Help! Need ideas on dealing with wife's spending


#1

Me and my wife have been married 11 years , no children due to wife’s health. live in a house with very low mortagage payemnt( $550 icludes escrow) a month, payed for car, decently low utilities except nautral gas during winter months. Im only partially because office politics in my full time job moved me out, so I have my part time pizza delivery job left, plus her social security disability is what we live on a month.
The problem is she spends money on clothes and yarn like we’re millionares. when we first got married checks never bounced, in the last several years we have few dozen overdrafts a year, and it doesnt bother her. Last winter our heat was almost shut off twice on account of her spending, we almost got the house foreclosed on last spring becaause she left nothing in the checking account. Her mother passed away earlier this year and she is not far from spending that estate money away.
She has a phobia of not waering the correct clothes to an event, she also has a dire phobia not wearing brand new clothes for easter and christmas. every little thing she goes to she knows exactly what she thinks she need to wear, and if she doesnt have it she will go out and buy it whether or not theres money for it. If I take the check book away she goes and with drowls out of the checking account to pay for it. she has a few clothes store credit cards that are near maxed out.
Im at my wits end on how to get her to stop. Do any of the women out there have any ways of dealing with this? nothing I tell her scares her into not spending. Im affraid the only solution to keep from going homeless from her spending is leave her. I dont want to do that, but if I go homeless we wont last with my easy dehydration prblems, and low blood sugar,and with her arthraitis, and possible heart problems. I dont know what to do or say any more . Im on the verge of giving up! Any ideas?!?


#2

Try www.crown.org and email Howard at (I think) heyhoward@crown.org with your problem. He may have some suggestions for a Christian approach.

Is it not possible to just take the money, credit cards, check book- away from her? This seems like the loving thing to do at this point.

This almost seems like an addiction or compulsive disorder. Maybe a 12 step program would help her.

Is there anything in her past that would have encouraged her to behave this way?


#3

This may not help at all, but maybe if she knows she can spend X amount of money on clothes per month, she will be able to plan accordingly. Withdraw all the money you need for the month and put it in envelopes marked with what it’s for (groceries, clothes, car, entertainment, etc.), and when that’s gone, it’s gone! Good luck, and I think vluvski has some good ideas, too!


#4

You could also open a separate bank account that only you have access to, then you deposit all the money for bills into it. Leave only the money that she can spend in the other account. Also, you need to make sure that your name is not on any of her credit cards so that she doesn’t ruin your credit along with hers.


#5

Dad??? Is that you???

Kidding. :wink:

Seriously, it sounds like something I’ve seen first hand. There is no easy answer, but I would suggest seperate checking accounts. One for you to pay bills so checks never bounce and you don’t risk your house or utilities. She gets away with this in part becaue you bail her out. Let her deal with the overdraft notices and the fallouts.

I do warn, though–prepare for your wife to become impossible to live with. Her wrath will probably be fierce. I know that is a huge assumption to make, but I’ve seen it before. It’s almost like taking the bottle from an alcoholic. Then again, if you keep going the current route and lose the home, she’ll probably be mad at you for that too.

Some counseling may advisable.

I also suggest the book “Boundaries in Marriage” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Finances are one of the many topics, and godly vs ungodly suffering is another. In this situation, it prescribes “taking the credit cards, and enduring her wrath” as the godly choice and godly suffering I would say the same goes for the checking account too.

God bless.


#6

she needs a person of credentials to tell her she is on the wrong path. credentials meaning a counseler or the like. she has told me over and over that its a capital sin to wear an outfit to christmas or easter that has been worn before, to the point Im utterly sick n tired of it, and she is mad at me for not getting a new outfit myself. when I tell her keeping our house might mean wearing rags at times it goes in one ear and out the other. I have emailed my diocese Catholic family services for help. To tell how bad this is to me, just minutes before typing this post I woke up from a nightmare of loosing my house, and car, after waking up I threw up in the bathroom. while Im doing that she is sleeping nicely thinking everything is fine that she got her christmas outfit. I hope The Catholic social services contacts me soon.


#7
  1. Try visiting Dave Ramsey’s Web site:

daveramsey.com/

He’s an expert at dealing with just this issue.

