For about six months, this man and his wife have been on a mission to pay off their credit card debt, which has accumulated over time. They splurged on meal deliveries, home decor, eating out, and various other unnecessary items that cost them a whopping $10,000. And that's not all; they also spent another $10,000 gift from his grandparents on similarly frivolous things. They are now trying to dig themselves out of this financial hole and have already managed to pay off half of their debt from their salaries. They have only $5000 left to pay, but every penny counts, and they are determined to reach their goal, or so he thought.
Tempted To Spend
Recently, his wife wanted to buy an activity station for their baby during a shopping trip. They already had one, but it wasn't a bouncer like his wife wanted. He wasn't thrilled about the idea, but he reluctantly agreed to the purchase because it was important to her. But then, things went downhill when she spotted some cute baby clothes she wanted to buy for $25. He was firm about the needlessness of the purchase and said no. He reminded her that they didn't need them, as their baby already had a surplus of clothes. He pointed out that their reckless spending habits were what got them into debt in the first place.
This didn't sit well with his wife, who accused him of constantly lecturing her. She also complained that he didn't object when she spent $10 on chips for a snack, which seemed to her like a double standard. The man was torn. He understood that his wife enjoyed browsing and buying things for pleasure, but he also knew that every tiny purchase mattered. They were in debt and had zero savings, and he was determined to get them back on track financially.
Per his wife’s reaction, he’s wondering if he’s being unreasonable. He’s hell-bent on getting them out of debt and building a solid financial foundation for their family. Whether that means saying no to unnecessary purchases or finding other ways to compromise with his wife is a conversation they need to have. After all, their financial well-being is not just about money; it's about trust, communication, and a shared vision for their future.
The Envelope Solution
Could OP’s wife be right for feeling like buying something for the fun of it? Someone suggested that there's a need to develop a family budget that sets aside money to pay bills, savings/debt payments, and then ‘fun money,' which is the same every week. Perhaps if OP and his wife had $100 per week to spend as they saw fit and had a need to blow it all, her shopping choices wouldn’t be a problem. According to the Redditor, this envelope style saved their parents' marriage. It stopped his mum from resenting their dad when he splurged on things she thought were pricey and unnecessary, like a golf membership. But when they had their own fun money, the problem went away.
Also, someone else acknowledged the difficulty of shifting to what they call regulated spending. And emphasized the need for couples to have a dialogue about their common financial goals, negotiate differences in their individual goals, and discuss gaps between their stated and actual spending habits. In addition, there is the problem of maintaining a high level of discipline. Here is how the Redditor separates out each idea:
- Establishing goals: Do we have the same goals, and/or can they be reconciled through negotiation and compromise
- Creating a Budget: Is there a disconnect between our goals and our actual spending/saving habits, and if so, what can be done to expand income, reduce recurring expenses and establish reasonable discretionary spending limits?
- Establishing consistent implementation: How to maintain discipline once common goals and spending limits are established with ingrained habits, celebrations of achieved goals, and reasonable rewards and exceptions.
Indeed, to stop uncontrolled spending, one must take strong and harsh steps, such as imposing a moratorium on discretionary spending for a period of, say, three months and slashing as many recurrent expenses as possible to develop a baseline budget. According to the Redditor, using this strategy made it simpler made it easier to establish a reasonable limit on discretionary spending from a position of deprivation than from a position of excessive spending.
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth Of Geeks.