How to Talk With Your Husband About Money – The truth behind how to work through a very tricky topic and stay connected with your husband… even when it’s hard!
One of the number one reasons that couples get divorced is because of money issues. It’s the truth.
There is no real “easy” way to talk about money. Everyone has grown up with different views on money and how to spend it or save it. But when you’re sharing finances with someone, these differences that might seem little at first turn into huge fights each month or week when a bill comes in.
My parents subscribed to the idea that they had money so they spent it. They spent a shameful amount of money. My husband’s parents were frugal; they had 7 kids on one income so they really had to be careful with finances. And yet, I am the saver in our marriage and my husband is the spender.
This has caused more fights between us that I can count. Some small (“why did you go to McDonald’s?”), some huge (“what do you mean you bought a motorcycle?!”). But the bottom line is that finances have almost been the downfall of my marriage more than once (true story).
In recent years, call it “old age” or maybe divine intervention, we’ve been able to really work through our money issues and come together as a team.
Full disclosure: it took 5 years to get to that point. I don’t want you to have to wait 5 very tough years to see eye-to-eye with your husband like I had to. That’s why I want to talk to you about how to talk with your husband about money in a way that will actually work.
It doesn’t matter which of you is the saver or the spender, all that matters is that you are a team. And, like it or not, in order to make your marriage last, this is going to be a conversation that you need to have together.
So how do you talk about money when the money situation is bad?
1) Set a date.
Who says that dates need to be just about romance? Sometimes they can have a very practical purpose!
Make a day each week for 1-2 hours for a “budget date.” You can grab a coffee or a bagel while you’re working it through. But remember… you are talking about money so it’s important not to spend too much of it on your budget dates!
Related post: Making the Marriage of a Saver and a Spender Work
2) Pick a neutral location.
Just in case one of you (or both of you!) are hot heads, going to a neutral location helps to keep the desire to yell or flip tables to a minimum.
It also helps keep the distractions of home life at bay. There are too many distractions at home. If you really want to focus, go somewhere quiet and have tough conversations there.
You can’t escape to go off and do the dishes or laundry or just lock yourself in your bathroom. Going to a neutral location will help you stay on track and keep emotions at bay. Which takes us to the next point…
3) Take away the emotions.
I mean it! Talking about money with your husband isn’t easy. But if you’re likely to start sobbing mid-conversation or yelling or blaming (or if he’s likely to do those things), you both need to go out of your way to leave the emotions at the door.
No one ever had a great talk with their husband when they called him a “jerk man-baby” (speaking from experience, guys). In the same way, your husband needs to agree to
This is not about talking about feelings or who has hurt who in the past. This is a talk about getting in touch with your financial situation right here. Emotions have no place here.
Now, if they are good emotions, by all means, bring them! But we’re talking negative, name-calling, angry, blaming emotions. No place for them!
Related post: How We Lived Well on $17,000 as a Family of Four
4) Bring an open mind.
Try to look at this as an opportunity for a blank slate. If you’ve ever tried to budget in the past and it just kept failing, leave that in the past.
Today is a new day. This is a new opportunity to start a budget over again! You aren’t the same people that you were when you had tried and failed to start a budget in the past.
So bring your open mind. Leave the negativity from the past, and use this blank slate for a better opportunity.
5) Talk about your shortcomings (both of you!)
You’ve heard me talk a LOT about my husband’s financial shortcomings: I hide money from him, he can’t control his spending, and how I’m a saver married to a spender. But the reality is that I’ve had my shortcomings, too!
My husband loves to talk about the time that I went to Target for milk and came home with an $80 microwave that we didn’t need back when we were living in our tiny 1 bedroom apartment on 1 very low income. Yeah, not my proudest moment. And I’m the saver in this family!
Bottom line here is that no matter how faultless you might see yourself, the reality is that we are all human and no one is without fault.
Don’t go into your Budget Date pointing fingers and blaming. Because in reality, you both share the mess that is your financial situation. Blaming won’t help here. Own your part of the mess, too.
Related post: 6 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money For Good
6) Find a common ground.
Talking about money in a marriage is stressful sometimes. Especially if you’re in between a rock and a hard place.