  1. I have read about some folks who just went along with the spending, accepting the bankruptcies that followed, bad credit and etc.

The alternative to bankruptcy is to take “extreme” measures. Getting rid of all credit cards, arranging for all financial statements to be mailed to a P.O. box, locking up all check books, living on cash only. Mailing legal letters to all the stores, notifying them of refusal to pay any and all charges by that store, etc.

“We are out of money”. “We’re broke; there is no more money.”

The expression “we can’t afford it” is a qualtitative judgmental statement. The usual response is “it’s worth it to me”. One subjective statement being met with another subjective statement.

However, sometimes it works to say, we have $1,000 per month to spend on everything… rent is $xxx Electric is $xxx Car payments are $xxx. Food is $xxx. What’s left is $yyy.

I know men who are addicted to golf clubs and new cars.

In my case, books are my downfall… as a kid we couldn’t afford to buy books. And I had a need to KNOW everything. My first job was in the military overseas and I learned that there was SO MUCH TO LEARN! AND THERE WAS SO MUCH INFORMATION AVAILABLE. So I became a knowledge and information junkie. When I got my own income, I discovered “BOOK STORES”. Later on, to hide them from my wife, I used to store them at work in my cube; I had boxes of them.

Now there is Amazon… it’s soooo easy!! I am forcing myself to not buy a book unless I read the previous book first. OR to give away a book, which is almost impossible for me… to part with a book is like giving away some cherished information.


#8

I definitely agree that you need to get your name off any and all accounts she has access to, and begin depositing your earnings in an account with only your name on it.

Perhaps get credit counseling to find a way to untie your credit from hers, so that even if she continues to spend on credit, she’ll eventually run into cancelled cards instead of you getting her bills paid while your house is foreclosed on.


#9

it now has been decided next month(like the first of) Im getting a checking account of my own that my money gets deposited in. and she is depressed over it. what befuddles me is the lack of worry over loosing the house, she thinks it will be paid for and if we cant then the mortgage company has to wit till we have the money. Ive also contacted crown.org and catholic social services for my diocese , for we definitely need counseling, but cant afford it.
I was not well equipped to deal with this type of wife from my upbringing. My mother doesnt step into a store but once or twice in a year, and she has a phobia of being out of money in an emergency if she spends one red cent. my mom would rather wear 25 yearold clothes than risk not having money for a “rainy day”. My fault in this is My strong inabilty to multitask, I cant both watch my wife with the money and put a good effort into looking for a full time job at the same time.paying attention to her lately has taken my limeted attention Im able to give away from looking for a job. thanks for the input, and others if you ahve something to add please do


#10

This is not about money. Your wife has some psychological & emotional problems that need to be dealt with. Get into therapy pronto.

The money is only a side-issue. Of course you need a budget. Of course you need to save. Of course you should not spend above your means. BUT-- you will not get this through to her as long as her emotional and psychological issues remain.

I do agree Dave Ramsey’s website & books are good. But, I don’t think they will help you until your wife resolves her issues through good, solid counseling.

Contact your local Catholic parish, dioces, or Catholic Charities for a list of Catholic counselors and those who will work with you for a reduced or waived fee.


#11

[quote=aspawloski4th]it now has been decided next month(like the first of) Im getting a checking account of my own that my money gets deposited in. and she is depressed over it.

Oh well. She’ll get over it.


what befuddles me is the lack of worry over loosing the house, she thinks it will be paid for and if we cant then the mortgage company has to wit till we have the money. Ive also contacted crown.org and catholic social services for my diocese , for we definitely need counseling, but cant afford it.

Your wife is deluded or just plain foolish then. At the very least, it’s should be obvious that if you can’t pay the regular payment - you certainly are not going to be able to make a huge total of back payments in a hurried lump sum!


I would also recommend you set up a budget. I have no idea why people hate budgets?! They are great. You get paid. You look at the budget and write what it tells you to. And you’re done and worry free. I’m telling you, a good budget is heaven.


