What to do when your partner is not on board with getting out of debt? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-30-2012, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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My SO is not on board with any plan to get out of debt - he is so fatalistic about it really - that we can never do it.


Has anybody been in a similar situation? Anything that you have been able to do or say to change his or her mind?

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#2 of 7 Old 10-30-2012, 03:50 PM
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Hmm.  My husband was like that when we were doing really awful.  Whenever I tried to bring up the budget, he'd blow me off, saying that only rich people budget, poor people need to spend what they have while they can.  (He grew up very poor and he was definitely surrounded by the "ghetto fabulous" mentality - new sneakers, big-screen TV's, etc if there was ever a dollar in the account.)  I got a taste of that when I kept saving and saving for  years and then all that scrimping would be wiped away for good in a matter of days - medical bills, car broke down, etc.  It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.  I'm so thankful we didn't get into debt in those days; DH would never have cared about it back then.


Now that we're doing a bit better, NOW he sticks to a budget... I think because it seems solvable and not hopeless.  He can feel a bit of pride that we're making progress, and he's more willing to halt his spending.  We hardly fight about money anymore.  If anything, he tries to hold ME in check when I say I want to buy something... I think saving etc is addictive.


Perhaps my suggestion for your situation would be to come up with a budget plan on paper... a very simple one... where your husband can glance over it and clearly see HOW you guys will work on debt.  And how you'll make progress.  Don't make a huge presentation of it but just some kind of visual plan of action.  And if you talk to him about money, put it in positive terms.  Get excited about saving money or paying off debt, not upset about the mess you guys are in currently.  Looking back, I was honestly a bitch for a lot of the time to DH if he spent anything at all... I would get so annoyed and think about the sacrifices I was making, and seeing how he would blow it off.  But in hindsight... I would just have been a lot nicer to him about it, I guess.  Bit my tongue a bit more if he spent a little something.  Everyone deserves a little happiness here and there, and sometimes if you have significant debt a coffee from the drive-through isn't going to make a huge splash in the long run.  (YMMV with what your husband spends on.)


I dunno if any of that helps or fits your situation, but hth.

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#3 of 7 Old 10-31-2012, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks tiqa, your information is helpful. I am glad to know that he came around eventually! I think I just need to be more patient - I get frustrated when he is all pessimistic, fatalistic about things ever improving.

I will let him take a look at the budget for November and see if he feels this is workable. Of course, this will only be MY second month with a budget - but I have learned a lot this month about things to do to improve for the coming months.


Thanks again!

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#4 of 7 Old 10-31-2012, 06:26 AM
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I had to do all of the leg work the first month. I totalled up all of our debts, came up with a realistic monthly payment towards them and gave him a timeframe (i.e. we can be debt-free in 18 mos if we do this). He of course came up with the "what if..."  and "yeah but..." to which I stole DR's theory that even if you have to stray from the path, you're at least heading more or less in the right direction....which is better than going nowhere or moving backwards.


I asked for a MONTH. He agreed and we've never gone back. The profound change in ME even if he was still "meh" about the whole thing was enough for him to just go along with it.


With that being said, he's a minimalist to a fault (except for when beer or electronics are involved). HIS spending was not the issue. If it were, I would have taken a different approach. I think having numbers all figured out and offering him a solution with a timeline is a great place to start.

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#5 of 7 Old 11-01-2012, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks eirual for sharing how it worked for the two of you.

My SO is just so negative and angry about money all of the time recently - it has been hard to have a conversation with him about it for awhile. I need to exercise my patience muscles and maybe back off a bit on things. I will show him my budget for November though.


We have kept some of our finances fairly separate over the years - in contrast to DR's and other folks suggestions - and I think it will stay that way. He has one job and uses some of that $$ towards family bills - phone etc... I have a small job that I use the paycheck towards family things - tuition for DS, electric bill etc.. I also have a second small job that I use the $$ from to pay my personal debts - student loans, CCs.  This has mostly worked for us over the years - I think we could streamline and improve, but with him not being willing to have a rational discussion, it will have to wait.


Right now for the coming month, I just want him to work towards some of the family goals that we have - these things we have agreed on:

save for christmas 

save for a new bed for us so that we can sleep better


I have been doing both of those since before I discovered DR. And although we have agreed that they are family goals to be worked on together - he has given me nada towards them. Silly really since Christmas will show up whether he prepares for it or not!

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#6 of 7 Old 11-01-2012, 07:02 AM
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Luckily DH is on board.  Over the years he sometimes would get annoyed because he feels like he works so much but sees nothing in return.  Power struggles with money are normal, I try to keep him involved with our finances so he doesn't feel like it is all for nothing.  Now that he sees how far we have come and he can see that his work has paid off and it has been a joint effort!  I handle all the bills but it helps to sit down occasionally and show him where it is all going and how much closer we are to financial freedom.  I'm looking into a small vacation once CCs are paid and we have sufficient savings, as a reward for all the sacrifices that we have made over the years.  If we decide to do this then the vacation will be saved for before it is booked.    

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#7 of 7 Old 11-01-2012, 08:14 AM
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I think for me it was a combo of my salary increasing back to where it should have been before IT downward spiral from 00-04ish, and getting rid of EX....

My salary went up by almost 4x between 7-8yrs ago and now. But even when it was about double (until about 6ish months ago) I was doing much much better on money.


My Ex would have NEVER discussed any sort of budget. I doubt he even knew who we banked through, what our debts were, how much we paid on bills....etc.

I would sit down and say "Listen, I paid CC bill extra this week, so we only have 100 bucks til you/me get paid in 10 days" or whatever.

I'd check the bank account a few days later and find us -80 bucks in the hole incl several NSF fees because ex decided to take lunches every day (10 bucks or so) and bought 150 bucks worth of DND books (hadn't played in a decade and had a bunch of his old ones) and I went to grocery store once for 50 bucks. GRR!


If I hadn't thought it would lead to WW3 (which now that I'm dealing with him as ex, I was absolutely right to suspect this) I would have given him an allowance and kept him out of joint account completely!


Of course now i'm afraid to let anyone into my finances...I suspect i'd keep things seperate but equal if I ever did remarry or date.


I agree with PP tho....if you are barely making ends meet or it feels that way it's really hard to be optimistic. Just feels like you are digging a hole that is filling faster than you can shovel it back out.

I suspect if you start budgeting and make sure DH knows what you are doing and sees results, he may become more vested.


I personally don't have a straight up budget, but more of a running tally of bills and expenses. Mine are pretty small. Mortgage, utils, daycare, car and ins, and my variable costs.

I fill up my car about once every 2 weeks, and I have X dollars moved to savings with every paycheck. If I have extra (more than my paycheck when paycheck goes in) I move that over to savings. If I make a big purchase (I bought plane tickets for mom, dad, and payed gas for sis to drive down this summer, bought a dyson, then a freezer) then I move over a buffer to checking if I have to.


I'm now in a position to actually BUDGET however, where as before (started new job 6m ago) I was traveling quite a lot and paying out of pocket for hotel/flights/exp and waiting weeks and months to get company check....so at one point my company owed me 5K in expenses. Hard to budget that.


I don't think I could do such a wishy washy budget with another adult in the house however....I usually know at any given point exactally what my acct balance is.


Oh, I did use before i started traveling like crazy mint.com. its a little scary allowing it access to your bank like that, but it'll dig through your debit card purchases and help you figure out where all your money is going on a monthly basis and keep an eye on spending trends etc.

Again, with travel couldn't do it.....wouldn't have made any sense!

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