Help me save money without killing my husband.
July 26, 2006 3:11 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to save money when you have a financially irresponsible spouse?

We've been married 3 years. I knew before I married him that he wasn't good with money, but I overestimated my ability to keep his spending in check.

We don't have kids, we rent, and we have a 12 year old car that's on the verge of collapse. After two years of trying to run our own business, he's gotten a good job with the state, which will make us a two-income family for the first time since we got married.

The problem is, it seems the more money we have, the more our spending increases. I struggle to keep to a budget, but to him, a debit or credit card is like free money and he'll slap it down for whatever strikes his fancy at that moment. I always end up being the bad guy.

If we budget correctly, we could be saving $400-$1000 a month. How do I manage this? I'm thinking of just opening a personal savings account of my own and transferring the extra money there so he won't have ready access to it, but I feel bad about it. Is there a better way to handle this? In all other aspects he's a good person and I love him, but I'm afraid that if I don't have a well-thought out plan we'll never be able to buy a house, etc.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (42 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Separate finances.
posted by trevyn at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2006

Withdraw a certain amount of cash for each of you, for each week. Destroy and hide your credit and debit cards, respectively.
posted by unknowncommand at 3:20 PM on July 26, 2006

That's a tall task... keeping someone else's spending in check.

My wife and I have separate accounts. We do have one shared checking account with which we pay household bills. I keep that balance right at zero. The rest of my income goes into my personal accounts. And my wife has her own savings/debt.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 3:26 PM on July 26, 2006

The real danger here is the credit cards. Even if you can manage to safely sequester the cash into separate accounts, he can still run up dangerous levels of debt. And even if that debt is only in his name, it can still hurt you, especially when it comes to buying a house.

You're going to have to come to an understanding with him about money, or else this will always be hanging over your relationship.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2006

Allowance. No, I'm serious. Sit down, talk with him, make a budget together, and budget a weekly/monthly/per-paycheck allowance for each of you, and then stick to it (yes, even you)! If you want to buy something big, either save up allowance or it becomes a group decision to take money out of savings. It's been working really well for both my parents.

Get rid of all your debit/credit cards and just use cash.
posted by muddgirl at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2006

Make an agreement and have him destroy his credit cards. Can't run up debt if you don't have any of the devil's instrument. (I like having credit cards so long as I pay the balance in full every month... but it doesn't sound like your hubby can control himself enough to do that).
posted by Justinian at 3:33 PM on July 26, 2006

Well, I went through the same thing with a gf/fiance and we never did separate the finances and she drove us deeper and deeper into debt until we finally broke up and I ended up moving back home with the 'rental units. As I'm sure fifty other people have already pointed out to you, he can't change unless he wants to. If he really does see you as the "bad guy" when you try to put the brakes on then I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a serious desire to change his behavior.

So yeah, I have to concur... have separate accounts. I can't imagine there's another way to do it. But I will throw in one other piece of advice...

My experience with spenders is that they use it as a means of relieving stress. So no matter what budgetary restraints are imposed, make sure he has some economically feasible outlet for stress release. Put a hundred bucks a month in a paypal account and let him go nuts on Ebay. Get a netflix account. If he bowls, buy him a pass for six months worth of free games. If he's into video games, sign him up to a game trading service or find a local store that does the same thing. There are lots of economical ways to have a good time.

The point here is that if he experiences this budget existence as punishment - as being deprived or having to live in a box - he's not going to hold out. He's got to enjoy it, at least some of the time. And with the spenders I've known, I don't think they ever believe that it's possible to enjoy life while also managing money responsibly. To them, that just isn't a possible outcome. Well, okay; sometimes they come to believe it after bottoming out, being kicked out of their apartment, having their car repossessed, etc. But I don't think you want to go that route.
posted by Clay201 at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2006

I hate to advise that someone treat their partner like a baby and take away his control over money, but I had an ex like this (thank god I didn't marry him, because I would have killed him if he blew all of my money) who HAD to blow his entire paycheck within 12 hours of getting it.

Does he agree with you that his spending is a problem or not? That's gonna be a big factor here. If he's in denial, you may have to take matters into your own hands.

