Set A Limit To How Much You Can Spend Without Talking To Your Spouse

by Hank

Have a family budget meeting to set spending limitsWhich spouse is more likely to hide purchases? According to a recent study by CESI Debt Solutions, 58% of husbands admitted to keeping some spending a secret from their wives. The ladies are not much better. Forty-eight percent of wives admitted to hiding purchases from their husbands. So, what leads to all of this dishonesty?

A Strict Budget Isn’t Always Best

Dave Ramsey is famous for saying that every single dollar that you make every month should be allocated on paper before that month even begins. He advocates having a monthly written budget where every single dollar is earmarked for a certain task whether that be paying the car payment or making the rent that month. The problem starts when the budget is so tight that there is not any wiggle room for spontaneous purchases. There needs to be a little fun and mad money built into everyone’s budget. Whether you call it mad money, your slush account, or even just a line in the budget for entertainment, be sure to set a small portion of your monthly income aside each paycheck for a little fun with as few questions asked as possible.

Have Weekly And Impromptu Family Business Meetings

Let’s face the fact that many couples do not want to admit. There is almost always one spouse who is better at math than the other. There is almost always one who loves to crunch the numbers, find the stocks and mutual funds to invest in, or the one who holds the checkbook for safekeeping. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to have one spouse handle all of the bills, investing, and financial tasks for the family. The real problem comes into play when there is no communication between the two spouses about what is going on, where the family is financially, and where they are headed in the future. My wife and I sit down every week to discuss how our family’s finances are and where we need to focus in the short and long terms. If an important decision needs to be made, we make it together. I even give her a monthly breakdown of our net worth in a written report. If something comes up in between meetings, we do not hesitate to hold an impromptu one to make a unified decision.

Set A Single Purchase Limit

So, you earned your money. You want to spend it. You and your spouse should decide together on a certain amount of money you can each spend freely on a single purchase with no questions asked. You should not have to justify buying a new movie that you have been dying to see, but you should talk to each other before you come home with the new fifty inch plasma to watch it on. My wife and I have set a limit of $100 for a single purchase. If we want to buy something over that amount, we talk about it first. It cuts down on a lot of needless fighting, and it will actually stop you from buying things you do not really need. Having a sounding board is a real powerful tool.

You worked hard for your money. Shouldn’t you be able to decide how you spend it? Of course you should have some fun with your money and you should even have a little bit to blow without having to account for it. But hiding big expenditures isn’t the answer to a successful marriage. Hiding what you buy just compounds the problem of one hand not talking to the other.

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

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