Husband Hoarding Money Jeopardizes Relationship

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Saving money is one thing, but hoarding money to the point where you are afraid to spend it may strain your relationship.

Believe it or not, some people have hoarding money tendencies because fear of living without cash can push people over the edge.

Just because someone is in debt doesn’t mean they are OK with it, even though some people think that having consumer debt is normal.

Some people get very ill thinking about their debt, which can cause significant stress, mainly affecting their health, job, and relationships/family.

Hoarding Money Divorce
How hoarding money affects relationships. Husband hoarding money.

Debt Scares Husband To The Bank Hoarding Money

What else could money possibly affect?

It’s hard to find a middle ground sometimes when money becomes the reason for living.

I’m not saying money is unnecessary because it is, but it’s serious business for those who scare themselves off a cliff.

Having millions of dollars in the bank when retirement would be great, but you don’t have to live like a miser to get you there.

Even though compulsive hoarding is defined as hanging on to stuff that others may view as junk hoarding.

Money is another way of stashing cash someone is too afraid to spend unless forced to. i.e., Paying the bills to live.

Maybe hoarding might not be the perfect word for what this reader is going through, but it’s the word she chose to use, so it must mean something to her.

Hoarding Money Leads To Tension

Why does hoarding money exist?

It may exist for many reasons, but I’m going to assume that something traumatic has happened to the individual.

At some point in their life, an occurrence has worried, stressed, or scared them into saving.

I have yet to meet anyone who hates money, but some people live off the land and want nothing to do with working and living in the rat race.

Then other people can’t stop saving money and are workaholics.

Hoarding money may start with paying off any debts owed, including the mortgage, because the person doesn’t want to owe anyone anything.

From there, they start to save money, but no amount will satisfy them unless there is a certain number in mind.

The extremely money-conscious person may not relax financially until they have a million dollars in the bank or a few suitcases hidden in the closet.

Note: I do not suggest this, by the way. If there is a fire or a theft, the money is gone.

Some may want to stash a few hundred dollars around the house for emergencies.

I’d recommend steering clear of hoarding money without balance in life in the first place but keeping it at home or, even worse, in the trunk of your car.

Hoarding can become a severe issue that needs to be discussed with your family doctor.

The problem is most people who have compulsive tendencies don’t see this as a problem.

If you feel that hoarding is getting out of control in your life or someone you love, maybe it’s time to bring it to your physician’s attention before it’s too late.

There is a treatment for hoarding; if the person is willing to accept help, making it available is a great starting point.

Today I have a reader question from a wife who wants to share a story about love, money, and debt and how it affects her relationship.

Depressing Relationship

Dear Mr.CBB

When I was dating my husband, he would spare nothing to make me happy and take me on romantic dates.

I would always have roses every month, and he’d take me on shopping excursions at least once a month.

Taking holidays was something we did at least two times every year, and we would travel anywhere our heart desired within reason, but the cost was not a significant issue as we didn’t have any kids.

We both had and still have pretty decent careers, which earn us a comfortable living, but it wasn’t always this way. I’m not talking about the earning part but the relaxed position.

Over the years, all the “stuff” we bought or put on credit started to add up.

Debt Hurt Us Financially

Eventually, our debt ratio reached the point where we had to sell our million-dollar home in Toronto and move out of the city to something more affordable.

Now we both commute into Toronto to work at the hospital, but it’s not that bad of a drive, although, at times, it can be draining after working VERY long hours.

Our debt got so out of control in 2012 that my husband was unplugging the home phone so he didn’t have to deal with harassing creditors calling the house demanding their money.

I was against getting a home line of credit because it wasn’t solving the problem. I’m glad he was too. Selling was our only option at the time.

It wasn’t very comfortable, considering we make great money. How could this happen to us?

It did, and after selling our house, we had enough equity in the home to pay back all the debt and avoid bankruptcy which we were on the brink of.

Maintaining our home was not the issue.

It was our spending because we felt we were entitled due to our career status, and everyone else we knew was living the dream.

We thought we should follow suit.

Learn To Say No

It’s hard to say no when your friends are jetting away for a 3-day weekend that costs $3000. We always went and shopped for the occasion to fit in.

Since selling the house, we have lost many friends because my husband went a bit nutty with our finances.