If he admits there's a problem and he has no control over himself, I'd say that you should try and take over the family finances entirely and give him an allowance, and destroy the credit cards. And even if you don't do that, open your own account and put the money there so he can't get to it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2006

don't have anythimg joint. all the assets belong under the "stable" spouses name, all credit cards and account should be seperate.

let the spending person go on their own binge, even if it leads them to garnishments or bankruptcy. you can't force an adult to do anything like that.... let them destroy or almost destroy whatever they want but keep your assets and your name and good credit out of it.
posted by Izzmeister at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2006

Been there. Seconding the overwhelming chorus that he's not going to change. Separate accounts are the way to go.
posted by matildaben at 3:47 PM on July 26, 2006

I was (or really, AM) your husband in my own marriage. My wife finally divorced me because of it, and still I spent like crazy. Now I'm having to sell the only thing I got out of the partnership (my car) to pay off the debt that I've run up in the meantime.

Some people will never learn; I hope your husband is the exception, and that he realizes what a jewel he has in you.
posted by DandyRandy at 3:50 PM on July 26, 2006

Maybe put a month (or more) of purchases into a spreadsheet, and make a pie chart showing just how much he is spending on his whims? This shouldn't take more than a few hours if you have all the statements available, and the results might be quite motivating. A lot of the proposals so far seem to rely on ready agreement from him, and the original post suggests that he might need some convincing.
posted by advil at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2006

Also, I don't know if your work has direct deposit, but if it does you can break up your paycheck into separate accounts. So maybe consider putting that $400-$1000 automatically from paychecks into a No Touch account that he either doesn't know about altogether or doesn't have access to. He can't spend what he doesn't have. I did this to myself and I have a nice little nestegg for an upcoming vacation.
posted by like_neon at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2006

Jenfullmoon gets at the nub of it: does he agree, ungrudgingly, that his habits around money are a problem?

If not, you've got a big problem on your hands. Yes, separate your finances, but as long as his salary is supposed to contribute more than mad-money to the household pot, things'll be a problem. You've got some hard talks ahead.

If so, you've got smaller problems that can be solved. Some banks will let him set up a second account and automatically sweep a fixed amount of money into it as soon as his paycheck is deposited: if he'll agree to that, and agree not to posses a card to access it, that might limit the damage of impulse purchases. Credit cards? Goodbye. You might keep one locked away in case of emergency, but nothing he can get his hands on.

There have been a lot of discussions here on AskMe about tracking your expenditures. You, and he, might find it instructive to set up a spreadsheet or equivalent and do that for a few months. After you've been doing this for a while, he'll see "holy crap, I spent $800 last month on collectible toothpicks," and that might help slap some sense into him.

So far, this is all stick, no carrot. Does he agree that saving for a house is a worthwhile goal? If so, he might enjoy seeing his savings balance build up towards something to be used as a downpayment. And you'll be able to say "just think, honey, of all the money we'll spend when we buy a house!"
posted by adamrice at 4:03 PM on July 26, 2006

Direct deposit of paychecks is very good, because you never see the check. You don't get to go deposit it, for example, and get back any nice crisp 20's that just seem to evaporate.Another good thing is saving a set amount of money from every paycheck -- that is, put a percentage into an account that's just for saving (or, for now, paying off debt if necessary).

You just have to be the one in charge of access to the money -- not because you're the bad guy, but because you're the strong one with respect to financial discipline. You'll feel like a lot less of a bad guy for holding the line than you have felt all this time expressing frustration to your husband after the fact.

It'll still be very tough. Maybe later he'll admit he's glad you've done it.

My own sister is good with money and her husband is very, very bad. He complains constantly about having special accounts, a strict budget, and having to pay for everything in cash. He makes fun of her for being a Scrooge, and they argue about it once every couple of months. He says she's emasculating him, and so on. (She doesn't take it to heart because she's right.) Recently he was showing me their new car and he said, "We were able to afford it because Jane saved up a huge down payment. I would never have been able to do that myself."
posted by wryly at 4:07 PM on July 26, 2006

What has worked really well for us is to look at our joint expenses, and figure out how much money we need per month to pay the bills, mortgage, etc.

Then, each of us takes half of that number, and we have to put that in each month. So for me, I can put the whole amount I'm responsible in from one paycheck or split it over two (which is what I do).

On top of that, from each paycheck, we each put 10% into a joint savings account. We use this only if there's an emergency (the furnace blew up, etc.).