I was not well equipped to deal with this type of wife from my upbringing. My mother doesnt step into a store but once or twice in a year, and she has a phobia of being out of money in an emergency if she spends one red cent. my mom would rather wear 25 yearold clothes than risk not having money for a “rainy day”. My fault in this is My strong inabilty to multitask, I cant both watch my wife with the money and put a good effort into looking for a full time job at the same time.paying attention to her lately has taken my limeted attention Im able to give away from looking for a job.

Create a seperate acct. as advised. Create a budget of monthly/payday expenses. If there is an expense that cannot be paid with your check, explain to your wife that unless she hands that money over the very day you get paid from her own funds - it is an expense that will not longer be available to the house permanently. (cable, phone, internet, ect…) Each payday, pay the bills according to your budget. Then go look for a better job and let your wife sit at home mad at herself for having to sit in the silence and dark because she had to go buy a pair of shoes she doesn’t need.
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#12

[font=Verdana][font=Verdana]My husband says I spend too much too! :wink: However, we never bounce checks . . . we may just save less then planned/desired.

Obviously you need to budget, but the key to budgeting for two is to keep both people involved and invested. I find that when my husband sets a budget, I have no interest keeping it. Why do we need to save so much money, anyway?

However, when he and I sit down together and agree upon long term-goals (like college for children or early retirement) and then work backwards - it works. We figuring out how much those things cost, how much we have a save each year/month to build up the desired amount, and how much we have left to spend on current needs. Then we decide how to spend our money on current needs - i.e. how much can I spend each month on groceries, hair appointments, shoes, ect…

We also always make a point to include some “mad money” each month, so we don’t feel totally bound and can splurge without breaking the budget.

Once I have been through all the above with my husband (actively participating in the choices and planning), I’m invested in seeing that the plan works. I feel like I have control over our money and I want to stay within the budget to achieve the goals. It works wonderfully but has to be repeated every year or I forget/lose interest.

Being yelled at for spending too much money has the opposite effect. I head right out to the stores to console myself… The thing that gets me down is feeling like I don’t have control over my own life (or finances). I try to assert my independence by purchasing things.

Perhaps this gives you some insight into your wife and how you can lovingly deal with her. Ultimately, I think you need to get her invested in the budget somehow and treat her as a responsible adult who can monitor herself.

A financial counselor may help, if your wife is invested in the maintaining the budget. Perhaps the counselor can help find ways to get your wife invested. But, unless your wife really wants to keep the budget – it will be forgot when she sees a cute new pair of shoes – regardless of what you (or a counselor) say to her. She has to think it is important or else it won’t be.

One final thought: I would be caution about establishing a separate bank account. My husband and I actually have separate bank accounts (as well as our joint account) and it works fine. We each get $X per month in our private account that we can spend however we wish without explanation to or knowledge of the other. This allows us both financial freedom.

However, a private bank account should not be used to shield or hide money from your spouse! Regardless of your reason, I imagine your wife would feel totally crushed and betrayed when she discovered the truth. (And truths like this had a way of becoming known.) You don’t want to cut your wife out of your finances, thereby treating her like a child, and ultimately betray her by hiding / lying about assets. This type of behavior will send a strong message to your wife that money is more important to you then she is.

Your relationship with your wife (and God) is the most important thing in your life. You have to find a way to work with your wife on your finances. Unless you separate from your wife, no solution with work without involving her.

That is my two cents, anyway. From a wife who spends too much money . . .[/font][/font]


#13

Have you told her how upset her spending makes you? Have you told her how you throw up because you are so worried that you’ll lose the house? She sounds immature - why she’d want an “outfit” rather than paying the heating bill … I just don’t understand. Someone else said that it wasn’t about the spending - that she has other emotional things she needs to deal with? That’s probably true. Is she Catholic? Would she agree to talk to the Priest? Maybe he (a person of authority like you said) could talk some sense into her?

At any rate, I’d make her cut up the credit cards. Maybe she feels like she’s out of control and she wishes she could stop spending but she doesn’t know how? Maybe she’d be HAPPY if you took away her spending power?

I hope you’re able to work this out. All of this stress plus trying to find a job can’t be good for you. Hang in there.