The money stress got to him to the point where he wasn’t sleeping or eating, and he vowed never to let that happen to us again.

Well, here’s the hard part.

Our Realtionship Changed

He no longer buys me flowers, forgets to say “I love you,” and works as many hours as possible to get overtime money.

The holidays are gone; if we spend time together, it’s just a walk around the neighborhood or the local park.

His investment in our finances seems more important than our relationship.

My husband is hoarding money because he fears bankruptcy and does not have enough money to retire.

He values money like one would possessions.

He doesn’t see what he does as a problem but as a solution to living the dream retirement, and he’s willing to sacrifice living now for later.

The problem is he is putting a strain on our relationship because he’s forgotten us and failed to live.

Money isn’t everything, although I understand the need to budget our finances now, which I am on board with.

I’m not happy that I work and have limited money to spend on myself.

We have zero debt, and our mortgage is paid in full.

Marriage Counselling Didn’t Work

My love for him is dwindling, and I’ve talked to him about it many times, and we’ve been to marriage counseling.

The counselor addressed his hoarding money tendencies and asked if he loved me. 

He said yes, but we are young and need to save as much as we can, which didn’t sit right with me.

I think he’s read too many new articles about debt, and it’s scared him to death.

He says he won’t be happy until we have at least 2 million dollars in cash saved up. Then he will be able to relax and enjoy life.

I’m on the verge of leaving him because I deserve to be happy too.

Spending all my time at home and work with quick grocery store visits isn’t cutting it.

In a last-ditch effort, what do you or your fans suggest?


Lost in Toronto

Hoarding Money Hurts Relationships


What happens if you aren’t around to enjoy life because one or both of you are gone?

I think he’s undoubtedly unrealistic with his money goals, but compulsive hoarding doesn’t need to be just about “stuff” It can be money.

You are not alone, I’m sure, as there likely are scared other people they won’t have enough money to retire on, so they save every dollar they can.

Some may think that extreme cheapskates are those people, but not necessarily.

You don’t mention that your husband is a cheapskate just because he no longer spends money how he used to and doesn’t allow you to spend money.

You should be able to spend your money and participate in how it will be used.

Relationships Must Be Balanced

I read here a one-sided financial plan for both of you, which can easily cause friction in a relationship.

It’s great that you accept the budget, a simple money-saving concept that everyone should use, but there has to be balance.

Anytime the balance is off with finances, there tends to be a problem.

In your case, you both have no debt, so there is no need for him.

You can’t go on a vacation, or he can’t buy you flowers.

You’ve been to marriage counseling about his money hoarding, and although I’m not a professional, I can’t give you advice from the marriage perspective.

Doing What’s Right For You

I can tell you that if he isn’t willing to work with you, you may need to take measures into your own hands.

Maybe once you are gone, he will realize what he’s done to the relationship and try to make changes, but hopefully, it won’t be too late for the two of you.

Sometimes it’s hard to return the romance once that tie is gone.

Hoarding money is not something to take lightly, and I’m guessing you’ve talked to your doctor about it, and if not, that is certainly somewhere I would start as well.

Budgeting with no debt and living a fulfilled life is a piece of cake, especially if you both have decent earning careers, which you do.

Mrs. CBB and I have no debt or mortgage, BUT we budget in vacation, entertainment, and allowance categories.

Maybe you can talk to your husband about this so you can both enjoy saving and splurging on yourselves.

I hope your husband decides to work with you and the family finances instead of in his financial world.

It sounds like a woman who truly loves him and has searched all areas to make a change is about to give up on him.

I wish you all the luck, and please keep me updated.

Maybe some of the fans will have something to add.


Relationship Money Issues

What does money mean to you?

Money changes people, and it’s not just people who are in debt who may struggle. It’s people who have money and feel they don’t have enough.

Everyone defines money differently and uses it in how they feel will benefit their life but not everyone knows how to balance it.

Money problems are HUGE relationship killers.

In relationships, you are already starting down a rocky road until you can agree about your finances and how the money will be used,

Money hoarding is not something we hear about often in the media, but people may do it and not even know they are doing it.

Budgeting is essential, and I’m the first to admit that paying down debt and saving for retirement are critical savings.

The part of the savings equation that is missing here is living.

