How to Make Your Spouse Care About Getting Out of Debt

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You park the car, grab the shopping bags, and wait.  You have to make sure your spouse is not at the front door before you run inside and shove them in the closet.  The last thing you need is another lecture about spending money.

Or maybe you’re the other half.  You open the credit card bill and your mouth drops open. How could the balance be that high?  Was there some emergency?  You scan the charges.  That’s the mall.  Mall.  Mall??  Looks like we need to have another discussion.

How to Make Your Spouse Care About Getting Out of Debt

This post has been written by the incredibly talented, Jamie Jeffers.

Whether you’re the spender or the saver, living life like this isn’t fun for anyone. Articles such as this have been around for years: Money is the leading cause of strife in relationships.  

Since you’re reading a blog on personal finance, I’m going to assume you are the saver.  So let’s look at some ways you can get your spouse on board when it comes to getting out of debt.

How to Make Your Spouse Care About Getting Out of Debt1) Stop Stressing Them Out

Do you constantly lecture your spouse about their spending?  Retail therapy is real, my friend.  In fact, over half of all Americans admit to using it.  You could actually be sabotaging your own plan.

The last thing you want to do is stress out your spouse over money.  For one thing, it puts a terrible strain on your relationship.  For another, if they have a spending problem, emotions can intensify that spending.

Remember that you married an adult.  Even if you’re convinced that he or she is acting like a child, you need to find a better way to communicate.  More on that below.

2) Pass Out Blow Money

Dave Ramsey talks about building blow money into your budget.  Do you and your spouse have blow money?  You each need monthly cash that you’re allowed to spend on anything you want.  

And when she spends her blow money on something frivolous (in your eyes), say nothing.  Let her actually enjoy her purchase.

Have a discussion.  Compromise on the amount of blow money you need so that you both feel comfortable.

Does pulling blow money from the account get you to your debt goals later?  Sometimes, yes.  If getting out of debt is more important than buying things to you, you’re free to use your blow money on debt.  You aren’t free to harbor resentment about your own choice, though.

Try to remember that this relationship is more important than money.  And you want to keep your spouse long after the debt problem is gone.

3) Have Big Picture Goals

Your spouse clearly enjoys spending money.  But just because he or she is a big shopper doesn’t mean they love shopping the most.  There’s often something they’d like even more than all those bags.

When you got married, you had big dreams.  What were they?  Do you want to buy a house?  Travel?  Give to others in need?

It’s time to go back to that honeymoon phase.  Have a real heart to heart.  Not the kind of talk where you lecture them about interest rates or amortization schedules.  Talk about your wildest dreams.  Find a goal that you both have your heart in.

If you can both get excited about a common goal (a big vacation trip, for instance), make that your vision.  Print out a picture of it and stick it on the fridge.

The next time he wants to go shopping, he’ll remember that not going gets him that much closer to the trip.

4) Teamwork

The only way to get debt paid off is by using teamwork.  It isn’t the saver vs. the spender in the big fight.  It’s your marriage vs. debt.  Remember, you’re on the same team.

5) Bring in Back Up

Having trouble finding common ground and getting on the same team?  Try some help from an outside source.  

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is well worth the investment.  Working through the class as a couple can be eye opening for both of you.

The advice you’ve been giving your spouse for ages might not click until she hears it from someone else.  Don’t get discouraged.  It’s nothing personal.  Just be happy that you’re finally connecting.

We desperately hope that your spouse gets on board with the budget. Let us know about your success (and failures) below!

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