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I've recently (last 8 months) began taking a much closer look at our family's finances and realized we are in deeper than I expected. I decided to look closer when my wife told me she still wants 2 more children to make a total of 4. To make this happen we will need to sell our house for a much bigger, cheaper house.

I told her this isn't going to be easy considering Im the primary source of income with about 85k/yr, she runs a small in home daycare making about 10k/yr which a lot of goes back into toys, meals, etc. I started spending a lot of time tracking spending, calculating goals, budgets, and so on to help explain to her our situation. I've explained that we need to make some changes in our spending habits, be more careful how we shop etc.

The other day she went to get some storm (hurricane earl) supplies from Wal-mart, and a few groceries. I noticed on the bank account she had made a total of 180.00 worth of purchases and very few groceries. I asked her about what she had bought, she accounted for about $50, after a couple more questions she accounted for some new shoes, a halloween outfit, some kids clothes, 20.00 worth of batteries, 2 flashlights, a case of water, and a whole lot of uneeded things.

She claims shes committed to paying down our debt, but I see room for improvement. We need to find a way to get on the same path forward.
 

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I sympathize with you... I am fortunate that my wife is as frugal and debt averse as I am. Although she does think that my obsession with early retirement is a little overdone. ;)
 

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My situation is similar to yours in that I've become very aware of our finances over the past year. I spend a lot of my free time on these forums trying to educate myself and eventually become debt-free. My wife is somewhat onboard with our new financial direction, but does make occasional senseless purchases(to me). The last time this happened (last week) I asked her about her $85.00 Wal-mart purchase....it didn't go over great. Arguement followed by not wanting to talk about it etc. However,the next day I sent her a text specifically outlining our goals i.e. paying off LOC, maximizing mortgage pymts,funding our kids resp and finally funding our vacation account. This was the part she bought in to. I tied to explain that sacrifice now is worth the payoff in the end. Anyway, I hope to keep her motivated by actually looking at our finances on a regular basis and watch the dramatic improvements in our net worth...
 

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I sympathize with you... I am fortunate that my wife is as frugal and debt averse as I am. Although she does think that my obsession with early retirement is a little overdone. ;)
You are very fortunate that your wife is frugal. Mine just thinks shes frugal. As for retirement.. i've began to accept the fact that there wont be such a thing if I plan to fulfill my goal of putting 4 kids through education. Im 30 now, very little in RRSP's, no savings, big debt.
 

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Saving money is much easier when you have an end goal in mind, so all that I can suggest is to start making future plans together. Since family is important to your wife, it may be productive to introduce this aspect into the conversation. For example, you can stress that it is important that you are in good financial shape in order to provide your children with a reasonably nice lifestyle. Perhaps you could stress that you would like to get the debt under control so that you can start contributing to an RESP so that your children have the option for post-secondary education. However, don't only plan for the "serious" things. Plan for a bit of fun, as well, such as a nice vacation.

I would avoid monitoring every dollar that your wife spends, as that will cause major resentment and may very likely backfire. Instead I would suggest that the 2 of you have a discussion if the monthly budget seems to be veering severely off course. Also recognize that with a family, every once in a while it is normal to not meet budget expectations. Don't sweat it too much unless it becomes a pattern.

As for the extra children, that's a tough one and something that only you and your wife can decide together. However, it may be one of those situations where a compromise is in order and possibly you can settle on a total of 3 children once you reach a certain milestone in your financial situation. (Don't make it an impossible milestone.)
 

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Yikes. I don't think your wife is showing any concern for the household finances. It sounds to me like her words agree with what you are doing, but not her actions. I think you need to work this out with her but doing so could be risky and cause marriage problems. My last gf and I were very much disconnected when it came to how we each manage money. She was in debt, not paying her bills, not answering calls from creditors and accessing the bank of family on a fairly regular basis. Constant emergencies and min-crisis. It was very draining. I showed her to manage her money using a simple spreadsheet, it seemed like she listened and understood and then within a week she was clearly not adhering to anything I recommended. We ultimately parted ways.