If we don’t live, we will die without experiencing life.

You don’t always need money to enjoy life but hoarding cash and not allowing any other expenses but bills take the fun out of life.

Don’t be fooled by the money. It doesn’t have a hold of you unless you let it.

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  1. My husband and I struggled with this when we first lived together, where he had to learn to loosen his purse strings a little even after he had built up a comfortable emergency fund. Ultimately, it sounds like your man companion is hell-bent on early retirement, because that’s more or less retirement money. If that’s true, good for him, but that’s hard to accommodate if y’all aren’t on the same page. It’s especially hard to accommodate if your salaries aren’t lucrative. Sounds like you should leave him; agreeing on how to run your lives financially is paramount to a health marriage, and if there’s no room for change, it won’t work out

  2. I don’t hoard money, what I do is just we achieve balance over our finances. We plan, budget, save, and spend. This is how it works in our financial undertakings. Hoarding money is a form of desperation and not a good way in saving money as it can cause lots of troubles in relationship.

  3. Interesting article. My ex didn’t hoard money, instead he wouldn’t let me spend money on things but would go and blow it on other things instead. For instance, I wasn’t supposed to spend much at the grocery store, but he could spend $5-7 or even $10 at the gas station on snacks nearly everyday. (Makes no sense, those same snacks, etc at the grocery store are much cheaper!)

    1. So he could basically do whatever he pleased with the money but you couldn’t. Ya that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Thanks for sharing Kayla.

  4. Mary made some very good points above. As for the money concerns or hoarding… As a student of history it reminds me of back in the 1930’s when there was that financial crash and again in 2008 with that crash. It scared a lot of people, understandably so. A lot of folks lost faith in banks in general then and now. Both of my parents were born in the 1930’s and were frugal.
    Finances here are rather tight but hubby will still buy me flowers, the difference these days is that my flowers come with roots so I can plant them outside. I enjoy gardening. Hubby used to enjoy the imported beers and wine, he saved money by making his own, and it was a great hobby for him! There are many ways to have fun on your own or as a couple that don’t cost a load of money, you both could look into these. If your friends don’t like it, you might need new friends.

  5. The over pursuit of money can enslave every bit as much as having excessive debt to repay. Whether you are aggressively chasing money to keep bill collectors off your back or to reach some magical level of wealth, if it consumes our lifestyle to the point we ignore what is truly important in our lives then we are a slave to money. I hope things change for the better.

    1. Exactly and I think this is what is bothering the wife more than anything from my understanding. I don’t think it’s about not getting all the things she used to get it’s more about the romance and love is taking back seat to him working and saving money.

  6. The worldwide crisis we saw nearly a decade ago traumatized a lot of people and I’m not surprised that many are still feeling its effects. The variation I see among a lot of friends is one where they’re overly concerned with liquidity even at the expense of saving for retirement or paying off debt.

  7. I can appreciate your husband’s fear and perhaps instead of dreaming about “what was” it’s better to work with “what is”.

    Exactly how much do you need in order to feel loved and recognized? Perhaps start with that question for yourself. The next question might be…what are you doing to bring fun and romance into your relationship without spending money? Start – it’s fun! This is not all about what hubby can do for you. You said “for better or worse” and right now, your husband needs help to learn how to enjoy life again but without spending a fortune. In fact it sounds like you may be grieving the lifestyle of the rich and famous, that you could not afford, and the hoity toity friends that have no use for you & hubby if you aren’t dropping $3,000 on a weekend. Get over it! Hubby, be it depressed, is still by your side unlike those so called friends. Life has dished this lifestyle up to you & your hubby so make the best of it. Mature relationships don’t involve buying your partner’s affections each and every day to try and hang onto them once the “courting” period is behind you. There are a million inexpensive things you can do! Put a love note in his packed lunch. Make his favorite supper and serve it by candlelight for no reason. Make it your job to help lead both yourself and your husband to the land of inexpensive/free fun-fun-fun and I guarantee the days of deep soul searching romance will follow when you appreciate how lucky you are to have each other under all conditions.

    The dissolution of my first marriage left me extremely concerned about finances as I had no idea where my next meal was coming from while I did everything in my power to contain the financial damage that I would spend years digging my way out of. My 2nd husband has worked with me though, to save all that we can, but still budgeting for little wee splurges to keep the romance in our relationship alive.