This is when you need to work hard to find something that you and your husband have in common when it comes to finances.
- Do you both agree that you get takeout too often?
- Are you both hoping to buy a new car in the next few years?
- Do you want to go on a second honeymoon somewhere nice for a milestone anniversary?
- Do you both agree that your child should get involved in a sport that will cost extra money?
Whatever it is, big or small, find some common ground that you can both agree on.
Related post: I MAKE My Husband Have His Own Bank Account
7) Bring the cold, hard facts.
One of the best things you can do when you need to know how to talk with your husband about money is to bring the facts with you.
Print out those bank statements, credit card bills, mortgage bill, electric bill… everything! You can’t argue with those pieces of paper that tell you where all of your money is actually going.
Remember the blaming? You can’t blame if you have the facts of the statements in front of you.
This is important for the both of you to face the mess that you’re in head-on. It will also take all of the guesswork away from starting a budget.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought to myself “how much do we spend on groceries?… $400 sounds right!” When in reality it was more like $1,000. Yeah.
Having those number there in front of you takes away not only the guesswork but also the excuses for not planning out a budget right away. No excuses here. You can really do this!
8) Set money goals that you can both agree on.
This is one of my favorite parts! Talk with your husband about what your money goals are for the short-term and then long-term.
You might not see eye to eye on some of the goals, but pick some goals that can be met quickly, and some that will require long-term planning and marathon-style money work to reach.
Some of your goals could be:
- Saving $1,000
- Setting up your 6-month emergency fund
- Family vacation
- Going to Disney
- Traveling to Europe
- Going on a cruise
- Buying a new car
- Paying for private school for your kids
- Retiring early
- Buying a new couch with cash
- Getting a new car
- Getting out of debt
Whatever your goals are, make sure that you are on board! When you both agree on the goals, they are easier to meet and easier to stick to the plan.
Related post: How to Make Saving Money Easy
9) Come up with a game plan together.
With all of your bills and expenses in front of you, it’s time to come up with a plan. Whether you need to set up a new budget or if you just need something to snap you back to reality about your financial situation, take the time to come up with it together.
Even if it’s as simple as agreeing to just get takeout once a week, that’s a game plan. Or if it’s agreeing to give up something that you or your husband love in order to afford those soccer lessons for your child. Maybe it’s starting to use the cash envelope system!
Whatever it might be for you and your family, set up your game plan to reach those goals.
10) Remember that you are a team.
This is actually one of the most important points. Remember that you are a team! You are connected in every aspect of your lives. That’s what marriage is about.
You don’t want to be working against your teammate. All that does is hurt your team in the long run.
Your husband is not your enemy. And you are not his. Even when things get tough, working against your husband means working against your marriage as a whole.
If things are really bad, get counseling. Whether it’s financial counseling or just marriage counseling, get some extra help. A third party is usually very good at shedding light on tough situations and bringing you both together.
Remind each other that you are on the same team; you are fighting for the same goals. It’s ok to fight about money, but never go out of your way to sabotage your marriage.
Knowing how to talk with your husband about money isn’t easy.
Sometimes, it’s downright awful! But it’s important to try to find the common ground, keep emotions out of it, avoid blaming, and really remember that you are in this together. When it gets tough, always remember that you are a team. I believe in you!
More resources to help you with your finances:
- How to Save Money When You Don’t Feel Like It
- 20 Things Frugal People Don’t Do
- Budgeting Allows You to Spend MORE
- The 2 Biggest Budgeting Lessons to Make Your Budget Stick
- How We Lived Well on $17,000 as a Family of Four
- Budgeting Books You NEED to Read
- How to Live on One Low Income
- What Do You Do When You Get Behind on Bills
- 6 Steps to Drastically Reduce Your Grocery Budget
- How Much Should I Budget for Groceries?
- How to Feed Your Family on a Budget (so You Don’t Feel Poor)
- Money Saving Hacks from an Extreme Cheapskate
- 30+ Real Ways to Earn Money From Home
- How to Make Saving Money Easy
- Should you take a vacation when you are struggling with money
What is the biggest money struggle in your marriage?
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