When Your Husband Won’t Budget or Save Money With You
Today we are talking relationships and money! Specifically, what on earth to do when you want to get on a budget and save money and your spouse doesn't. That's a tough place to be, but it doesn't mean it's hopeless.
Whether you are ready to pay off your debt, increase your savings, or up your investing game, I've got some great tips for you on how to get your husband on board.
Let's dive in.
Talk Dreams and Goals Before You Bring Up the “B” Word
If you have a feeling your husband will be less than enthused about saving and budgeting, the absolute best time to start working your magic is before you ever bring up the “B’ word.
The idea here is that you really want to plant the seed, rather than telling him you want to make over your finances and have him change his behavior right away too.
Before you've even brought up the idea of saving more and getting on a budget, start talking about your goals and dreams as a couple first.
What are HIS dreams and goals? What would he really love to spend money on this year? What types of things float his boat?
Everyone is a little bit different, but most people fall into one of two categories:
They either like spending money on material things, or they prefer to spend money on experiences. Some people like to do a little bit of both!
Where does your spouse fall on this spectrum? Has he been dreaming of a new TV, a trip around the world, an extended backpacking trip, or maybe a new car?
If you can narrow down a few things that really get him excited, you create an “in” to talk about shaping your finances so those things can happen.
Keep a Light-Hearted and Motivated Attitude
This one is hard for me. I'm a more serious person by nature, especially when it comes to things like finances. If that's you too, please know that I'm speaking from personal experience and I know how hard this step can be!
That being said, coming to your husband with a lighthearted attitude about changing your finances can go a long way. Oftentimes it can be stressful for one spouse when the other one decides, apparently out of nowhere, that the couple should make major changes in their life, and the conversation has a very serious tone to it. It can be a little scary, and a little overwhelming.
If your goal is to get your husband on board with your new savings goals or your new budgeting plan, bring it up to him in a light-hearted manner with a smile. Spend some time talking with each other about how your new plan could help you reach both of your goals. Listen, really listen, to any objections or worries he has. What's the underlying theme to those?
Is he worried that being on a budget means he can't spend on fun things anymore? Is he worried that this new plan might derail your lives in some way?
If you can hear the intent behind his words, coming to a resolution can be a lot easier.
Talk About the Fun Side of Being On A Budget
When most people think of getting on a budget or saving more money, their initial thought is that they can no longer buy fun stuff that they want. That's not a good thing if you're trying to convince your spouse to start budgeting with you!
One thing to keep in mind here is that it’s important to talk about the fun sides of budgeting. Yes, there are some!
Specifically, talk about all the things you can buy when you plan intentionally for it. Has your husband been really wanting a new video game? Let's budget it in this month!
Has he had a hunting trip or a couples getaway on his brain for a while? Try budgeting in $50 or $100 per month for a few months to make that happen.
When you can show your spouse that budgeting actually gives them what they've been wanting, the whole idea can sound a lot more appealing and less like a punishment.
It's important to also refer back to the big goals you talked about early on. What do you want your lives to look like in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years? What would paying off your debt and getting on a budget and saving more money do for you down the road?
Could you buy your dream home? Could you put your kids in private school? Could you take that world trip you've been dreaming of?
You guys are a team, so start dreaming up things that would really make your life better together over the long term, and then make a plan for it.
Tell Him About Your Small Wins
If your husband still isn't fully on board, don't worry! One of the best ways to encourage someone to do something tough is to simply lead by example.
Of course, this doesn't mean taking control of the finances and forcing what you want without their opinion. No, try leading by example with the little things in your life.
Maybe you could give up your cafe trips and save the money for that beautiful coat you've been really wanting. Maybe you could take on a small side hustle to save up more for a weekend getaway for the two of you.
If you can show your spouse that you've been saving small amounts to be used for something much more fun, the energy will rub off on them! It certainly may take a few weeks or months for that to happen, so be patient.
But sooner or later, it's very likely that your actions will subconsciously influence your husband and give him a good reason to start saving for some of the things he really wants!
This last weekend I did a little bit of clearing out in our basement and sold a small sofa I had been storing and an extra bicycle trailer I had picked up for free. Since the weather has turned and I'm a little low on winter clothes, I decided to use that money for some new winter clothes.
When I told Mr. Cents about how much I’d made and what I was excited to buy, he in turn felt inspired and rummaged through a few old things he'd been meaning to get rid of too! He has a few fun things he's had on his mind for a while as well, and simply seeing me do something resourceful like that inspired him to follow suit.
Lastly, Don’t Push Too Hard
My last tip for couples is to simply not push too hard. Many people don't like change, and sometimes it simply takes a little while for an idea to sink in and take root in our brains.
The change starts with you, so start saving small amounts in your area of your financial life, and see if the idea sticks with your spouse in the coming weeks and months. Most likely, your fun attitude and talk of dreams and goals will win over your spouse!
Of course, if the situation is much more difficult than that and there isn't a resolution after a couple of months, you may need a marriage counselor to help mediate the conversation. There ain't no shame in that game! Mr. Cents and I have seen a marriage counselor several times in our marriage, and we are grateful every time we do.
A good therapist who is fair to both sides and is pro-marriage can help you both see eye to eye in just a few sessions.
If you’ve decided to take the next step in your financial journey, you’ll want to get your spouse on board too. Here are some of the best ways to convince him to get as excited as your financial journey as you are:
- Talk dreams and goals before anything else.
- Keep a light hearted and motivated attitude.
- Talk about the fun side of budgeting and saving.
- Tell him about your small wins.
- Don’t push too hard too soon!
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