Originally appeared in Your Tango
You spend money every day. You have to. But does he have to freak out about it? Not anymore.
Can you remember the last day you didn’t have to pay for something? It’s almost impossible. You spend money every day. You have to.
Coffee, train fare, office party, gold box deal of the day, vending machine, field trip fees for the kids, haircut, lunch, parking, nails, birthday gift, upgrades, broken purse, oil change, groceries…
It’s never ending.
So how do you get your husband to stop freaking out when you spend money?
No matter how close you are, or great at communicating, money is a land mine for relationships.
Avoid the freak out from a buzz-killer, tightwad spouse, with these three tips:
1. Explain yourself
Arguments about money hurt as much as other fights. They feel intensely personal. We feel attacked and get defensive. Money fights result from our differing perspectives on money. (Most spouses marry someone with an opposite perspective on money.)
You watch how your partner makes decisions and you just don’t get it. Or they don’t get you. And that hurts!
When they criticize your spending, it doesn’t feel like they’re just criticizing your actions; it feels like they are criticizing YOU.
Through decades of research, we’ve uncovered the reality that each individual has a unique approach to money. We call it a “Money Personality“. This approach is set from childhood and about as easy to alter as your shoe size or your DNA.
So don’t sweat it! You are who you are. You enjoy spending and you always will.
Be honest with your spouse about how you personally think and feel about money. Let them peek behind the curtain to see that you’re acting in the best interests of the family and taking care of “life” when you spend.
If you want scientific back up, take our free, online Money Personality Assessment and present your spouse with the facts to help explain who you are when it comes to money.
2. Shoot straight: “Dude, controlling me won’t help.”
Remind your spouse of your commitment to your financial future, but kindly point out that controlling tactics won’t work. Some spouses who fear spending like to:
- Shove ironclad, no-wiggle-room budgets in their spouse’s face
- Say “no” any AND EVERY time money comes up while
- Use passive routes to demonstrate their disapproval of your desire to spend.
Explain to your spouse that those behaviors (or insert their favorite control tactic) only make you want to:
- Spend the money anyway
- Start sneaking around to hide your spending
- Make their life difficult in some other way like with the silent treatment, withholding sex, or pointing out all of their behaviors you hate.
3. Agree on a spending plan
Spending is scary for spouses who naturally don’t like to spend money. But it is helpful for them to realize that not all spending is over-spending.
You can agree that over-spending ruins more than your budget. Over-spending wrecks your future, your kids’ future, and even your marriage. So it is worth your time to create some kind of spending plan.
You like the sound of that, don’t you?
“Spending plan” sounds better than “budget” any day. But we’re not just making it sound good — a spending plan is a real thing. It is a plan that anticipates all future purchases — short and long-term — and allows some latitude for a person who likes using money to do what they enjoy.
I mean, the people who enjoy spending are often the best gift givers! And they are often those who contribute the most to important causes that improve the good for all humanity. You have to give them some room to work with!
So together, craft a spending plan.
Build some freedom into the plan so you can spend when you feel it’s right, but also so your spouse is assured you won’t exceed the amount you’ve both discussed.
Offering some freedom while setting down some boundaries makes everybody a little happier, and goes a long way to ward off over-spending, dishonesty, and frustration. We know that we should try harder to communicate with our spouse, but it’s not easy to do. Talking through a spending plan is a step in the right direction.
Understanding our spouse is not the easiest task in the world. But understanding how they view money certainly helps to ease tensions, lessen fights, and misunderstandings.
We’d love to hear your success stories or struggles with a tightwad spouse. Leave a comment below.