 to spend in a month and wastes it fairly quickly on fast food, alchohol or other frivolous purchases.  He doesn’t think about it because it’s his “fun” money.  At the end of the month, his daughter calls him and says she needs help with something, or just wants to get together for lunch/dinner/a movie, and it’s going to cost $50 or $100.  For most people, it’s a no brainer that they’re going to go over budget at that point because THEIR DAUGHTER IS THE TOP PRIORITY IN THEIR LIFE.  If spending a night with my daughter means I go over budget $50 then I am going over budget every single time without a second thought.  Now he’s put the money out, he felt he had no choice, but he feels like it’s going to be a fight or lecture about how wasteful he is, how difficult he’s making it, doesn’t he realize that you guys are trying to pay off debt?  Can you understand how maybe he’d want to hide it from you?

If I were in your shoes here is what I would do: cancel the “emergency budget meeting” (does the amount he spent on this personal item qualify as an “emergency”?), tell him that it’s not that big a deal to go slightly over budget on his personal spending (NOT ALLOWANCE), you just need to know about it so that you can make sure that it doesn’t get added to debt.  Then tell him that if he feels like his personal spending budget (NOT ALLOWANCE) is a little too low, then you guys can talk about a number that is a little more realistic for him.  Then, on an ongoing basis, and in a casual way, talk to him about how you feel about money.  Let him know that you don’t care how he spends his money, as long as he is getting true VALUE and ENJOYMENT from it.  In my case, I am telling my wife over and over again that the enjoyment of restaurant food just is not worth the extra time I’m going to have to spend working away from her and our child to pay for it.  I am also telling her that I don’t care if she spends money on what I deem frivolous as long as she is truly getting VALUE and ENJOYMENT from it.  Guess what?  We’re BOTH spending less and less each month.

In another thread I brought up the same point: Mustachianism is not about DEPRIVATION.  If your husband feels deprived, then he will ALWAYS go over budget and ALWAYS resent you for it.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  If you talk to him about VALUE and ENJOYMENT, and getting it in the most cost effective way possible, then you have a shot of getting him on board.


SomedayStache

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2015, 11:41:02 AM »
Hi, everyone,

Thank you to everyone who responded! There are a lot of things to think about. I will definitely call an emergency budget meeting tonight, if only to fix this checking account charge. I'm thinking a cash-only allowance may be helpful for us. But, he will not like it because he buys a lot of stuff online (ebay mostly). Should I stick to cash only - no exceptions? Or - any online purchases need to be in the budget? I think he may not like it if he is not allowed any online purchases.

I am in a very very similar situation with my husband.  My first thought was to suggest cash only - but that would never work for me and I doubt it would for your husband either.

I would think about bringing his account on budget in YNAB.  My husband and I both get a $50 fun money allowance each month as two line items in the YNAB budget.  My hubbie usually withdraws in cash, and also he usually overdraws.  He'll go into the red and we'll let the overspending roll forward in his category until eventually I decide to budget more money to him one month to bring him into the black.

Its frustrating to see him knowingly overspend. but at least I can see what is going on.

Kitsune

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #44 on: September 09, 2015, 12:17:33 PM »
I have to say, I'm really shocked by how many people are saying that $100 isn't enough.  REALLY?!  What happened to this forum?  They have a lot of hair-on-fire debt so personally I think $100 is generous, especially since it is an amount they agreed on!  Not sure why so many people are harping on that rather that the actual issue, which is that OP's husband isn't holding up his end of the bargain.

There is some good advice here buried under the dubious stuff (the sexual trickery is my favorite one) and I think the best course of action is to talk to him about why this is happening.  Does he think it is a problem or does he not care?  Is he just losing track of where it is going?  Is it possible for him to move to a cash-only system or does he have to have a CC?  If so, could you give him a monthly pre-loaded debit card with $100 on it so he can still spend online but keep track of it?

Let us know how your conversation with him went, and I think that may help to re-focus the suggestions.

Seriously - what is it with the "100$ isn't enough for a MAN, give him more $" comments? A lot of us (my family included) works on less than 100$/month in fun money, and are doing just fine with that. Mind, I do think it's important to define what's 'reasonable family spending' and what isn't (example from us: if there is food in the fridge and you're too lazy/forget to pack a lunch, that's your problem and your fun money. If we haven't done groceries and you can't make a lunch, it's grocery money paying for your lunch. Also, if your black work pants wear out and you need new black pants, that's a necessary expense, but if you really like the look of those linen pants you don't need, you can pay with your fun money. Etc...)

Also, from what I gather, the OP is making most/almost all of the household income, paying off collective debt, and he spends his monthly fun money and any money he gets on the side AND overspends... and you guys are wondering why she's frustrated with the balance, and suggest only that he get more money that could be going to paying off debt? Really?

(Actual suggestion: if his only income is small and quarterly, what does he do during the day? I'm assuming he's not working, or he'd have an income... just because it's easier to over/spend when you're not occupied doing something else. Maybe hobbies that don't require much spending would help keep the more mindless I'm-bored-and-shopping-online spending under control? Or, y'know, if he can make an income, then he could occupy his time not spending money AND have more money to spend...)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 12:20:23 PM by Kitsune »

intellectsucks

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2015, 01:06:54 PM »
Wow, I totally missed the part about the husband having no income.  I’m going to interpret that in the worst possible way and the best possible way:

WORST POSSIBLE: You are providing income to the household through work or other means (pension, social security, etc) and your husband is not.  You then have two options: go nuclear about his spending and be extremely strict with monitoring all aspects of his finances (risking blowing up your marriage) OR follow my original advice and risk that your husband will continue to leach off you and screw up your plans (which would still risk blowing up your marriage, but later on).  

