Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
It’s unfortunate in relationships when both partners aren’t on the same page with financial management.
However, extreme measures are not uncommon to teach someone a money lesson to show them the damage debt creates.
My Money, Your Money, Our Money Lesson
When I read a question a fan had emailed me, I felt sorry for her because she was holding up the financial fort alone.
I also applauded her for taking such a desperate measure to teach her husband that money is a serious issue.
Money Lesson: Talk About It Before Marriage
Although I am entirely on board with discussing finances before marriage, I also understand that it never happens for some couples.
Some couples assume the man is in charge of the money and the woman cooks and cleans in a traditional sense.
I remember that this is how my parents ran their household and still do today.
In many couples I speak to today, the woman takes care of the finances while the husband agrees.
Odd how there has been such a shift in money management over the years.
In our household, we handle the budget and manage the money together.
Budgeting Is Not A Fun Task
Money management isn’t fun, especially when cash isn’t available.
I’m pretty sure when the debt-to-income ratio is unbalanced, life can get depressing, and the last thing you want to do is budget.
Debt Can’t Fix Itself
The problem is when one spouse does all the financial work; the other isn’t learning the importance of budgeting.
There is no ‘my money, your money’ in marriage. It’s ‘our money,’ meaning you should figure out how to manage it.
My Husband Is Spending Too Much Money
I wish I had a husband like you that cared about our family finances and wanted to budget, but sadly I don’t.
My husband was laid off a few months ago, and now that the snow is here, he’s being lazy to look for work.
We’ve been married for 2 years and are in our late twenties with no kids yet and no retirement savings apart from programs through work.
We are on the brink of being broke as we have just about exhausted our emergency savings which I set aside on my own for times like this.
We have a $200,000 mortgage and about $15,000 worth of debt that I want to eliminate.
Thankfully our vehicles were paid, but that also hung over our heads while we were dating and into marriage.
I earn a salary of $85,000 a year, and he made $75,000 when he was working.
Mental Health Concerns
My problem is he is depressed that he lost his job and has no ambition to find anything new because he wants his old position back.
Honestly, I think there are other things he could do that he’d be great at because he’s a smart guy.
In the meantime, he has no problem eating out, drinking and shopping with his friends, and putting it all on the credit card.
He also takes cash from the bank account because he relies on me to do all the savings in the family.
Money has always been readily available; he takes what he needs and thinks it’s okay.
It’s not fine and we’ve talked about it.
He says he wants to work on a budget with me, but I’m unsure where to begin.
Cutting Him Off
I just started using the free budget you offer on the blog, and it’s opened my eyes to how much we have spent and not saved.
I was left with no alternative but to cut him off.
That’s right, I took away his debit and credit cards, and he’s upset with me now.
I cut them up, so he will only get them back if he requests them from the bank.
The only money he gets is a small allowance that our budget can handle, and that’s it.
Related: Why we budget for an adult allowance
I had to take his debit card away. Otherwise, when I wasn’t looking, he would take money from the bank account and not let me know.
He thought he could be sneaky, but I see EVERYTHING and didn’t want to become the couple who hid money from each other.
I want to have a happy financial relationship with my husband.
Now, any money we spend, we do it together, and I hold the purse.
I know handling this is not ideal, but something must be done.
He’s now warming up to the allowance idea (thanks for that), but that’s not enough for me.
What do you suggest I do besides packing his bags and giving up on the marriage?
It seems extreme, but I don’t want to live the rest of our lives in debt and without savings.
Married And Broke
Money has always been a no-brainer for both of us, especially when it came to an understanding of what we needed to do with it.
You’re not the only couple with money problems; you won’t be the last.
Interestingly, most struggling people have good jobs, make a decent income, and have no reason to be struggling.
For the most part, we put ourselves in debt by ourselves, and no one to blame but the person behind the bank card.
Why is it happening, then?
We put this money stress on ourselves when we believe that we earn enough to spend because it will easily be replenished.