Anything beyond that stays in my own account (and the rest of his paycheck stays in his).

We only use the joint checking account for joint expenses. Groceries, electricity, etc. Not for our "personal" expenses, not for unplanned stuff for the house (o, cool chair! sort of stuff).

So I pay my student loan, my car payment, etc. from my own account. That leaves me with my own money to save or blow, while building our joint savings.

It works really well, we've done it this way for years and years. I'm the person who is the impulsive buyer (I need a new laptop! I need a DS! I need new clothes!), and it's actually helped me with planning better for my own account, and taught me to save out of each paycheck for myself :) It also lets me blow some of my money when I want to, without jeopardizing anything else.

YMMV, of course, but worth thinking about.
posted by ugf at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2006 [3 favorites]

Ah, yes. I've been that husband. I'm better now, but it took a long, log time.

Some random advice:
  • Cut up your credit cards and debit cards. Now. This may be a pain-in-the-ass, but it'll make it more difficult to just spend money. It wasn't until I cut up my credit cards that I began to recover. (And I really should have cut up my debit card, too.)
  • Keep separate finances. Unless partners are like-minded on money, they should keep their finances separate. It was only because my wife and I kept our own accounts that my spending didn't drive her crazy and destroy our marriage. She still hated it, but she knew I was only hurting myself.
  • Pay bills as they arrive. However you split up your finances, make a pact with your husband that you'll pay their bills as they come in the mail. This might seem like a small thing, but it'll make a huge difference. You'll know the Needs are taken care of before the Wants. If you're really clever, you might be able to get him to agree that x% can be set aside in savings (or invested) as a "bill" on a specific date each month.
  • Convince him to read a personal finance book or two. Maybe Your Money or Your Life or The Total Money Makeover or All Your Worth.
Ultimately, he has to change himself. I don't know what it'll take to make him see the problem. For each of us it's different. If he doesn't change now, though, he's going to be working the rest of his life. If he can change, he might retire early. Does that appeal to him?

And of course, I must plug my personal finance site. If you can get him to read it, he might find inspiration there.
posted by jdroth at 4:22 PM on July 26, 2006

long, log time

Oh, good grief.
posted by jdroth at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2006

Separate finances. In addition, consider having your husband use a secured credit card, and take him off whatever joint cards you use. This will accomplish several things if it's done correctly:

(i) it means you won't get hosed if he defaults -- there's a hard upper limit to what you're able to lose on account of that card, and you've already put it away
(ii) if properly structured it gives him some motivation to 'save': any money left to him at the end of a month, etc., can be rolled back into it to give him a higher balance. It's not a perfect incentive -- because it might just encourage further spending next month -- but it is an incentive nevertheless.

It's a nonstandard arrangement but it won't be difficult to set up, since to the issuing bank a secured card -- especially a large-credit-limit one -- is essentially free money. If after a year or two he has things under control the money put into the card can be rolled back into savings, also.
posted by little miss manners at 4:25 PM on July 26, 2006

I used to be married to a man who was and is financially irresponsible.

You need to be clear with him that you need a certain financial cushion to feel safe. He may not share that need, and it's important that he understand and respect your needs. He may not able to really help you save, but he should be able to stay out of your way.

He has an equal say in money decisions, especially with his new job. Do you understand his need to use money for fun? Budget some amount of discretionary spending. Read the grasshopper and the ant, and recognize that the grasshopper has lots of fun. I'm an ant, and have been exploring my grasshopper side.

The financial world is on his side - they'll make it really easy to pile on debt. Use every trick you can find to save. Make sure you are both maximizing pensions at work, especially matching ones. Make your maximum Roth / IRA contributions. Have a separate savings account, and put money in it every month. Don't feel bad about it. Just be respectful of his different approach to life, and respect your own need for security.

If you think he's just plain determined to be in debt, get into the least bad debt. Buy and finance a better car and/or a house. Some people don't seem to be able to save, but can budget well against dept payments. Better a car than a bunch of useless crap on credit cards.

Instead of joint accounts, split expenses in some fair way, then let him pay his bills, while you pay yours. Savings can be treated as a bill like any other.

