Originally Posted by TattooedMama
I guess he's stressed out.
I just think he is being kind of spoiled. He wants a laptop for his work (self employed) and I keep telling him no. Not no, but not right now. We have tried to save and budget for it but something else always comes up and eats that money away. Like the f#%$#%$ing $4,000 we owe to our taxes??????
I just can't get on board with new debt right now. He sees it as justified because it's "a business expense" We simply don't agree right now.
I went through this with my DH. He was single for so long and used to buying everything he wanted that to control his spending has been a challenge. Is it a matter of being spoiled? Yep, to some extent. But I think more it is a feeling of being out of control of the situation now. He used to be in charge of the money, now the debt is in charge.
My DH gets discouraged because he feels like he is constantly sacrificing only to see numbers on a paper go down. It isn't real to him so it is hard for him to push himself to change his habits.
I on the other hand am all for the paper thing. I was a single mom who had to be frugal and plan ahead so my impulse purchase days are over BUT I do remember them. I remember wishing I could buy a new pair of shoes but knowing I couldn't because we had an electric bill to pay. It made me feel like my wants/needs didn't matter and that I was working so hard for nothing if I couldn't even buy a pair of shoes. I didn't want him feeling that way and tried to come up with a way to help him gain control and have his needs/wants justified.
When the laptop issue hit our house, what I did was have him shop for what he felt he needed so we had a price range. He tracked sales, researched models and all of that to come up with a goal. This gave him control of the situation. He got to choose what he wanted and how much it would cost and as a result how long it would take to save up for it. I thought his price was a little high and told him so. He went back to the net and found something even better for around $200 less.
With that goal in mind we then started to save small amounts towards the laptop - we're talking $5, $10, $20, quarters, whatever. I promised a small amount from our budget - $10 a week. The rest of the money was money he was working to earn or save (ebay, extra hours, not eating out etc.) so how quickly he got the laptop was up to him. I did also throw in some of my coupon savings - which is usually our entertainment money- to show him I was supportive of his efforts. We socked those little bits away in a savings account until we had enough to pay for the laptop.
Since your DH works those Friday nights, perhaps you could give him part of that money for his laptop fund and use the rest for the snowball? He will then feel his needs/wants are just as important as the debt. He'll also be working toward something "real" to him instead of numbers on a page.
Here is the hardest part. I know unexpected things do come up and you need money for them. When they do you go to DH and say, "I do not want to touch your laptop money, but I need you to help me find the money to pay this bill. If we can't come up with it then we will have to use your laptop money." This gives him control of the situation. You aren't taking the money for his goal, you are giving him an opportunity to keep it safe by working harder to save/earn.
What I found with my DH was that since we had made something he wanted a priority in the budget, and I didn't automatically take that money when bills came due unexpectedly, he became even more willing and helpful to find ways to help pay the bills we had without touching the laptop money. I was surprised at how thrifty he could be when he had a goal that was real to him.
It took months, plus a few birthday and holiday gifts from family, but we did get enough and he got the laptop two weeks ago. He said it felt great to know we didn't charge it and up the debt total. It's a lot more real to him now than numbers on a page. In addition to that, he sold his old, barely working laptop on eBay for $250 so he made money on the deal.
Yes, I'd love to have put that laptop money on debt because to me it was an unnecessary purchase, but it wasn't to him. In truth I'd rather have DH learning about saving and feeling that he is a part of our financial picture rather than have him freaking out on me and splurge buying from fear like he used to because he felt out of control of the situation.
If that means having our CC debt awhile longer so we can have peace with our financial life, so be it. I would hope he'd do the same for me if I was the one having trouble.
Not sure if this tactic would work with your DH, but it might be worth a try.