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Finances with an unfrugal husband

Last post Fri, Aug 7 2009 12:25 AM by MarthaMFI. 19 replies.
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  • Mon, Mar 17 2008 4:00 PM

    Finances with an unfrugal husband

    I have a question/ rant. My efforts to get out of debt and my use of frugal skills are frittered away by my impulsive, overspending, somewhat selfish husband. I am fed up and have started having the attitude of "why bother?". I even started charging on my c.c. which had a small balance. How do I (1) get rid of my own bad attitude and (2) get my husband on board? We ( really me) were doing Dave Ramsey and my husband agreed to do a budget and be honest. After the budget he agreed to start cutting back (he eats out almost 2 times every day except Sun) and to talk to me about purchases first. All of that has gone out the window. He says it's "his money" (I am a stay at home mom) and if he wants to stay in debt forever it's too bad for me. I have decided to start selling my crafts and refinishing/ cleaning dumpster finds and selling them to have my own money. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Mon, Mar 17 2008 5:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    I know that frustation very well Tinamarie my DH had the montra "You're born in debt, you die in debt and in between you're indebt." for many years and it drove me nuts! He'd often ingore the bills to buy something he wanted which caused a lot of headaches (loss of services, evictions, sherrif's marshal at the door). We had a lot of fights over money which just caused tension between us. Finally we decieded that money was one are we couldn't work together in and split the finaces he gave me $X for most of the bills (I'm also a SAHM) and what was left was for him and some bills he was to be responsable for. At the end of 5 yrs my bills were paid off, not only did he still have the same bills he was further in debt than when we started out. (While I'm not saying that's the best way to get the bills taken care of that was what it took for us to keep our lives on an even keel, I had to literaly show him that his way of handling money wasn't working out at all.) Four years ago he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder (his spending habits were one of the symptoms) and put on medication. Two years ago he turned all the bills over to me and one of his two pay checks. We're not out of debt yet but are getting there.

    Keep in mind that you are not your husband, he has his ways of doing thing and you have yours. Nagging him about how he handles money isn't going to work it will however add tension to your marriage. You need to decide that you want to get out of debt and show hubby that it can be done. Keep doing the Ramsey budget the best you can and don't give up no matter how frustrating it getsSooner or later he'll see that the bills are getting paid off without you fighting him and start asking how you're doing it.

    Compramise with him about the spending, not everything is worth the fight over it. DH loves to buy video game systems, games and dvds but they're not worth ending our marriage over. I don't like him bringing home tons of video games ans dvds that half the time sit in the closet waiting for him to watch/play but as long as he's not using credit I'm not going to fight him about it, he is who he is and I married him bad habits, video game obsession and all. He stopped insisting that we buy the newest latest greatest video games as soon as they come out now he's willing to wait till they've been out a couple years and buy them used for less money.

    Since your dh feels his money is his money then the money you make from crafts and dumpster diving is yours to pay the bills with so use or add that to the your bill payments to get a little ahead also open a savings account in your name and set something aside from each sale incase there's a major emergancy and you need it.

    thrift is a sign of intelligence, any fool can spend money

    A merry heart does good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17 verse 22
  • Mon, Mar 17 2008 5:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    I am sorry that you are having such a rough time convincing your husband that being frugal and cutting down spending is a good thing worth the effort. I can hear/feel your frustration.

    My advice (for what it's worth) is to be frugal with the things that are within your control. Being a stay-at-home-wife/mom, you have many opportunities to contribute to the overall frugal picture. For instance:

    - become a frugal shopper (i.e. cutting coupons, shopping deals, stock up when things are on sale, etc.)

    - become a thrifty chef (learn to cook more from scratch, which saves money)

    - hang clothes to dry (uses much less energy and gets the electric bill down), etc.

    - next time you purchase lightbulbs, buy the CFL ones that use less energy

    - learn to make your own cleaners, rather than buying the expensive ones in the store (you can find lists on the internet for recipes, including uses for basic items like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, etc.)

    - if you are able to sell crafts or anything like that, then use whatever extra time you have to put towards making more to sell.

    As the manager of your household, you have more things in your immediate control than you think!

    I also want to say that it sounds to me like there is more to this than just a husband who is unsupportive in your quest to become more frugal. It sounds like you and your husband are having miscommunications about you staying home and the issues that come with that. I believe that having one spouse stay home is a great decision for a family, but there are many things that must be discussed and agreed apon to make it work and to avoid attitudes such as this. As a Christian, I am a strong believer in the benefits of someone staying home to be the manager of the household, a wife and a mother. I feel that these roles for women are God-given and should be given just as much respect as any outside of the home work. You are working just as hard for that money - your work is just being focused in a different area. So, stay focused on that and give yourself a pat on the back for all that you are doing for your family! Let that be your encouragement.

    Don't let your husband's negative attitude sway your quest to become more frugal. Continue to find ways to become more frugal and let your husband see that you are determined. Once he sees that you are saving money, he may become more positive about becoming frugal himself. Let your actions and attitude sway him!!!!

    PS. I don't mean to offend anyone with my views on women in the household. I, personally, work outside of the home right now (which I hope will change one day soon, when my frugality pays off!). But I am still a strong believer in the overall benefits to the family and household and I also think that it's a "career" that should be more respected than it is in today's society.

    God bless,


  • Mon, Mar 17 2008 6:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    My husband also eats out a few times a week and at times, especially lean times, it would drive me nuts.  One day I stopped because he really couldn't take lunches from home.  I noticed when he was really low in $$ he would skip meals, come home and eat or just go without.  So he was being frugal at times.

