You open your monthly credit card statement and almost faint when you see the total. Oh. My. God. How do I get my wife to stop spending money? There must be some mistake, right? As your shock subsides, anger rushes into take its place. “Honey! Get in here!” you bellow. The dreaded monthly credit card fight is about to begin.
How do you get your spouse to stop spending money so you can feel secure about the future? You really want to rein in your family’s monthly spending and begin loading money into your kids’ college funds and increase your 401(k) contributions. Here are 4 ways to get your wife on the same page with you.
4 Ways to Get Your Wife to Stop Spending Money:
1.) Begin with WHY.
Paint a picture of why a change in spending habits will improve the quality of life for your whole family and how she will be happier. Talk about how awesome it will feel to send your kids through college without student loan debt. Dream about the life you want in retirement or the Hawaiian vacation you want to take for your anniversary. Beginning with why draws people in. Berating your spouse for their irresponsible spending habits pushes them away and puts them on the defensive. Creating a vision board with your spouse is a fun and powerful exercise that will keep both of you focused on the financial future of your dreams.
2.) Find and eliminate the neutral “financial black holes.”
Many times during my coaching sessions with clients, I discover “financial black holes” to which neither spouse is particularly attached. You might have a gym membership that’s being charged to your credit card monthly that hasn’t been used in two years, or four movie channels that no one in your family ever watches. Examine your monthly bills and recurring charges to your credit cards and bank accounts. Present these options to your husband or wife for spending cuts first, since they are emotionally neutral.
3.) Examine your own spending.
Great relationships involve the ability to compromise. If you are going to ask your husband or wife to stop spending money, you also need to come to the table with your cuts. It’s very rare that just one person in the relationship is overspending. Be willing to take an honest look at your own contribution to the spending problem and offer up proposed changes. If your wife sees that you’re willing to forego season tickets to your favorite sports team as a sacrifice for the family’s financial goals, she’ll be much more likely to reciprocate.
4.) Place limits on “happiness purchases.”
If your wife must own every new purse that Coach cranks out, she will be resentful and possibly rebel against your new financial plan if you attempt to completely eliminate her spending in this area. I would recommend that you and your spouse come to an agreement about how much each of you can spend on your “happiness purchases,” otherwise known as emotional spending, each month. You could even transfer a certain amount monthly to a prepaid credit card for that purpose. Just as most crash diets fail, you need to have some portion-controlled fun while still working toward your long-term financial goals so you don’t fall off the wagon!
When you approach spending cuts with a spirit of cooperation and compromise, you’ve got a higher likelihood of winning your wife (or husband!) to your way of thinking.