I'm NOT saying that will happen with you, but I am saying that you'll need to sit back and observe for a couple more weeks. Watch how things go and see what happens. If no improvement you'll probably want to have a sit down talk about it. Not a technical discussion about the mechanics of saving money but on her buy-in. It doesn't sound like you have her buy-in.

P.S. That comment about you being obsessed with money is just empty/meaningless rhetoric meant to shock you and take your attention off her.
 

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I started spending a lot of time tracking spending, calculating goals, budgets, and so on to help explain to her our situation. I've explained that we need to make some changes in our spending habits, be more careful how we shop etc.
Do you both go over your budget every month to see your progress? It's important for you to both know how much you are spending.

Brian123 said:
The other day she went to get some storm (hurricane earl) supplies from Wal-mart, and a few groceries. I noticed on the bank account she had made a total of 180.00 worth of purchases and very few groceries. I asked her about what she had bought, she accounted for about $50, after a couple more questions she accounted for some new shoes, a halloween outfit, some kids clothes, 20.00 worth of batteries, 2 flashlights, a case of water, and a whole lot of uneeded things.
Stores like Walmart or Cosco are dangerous for shopping bills. Individual prices are great, but it's very easy to accumicate more items. Spending $200 in Walmart is too easy. This is not really a good thing for saving money.

When my wife goes to these stores, I ask her what she wants to buy. The key to preventing a Walmart spending disaster, is to know exactly what you are buying, BEFORE you go in. NEVER decide in the store. Write it down on a list. I tell my wife to be careful and avoid temptation, as the bill can get out of control.

Brian123 said:
We need to find a way to get on the same path forward.
If you can both agree that your share an end goal of financial independence and support for your family, then sit down and go over a plan. Generally speaking, one person should be the master of finance control. However, you need to communicate everything and get your wife to contribute with budgets and be on board at all times. Work together and encourage her to do so.

It sounds like you have already started tracking your money. Look for ways to save and cut back. See if your wife agrees with the goals. Track and share the results monthly, make adjustments if needs be.

Communicate (not text or email) everything when it comes to money. Changes, spending, bills, budgets, goals, groceries, tell each other every time money comes in and goes out. It gets dry, but you can avoid surprises and at least it gets you talking about it.

At least if you start communication, let's say of the monthly budget, you can then lead it into further conversation, such as:

"Honey, FYI, we've already hit out max budget for this month. Oh, I think we should wait next month for new shoes." (Just an example).

There are so many things you can mention about this topic. The important thing is to have patience, encourage and educate your spouse to work with you. To sum it up:

Always Communicate
Come up with a plan, write it down
Review your goals monthly

I hope that helps.
 

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The-royal-mail quote: "Yikes. I don't think your wife is showing any concern for the household finances."

I think you guys may be being a little hard on the wife. I don't think we can conclude that she is a spendaholic based on what was posted. It's not hard to spend $180 when you buy food for a family of 4, hurricane supplies, Halloween costumes for the kids and a couple of pairs of shoes (it doesn't state whether they were for her or the kids -- remember school is about to start). Most disaster experts would tell you that it makes sense to prepare for an incoming disaster by buying exactly what she bought. Friends of mine who experienced a disaster (an earthquake) found that it was almost impossible to find these supplies after-the-fact and ended up paying through the nose for simple supplies such as batteries and flashlights.

My wife is very frugal, but I know lots of husbands who would trade places if $180 is the extent of the OP's wife's shopping sprees.
 

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My mother used to say

"money isn't everything.........
unless you have none"

Sounds like you feel trapped. More responsibility than you signed on for, and a proposal of more.
 

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Your situation reminds me of my first marriage. Did not end well. Our problems ran deeper than finances but financial pressures were probably one of the major issues. She never saw a credit card limit she couldn't spend up to. New wife and I are in sync on financial matters and it sure makes things better.
 

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I used to fume over the cash my husband was spending on lunches at work, but he enjoyed the social outings with coworkers. The compromise: we each give ourselves $40 per week to spend as we wish and remind ourselves that whatever we don't spend can be saved up and is still 'no questions asked' money (it also lets me, the frugal one, give myself permission to spend it on me). I think it sometimes limits him, but he usually keeps it under $40 now, and we're both happy that I'm not fuming over lunch money.