Don't scold or criticize his way. Explain your desire to have financial security, reach financial goals, and have a nice life - with him.
posted by theora55 at 4:39 PM on July 26, 2006

IAmNotaFinancialPlanner (But I play one on TV). You might want to get in contact with one. Sometimes it helps to have the words come from someone else, even when it is the same message. A good planner (please shop around, and get a referral if possible) could also get your husband excited about saving, working on stradegies to save money for retirement, big purchases etc. it also won't cost you anything to ask, and I have always been suprised by the options available to me that I didn't know existed.

You also mentioned you have a dual income. Although not quite like your husband, I can and do spend when I have anything in the ol' bank account. In preperation for buying a house, I currently invest my entire modest income into mutual funds, and all bills, food and entertainment comes from my fiancee's account. Most places can set up an automatic monthly contribution with a void cheque to the bank account in question, so the money never touches your hands. I chose mutual funds because getting the money out again is a minor hassle, as it is a three business days wait. (There is a blurb about risk profile, no load vrs deferred sales charge funds etc, but I'll leave that for you to learn about). The result is we have saved far more money then we ever predicted we could in a few short months, and neither of us with big incomes.

In a similar set up, you could possibly arrange to have the hubby responsible for the bills from his bank account while your income goes to the savings you so desire. If your phones gets cut for a month, he will know where the blame lies. At the same time, with money in savings, you would never be completely hopeless.

I think empowering might be a better alternative, or at least get him more involved. I know if I had an alowance, I would blow it all on popcorn and beer and not learn a darned thing.
posted by billy_the_punk at 4:42 PM on July 26, 2006

Get into marriage counseling. I am deaddog serious.

Also, Oprah just did a five show series on debt which is out on DVD. One of the shows went into detail about how credit card companies suck more and more money from you.
The whole series was sobering-they looked into the lives of three families in debt.
posted by konolia at 4:45 PM on July 26, 2006

You don't have to be the bad guy. You can make an appointment with a financial planner to help you figure out how much you should be saving/investing and what you can do with your current income. Your husband may be more inclined to listen to a professional, and they cost little compared to the eventual payoff. Additionally, this person may be helpful for figuring out how to establish separate finances.
posted by Alison at 4:55 PM on July 26, 2006

Yes, seconding billy_the_punk.
posted by Alison at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2006

I am single, but I've had problems with my own money. Whenever I had a positive balance in my account, I would spend the money. When I was in debt, the debt would always hover around $3,000 or so. If I ran up some large expenses, I had no problem saving money to bring the debt back down to $3,000, but then I couldn't get the debt below $3,000.

What I realized over time was that I had the ability to save money if I really felt compelled to, but most times I was too complacent and would spend carelessly. This was an issue of temperament and self-discipline, not intellectual comprehension. Call it a lack of emotional intelligence, or compulsive behaviour, if you like pyschobabble.

My solution has been to set up a line of credit from which my day-to-day transactions occur, and have a separate savings account into which a part of my paycheque was directly deposited. I think of the savings account as something that's off limits, and the level of debt in my line of credit limits my spending. So, since I implemented this solution, I've always maintained a debt of about $3,000 in my line of credit...I strive to but have never succeeded in getting it lower. But the money that goes straight into my bank account has accumulated without interruption, and I've managed to save almost $20,000 over the course of two years.

Now the financially disciplined would think that it's stupid to pay interest on $3K of debt when I've got $20K of hard cash in another account. Poor use of capital, yes. But this is a solution that forces me to save, despite my compulsive need to spend. We humans are emotional creatures -- I think sometimes we have to accept our flawed nature and devise elaborate schemes to prod ourselves along in the direction that we want to go.

So sit down with your hubby and have an honest, candid discussion of what your financial goals are, and what bad habits are preventing you from attaining those goals. If he agrees to the same goals, then hopefully he will cooperate in devising a scheme to limit the financial harm he inflicts on both of you. Paternalism isn't nice, but quite often it's necessary because even if we're technically "adults", unfortunately we don't all behave as responsible ones.

Good luck.
posted by randomstriker at 4:59 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've been married 15 years and I got to say, doesn't matter how graphic you make the financial picture, after a little while, spendy-spouse forgets, or their natural optimism pops up and says, more money will replace this, it nearly always does (while neglecting to realise that scrooge_spouse saves the day with the $ hidden in the shoebox).

