What is the number one cause most marriages break up? You guessed it. It may not always be a spouse spending too much money. Sometimes, people just think about money differently. Needless to say, these couples are rarely happy. It is easy to assume that the less money a couple has, the more they will argue about money, but sometimes it is the opposite. When a couple has no money, they have no problems just like people have no problems with women’s rights in the Middle East. There have been cases where poor people got rich all of a sudden and that changed them and their relationship completely. One of the spouses started spending like mad to make up for all of the years in the poorhouse, while the other spouse got really stingy and began hoarding the wealth out of fear of returning to the poorhouse. That’s what we are talking about – different personalities and different ways of thinking. Last but not least, even people who are financially comfortable can fight about money.
A classic disagreement involves the food budget. You give your husband $20 and tell him to buy food. He spends it and another $50 on top, packing the fridge with all different kinds of meat, several six-packs of beer, a dozen French cheese varieties, and a ton of out-of-season vegetables. “We’ll need it in the long run,” he says with a smile, rushing to make himself a sandwich and opening a cold one. You may be angry with him, but you have to admit that he has a point. It is food, after all. Good quality food is expensive and it is beyond stingy to make compromises with quality. You could probably live on hot dogs and junk food and spend less than $5 a day, but what kind of life would that be?
Before you start having it out with him, you should determine if he truly is overspending. Some people utilize an overspending scale from one to ten, where one is those people who reuse toilet paper, and ten is those who throw the roll out after using one square. So if you sound like a one, keep in mind that he may not really be a ten.
Another aspect is to what extent his spending is becoming a problem. If he insists on having lunch with his colleagues instead of bringing a bagged lunch to work, this could be seen as something beyond being extravagant. Perhaps he is afraid of being ridiculed, or he just does not want to eat alone. You want to overlook minor overspending like this; it is not worth fighting over. If he is chronically maxing out credit cards and racking up debt, however, the problem can be more serious. Building up resentment over issues like this can easily break up a marriage in the long run.
Basically, what you need to figure out is whether he is only sporadically financially irresponsible or irresponsible in general. If it is the latter, he is not likely to change.