Dealing with an overspending spouse can be stressful, and his or her actions can strain your family's finances. However, there are practical ways to stop an overspending spouse and get your family's budget back on track. If you're financially savvy and a good money manager, here are seven helpful tips.
1. Calmly Express Your Concerns
Dealing with an overspending spouse can be stressful, but there are ways to handle this like an adult. The way you approach your spouse matters. For example, if you yell, scream or speak down to your spouse, he or she is not likely to be receptive. Approach the issue when you're calm and respectfully express your concerns.
2. Offer to Take over Handling the Bills
If you're a good money manager, speak with your spouse and suggest that you handle the bills for the time being. Explain that this is a temporary arrangement, just until the family's finances improve.
3. Set a Budget
The fact that you’ve taken over the family's finances does not suggest that you're a dictator who controls all the funds. It is important to get your spouse involved. The truth is, his or her overspending might be due to lack of financial education, and not fully understanding personal finances. To get the finances back on the right path, set a budget for the family. However, make sure your spouse is involved. This way, your spouse sees what's coming in and what's going out.
4. Don’t Keep Cash in the House
If your spouse has an issue with overspending, it's probably best “not” to keep cash in the house. Some families keep a cash cushion in the house for emergencies. With cash readily available, your spouse might be tempted to dip into this emergency fund and spend unnecessarily. For the time being, keep all cash in the bank — out of sight. If you keep cash in the house, use a safe or a locked drawer.
5. Open a Separate Account for Bills
Since you're taking over the bills, open a new bank account that's only in your name. Each week, or when you get paid, deposit funds bills into this account. Since only your name appears on the account, only you can withdraw cash or write checks on this account. Once your spouse gets control of spending, consider adding his or her name to the account.
6. Give Spouse a Splurge Budget
To be fair, make sure you set aside money each pay period for you and your spouse to splurge. They should be an equal or fair amount. This way, your spouse has free money to use on anything, such as lunches, manicures and other miscellaneous spending.
7. Offer Commendation
As you work to improve your family’s finances and incorporate your spouse in the process, offer commendation when he or she makes improvements. Modifying a spending problem has its challenges, and it might take weeks or months for your spouse to control his or her urges. To make the process easier, you will need to offer commendation and encouragement, and don't insult if he/her relapses.
No matter how bad your spouse overspends, be confident that he or she can overcome this problem. However, this will take teamwork, patience, and a willingness on your spouse’s part.
What other tricks can help an overspending spouse?