We also tried the make spendy spouse totally responsible for all finances so that they understand the big picture for a couple of years. We ended up $13K more in debt than when we started, and with spendy spouse stressed out, and all our financial records in a bizarre filing system.

With my husband's knowledge and understanding of our new tight budget, I pay him (and myself) a small allowance to spend however he likes and he is not allowed to spend any other money. At all. The budget also pays for his gym and his fish (stable costs) because these are important to him. I'm still the bad guy sometimes (especially to the kids), but it's my need for security, so I can wear that. Mostly. My husband's okay with this, he says (with pride) that we wouldn't own our own house if it wasn't for me.

Anyway, part of the reason why we're such a good match is he is not a worrier, and so he lifts my natural pessimism.
posted by b33j at 5:03 PM on July 26, 2006

Maybe you could try getting him on board with a simplified budget like the %60 Solution. Personally, I've had great success with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and was successful in getting my fiancé to follow the plan as well.

I'm going to go against what seems like the majority of advice so far and vote against separate finances. That would just be ignoring a huge problem. You are married. His debt is your debt. He needs to change his habits or you risk that he will destroy you both financially. His is not a money problem, it is a behavior problem. I would suggest marriage counseling. He needs to learn to live within his means and more importantly he needs to learn to listen to the concerns of his partner.
posted by studentbaker at 5:14 PM on July 26, 2006

You are married. His debt is your debt.

Nah, that's a beautiful theory but disastrous in practice.

spendy-spouse forgets

I love "spendy-spouse"!
posted by languagehat at 5:40 PM on July 26, 2006

From here:

"I am married but have a credit card that is in my name only, which I have recently defaulted on. Can a creditor or debt collector go after my spouse for repayment of this debt even though his name isn't listed on the credit card?

Yes, marriage is like a partnership with each of you jointly liable for any debts incurred during the marriage. It doesn't matter if your spouse is or isn't listed on the card as a joint accountholder, he or she can still be sued, have his wages garnished, etc., just as if he incurred the debt."

Or, here:

"Expenses that were incurred solely for the benefit of one spouse, such as a vacation for one spouse, or a hobby of a spouse, may be left as the responsibility of the spouse who obtained the benefit. However, in most community property states, both spouses are equally responsible for the repayment of debt incurred during the marriage, even if only one spouse enjoyed the benefit."

Or, here:

"From a creditor's viewpoint, a debt incurred by both spouses during the marriage or debts incurred on a joint credit card or line of credit during a separation -- and in some cases even after a divorce -- are the responsibility of both people. The creditor does not care how a divorce judgment assigns the debt. The creditor just wants the debt repaid by the people who promised to pay when the lender made the loan."

His actions affect her. What happens if he ruins his credit? How are they going to buy a home? Is she supposed to be solely responsible for purchasing a home? Splitting the finances ignores the problem.
posted by studentbaker at 5:57 PM on July 26, 2006

Sorry, first link here:
posted by studentbaker at 5:58 PM on July 26, 2006

In traditional Japanese households, the wife receives the paycheck(s), pays all the bills, manages savings and gives the husband his allowance. Just tell your husband you want to go Japanese style.

You take care of all the finances so he can focus on his work.

You manage the savings and he lovingly refers to you as the Minister of Finance.

You can stop worrying about uncontrolled spending and he can enjoy life free of the financial nitty-gritty.
posted by cup at 6:24 PM on July 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Put him on an allowance.

He can spend it however he wants, but he doesn't get more.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:32 PM on July 26, 2006

Today on the radio, I heard a segment featuring a financial advisor who was talking about how married couples should handle their finances. She explained, for example, that all accounts should be joint to maintain transparency — a married man's personal checking account was a "homewreckin' hussy account," she said. It annoyed me, because she was introduced as a financial expert and this segment aired during the radio station's business hour — but she wasn't giving financial advice. She was giving marital advice.

Point being, it's important to differentiate the two. What's good for the one isn't always good for the other, and vice versa. Having said that:

I'm thinking of just opening a personal savings account of my own and transferring the extra money there so he won't have ready access to it, but I feel bad about it.

