How Do You Deal with a Financially Irresponsible Wife?

financially irresponsible wife lg

When you get married, you and your spouse are committing to merging your lives and becoming a team. But it’s tough when your spouse isn’t a team player. So how do you deal with a financially irresponsible wife?

Here’s what I know from my marriage:

Address financial irresponsibility from a wife quickly but respectfully. Don’t talk down to your wife and focus on talking about how her actions make you feel rather than criticizing her as a person. Ask what you can do to help the situation, and make sure she feels heard.

But ultimately, it is a symptom of a larger problem in the marriage. And finances are one of the number one causes of divorce.

But that doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed. In this article, we’ll talk about what to do if your wife tends to have wild spending sprees, may not always communicate about her spending, or has a hard time sticking to a budget.

Just keep reading!

You CAN change your wife’s spending problem before it completely derails your marriage and your finances.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the feeling of betrayal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t willing to talk about or work on the problem.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your spouse isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your wife, and get your finances and marriage back on track!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

What do you do when your wife has a spending problem?

First, get to the root of the problem. Find out why your wife spends excessively. Is she depressed, lonely, or have the two of you simply never come up with an agreement and a plan on spending? Then create a monthly budget together that you both agree to adhere to.

A budget solves a lot of spending problems.

Your wife’s spending problem doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage. While it can be frustrating, it is a solvable problem. But you can’t just jump right in berating her for spending uncontrollably.

In order to address your wife’s spending problem, it must be without judgment. Try to come from a place of understanding. Instead of criticism and name-calling, talk it out and figure out why it happened.

Getting to the root cause will help prevent it from reoccurring in the future. 

Approach the spending as something you need to address together, not as something that is entirely one-sided. If you frame it as something that “we need to work on”, she’ll feel supported and understood.

If she eats out for lunch every day, ask her why. Does she feel too rushed in the morning to make lunch? Maybe she buys a coffee every day on her way into the office.

Help her come up with frugal alternatives. Maybe you can come up with a routine every evening to pack lunch together. Or maybe you can pack it for her.

If fancy coffees are her thing, consider investing in a Keurig and a fun travel mug. Then she’ll be more inclined to take coffee from home, which will save money and time.

But ultimately, if you each give yourselves an allowance for spending money, and you both stick to that, then let her spend that money however she pleases. That way, she won’t feel controlled.

But when it runs out, it’s gone until next month.

How do you help someone who is financially irresponsible?

Set up a monthly budget together and create financial goals. Come up with spending agreements, pay each of you a monthly spending allowance, ask them questions and get them fully participating in the process.

Setting up a budget where you can actually see where your money is going is essential for financial success. But your budget doesn’t have to be in an Excel sheet or written by hand. There are some fantastic apps out there. Apps allow you to see your spending in real-time and watch your savings grow at the same time.

But what apps are best, and are the best ones free?

In this recent article, I discussed several budgeting apps that are great for couples. There are some apps that do everything and incorporate spending, saving, and investing along with budgeting. Others just focus on budgeting. But 1 does stand above the rest and is totally free!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Having a budget in place will make the problem real. Your wife may not realize that her weekly spending habits are affecting your plans for buying a house, your travel plans, or even retirement. She may need to see it laid out in front of her.

If you’re still having trouble getting through to her, it may be time to consult a professional. An objective third party can help you work through your issues and get to the root of the problem.

A budgeting app can help you both see your spending habits and reach your savings goals.

What is financial infidelity in a marriage?

Financial infidelity is when your spouse lies to you about spending or gets a credit card the other spouse is unaware of or they go to great lengths to hide purchases. In some cases, a spouse may even have a secret bank account.

And financial infidelity is much more serious than just being a little irresponsible.

Financial infidelity can be anything from not telling you about large purchases or stashing a portion of her paycheck into an account you don’t know about. It could also even be your wife actually hiding how much money she makes. Or in rare cases they rack up large debts without the other’s knowledge or consent.

This can break the trust in your marriage.

