4 ways to cope when your spouse spends lots of money

So you love your partner and would die without him/her. He/she gives the best hugs. But there's just that one little problem… your dearly beloved has zero self-control when it comes to spending money. Whether she's pertually planning lavish overseas vacations or he blows his monthly budget on one night out at the pub, something's gotta give. Here's how to deal when your spouse is a hopeless spendthrift.

1. Set up a joint entertainment budget

Sure, it's important to have date-night now and then. But sometimes date-night actually turns into a spending free-for-all, where you watch with your heart in your mouth as your spouse orders the wagyu, picks up a few clothing items as you walk through the shopping mall on your way out, and then wants to take a taxi back because you're both too tired.

Now, we're in no way accusing your spouse of being a gold-digger. Heck, he or she might even be the one who foots the bill. But as one half of a couple, you might not be comfortable with spending so much each time you go out. The answer is to set up a joint entertainment budget that both of you contribute to. This forces both of you to take stock at the end of the month and see in cold, hard figures how much you've spent on your dates.

2. Lock up more of your money in investments

When you're in a long term relationship, you tend to get complacent about things that you would otherwise feel insecure about, like money and finances. After all, you no longer have to weather all storms alone, right? The problem is that this carelessness can lead to regrets somewhere down the road.

If you find you have too much disposable income and your spouse is spending all of it on nonsense, it might be time to lock up more of your money in investments. Chances are, your spouse will be amenable to the idea, because who doesn't want their money to grow, right? If one of you is self-employed, it might be time to start making CPF contributions to prevent your spouse from overspending.

3. Voice your concerns

It always amazes me how many husbands and boyfriends are secretly worried that their partners spend too much, but don't have the guts to drag the issue out into the open, choosing instead to drop hints or passive aggressive comments. This anxiety tends to peak in the months before and after the wedding and honeymoon, or prior to the birth of a child, when spending hits new highs.

What I can't understand is why they can't just talk about the problem properly. If your partner isn't a gold-digger who's with you for the money, there's really no reason why he or she would want you to suffer in silence. Once the problem is out in the open, you might be surprised to find that your other half actually had no idea it bugged you this much.

4. Brainstorm cheaper ways to spend time together

If you've talked about the problem in accordance with Point No. 3 above, you're now in the position where you can actively take steps to address the issue-how you can enjoy your lives and spend time together without having to sell the soul of your firstborn son. Put things down in writing so you can refer to your notes later.

It might be tough to try to convince your spouse to take an hour-long bus and MRT ride to town instead of hopping into a taxi, but unless you're totally incompatible there are bound to be areas where compromise is possible. For instance, a couple I know started going for yoga classes they found on meetup.com, which was their way of finding a low-cost activity to get them out of the house. Another couple started looking for free events all over the city so they wouldn't get tempted to hang out at overpriced cafes.

This article first appeared in MoneySmart at http://blog.moneysmart.sg/saving/4-ways-to-cope-when-your-spouse-spends-a-lot-of-money/

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