#14

[quote=JGheen][font=Verdana]
[font=Verdana]However, a private bank account should not be used to shield or hide money from your spouse! Regardless of your reason, I imagine your wife would feel totally crushed and betrayed when she discovered the truth. (And truths like this had a way of becoming known.) You don’t want to cut your wife out of your finances, thereby treating her like a child, and ultimately betray her by hiding / lying about assets. This type of behavior will send a strong message to your wife that money is more important to you then she is.

That is my two cents, anyway. From a wife who spends too much money . . .[/font][/font]
[/quote]

I don’t think this situation is as simple as the wife spending too much, as other posters have noted. This woman has a serious problem. He sounds like he has been straightforward with her that he will not allow her access to their money. This is basically the same thing as preventing an alcoholic from drinking.


#15

thanx all for the input and if anyone feels like giving more Im all eyes:p first some one said this cant be good on me, and they are more correct than they ever will know. being in emotionally handicap shcools most of my childhood I know Im not likely to ever totally get rid of that impairemnt, this doesnt make it easier to deal with. I think the clothes thing comes from her family being an image oriented family, all be it the type of image driven from 50 or more years ago, her mother thought I should wear a full 3 peice suit to every job interview, because thats the way it was years ago. that has rubbed off on her. but otherwise she is very opposite the rest of her family. she makes a minimum of 500 phone calls a month( she pays the phone bill). in a store it is an utter rarity she doesnt go thru the time without talking to a stranger at all.
Ive told her how I feel. she says I worry too much. she will say make a payment plan with those owed money. I have taken away the check book and hidden it. its under the computer, she is never in the computer room ever. I have contacted crown.org and they have sent me a list of their programs, that catholic social services wants to start counseling first of the year. thats a good start. but I hope that have a counseler that can deal with money as well as the non money issues with her, and me too. ohwell Ive rattled on too much. thankyou all for the input.


#16

As someone else said, this is not about the money. However, it is manifesting itself in money problems.

When your wife sees the professional she should discuss the possibility that she is depressed. It may be a side effect of medication, or of genuine health concerns, or underlying problems that have been there for years. There may be grief and mourning going on as well. If your wife’s behavior was not always so irresponsible, maybe you can narrow down when it first started.


#17

My brother was in the military, and when he was deployed his wife would spend more money than she should have on various things. He finally talked to a lawyer about how to protect himself and their daughter. I don’t know the final outcome and I think she has improved, but if you’re worried about losing your home, you may want to consult a lawyer. If money is an issue, call your parish or Catholic Charities to ask for a referral. —KCT


#18

Let her be the one to deliver pizzas and see how much she enjoys blowing money then…

Not to be rude, but women like this drive me up the wall. I have worked part time jobs our whole married life, so we could have some spending money. What am I wearing to Christmas this year? A hand-me-down dress from my sister, that looks brand new, and no one would know the difference! When you’re the one having to go out of your comfort zone to work she doesn’t know the difference, and will continue to spend the money that is available to her!


#19

i have a friend whose wife did the exact same thing. he finally removed her name from everything that could reflect poorly on his credit, had her set up her own checking account, and gave her a monthly “allowance”. at that point, her money became her money and her spending habits only affected her. she is still constantly overdrawn and constantly broke, but it’s her problem. there were a lot of problems in the beginning of this arrangement, but he continued to explain to her that as an adult she needed to be responsible for her money, and she wasn’t a child for him to constantly bail out. she doesn’t argue with him anymore about it and has come to accept the unhappy fact that this is the way it is, and that now she has to deal with her $$ problems herself.


#20

Well beginning of january Im setting up a checking account in my name only for the necessary stuff. Id like her to deiver pizzas, but she doesnt have a drivers liscence, and failed the test for one last month. But at the beigining of next month Im gonna give her a ceartain ammount of time I have yet detormine to find an at home business to be involved in so she can make momney with all that time on her hands. at the beginning of the year Ill schedule counseling for us both too. she isnt going to like having to do an at home business, butI dont like leaving my home to wrok a job , so there plenty of dislike to go around. I wish there was a way to hypnotise a phobia of spending money in to her, it would make like with her easier and less risky.


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