If your wife spends money without talking to you, you could end up in a lot of debt. After all, if you are legally married, you are 50% responsible even if you didn’t know about it. You can also incur overdraft fees and high-interest rates.

One way to avoid this is to create a budget together.

I wrote this recent article where I discussed ways to help your wife to stick to a budget. In order to get your wife to stick to a budget, you must be united on financial goals and choices. And it can’t be just you telling her what to do. She’s your partner, not a child.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you fix a marriage after financial infidelity?

Fix financial infidelity the way sexual infidelity would be addressed. Address it head-on, understand it is probably a symptom of a larger problem, don’t talk down to your spouse, but do set clear boundaries, and ideally seek the help of a marriage counselor to get to the root of the dishonesty.

But don’t worry. We’ll go step by step in this next section.

Financial infidelity can be very difficult to overcome. After all, if your wife is lying about money and spending, what else could she be lying about?

Not only can the emotional aftermath be difficult to overcome, but the financial repercussions can also be insurmountable as well. As we all know, once you’re married, your partner’s debt becomes your debt.

Start by laying it all out on the table.

Find out exactly how much money your wife has been spending. Has she put you in a lot of debt, or is it less significant? Try to approach it factually and without judgment. Frame it in a way that shows that you are going to work through it together.

Next, have regular discussions about money. Probably weekly at first, and then eventually, you can slow that to monthly. Talk about expenses and goals.

It may also be worth getting a credit monitoring service that can alert you of any new or outstanding debts.

Finally, understand that financial infidelity can be difficult to overcome alone.

Seek counseling. A couple’s counselor can help you work through problems related to everyday spending. They can also keep the dialogue open to discuss money, debt, and other matters.

A budget is a vital tool to help keep you on track and repair any damage done by financial infidelity. After all, that debt has to be repaid.

So, a budget is your roadmap out of the mess.

To learn more about budgeting for a family of 4 on a lower income, check out this recent article. For a family of 4, plan on limiting eating out to a few times a month and focus on paying off debt before investing heavily in retirement.

Also, consider selling that car you’re making payments on and pay cash for a used vehicle. But there’s 1 strategy that moves the needle faster than any other.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How to protect yourself from a financially irresponsible spouse?

One way to protect yourself is by sharing bank accounts and checking those accounts at least once a week. A credit monitoring service can also alert you to new debts or anything questionable on your and your spouse’s credit report.

CLICK HERE to see my favorite credit monitoring service.

They can help monitor your credit for new entries. But they can also look for and help you fight any debts that look questionable. And unlike many similar companies out there, they have an A+ rating with the BBB.

Having a financially irresponsible spouse can feel like the ultimate betrayal. You may need to feel like you need to protect yourself from her spending habits.

Couples who share accounts are less likely to get divorced for financial reasons.

If you want to learn more about why couples should share bank accounts, check out this recent article. I get into why I think couples need to share everything, including bank accounts. And I share the success rate of marriages that do.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

This article is written from a place of wanting to keep your marriage together. But if you’ve already set up a budget, sought counseling, and feel like you’ve done everything you can to keep the marriage together, it may be time to just protect yourself.

If that’s the case, start creating separate accounts or credit cards.

Take control of paying the bills, and consider getting a postnuptial agreement. It is sort of like a prenuptial agreement. It can be used to discuss any major concerns you have in the marriage and work out a plan to deal with them together.

Being honest about your concerns can help you work together to find a resolution.

Final thoughts

When talking to your wife about her spending, do it quickly but compassionately.

Be completely upfront and honest, and have her lay out all of her expenses. Create a budget together, giving her room for some incidental spending.

If her spending has managed to put you deep into debt, or you’ve lost trust in your wife, seek counseling, especially if you want to keep your marriage together.

You CAN change your wife’s spending problem before it completely derails your marriage and your finances.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the feeling of betrayal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t willing to talk about or work on the problem.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your spouse isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your wife, and get your finances and marriage back on track!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

Top Related Posts