Talk to him, and try to work together. But if you can't make headway despite your best efforts, I'm not sure you can justify feeling guilty about usurping control if you're genuinely motivated by a reasoned concern for your collective future. Grabbing his paycheck to buy him a house is not equivalent to grabbing his paycheck to pay your divorce attorney.

PS — Destroy your credit cards. You can't afford them; and the sooner you realize that, the better.
posted by cribcage at 8:51 PM on July 26, 2006


If he can handle cash (some people can't or hate it) then give him cash. Probably once a week is good. If he can't handle cash, he has a checking account that belongs to him to which you transfer money once per week. (or whatever frequency) If it makes it seem or actually BE more equitable, you can have an allowance, too.

For paying bills -- one of you has to have control of the money to be sure that bills are paid. That should, it seems, be you. If you haven't made this case, make it, and then promise to manage the money so that he doesn't have to (a lot of spenders don't even want to THINK about money, because it scares the crap out of them). The central bill paying account has ONE checkbook and ONE debit card, both of which you handle. (The debit card is good for paying bills online in some instances and buying groceries, assuimg you do that out of this fund.)

Finally, formulate a plan to pay off the debt. Dave Ramsey has been recommended here before and his method works fairly well for a lot of people. Don't pay attention to the political stuff he has to say if you don't want to, but CLEAR YOUR DEBT, and PAY YOURSELF FIRST.

If you really have to keep money away from him, then yeah, open a savings account in BOTH your names someplace and don't tell him about it (ie, not at your current bank b/c it will show up if he uses online banking, or an employee might mention it to him when he's in the branch). Save money to THAT account, and then it's there later. Sneaky? Yeah. But if it's that bad, I guess it's that bad. I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Finally, I would say that y'all need to have a talk. You need to figure out what your goals are and how you are going to get there. Do you both want a house? Then what has to actually happen to get there? Well, for one, we have to get spending under control, and then we have to pay down debt, and then we have to have a downpayment (so on so forth). If he's not using cash and all the dumbass stuff he's spending money on can be seen on a statement, have him download it all to Excel and then go through and categorize it so that he can see what he's spending his money on -- typically this will be a wake up call. I'm married to a former "spendy-spouse," so feel free to email me if you like.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2006

I've been there with my financially irresponsible spouse. What finally worked for us was letting me handle the finances and he got a second job (no kidding). Any money he makes above and beyond our regular incomes is his to fritter away as he pleases. The same goes for me when I'm freelancing. This has made all the difference in our household. We never argue about money anymore. :)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:18 PM on July 26, 2006

Also, let him sell whatever household junk he wants on ebay for extra PayPal cash, then get him a PayPal debit card.

It's an easy way to get more room and less junk in your house, and get the $$$ for the items right away. Turning PayPal into cash is as close as the nearest ATM.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:48 PM on July 26, 2006

Cup: My wife and I both refer to her lovingly as the 'Minister of Finance'.

I, on the other hand, am the 'Minister of Transportation'. (I maintain the cars and like to drive) and 'Minister of Sanitation' (I take out the trash.)
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:54 PM on July 26, 2006

Also, Oprah just did a five show series on debt which is out on DVD.

don't buy it. find someone who has it and borrow the DVD.
posted by matteo at 6:54 AM on July 27, 2006

Can you both go see a financial advisor?
posted by onepapertiger at 7:15 AM on July 27, 2006

Follow up from the Original Poster:

Thank you all for your responses. We do share the same goal of buying a house and having kids, but the concept of saving for those things is completely foreign to him. He's always very contrite and seems to want to do better, but I'm not sure he can.

His mother was diagnosed with OCD hoarding (which we didn't know about until last year). I see a lot of her patterns in him, but to a lesser degree. That, coupled with grandparents who indulged him from birth until they died when he was in college, has left him with no self-discipline and money management skills.

I plan to show him on paper where our money goes and have a discussion about what our financial goals are and what we both need to do to reach them. Right now, I'm leaning toward the joint household account with money directly deposited into a savings account each pay period. Both of us will have allowances with his in cash (he only used cash before we were married). Thanks again for all of the ideas.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 AM on July 27, 2006

I'll just say what has already been said: automatic withdrawals are the way to go. I am horrible with my money, but as soon as it started getting sucked away automagically I was saving and not missing the lost cash.
posted by chunking express at 8:00 AM on July 28, 2006

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