How to limit monthly spending ?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby Hexdump » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:12 pm

I have been trying to get my wife to be serious about sticking to the budget but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
I keep telling her that if she keeps it up that she will need to start looking for a job when she turns 75.
I am 73 now, she is 56 and about to retire. We have enough $$$ to fund our expenses if she sticks to the budget but alas, so far, not so good.

I was thinking about getting pre-loaded debit cards and restock them each month with the grocery, gifts, and gasoline funds.
The rub would be that we would lose the rebates which was about $1,000+ last year.

Has anyone been able to resolve this ?

thanks
User avatar
Hexdump
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby prudent » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:19 pm

If I had a choice of losing rebates or knowing the budget would stay intact, I would lose the rebates. I think giving up $1000 a year to know the budget isn't blown is worth it if there's no other alternative.

I think the preloaded cards are one way to handle it, another is to link a debit card to a checking account and manage the balance on that account yourself to avoid overdrafts. That way you could easily "reload" by transferring money into the checking account. Before you implement a solution think about what will happen the first time she goes to buy something and the card is declined. It probably won't happen when she is buying a new pair of shoes, it will be a time when she needs to get gas and the tank is on E. Then it will be YOUR fault because of your stupid system. Also think about if there is ever a time she might need to buy something that exceeds the debit card purchase limit - you'd probably want to make sure she doesn't have any issues there.
User avatar
prudent
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: 20 May 2011

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby hlfo718 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:59 pm

Do you go over the expenses with her each month? My wife was reluctant to stick with a clothing budget at first but after we started detailing our expenses and our desire to retire early, she actually spent less than what was budgeted.
hlfo718
 
Posts: 638
Joined: 1 Dec 2010
Location: NYC

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby 555 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:06 pm

Is this just a recent problem?
555
 
Posts: 4049
Joined: 24 Dec 2009

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby barnaclebob » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:11 pm

You need to get to the root of why she is spending too much. If she knows she spends too much and chooses to ignore it, its a different problem than if she just cant keep track of how much she has spent.
barnaclebob
 
Posts: 308
Joined: 9 Aug 2012

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby livesoft » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:17 pm

Take your wife on a cruise: [Link not in good taste removed by admin LadyGeek]
Warning, not in good taste.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
livesoft
 
Posts: 30859
Joined: 1 Mar 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby sscritic » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:23 pm

Read the thread on separate checking accounts. You spend your money; she spends hers. That works unless you are used to spending her money. :)
sscritic
 
Posts: 19694
Joined: 6 Sep 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby northstar22 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:31 pm

The Dave Ramsey course is great and cheap. (I haven't personally taken it but know several who have).
northstar22
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 16 Jul 2012

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby NateH » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:39 pm

is your proposed budget lower than your typical spending history together?
i.e., is her spending accelerating or is your retirement budget plan undercutting what you are already used to spending?
4X top-twenty S&P 500 prognosticator. I'd start a newsletter, but it would only have one issue per year.
User avatar
NateH
 
Posts: 407
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Location: Minnesota

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby SamB » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:58 pm

Presumably your accounting interval is monthly. Both my wife and I tabulate the inflow and out flow at the end of each month. That has been going on for more than 30 years. If we did not meet a monthly savings goal then a reassessment was made and spending patterns changed.

This has worked quite well, and has always acted as a throttle on expenditures. If your wife does not have a regular periodic accounting there is really not much there to change behavior. If her spending is really out of control, then a monthly tally is not going to suffice, and you must pick a shorter time period.
SamB
 
Posts: 672
Joined: 12 Mar 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby BlckhwkPlt » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:00 pm

It took a knock down drag out (not physical, but unrelenting psychological and tiring emotional) fight with my husband to get the budget back under control and to stop his spending. It didn't happen overnight or even in a month. I still can't get him to even look at the budget spreadsheet, but we can at least talk about it now without it turning in to a giant argument. That and I control the finances (he gets an allowance and we talk about spending over a certain $ amount.)

