How to Cope with a Spendthrift Spouse
Many people keep spending money even though they really should be living within their budget. If they get any
money at all, they go out and spend it immediately. People who are bad at managing money will spend what they have
and sometimes even what they are able to borrow.
When you overspend like that while you are single, you are hurting yourself; if you are married, you are hurting
your spouse. A spendthrift spouse can ruin your finances and your marriage.
Many couples end up divorced because one spouse mismanages the money. Ideally, people should talk about their
financial goals before they get married and work together to achieve these goals together. A lot of people don’t
discuss money before they get married, though. Most couples have to cope with differences in their attitudes about
money and spending once they are married.
Having a spendthrift spouse who does not think twice about spending money you don’t have can cause some serious
problems. Some signs to look for include:
1. Spending an entire paycheck, bonuses, and other money that comes in to the household
2. Buying things that are not needed
3. Buying large and expensive items no matter what they cost
4. Not interested in saving money for emergencies
5. Not making good financial plans
6. Overspending on the holidays
7. Being secretive about purchases
8. Spending money that should be saved for future purchases
When there is one spendthrift spouse in the relationship, the other spouse is very much affected by the
spendthrift spouse's actions. If one person in the marriage spends excessively, there are probably going to be
financial problems. For a lot of families, spending just what they make means no money is saved for emergencies. If
the car needs to be repaired or if the house needs work, the couple will probably have to borrow money.
It is important that couples discuss how they will spend their money. If one spouse is a spendthrift, they need
to be clear on what exactly the financial situation is and what sort of budget the couple is living under. It is a
good idea to go over income and expenses from time to time and plan your savings. You can save money on your own if
your spouse won’t participate by doing the following:
1. Setting up automatic deductions from your paycheck to savings
2. Setting up automatic deposits into the savings account
3. Having a savings account your spouse cannot access
If you have a spendthrift spouse, you need to be careful with what you spend your money on as well. The two of
you need to compromise and realize that the money you have is both of yours. During your discussion about money,
you do not want to tell your spouse that he or she is a spendthrift. No name calling at all is the way to go.
You want to start off your discussion about money in a positive way so you can come up with a budget that will
be agreeable to both of you. You will want to explain to your spouse how his or her spending has affected you both
emotionally and financially so your spouse can see why he or she needs to change.
Facing the Financial Consequences
If your spouse is a spendthrift, you are probably going to have to cope with the serious financial consequences
of your spouse’s spending habits. You may get collection calls, new bills coming in the mail all the time, and
insufficient funds in your account to pay the bills you need to pay. The following are some ways to cope:
1. Seek help from a financial counselor
2. Talk to an expert in credit counseling
3. Create a budget with your spouse that allows you to pay your bills and avoid new bills you cannot pay.
You won’t find a magic solution to coping with a spendthrift spouse who is spending like crazy. You do need to
come up with a plan to cope with your financial problems if you are going to avoid divorce and get your life back.
Money issues cause the majority of divorces so you need to face your financial problems head on right away.