My spouse continually spends more than I make, what can I do?

Usually discussions about money take place during times when there is a surprise on a credit card bill, or items are discovered that were not bought in agreement first. This is the worst time to talk about money — because both of you are probably emotionally charged.  Those times lead into an argument. Timing matters. Pick a time when both of you are in pretty good spirits and simply say, “Honey, I wonder if we can look at some new ways to handle our money.” Then be prepared to invite him/her to a better way. We recommend Dave Ramsey’s book, “Total Money Make-Over” as a wonderful book to teach people how to manage money, including over-spending.

Additionally, we would look at some things that might be inviting your spouse to overspend. Are the reigns too tight? Meaning, does s/he have money to spend anyway s/he likes? Is s/he involved in the bill paying or being kept in the dark? People can take on a childlike role (overspending) if they think there is an endless supply of money. S/he needs to be involved in the total picture. Does s/he know how their over spending affects you? It is important to let him/her know when things are not heated. Let him/her know how discouraging it is for you and the stress it causes you.

Issues over money are one of the leading causes of divorce. So you really want to come into agreement about this as soon as possible. Ask yourself if there are other areas in your marriage that are out of balance as well. Usually issues about money are symptoms of underlying issues which need to be resolved.