How To Budget Money with a Spouse Who Spends Too Much


March 25, 2024

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Does Your Spouse “Spend Too Much?”

Learning how to budget money with a spouse who spends too much can be challenging, but it’s essential for financial harmony in your relationship.

Learning how to budget money with a spouse who spends too much means talking about money without getting upset. You need to understand each other and make a plan that both of you like. Your plan should include deciding how much to spend and save and when to talk about money together.

In this post, I’ll share six tips that will help you if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the challenge of getting on the same page financially with your spouse. 

Does Your Spouse "Spend Too Much?"

6 Tips on How to Budget Money If Your Spouse Spends Too Much

Is it carrying credit card debt or just spending more than you?

You’ll want to determine how significant the problem is and look at cash flow coming in and going out each month.

Ask yourself when you first heard the term “spending too much.” Was it growing up? Who used it?

The term “spending too much” implies judgment, and if your partner feels judged, you’ll be less likely to find an easy solution. Instead, could you be curious about why your partner overspends and how you can make it easier for them to budget? 

This way, your partner feels supported and is more likely to work with you.

Using what, when, where, and how questions, discuss budget solutions with your partner.

Create flexibility and be open to learning how to create financial stability together. 

This meeting will allow you to check in and evaluate your budgeting progress. 

Accepting that change is hard means you’ll want to be supportive and not critical. 

How do we start a conversation about budgeting without causing conflict?

To start a conversation about budgeting without causing conflict, begin with the end in mind. 

Then, use the simple guide of planning and reviewing the when, where, why, and how. It is easy to remember and can keep you on track when you have a difficult conversation.  

Plan to have the conversation when you’re both relaxed and not racing to the next item on the to-do list. Ask your spouse if you could plan a good time to talk because you want their help.     

Choose a quiet location, without phones or electronics, where you won’t be disturbed. 

Be prepared to go into detail and describe the positive outcome of budgeting.  The positive outcome is your “why” for budgeting.  Consider what is important to your partner and why they might benefit from budgeting. It is easier to motivate someone when they can understand the reward of putting off spending today. 

Finally, you’ll communicate with your partner about how to start budgeting. Outline the steps you need to take to organize your finances.    

What’s the best way to create a budget that suits us?

To create a budget that suits both people, you must acknowledge that neither person is wrong or right.  

You’re both going to have to adapt to work together.  Most people go into the conversation with their back up being righteous and wanting to blame their partner, thinking, “They are so cheap” or “They are so frivolous.” 

Instead,  appreciate the other person and remember that they learned their money mindset years before you came along, and it “feels” right and comfortable to them. Accepting that your partner’s view isn’t wrong, just different from yours, enables you to work together on a budget that suits both of you.   

What's the best way to create a budget that suits us?

How can we set financial goals that we both agree on?

To agree on mutual financial goals, you need to be open to understanding what you want to achieve and what your partner wants to achieve.  

Stary by individually brainstorming your financial goals and how to reach them. Then, come to the meeting curious and open to learning together.  

What are effective ways to track our spending as a couple?

While every couple is unique, effective ways to track spending are by using:

  • Joint bank accounts
  • Joint credit cards
  • A spreadsheet to track expenses each month
  • Budgeting apps
  • Having a set monthly meeting to review income and expenses

The most important thing is to track your spending as a couple and discuss your finances at a monthly meeting.  

How can we balance saving with enjoyable spending?

To balance saving with spending, use the 50/30/20 budgeting rule. This rule lets you know exactly how much you can spend for fun while still saving.  

The rule states that 50% of your take-home income is used for needs, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% for savings and debt repayment.

Should we have separate accounts or a joint account for our expenses?

You can decide what is best for you after honest and open conversations with your partner.  

You’ll want the solution to be based on trust. And you must have faith that your partner will be honest with you.  If one person struggles to stay on track, ask if you can help and suggest joint accounts.  It’s all in how you approach it! 

Quick Video: 3 Tips to Start Budgeting

You can use these three simple steps tips to get started budgeting so you can achieve financial freedom more quickly and easily! Make sure you click the subscribe button if you’re YouTube user so you get more of these videos in your feed.

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About the Author

TIFFANY WOODFIELD is a financial coach, cross-border expert, and entrepreneur based out of Kelowna, BC. As a TEP and associate portfolio manager, Tiffany has extensive experience working with successful professionals who want to leave a legacy and enjoy an adventurous, work-optional lifestyle. Tiffany combines extensive knowledge from her background as a financial professional with coaching and her passion for personal development to help her clients create a unique path that allows them to live their fullest potential. Tiffany has been a regular contributor to Bloomberg TV and has been interviewed by national and international publications, including the Globe and Mail and Barron’s.