Having differing financial views from your partner can lead to frustrating arguments. If you’re especially frugal, you may find your partner’s excessive spending habits worrisome. Although confronting your partner about their spending may be difficult, avoidance can lead to further problems. At any stage of a relationship, financial discussions can be uncomfortable. However, taking these first steps can empower your relationship in the long run creating a financially successful relationship!
If you’re not sure how to deal with your partner’s excessive spending, you’re not alone. Many people worry about how their partner will respond, making them want to further avoid the issues. However, with a few basic tips in mind, strategizing to approach your partner about their excessive spending is certainly possible. Taking the process in baby steps will help both you and your partner to remain calm and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Let’s dive in to explore the best way to deal with your partner’s excessive spending habits. Below are six expert tips to browse through before you approach your partner. Keeping these in mind can help make the conversation run a bit smoother.
Tip #1: Avoid Passing Judgement
Your partner probably knows you better than anyone else. Therefore, they’re going to be able to tell if you’re passing judgment on their spending habits. Before approaching them, try to come to a place of understanding instead of passing harsh judgment. If their spending is so frivolous you simply cannot understand it, try to allow them to explain themselves. There may be more to the story than you know!
It can be difficult to avoid passing judgment, especially if your partner is spending frivolously (in your opinion). However, if you and your partner have a combined budget, it’s your right to speak up about how the money is spent. Instead of attacking your partner, make them feel understood. Ask about their spending habits and if they will be willing to find cheaper alternatives for the things they spend on. Many times, people will be responsive if they feel understood. In contrast, if they feel attacked, they’re likely to go into defensive mode. This leads to arguments and does not help the situation whatsoever.
Tip #2: Brainstorm Together
For every problem, there is a solution. If your partner is excessively spending on expensive things, they may be open to alternatives. Help your partner brainstorm cheaper alternatives to reduce their spending habits. For example, let’s say your partner loves Starbucks coffee. Instead of spending $5 per day on an Iced Americano, maybe your partner would be willing to invest in an espresso machine so they can make their own at home. Tackling the spending issue as an “us” problem instead of a “you” problem is a good approach to ensure your partner doesn’t become defensive.
Maybe buying new clothes makes your partner happy. Instead of cutting off something that brings them joy, maybe you suggest buying secondhand clothing from Poshmark or Mercari. There are options if you get creative!
Tip #3: Accept Different Financial Approaches
Before you and your partner can compromise, you both need to come to an acceptance of each other’s approach. The way someone is raised may impact their spending and saving habits. While it may not be possible to ever get your partner to see finances the way you do, this doesn’t mean compromise isn’t possible. Everyone has different values and long-term goals.
If you and your partner can’t seem to find a middle ground, you might wish to seek financial guidance. Many financial advisors or couples therapists specialize in helping couples join finances. Differing financial approaches are something they can help you with! Attending sessions may offer solutions and suggestions to help you and your partner find a solution. Give this a try before you stress out!
Tip #4: Discuss Finances Before Marriage
Don’t wait until after you’re already married to bring up finances with your partner! Before you get married is the perfect time to get on the same page. If you’re concerned about joining finances, know that you have many options available to you. One option is to create a prenuptial agreement, where you both may wish to keep your assets separate.
This allows you both to independently manage your finances and spend how you wish. In the event of a divorce, your assets will be protected, regardless of your partner’s excessive spending habits. To learn more about creating an easy prenup agreement online, check out HelloPrenup for more information.
Even if a prenup is not for you and your partner, a healthy financial discussion before marriage is still an excellent idea. This can put you in a position to create a plan together, set goals, and set boundaries. In some cases, this can help prevent problems with excessive spending down the line. After you’re already married and your finances have been combined may be too late to first approach the topic.
Tip #5: Create A Financial Plan Together
One solution to address your partner’s excessive spending may be to sit down and create a plan together. This can look vastly different from couple to couple. It could be a simple saving plan, determining how much money each partner will contribute to a joint savings account each month. It might also outline spending habits, giving each partner a fair amount to spend on “extras” or non-necessity items each month.
You might also wish to outline a few goals to work together each month on. Perhaps it’s “spend less money on eating out and find ways to save money on groceries” or “spend under $1,000 this month”. Creating these goals as a team gives you and your partner something to be accountable for. Indirectly, this can make your partner aware of their spending habits. It’s important to remember that people who spend frequently get into a routine that can be addictive. Give your partner a fair chance to make changes to their spending habits before getting critical.
Tip #6: Awareness, not Avoidance
Running from complicated financial discussions is natural. Most people, by nature, run fast from anything avoiding confrontation. However, recognizing that avoidance can make the process worse is important. As your partner’s excessive spending goes on and on, you may be cutting into your hard-earned savings. Or, in some cases, excessive spending can worsen each month.
Tackle the problem head-on instead of running from it. While it may not be the easiest conversation you’ve ever had, it can also be an important discussion to bring awareness to your partner. Also, be prepared that your partner could get defensive and try to call you out for your spending habits. Stay calm and remember that you’re a team that should work together, whether you’re married or not.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].