I wish you the best of luck with everything.
BlckhwkPlt
 
Posts: 41
Joined: 26 Aug 2011

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby btenny » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:14 pm

Give your wife her own checking account and make her pay her own bills and balance her own checking account. This can be joint account but it must be hers to own and keep up. Then "pay her" what her budget is once a month and not her pay check and see how she does. I suspect the issue may be more complicated than you are seeing and may cause problems between you but this is the only way to control it IMO. Make her "reponsible for her spending" and see if she can control it. She is not some young kid just learning about budgets and spending so you need to see what gives.

You must see if she will take this disipline now or you must make her keep working to support her spending habit. Many people spend what they have. So make her live within a budget that you can afford now before she quits.

I know some people who are spenders that need outside things to do to keep themselves busy so they do not spend too much. Some like to work. Some like busy hobbies like 5 day a week golf. Others ski 5 days a week. Others have hugely expensive hobbies like horse back riding. I have friend who locks his credit cards in his home safe and carries only cash and his drivers license to control his and his wifes spending. They take cash out bi-weekly to manage their spending. You get the idea. Different methods for different folks.......

Good luck. You have tough problem to solve.
Bill
btenny
 
Posts: 2217
Joined: 7 Oct 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby stan1 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:18 pm

Hexdump wrote:I was thinking about getting pre-loaded debit cards and restock them each month with the grocery, gifts, and gasoline funds.


Is she amenable to an approach like this to manage spending within a budget? A heavy handed approach might lead some spouses to a conversation with a divorce attorney.
stan1
 
Posts: 3154
Joined: 8 Oct 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby tyrion » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:28 pm

Hexdump wrote:I was thinking about getting pre-loaded debit cards and restock them each month with the grocery, gifts, and gasoline funds.
The rub would be that we would lose the rebates which was about $1,000+ last year.


I'm not sure what kind of rewards cards you're using, but maybe you could set up some sort of system.

We have 1 credit card for gas (well... 2 cards for one account). Gas is pretty much something we're not going to curtail if we're a little over at the end of the month for whatever reason. If we need gas, we're buying it.

Now groceries and gifts and other spending money, could you get your wife her own card for these? Then have her check the bills and pay it every month. You could use the same card type you're using now to preserve the rebates. And you could provide your wife with some periodic updates. If she's over/under for one month, you could apply it to next month's balance (pay off the card, of course).
User avatar
tyrion
 
Posts: 684
Joined: 8 Feb 2008

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby jdilla1107 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:07 pm

I think the pre-loaded debit card could be taken the wrong way. I would be insulted, personally, as I think it's childish.

Why is she spending too much? What does she say when you talk about it?
jdilla1107
 
Posts: 358
Joined: 24 Jun 2012

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby 555 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:11 pm

jdilla1107 wrote:"I think the pre-loaded debit card could be taken the wrong way. I would be insulted, personally, as I think it's childish.

Why is she spending too much? What does she say when you talk about it?"


Spending too much is childish.
555
 
Posts: 4049
Joined: 24 Dec 2009

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby jdilla1107 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:14 pm

555 wrote:
jdilla1107 wrote:"I think the pre-loaded debit card could be taken the wrong way. I would be insulted, personally, as I think it's childish.

Why is she spending too much? What does she say when you talk about it?"


Spending too much is childish.


I was trying to get at if they really have talked about it seriously and what the stated reason is.

Most people have money disagreements because they don't actually talk about it clearly.
jdilla1107
 
Posts: 358
Joined: 24 Jun 2012

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby linguini » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:21 pm

Does your wife agree she is overspending?
linguini
 
Posts: 223
Joined: 16 Oct 2012

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:27 pm

Whose budget is it? Did the two of you set it up together? Or did you show it to her and announce that this is the budget and she's got to stay within it?

Do the two of you talk about financial goals, how you will reach them, and create a plan together?