Debt and Entitlement Money Lesson
If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve talked to someone who says they earned shopping excursions, a spa day, golf outings, or trips but were swimming in debt.
It’s as if we take money for granted, as if there’s an endless supply.
That’s not the case, but tell that to those Canadians who can’t get their money management skills right.
We all have to start somewhere.
When the going gets tough, sometimes that means going to extremes to teach someone a money lesson.
Money Can Work When You Work Together
Your husband has gone from having money at his disposal to becoming his money manager but with an allowance.
He now has to spend his money wisely before he gets to the end of what’s left in his wallet.
It will be a transition for him. However, I believe he will see the difference.
Below are Money Lessons 1, 2, and 3, which I call TTF, Today, Tomorrow, Forever.
My wife and I went through this process, and although every couple is different, I hope it inspires your financial relationship.
Money Lesson 1- Communicate Today
This will be the hardest part of the journey, but nothing will work until you both agree.
You can take away his credit cards all you want, but he still has access to the money whether you try to stop him.
Talk to him and see if he would schedule some time every week, even half an hour, to review the budget spreadsheet with you.
He doesn’t have to learn how to budget but needs to see what you do and why he must keep his receipts and report his expenses and income to you.
Sometimes when people start to see the numbers, it lights a fire under their behind.
He has no sense of responsibility toward the family finances and needs to step up to the plate.
It’s easy to take, but the numbers don’t lie.
Money Lesson 2- Communicate Tomorrow
Talk about what you plan to do moving forward with the budget and ensure that he has input, and it’s not all you.
Sometimes when people don’t understand how to budget, they are intimidated by the spouse who seems to have their money facts.
There isn’t anything wrong with reassuring him that his ideas are valid and that you will explore them together.
Living in the moment is what he seems to be doing, but there is tomorrow, and if the money doesn’t last today, you have nothing.
You are motivating him to find a new job and asking him how you can help him.
- Can I review your resume?
- Would you like me to coach you through the interview process?
- I’m here to support you through job hunting, no matter what employment you find.
When I moved to Canada and wasn’t working, I felt I wasn’t contributing my weight to the relationship.
My wife pushed me to return to school, and although I was older and hesitant, it was the best decision I ever made.
It was tough on our finances as we didn’t use a budget back then, but we made it by living a frugal life.
You might learn that he wants to return to school to do something new that he never dreamed he would do.
Sometimes people need to follow their passion for helping bring out their best.
We can get scared to ask for what we want, and although we know women aren’t minded readers, part of loving someone is not giving up.
It’s helping them become the best they can be.
All you can do is try.
Money Lesson 3- Communicate Forever
Where do you both want to be when you are ready to retire?
Does your husband want to travel to Florida in the winter or does he want to have his mortgage paid and live a simple life with no debt stress?
These are questions you both need answers to.
You might not have all the answers, but you must start painting your picture of life together moving forward.
One of the worst mistakes couples make is to wait until it’s too late.
Blaming everything on why they have debt in retirement or wished they had done something earlier.
Don’t be this couple because you are young and have the ammunition to make your retirement years the best they can be.
Listen To The Older People
Sometimes one of the best things you can do is go to a coffee shop with your husband and hang out where the retired folk sit around and chat.
Whether you get involved in the conversation or not or just listen to what they say, more often than not, money will pop up.
It’s amazing what you can learn from someone whose been there and can offer advice to those who are making the journey to the end.
I like to call this Coffee Shop Talk an excellent way for the both of you to get out of the house, communicate and enjoy each other’s company.
Just make sure to budget something into the entertainment part of your budget!
Although I don’t have all the answers, I applaud the measures you’ve taken to teach your husband a money lesson, but that’s only a band-aid.
I hope you can work on money lessons together during your marital journey.
Discussion: What other tips can you offer to this couple?
(Drop me a comment below; I would love to read your feedback and suggestions.
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Photo Courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo