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Husband will not stop spending money

(45 Posts)
Fedup101 Wed 15-Jul-15 10:03:29

Me and my dh are in a lot of debt caused by him and his spending habits. He used to take out at least £200 every Friday night on a credit card and by Sunday morning this would all be spent. He would then take money out through the week and then again on Friday night. This caused over the years absolutely massive credit card debt. We have had to remortgage several times to get rid of some debt. He has always been a generous person he is always the person buying rounds in the pub and will spend a lot of money on food. Going up to visit his Mum will usually have set us back about £400 a time.

In 2013 he had health problems and was off work for a while due to this he wasn't going out anymore. I took this as the perfect opportunity to get the credit cards off him. It has taken me two years but we are finally in a position of having our heads above water, we are no longer over drawn in the bank at the end of every month and I have actually managed to pay off some debts. If we had carried on I have no doubts that we would have lost our house.

As his health recovers he has fallen completely back into his old ways he is not using credit cards but he literally cannot do anything without spending a huge amount of money. He has absolutely no idea about money and wastes it on the most stupid things. It's like he can't rest knowing theres money in his wallet he could be spending. I honestly feel like crying he is excessive in everything he does and I have no idea as to how to tackle this? Every time I bring it up it causes a huge arguement but I feel like I buried my head in the sand before and this caused so much more debt.

Sorry this is so long.

Thenapoleonofcrime Wed 15-Jul-15 10:09:48

Fedup my husband spends when he is stressed, and has run up debts. The only way that has worked for me is to take charge of daily living expenses, rent, all bills and so on so I know that whatever happens, those are paid. Can you limit him to a small amount of spending, agreed between you? Then if he spends all of that very unwisely, he just has to get to the end of the month without. Every time he says, I have no money to see X, just say 'oh dear' as if it is nothing to do with you, his emotional spending/wanting to be seen as generous is just not your issue.

Compulsive spending is similar to a lot of addictions, in the end, I'm not sure people who are compulsive spenders can just change their ways easily, and they often don't know how, so all you can do is limit their impact on your family and your own mental stress and that usually involves you and them agreeing to limit their access to money for the whole family's good. Not necessarily healthy in a relationship, but it's such an utter blind spot for some people. The alternative for others is to leave as the stress of being constantly in debt and watching someone continuing with such a pattern is too much.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-Jul-15 10:10:55

I don't know what to say apart from to sympathise with you.
The die was obviously set along time ago and he isn't about to change it.
You say if "we" had carried on etc, but it was him not you.
Maybe you should have put your foot down along time ago and talked to him about the level of spending you were happy about.

I suppose you could give him an ultimatum like you hold all the purse strings and give him pocket money when you can afford it, or you'll leave if it really bothers you.

You can't live like this and your dh needs to grow up and stop frittering money away. I'm not surprised you feel like crying, don't put up with it anymore, take control.

tribpot Wed 15-Jul-15 10:15:01

I took this as the perfect opportunity to get the credit cards off him...I have actually managed to pay off some debts.

So you fixed it, not him. It doesn't sound like he ever accepted that his behaviour was a problem, so of course he returned to his old ways just as soon as he was able.

When you try to bring it up, it causes a massive row precisely to stop you from bringing it up. Napoleon's approach might work if he would agree to it - but I don't think he will, do you?

He's in the process of destroying all your hard work over the last few years to get your heads above water. I think you probably need to give him an ultimatum - either he agrees to change his behaviour with money in some way or you will have to separate yourself from him financially.

rouxlebandit Wed 15-Jul-15 10:16:25

Don't 'bury your head in the sand' any longer; it will only make you worse and lead to you becoming ill. Take control by going through bank statements together and identifying what your money has been spent on. Is it a joint account?

Fedup101 Wed 15-Jul-15 10:26:28

I agree that I don't think he can change his ways. I work so hard and I feel like I never get to see a penny of it.
Rouxle - it is a joint account. I've tried many times to go through the bank statements with him. At the beginning of the year I did a spreadsheet and worked out how much disposable income we had at the end of each month.

He won't deal with anything and I really think two years ago he knew we where going to loose our house but he didn't want to change his lifestyle. I do believe he has a addiction or even just a self esteem problem so spending makes him feel better,

truthaboutlove Wed 15-Jul-15 10:31:10

So he knew you could lose your house and he still didn't change? That's appalling.

I know someone this actually happened to. Her husband's spending lost them their home and he acted like he didn't really care. It split up the whole family.

If you keep a really tight rein on his finances, can you trust him not to borrow money/get out more credit cards? If you know he can't change, i think you need to ask yourself can you live like this.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 15-Jul-15 10:34:14

He doesn't sound like someone you can afford to have a joint account with, to be honest.

pocketsaviour Wed 15-Jul-15 10:39:28

Unless he accepts that he has a problem and needs to change, you are never going to be able to "make" him act differently.

This does seem like an addiction.

Do you have children together?

Fedup101 Wed 15-Jul-15 10:42:46

He doesn't have any credit cards anymore I got rid of them.

