Finances are one of the things couples stress over the most. Some couples struggle just to pay basic living expenses and some couples struggle to keep themselves out of debt from overspending on luxury items. The latter is a problem in many homes today. For example, when one spouse spends money faster than the other (or both) can earn it, then a problem develops. If you are in this situation, then no doubt you are ready to pull your hair trying to figure out how to get your spouse to stop spending so much money.
Make a budget
Sit down with your spouse and create a monthly budget. List all of the living expenses and then all of the “extra” expenditures. This is where your spouse can help since they are the one that is buying all of those extras. In the process of creating the budget, your spouse may realize how bad their spending has gotten by seeing it in black in white. The next part of creating and maintaining the budget is to make an expense report. Each of you need to save the receipts for every single purchase and write the amounts on this report. This will help you both track where the money is going every day.
Have them help you pay the bills
When it is time to pay the bills each month, have your spouse sit down with you and go through them together. This exercise can help your spouse realize just how much needs to go towards bills each month. Things can get pretty real when someone realizes that the electricity may get shut off or the rent/mortgage cannot be paid because they already spent that money.
Ask them to pay certain expenses themselves
This can be a tricky thing to do, but can be very effective at getting your spouse to stop blowing money right and left. It is easy to go on a shopping spree when the money is not coming directly out of your own pocket. Ask your spouse to help you pay specific bills to help take the load off of you. This might mean they have to get a job, or a better job than their current one. Gently explain to your spouse that you simply cannot afford to pay the basic living expenses and fund their shopping sprees anymore. People tend to be a lot more frugal when it is their money on the line.
Sit down and talk it out
Sit your spouse down and explain the severity of your financial situation. Your spouse loves you and should be willing to try and understand that they need to stop overspending. The goal of the conversation is not to make them feel like a bad person, but to help them realize that they need to cut down on the shopping. Your spouse is more than likely an unselfish person and will be more than happy to resolve the situation for the benefit of the marriage. Please keep in mind that getting angry and putting your spouse down will not make them want to stop spending; it could push them to do it more. At the very least, yelling at them will hurt their feelings and that is the last thing you want to do to someone you love.
Separate household accounts
This should be a last resort because marriage is supposed to be about sharing everything equally. You should not have to keep each other away from anything, including the household monies. However, if you have tried everything imaginable and your spouse is still overspending, you might have to consider opening a second bank account. The point to the second account is that they will not have access to it. This second account is where the money goes for household bills and living expenses. Unfortunately, a second account may be the only way to ensure there is always money to pay the bills.
Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures; you may have to sit your spouse down and lay out the financial scene for them. They may not realize exactly what they are doing to the household by overspending each payday. Unfortunately, some people know they are spending too much, but cannot resist the urge to go shopping. For the sake of your marriage and financial well being, it is wise to try and talk to your spouse about their spending problem. If talking doesn’t help, then you might have to consider getting separate bank accounts.