    It took years......so just hang in there. We are in debt because he wouldn't have his family drive a beat up car that's not safe or about to give up and then we wouldn't have transportation.  I'm a SAHM and I learned to say "this is what's for dinner" rice and beans if that's all we have and he has to adjust.

    The part that has been hard for me is that when we had better financial times he helped his siblings when they are poor.  However his siblings had spent money on vacations, cars, breast implants, etc. and DH feels bad for them.  That annoyed me but after a few arguments I decided to let it go.

  • Tue, Mar 18 2008 2:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    I appreciate all comments, however I do already do what I can (cooking from scratch, small garden, thrift stores and yard sales, stockpiling, saving up for items I want vs need). My frustruation comes from the fact that he is not taking care of the bills first and then spending. When I question if he paid such and such bill he acts like it can just be paid whenever he wants not when it is due. Thus we have late fees. In addition he has 3 cc's all of which are maxed out. He has a military cc which has a high balance and he continues to use it. Yet he just bought an ipod, new shoes (not cheap ones) and new spearfishing gear. None of these were needs. This is in addition to the eating out at least 5 days a week (sometimes it's 6) for 1 or 2 meals each day. Then when I get something like Easter basket stuff (on sale or clearance and only a few items) he wants to gripe and grouse! I spend little to no money on myself and household items are from thrift stores/yard sales. So what else can I do? I am doing my part, but we are going down into a sea of debt because my husband is acting entitled. The last talk we had ended up in an argument. When I talk about going back to work (which I don't want to do because we have a 19 month old and 2 school aged daughters and when I did it before my money just went to childcare, gas and eating out!) he says "it's up to you, I don't care if you want to stay home that's okay with me".

  • Tue, Mar 18 2008 2:46 PM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Dec 17 2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,406

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband


    I have a question/ rant. My efforts to get out of debt and my use of frugal skills are frittered away by my impulsive, overspending, somewhat selfish husband.

    This sounds like my ex-wife from 25 years ago. She left when I refused to take out a loan for a pleasure trip when we were already flat broke, she was one of those who thought it is okay to mail the house payment late because the penalty didn't happen until it was ten days late. Different situation, no children and I had a steady job and time to financially recover. It sounds like you are doing and have done all that you can.

    Is getting a part-time job an option for you? Perhaps delivering newspapers in the early AM, or part time office work during the day if your children are in school. A school is a good place to apply for a job with those hours.

    Is this husband someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Divorce is disastrous, it was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me, but I was much happier only two years later. Being is single mom is a hard row to hoe, both of my sisters have "been there, done that" because of childish and selfish husbands, but both were better off five years later. I'm not advocating divorce, I didn't even want the one that happened to me, but recognize that it may be the only way out. Just recognize that he may not be willing or even able to change. Where do you want to be 20 years from now? Do you see your husband in that picture?

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
  • Tue, Mar 18 2008 10:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    Sounds like there are deeper issues. He is not interested in putting the family first, just him.   My dh has not been the most frugal of persons but never to that extreme. He ate out all the time but did not go into debt for it.  mostly spending all the money he had (high salary) instead of saving more etc. He has made lots of changes!

    My friend was in a similar situation and had to separate to protect her and the kids. him not wanting to work after spending all their money on a course (the job..easy money here at the moment). debts debts and creating more debts.  They would have been homeless if it wasn't the fact they were living in his family's owned home.   couple years later barely any child support but she loves that weight off her shoulders. still paying off some of his debts she is stuck with.  He is still straighting out his life, hopefully soon.  She was frugal, worked but it was never enough to pay bills and his bills and more bills. neverending treadmill.  he spent any money that was going rent/bills etc.  His family blamed her for not controlling him though they were a big part of why he was like that.

    bottom line he is selfish and need to grow up. see it too many times. hope it changes for the better for you.  Remember it is your retirement funds/kids college funds etc too that he is spending while you are economizing.   best wishes.


    My Family's Interests
  • Wed, Mar 19 2008 4:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    None of the things you guys have told me is a big shock. I haven't  decided yet that it's time for a divorce. However, I am in the process of putting myself first for the first time years. I have a BA so going back to work is no problem although I would have to move closer to family (which would be expensive, but I know that they would help me). I have started selling the furniture I find and fix up and the $$ goes directly into my own account. I am also looking into selling my crafts which I do because I love to craft, but I know that I can make some money from them. In addition I am a gifted singer and if I needed to I could sing for weddings/ funerals, etc. The thing is I really want him to come to his senses. I do love him and of course no one wants a divorce. I guess I need to sit him down again and really say everything I've said here to him again. Then I need to let him know that I am really feeling hurt and that he is damaging our future finances and being selfish and impulsive and see what he says. Anyone else have any other ideas or imput?

  • Wed, Mar 19 2008 9:21 AM In reply to

    • CharlieB
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Feb 11 2008
    • Michigan
    • Posts 319

    Re: Finances with an unfrugal husband

    Tinamarie, I think arianasilver gave great advice.

    He should know that this is a serious issue, and you two should have that frank discussion.  Maybe a third party like a counselor could help, give a course of action to follow, I don't know...  At some point, it seems he may have two paths to chose from - either you work together concerning the expenses and spending, or he continues on in a selfish manner of going in debt.  I would hope he'd realize the second choice would lead him to a pretty sad outcome.

    I wish you the best of luck!

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