BEST POSSIBLE: When you said your husband has no other income, you meant that his salary or other income is going into the joint household account, but HIS income or spending money is only coming from the $100 and his tribal stipend.  In this case, my original advice still stands.

If the worst possible way is really how it is, then your husband better be doing a really bang up job on the rest of his household duties or you need to follow Dan Savage’s advice and DTMFA.


Ellsie Equanimity

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #46 on: September 09, 2015, 05:52:47 PM »
Because you have a higher income and you're officially in charge of the finances, you've assumed the role of decision-maker.  But being the record-keeper doesn't mean that you automatically have a unilateral say in how the money is spent.  Saying "if he is not allowed" and "he may not like it" and even "allowance" puts him in a child position.  I know you think of your $100 per month as an allowance too, but the difference is that it's a restriction you're comfortable with and he clearly isn't with the same level of zeal. 

So I propose that you reframe this as "How shall we go forward?  What do you think our priorities are — debt payment, spending on family, recreational spending, etc.?  What future things are you excited about being able to afford when we've paid off our debt and saved?  How does your ideal budget compare with mine?  How shall we arrive at an arrangement that works for both of us?"  I think "not allowed to" and things like that may well foster resistance, even if subtle and covert.

Frankie's Girl wrote "He needs to get on board..." — but the truth is that he doesn't need to.  Many people live their whole lives without getting on board.  He has to want to, to have something in it for him, and not to feel as if he's being browbeaten.  So I'd urge you not to find a way to force him to save the way you want him to, but to find a middle path that leaves both of you feeling heard and valued.

This was my first thought.

I can't tell if he is "not on board" with frugality or if he gets it but feels incapable. I think there is evidence for the latter.

I can't cover overspends I don't see, and he doesn't tell me about them because he's embarrassed and doesn't want to disappoint me."

At the very least, he seems to get that it's important to you.

But you've bailed him out and then left him to his own devices.

After paying off his credit card, I gave it back to him, saying it is his responsibility now to use it and pay it off monthly.

...

He had racked up about $700 in debt, mainly by giving money to his adult daughter. When I found out, I gave him all the money that was supposed to go to savings (and my allowance) to pay off this debt.

That can be a really humiliating position to be in and very tough on your sense of pride/capabilities, not to mention doesn't teach him how to do any better. He may have a lot to learn, but instead of trying to teach and control give him some control and try to support his own learning. Ask him what his financial goals are, how you can help so that you are a team in the effort, and congratulate all the steps he makes to get there.

A lot of people also said other good things about making sure you have mutual goals for the budget, revisiting what's in what categories, etc. Important stuff and helps make you more of a team.

Civex

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2015, 07:14:16 PM »
Ok,

So, I was beginning a slow boil reading through the posts on how, "a $100 blow money should be plenty for someone who frequents MMM," and was going to respond with the point of the financial freedom is freedom to make choices and spend your money/time as you wish. Regardless if a person is a male or a female - if someone imposed a $100/month fun money allowance on me, I would be irate and would have little inclination to follow it. This was until I saw that he is not producing a substantial portion of the household income, nor suspending an income to increase future earnings (training for a new trade, college, etc.) Game changer. If you are funding his allowance, I would consider making this distribution on the grounds that he uses an account you approve and has no CC, or only access to a joint CC that you can view. I sympathize with you and hope that this truly is a partnership.

--I have an uncle who has always been very poor with money and his wife basically had to restrict him to a cash based allowance(he wasn't allowed CCs or other accounts), and a joint account. This seemed to work best for their finances.

mlejw6

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #48 on: September 10, 2015, 07:25:42 AM »
I can't believe how controversial this thread is! So many different perspectives... So many...

I'm leaning towards the camp that says, this is a marriage, stop treating him like a child, even though he frustrates me! Just a couple clarifications: he does work. I see our marriage as a marriage of equals in this way: I make most of the money and work full-time. He works half time and does most of the running of errands and household chores. I do some household chores, but not much. He does the bulk of all the cooking, packs my lunch, does most of the laundry (though, I usually fold it). The small quarterly income is EXTRA income he gets that is his alone to spend; it goes directly into his personal account and I never see it. It's not much, <$100 each quarter.

Keep the responses coming! They are all helpful.

Retire-Canada

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Re: What can I do about my husband's overspending?
« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2015, 08:12:43 AM »
Wow, I totally missed the part about the husband having no income.  I’m going to interpret that in the worst possible way and the best possible way:

WORST POSSIBLE: You are providing income to the household through work or other means (pension, social security, etc) and your husband is not.  You then have two options: go nuclear about his spending and be extremely strict with monitoring all aspects of his finances (risking blowing up your marriage) OR follow my original advice and risk that your husband will continue to leach off you and screw up your plans (which would still risk blowing up your marriage, but later on). 

They are married. It's shared money no matter who makes it. So if the man was going to work and the wife was stay at home we'd call her a "leech" and treat her like a child because she wants more than $100/month of spending money????  Sounds like perfect marriage advice. ;)