How long has this been going on? Has it always been like this? sometimes it is actually a control issue and the "spendthrift" spouse overspends in acts of rebellion. (I'm not saying this is what is going on in your case).

Just not enough information to offer much in the way of advice.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 726
Joined: 1 Apr 2011

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby iceman99 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:54 pm

You may want to seek advice from a marriage counselor. Many divorces occur due to disagreements regarding money.

Her overspending may be a sign of other issues...
User avatar
iceman99
 
Posts: 121
Joined: 19 Mar 2010

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby umfundi » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:18 am

If you've been together for a while and this is a new problem, you have some really serious issues.

When my wife and I first lived together, we had an oatmeal can in the kitchen, the "slush fund". Each of us would fund it equally, and and there was a log and all receipts went back in the can. It was for living expenses like groceries. We jointly balanced it every couple of weeks.

We quickly evolved to joint accounts (no his and hers) from which we paid expenses like housing, utilities, etc. Each of us was free to take what we needed for spending without question. Major purchases, including things like my business suits, were always a joint decision. For about five years, we tracked every penny.

Then we stopped doing that. We had learned to live comfortably within our means, and were respectful of our personal spending. I feel incredibly fortunate that finances have not been a source of conflict for us.

I don't think that one partner should put the other on an allowance. At the most, I would suggest that you both leave the credit cards at home and use cash. That's a powerful disincentive.

It's an issue for both of you to solve together.

Keith
Déjà Vu is not a prediction
umfundi
 
Posts: 3361
Joined: 7 Jun 2011

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby Hexdump » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:47 am

jdilla1107 wrote:I think the pre-loaded debit card could be taken the wrong way. I would be insulted, personally, as I think it's childish.

Why is she spending too much? What does she say when you talk about it?


When I call her attention to her overspending and that it will need to be curtailed or that she will have problems in her later years she says "I will" as in I will pay attention when I have to.

And right now, she really doesn't need to. That's all going to change on her next paycheck, when her net pay will be 000.
401k % = 85.
User avatar
Hexdump
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby Hexdump » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:06 am

I am liking all these ideas and comments/considerations and think that this is what we will try.

She will have her own, separate checking account which I will refresh each month.
She will have her own credit cards, the same 2 that we use for groceries and gasoline.
Perhaps I will need to borrow them from her when I need them. Not sure on these details just yet.
She will reconcile and pay them.
I guess that she would then have to give the reconciled statements to me so I can keep our budget updated.

I think this method might be more acceptable to her. I think that if the situations were reversed, it would set ok with me.

thanks again
User avatar
Hexdump
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:20 am

You can try to limit your wife's spending physically or psychologically. I put debit cards, budget, etc., into the physical category. The psychological approach could be more powerful. Go on an extended camping trip with limited supplies--limited food, limited clothing, etc. Have some friends who are much worse off than you are. Have some friends who are frugal in the Boglehead fashion. Attend local Boglehead meetings where your wife will be exposed to potential role models.

Good luck,

Victoria
Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
User avatar
VictoriaF
 
Posts: 11031
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby jeffyscott » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:56 pm

Hexdump wrote:I keep telling her that if she keeps it up that she will need to start looking for a job when she turns 75.
...
When I call her attention to her overspending and that it will need to be curtailed or that she will have problems in her later years she says "I will" as in I will pay attention when I have to.


Well, there you go. You can let it be her problem to deal with when she needs to, if it is not going to have an impact on you. There is about an 85% chance that you won't be around when she is 75, so If you really think that there will be no problem for 20 years or so, I guess you could look at it that it is unlikely to have an impact on you. I would imagine the average 75 year old would be spending a lot less than they did when they were 56, anyway.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle
User avatar
jeffyscott
 
Posts: 5808
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Location: Wisconsin

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby bluemarlin08 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Dave Ramsey's approach using envelopes can work, however, it's late in the game to teach an old dog new tricks. Many years ago we decided to try the system, stayed on it a couple of months, saw where money was being overspent, it inspired us to cut the budget even more and save the difference, we never looked back. Controlling spending is essential.
bluemarlin08
 
Posts: 1374
Joined: 29 Aug 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby Trev H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:56 pm

One of the best ways to limit spending is to shed the cards and actually SPEND CASH.

