Dave Ramsey: What To Do When Your Spouse Has a Spending Problem

Worried couple feeling frustrated while have to pay their bills over Internet.
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Managing finances in a marriage can be challenging, especially when one partner has a tendency toward irresponsible spending. Dave Ramsey offered insights and advice for handling this situation. Here’s what to do if you have a spouse with a spending problem.

Recognize the Problem

The first step is identifying the issue. During an episode of The Ramsey Show, a wife called about her husband’s spending habits. He tended to make reckless financial decisions, such as customizing the family car unnecessarily. This not only created financial strain but also caused emotional stress. Recognizing these behaviors as problematic is crucial.

Understand the Underlying Issues

Ramsey suggests that such spending habits often stem from immaturity rather than addiction. It’s important to understand the root causes of these behaviors. Are they seeking instant gratification? Are there underlying emotional or psychological factors?

The Impact on Family

Irresponsible spending can have a profound impact on the family’s financial health and well-being. It can lead to debt accumulation, stress, and even affect the children’s sense of security. It’s important to take a moment and assess the impact of financial decisions.

Seek Professional Help

When facing such issues, it’s advisable to seek professional help. Marriage counseling can be a starting point. It’s important that both partners feel comfortable with the counselor. If the spending partner is resistant to counseling due to defensiveness or denial, this can be a significant hurdle to overcome.

Make Your Money Work for You

Communication and Joint Decision Making

Open and honest communication is key. Discussing financial goals, worries, and expectations as a couple can help in aligning your financial practices. Joint decision-making regarding expenses and budgeting can foster a sense of teamwork.

Set Boundaries and Rules

Establishing clear financial boundaries and rules is essential. This may include cutting up credit cards or setting spending limits. Both partners need to agree on these rules and work together to enforce them.

Build a Budget Together

Creating a budget together can help you and your spouse finances effectively. A budget acts as a roadmap for spending and saving, allowing both partners to track where the money is going and make adjustments as needed.

The Role of Patience and Persistence

Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to be patient and persistent. Regular check-ins on financial goals and spending habits can help you stay on track.

Prepare for Tough Decisions

If the situation doesn’t improve, tough decisions might have to be made. This could involve serious discussions about the future of the relationship. Ramsey advises approaching this with caution and under the guidance of a counselor.

The Bottom Line

Dealing with a spouse who has a spending problem requires a blend of understanding, communication, firm boundaries, and professional guidance. It’s a journey that demands patience and commitment from both partners. The ultimate goal is to achieve a healthy, balanced financial life that supports the well-being of the entire family.

Make Your Money Work for You

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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