Could You Be Causing Your Spouse To Overspend?

by Shaunna Privratsky
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Your spouse’s overspending might be blowing your budget, but they might not be solely to blame. See if your actions might be contributing to their need to spend and what you both can do to get back on the same financial track.

Oh no! It’s the end of the month and you are running short of money again. You blame it on your overspending spouse, fuming that if only he would stop wasting money, your budget would be fine. But what if you were the cause?

Overspending is a serious problem because it can put you in major debt. So, the sooner you figure out why your spouse is spending so much, the quicker you can both get back on track.

Are You Too Demanding?

First, look in the mirror. Are you constantly demanding expensive gifts or vacations? Your spouse may feel he has to provide them to “earn” your love or approval. This may be an unconscious reaction, or he may do it just to please you. You can help by making your expectations more reasonable.

Are You Trying To Keep Up With the Joneses?

Another reason for overspending could be trying to keep up with the Joneses. Maybe you make him feel inferior if you are not driving a brand-new car like your friends or getting your lawn professionally maintained just because the neighbors all do.

Instead, try to support him in making decisions that fit your budget, not anyone else’s. You don’t know their circumstances; they could be in debt up to their eyeballs because they are trying to keep up with you!

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Are You Too Critical?

Are you constantly putting your spouse down because he can’t provide enough? Feelings of failure can cause him to overspend just to compensate. He might be trying to prove himself despite your negativity. Try to imagine how you would feel if someone put down every effort you made.

Are You Too Controlling of the Finances?

Overspending can also be a form of rebellion if you limit your spouse’s input on how your money is spent. Without a feeling of being included, he could be trying to take back some control, even if it is hurting your bottom line.

Getting on the Same Financial Page

In order to control overspending, you and your spouse have to get on the same page. Overspending can result from unplanned expenses, like car repairs and home maintenance. Unfortunately, too many people don’t have any emergency savings or not enough to cover these unexpected expenses. This can lead to huge bills with no way to pay them besides more credit card debt.

1. Start an emergency fund.

Try putting aside a little each month to cover unexpected bills. This will help with overspending in the long run. He also says it is best to put the extra savings in a different account or location than your regular accounts. Then it will be available when you need it.

Build an Emergency Fund

With these simple tips and tools, you can build an emergency fund, even while living paycheck to paycheck.

2. Determine your spending problem areas.

Sit down together and pinpoint the problem areas that cause one or both of you to overspend. Agree that you won’t undermine each other and that you will quit demanding a more expensive lifestyle.

Budget everything so you can see where you can cut back. Perhaps you can quit eating out as often or cut back on other unnecessary spending.

3. Allow for some fun money.

Include some money for fun. When you try to limit your spending too much, it is sure to backfire. By allowing a little bit each month, it makes it more special and is guilt free because you know it fits into the budget.

4. Set an allowance for each of you.

Another key component in controlling an overspending spouse is giving them a set allowance. This seems counterintuitive, but it allows them to spend something, just not too much. You should decide together on the amount so no one feels cheated or left out.

By getting to the root of the overspending problem, you and your spouse can work together to fix it. Even if you discover that you are the cause, overcome that by being open and honest with your spouse and making a plan for a brighter financial future.

Reviewed November 2023

About the Author

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Visit her at The Discount Diva.

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