He also gets so impatient that
I'm not able to compare my coupons to the prices. I know the
easy solution is to just not take him with me, but I don't really
like that solution. I want him to understand why it's important
to stick to the list, and why it's important for me to take a
little extra time to compare the coupons I have with the prices.
Whenever I show him the grocery
receipt (when I've gone by myself) he's always impressed. I guess
what I'm asking is "What can I do to turn my husband into
a tightwad?". I read Mike's conversion story and I think
it's awesome. So tell me, what did you actually do the facilitate
his change? Did you simply put your foot down and say, "No,
we're not spending money on that."? I don't really want
to do that since he's the one making the money.
I would just like to show him
how great it is when we are able to spend less. Any suggests
you have would be much appreciated. Thank you so much for all
your hard work and advice!
Kristy, First of all, congratulations
on how far you've come in learning to spend your money more wisely.
I can tell that you're excited to see how much of a difference
you have been able to make and that's great!
I can appreciate your frustration.
My husband was a liberal spender when we married. It took several
years for him to change his way of thinking.
The thing that worked for us
was that I led by example. When he saw me saving he was encouraged
to do so too. There were a few times when I did say there
is no way we are buying that and we got into some good
fights over it. For the most part I just saved the best I could.
If he spent extra at the grocery store then I just went shopping
without him. I had dinners and lunches fixed so he wouldnt
be tempted to eat out.
He came up with a system where
he put all our debt on a chart on the wall. He tried to predict
how long it would take us to pay off the debt and drew a line
indicating the debt paydown. As we would make a payment he would
mark that month off. It encouraged him to see the debt going
down and so he wanted to save more. Pretty soon, the reality
was that the paydown in real life was better than the chart predicted.
Men are visual and this "visual scorecard" really helped
him buy in.
Another thing that helped was
that he started calculating how many hours he had to work to
pay for something. When he realized that it would take all of
the money he earned in 1 ½ years work for a new car or
3 months for a used one, we bought the used car.
You said in your letter He
also gets so impatient that I'm not able to compare my coupons
to the prices. I know the easy solution is to just not take him
with me, but I don't really like that solution. I want him to
understand why it's important to stick to the list, and why it's
important for me to take a little extra time to compare the coupons
I have with the prices.
Regarding the list -- You dont
always have to precisely stick to a list to save money. There
are always specials and maybe you see something that sounds good
and you just want to buy it. Thats ok as long as you aren't
overly impulsive. Generally, the more impulsive a buyer you are,
the more you want to restrict yourself to "the list".
If your husband doesn't like
to shop and if you spend more when he's there, why do you insist
that he goes with you? It seems like the best of all worlds is
for you to shop without him. Why is it important for him to understand
sticking to the list, and taking extra time to compare the coupons
with the prices? Most men don't like shopping. If he spends more
at the store, but would rather not go, leave him home. Let shopping
be your thing and let his thing be mowing the lawn or something
else he does well.
One thing that can be difficult
in a marriage is the tendency for a person to want to be in control.
If you know what the easy solution is, but you "don't like
it", it looks like you want to have control over him in
the situation. You wont get control over him unless you
want a divorce. Marriage is a partnership and he has to be a
Sometimes you just have to let
it go. There were times when Mike would buy something that we
really didnt need. maybe he wanted to buy a
CD or go out to eat, but I just let it go. He has to have control
of the money too. Remember, this is a partnership not a competition.
Think about "net gain". Whether or not he understands
how you shop, if the outcome of your shopping is a financial
gain for your family, you have a joint victory. If you think
of it that way, you will both feel like you're on the same team
(and you are ;-).
Here's another angle on partnership.
You said Did you simply put your foot down and say, "No,
we're not spending money on that."? I don't really want
to do that since he's the one making the money. By saying
that he is the one making the money, you are implying
that your role in the marriage is not as important as his. You
are earning just as much at home by doing all the
things you do (meals, laundry, child care etc.), so don't feel
bad about sharing in the decision about how you and your husband
spend the family's money.
Because our financial situation
was critical at the beginning, I did put my foot down. If you
don't have the money, you don't have the money. Mike was used
to going to the movie theater a lot and he liked to shoot a lot
of pictures. He was in the habit of spending more when he was
stressed or feeling low. When we started having trouble paying
our bills, I told him that we would have to cut the movies and
the picture taking. He didn't like it and we had a lot of fights
over those things, but he did understand that we were going to
be in huge financial trouble if he didn't stop spending.
Here's a practical example of
a way you can try to bring him on board without irritating him:
Instead of getting upset ("having a stroke") about
the air conditioner being turned on, say Can we try using
the fans first and see if that will cool us down enough?
or "Let's turn on the air conditioner for an hour or so
and then turn it off". There are many ways of compromising
when it comes to finances. Try to use a gentler approach whenever
You husband won't change his
view of money overnight, but if you can have a positive impact
on your family financial situation and communicate how happy
you are about the frugal victories", his thinking will change
little by little. If, as you said, he is always impressed when
you show him how much you saved, he is already starting to see
the benefit! Hang in there and let us know how it goes!