Saturday, January 13, 2007

Money Amnesty Day & 9 Tips for Dealing with a Big Spender

What do you do if your spouse is the money leak in your house? MSN's Liz Pulliam Weston deals with that topic in this article.

Here's a quick summary of her tips with a few of my own comments.:
1) Don't be negative
2) Fix your attitude
3) Guard your tongue: Carefully use hot button terms like budget, overspending and out-of-control.
4) Set goals together
5) Get a joint financial education: Get on the same page
6) Crunch numbers together
7) Have fun accounts
8. Create a magic number
9) Don't give up and get help if needed.

My own comments:

Numbers #5, #7 and #8 work best in my home.

# 7 Separate-but-Equal Account I think everyone should have their own allowance or pocket change for personal expenses. Fun accounts for an extra coffee, magazine or even to buy a present for the other spouse.

#8 Big-ticket-Ask First Number: Everyone has a different threshold for joint approvals of major purchases. Some couples require two agreements for any purchase over $50 or $100. We don't have a fixed number, but any major purchase usually involves consultation. Almost always.

#5 Share books and articles on finance.
We both read the Tightwad Gazette (newsletter and books) together. It was a great bonding exercise and provided a low-pressure way to chat about finance.

Meanwhile, in the book The Financially Intelligent Parent by Eileen and Jon Gallo, the authors recommended a "Money Amnesty Day," in which a husband and wife, mutually confess their financial errors, overspending or whatever.

The goal: to avoid secret and unspoken battles over money.

"Set aside time for you and your spouse to sit down and reveal any money secrets that you may have been keeping from each other. Agree in advance that you will forgive whatever is revealed so long as the behavior stops." --The Financially Intelligent Parent



The Frugal Duchess Boutique

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