    We’ve been together almost 30 years, married more than 20 years, and at the beginning we planned 3 x ONE NIGHT get-aways a year. We couldn’t manage a weekend but one night gave us months of planning, talking, anticipating and enjoying together before we ever left home. We always stayed somewhere that included a nice hot breakfast so that one meal was taken care of and we could linger over and feel totally pampered, we grocery shopped for our picnic lunches at new grocery stores, farmer’s markets or delis and we planned one nice dinner out. I signed up for grocery deals, rewards programs and restaurant discounts. We used coupons to cut the meal cost at supper or went to happy hour or to early bird specials to get nice meals at a fraction of the cost. We worked together online to find free concerts, festivals, gallery and museum days so we had interesting things to do without any additional added costs. We actually still do this today! It’s fun to find things together that we can look forward to. 🙂

    We also budgeted $5 each per month for the “back of the wallet” stash. Hubby uses a little of the $5 stash a couple times a year to get me some flowers that are on sale at the grocery store. Nope, they aren’t roses but they do scream, “I love you!” when he surprises me with them. Other times he breaks out his stash to go out for a coffee date…and that’s it – coffee, conversation, hand holding and home for a little dare I say afternoon delight? I on the other hand saved my $5’s to buy us a couple of “end of the season” $100 bicycles and another couple years later we picked up our canoe. So, in addition to walking new routes we also had the options of cycling or canoeing.

    I took charge of the regular day-to-day fun stuff and even when we are at home during the summer, we go out twice a week to open air free music concerts or plays (with our Deet) and we plan bike rides with our picnic basket and blanket. I discovered we have beautiful areas nearby for a nice summer supper – once I went looking for them. In the winter, our local library has free courses and speakers and holiday events. We sometimes splurge and go to the local rec centre for a squash game, an afternoon in the weights room or a swim. We get all day passes for less than $20 per person so we don’t have to save our $5 stash too long to get a fun-filled-day of family fun!

    As your hubby sees the bank balance rising, he will relax inch by inch (I did) but you will both also have learned to really appreciate having time together. One day, one of you won’t be here. All the expensive trips, flowers and dinners will never replace the memories you build together now.

    Hubby and I used our frugality to eventually finance our vacation properties and now we travel pretty much FREE using reward points, airline points, discounts-coupons and minimal cash. And yes, I got out in front of building that little set up too. Low cost can be amazingly fun…accept my challenge and build it for your family too!

    You are the woman in this relationship and that means hubby will catch you if you fall, be beside you to help you and work his buns off to make life financially as good as possible BUT you are the strength in the family when times are tough no matter the reason, the leader and the forger of new directions and when need be… the nurturer of your family. Are you ready for your task? Ready, set, GO! 🙂

      1. Oh Mr CBB…you had to know this would push my buttons!

        We’ve battled financial, health, employment, more health and all sorts of other problems over the years. I remembered my Dad asking me on my wedding day if we each loved each other enough to always care for the needs of the other first. He said it guaranteed we’d live long and happily no matter what. He’s right. What he did not say was that the efforts would be 50-50. I remember having to shake myself loose of my medical issues to rise and champion a situation where hubby suffered severe health issues related to on the job bullying. Thank goodness I wasn’t running on totally empty at exactly the same time. And earlier in his career I took a 2nd full time job when he was downsized and went back to school to re-train.

        This is a team effort! Perhaps Lost in Toronto can figure out a way to earn a little more income to provide the things she feels she simply can not live without. It sounds like an extra $10,000 for clothing, entertainment and travel would do the job. 🙂 With no debt, $2,000,000 plus the years of compounded income in the bank – their future will be a very good one. We should all be so lucky! He has been clear this is a need for him, how is she going to help them achieve the goal?

        1. Hi Mary,
          If she were to earn more money he would just stash it away like he already does with her income. At least that was my understanding. She doesn’t seem to have much say with the money she earns as he just banks it. I agree it should be a team effort but something is off balance here and I think more than anything she just wants her husband back the man she fell in love with more than the “stuff”. I could be wrong. It’s always hard to tell and why I always ask for long detailed questions to get a better understanding.

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