Also, we decided on a mutual goal to save for (in our case, an inground pool!) and began putting an agreed upon amount into an ING account for that goal, which always was transferred over on payday so it couldn't be spent first. Although I am the one making the transfers, my husband has been very happy watching that account grow, and we are both excited to be moving ahead with the pool! So maybe you can both agree on what you want to save for, then shuffle that amount on payday to a separate account. We also transfer our RSP and RESP money on payday. Even if the amounts are small, you will see the savings over time!
 

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my wife was the same way early in our marriage. she has changed for the better over the years when it comes to finances (we've been married for 17 years). there is hope, people can and do change.
 

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Brian,

If your wife was prepping for Earl, it sounds like you're in my neck of the woods.

I'm in Halifax, and I've also been accused of being "money obsessed" by the wife, my folks and friends.

It's not a bad thing really, Napoleon Hill said it best,

"You become, what you think about - Most of the time"

If you think about building wealth and paying down debt, you'll become that person... so don't let up whatever you do!

My advise to you is, try to get the wife on board with your line of thinking.

It's a slow process but you can begin by playing audio cd's in the car on long trips (I played Dave Ramsey, David Bach, Robert Kiyosaki etc) you'll subconsciously program the entire car's brain to start thinking properly about money!

Then I sat down with her and watched a few "Til debt does us Part" marathons, thankfully we weren't in as rough shape as those on the show, but you'll see just how nasty differences on the subject of money can effect an otherwise good marriage.

I bought her Gail's book she's almost finished.

Lastly I got her playing Kiyosaki's Cashflow 101 she picked up on it quick and after a few games had bought into the notion of buying assets, not liabilities...

A couple of months ago, we bought our first investment property, and we're looking for more!

Good luck, if you'd like to meet up and play a game of Cashflow or just grab and coffee and talk about getting rich, drop me a pm!
 

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You are going to have a very rough go. When you say your wife was on board after you explained your goals ... you may need to think about that a little more. You need to understand that when you talk to anyone about having no debts, educated kids, a paid off house, money in the bank, early retirement ... who is NOT going to want that. Everyone wants that, savers and spenders alike.

The real question is ... who is willing to sacrifice for that. Not a spender. They want more immediate gratification. They enjoy spending money. They enjoy the feeling of acquiring things. This characteristic was instilled in them when they were about 6. They don't worry about tommorrow because someone else has always made tommorrow work out for them. You are going to have a very tough go re-programming this behavior.

You see a saver is the exact opposite. They like the feeling of having money more than the feeling of having what the money can buy. This feeling comes from a sense of financial security and freedom. They know they are on their own and want to make sure that they can provide for themselves and their families. They feel bad when they spend money even when they really want or need what the money can buy. This behavour, also instilled at around age 6, is perfectly suited for saving.

Of course there will be many exceptions, usually coming from either having an above average or below average level of income (with a very above average income you can still spend pretty good and save a bundle as well and some spenders with below average income, do need to save some money since they have no where to turn during emergencies). These exceptions do not change their overall personality drivers.

In a nutshell, what I am saying is that you do not think like your wife thinks. The direction you think the finances should go will be polar opposite to what your wife thinks and don't be fooled by her agreeing to be rich some day. That is not an agreement. This is another acquisition.

Hate to be so negative. Good luck to you.
 

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I agree with Eagle. This is NOT the time to sugar coat things. Let's be very clear. I think you've got a problem on your hands. Hopefully the responses in this thread will show you how to properly deal with that problem.

This is actually one of my criteria when selecting a mate. We HAVE to be on the same page when it comes to this. Proper money management is one of the elemental building blocks of a home.
 

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One possibility is to let her spend the net from her daycare business any way she wants. She can have a separate bank account and CC/DC. That way she will have to become financially aware. You can set a budget for common items like mortgage, utilities.

Once she sees how impulse purchases kick the hell out of her account, she might get religion.
 

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And I wonder if perhaps she doesn't really understand your current financial position. Perhaps the two of you should sit down and discuss that as well, before you consider more children, or taking on more debt for a larger home.
 
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