When you get paid, allocate X amount of $$$ to specific categories and let her have full control of those categories.

Something like Daves delux envelope system will help with that...

http://www.daveramsey.com/store/budgeti ... od210.html

When you start taking 10's and 20's and 100's out of your pocket and giving it to someone else and seeing your pocket running out of funds - the hard reality of SPENDING comes clearly into focus.

It's just not the same with swiping a card. There is no pain in that and that is what it is so easy to abuse it.

One thing that my wife and I do is this... We do use a credit card (for convenience, and cash back, rewards - Chase Freedom card)... but we have a hard limit that we enforce manually.

Basically a notebook that we record every credit card charge in. It starts of with a amount we can spend, and each time we write in a charge, we maintain a running balance --- so we see it dwindling down.

When we have spent the max allowed on the credit card, we change over to spending cash only until the next payday. I get paid on the 15th and end of month... so our hard limit on how much we can spend on the credit card is based on 15 day intervals. When we do max out our credit card allowance.. it is not that long until the next payday so it is not that hard to wait.

I pay the credit card off every 15 days, each time I get paid.

So we do enjoy the convenience of credit card, but only to a specific (budget amount) amount, and then reality kicks in and we spend cold hard cash after that, until the next pay day.

When you start spending that cold hard cash --- control kicks in big time.

Credit cards are only evil, if you don't find some way to control them.

It sounds like your wife may just need some help with getting things under control.

Good Luck !

Trev H
Trev H
 
Posts: 1742
Joined: 2 Mar 2007

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby ddunca1944 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:33 pm

Paying in cash can certainly limit spending - IF the person concerned wants to limit their spending. However, if the OP's wife sees no reason to limit her spending, it is very easy to open up a credit account in the spot.

It seems to me that the larger issue is the OP and wife are not on the same page regarding spending and until that happens, attempts on his part to control her spending are doomed to fail.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 726
Joined: 1 Apr 2011

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby englishgirl » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:45 am

OP, I'd wait a few months if I were you. Your wife hasn't retired yet, there's been no need to cut spending yet, but you're already talking about giving her an allowance?

Let her retire, let her get her breath. And keep talking about the budget. When she has a little time and space from work, she may be a lot more serious about budgeting and she may pleasantly surprise you. Or not. But give her the chance if you are able to financially.
Sarah
User avatar
englishgirl
 
Posts: 2067
Joined: 1 Mar 2007
Location: FL

Re: How to limit monthly spending ?

Postby Hexdump » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:18 pm

I talked to her yesterday about she being in charge of the 2 credit cards and we agreed on an amount that she had to draw on, which I would replenish each month.
She was a bit resistant only in the respect that she hates doing the reconciliation and liked me doing it. Maybe I can still do it and pass it off to her for payment.

I had to chuckle whe we were wandering through a grocery store last night and she was handling various items.
She asked if they would go against the budget and of course I said yes. It's encouraging that she seems to be taking it seriously.

We had started using a product called Budget Touch, which is a slick product. Unfortunately it does not run on an Android phone which is what she has and loves. It's an envelope budgeting system that's very good.
Now I am going to have to figure out a way to keep the numbers up-to-date, and pass them to her daily.
Something not so cumbersome that she wont use it.

More as it develops
User avatar
Hexdump
 
Posts: 1383
Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Houston, Texas


Return to Personal Finance (Not Investing)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BachemFan, Coltrane, Drew31, Jack FFR1846, JCP7, jgb, jowi, JW Nearly Retired, Ldevelopment, Lincoln, origami, ralph124cf, soccerdad12, volleyballfwtx and 76 guests