I will say to him don't get anymore money out of the account this week because everything is accounted for but he will anyway. He just spends everything.

I can't trust him at all I know that if I give him an inch he will take a mile and we will be back in the same situation as two years ago. It's a shame because I do love him and he's such a lovely man most of the time but I also am starting to build a massive grudge against him for this. He just can't help himself and I can't try to help without it being a massive fight.

Fedup101 Wed 15-Jul-15 10:45:41

Yes we have two dd they are 17 and 19. I think one of the main things that got me massively down this past month is that my oldest is going to university this year after her gap year and we have absolutely no money to give to help her pay for anything.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 15-Jul-15 10:49:02

So... no joint account. All income goes into an account from which bills are paid, accessed by you or by joint signature only. Any spare money is split in a fair way between your and DH's personal accounts. He can only spend what is in his. Of course this will mean he runs out in no time and will be constantly tapping you for more, but that at least will be within your control.

petalsandstars Wed 15-Jul-15 10:51:12

The only way I can see forward for you is to completely remove all of his access to the joint account funds/any credit cards and to essentially give him a set amount of money in a basic account and when it's gone it's gone. Given that this would in effect be taking his wage from him and giving pocket money he probably won't like the idea but your alternative is going back to the way you were before or divorce so he doesn't drag the rest of your family down with him.

kavanaughkj Wed 15-Jul-15 10:54:19

OP - I don't know if this will help at all, but perhaps trying to teach him about money being a finite resource by using a tool may help? I used to be the world's worst impulse buyer until I bought myself a copy of a program called 'You Need a Budget', or 'YNAB' for short - I had an overdraft for over a decade I couldn't clear and credit card debt that never went away. With YNAB, it makes you assign a job to every single penny you own, so that if (like me) you see a pretty pair of shoes in a shop window, and you don't have money in your 'clothing' category, you are forced then to decide that if you ARE going to spend the money, where the money will come from. When I saw that for me it was often a choice between 'food' or 'pretty shoes', I soon learned to curb the 'pretty shoes' habit.

My DP also uses the same program now - we have a shared budget that syncs to our phones so we know how much money we have. There are still the occasional tensions when he forgets to enter money he's spent, and I've had a moan at him a time or two when he's gone a long period without entering anything at all, and has then had to face the fact that because of that we've been overspent in several areas and had to cut back on nice things like meals out or trips to the cinema, but by doing all this he's realised he's done this to himself and it's been there in black and white - plus, it's not ME telling him this, it's YNAB and the facts. It basically confronts you with your bad habits and shows you what they're doing to you financially ... which for me, and for my DP, has definitely had a positive impact on our habits. We still slip up, and there's not a month that goes by that we don't have to alter the budget, but we have a significant amount of savings now and we'll be paying for our upcoming wedding without having to go into debt at all.

I'll also say that there's a very friendly community of people over on the YNAB site - it's easy to ask questions and nobody judges you for your situation as most have them have been there themselves at one time or other. Consider taking a look - you do have to pay for the software, but it's a one-time thing, and it completely changed my life ... I'm kind of an evangelist about it these days! Here's the link:

Miggsie Wed 15-Jul-15 10:54:23

You need to separate from him financially - as you are married his spending will drag you all down. It sounds like you will be managing him until the day he dies - do you really want to do this?

Also, you sound like you are heading for a really impoverished old age. Do you want that?

tribpot Wed 15-Jul-15 11:00:27

He doesn't have any credit cards anymore That you know of.

Asking him not to take money out of the joint account is a waste of time. Which means you need to take it out and put it somewhere he can't get to it in order to get your bills paid. However, my guess is he earns most of the money and so might retaliate by not having his wages paid into that account in the first place.

newstart15 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:07:59

Do you think he believes his nice guy image is linked to his generosity ? I.e what a great guy who is helping others BUT the reality is his family could be left without a roof over their heads.Do you keep the finance issues secret from his mum?

Thenapoleonofcrime Wed 15-Jul-15 11:42:06

Get out of the joint account. I don't have one with my husband for precisely this reason. I get my salary, I spend it on essentials. He contributes to the things that he has to pay for (agreed) then I don't look at what he does, I just take care of myself.

I would lay it on the line, no need to pussy foot around, you can't jeopardize the roof over your head. If you are dependent on him financially, ask him to pay in the amount you agree for mortgage/bills a month then leave him to it.

You will sleep a lot better, I wouldn't have a joint account with a spender because you are then liable for their debts. You are not (well, they won't pursue you) liable for his credit cards/bank if you keep everything separate and that way, it becomes his problem and not yours.

Ladyconstance Wed 15-Jul-15 11:44:50

I really empathise with you. I'm the child of a man just like your husband and I remember feeling so fearful and helpless about his spending, despite loving him dearly. It ruined my family in the end. Please remember you and your kids are also very important in this scenario. They and you need protecting from horrible consequences as far as possible, eg losing your home. Being unable to support your dd going to uni must be incredibly painful for you. In the immediate term, it sounds like you need to take urgent steps. There'll be time later to ask why DH behaves like this. Take courage, reach out to the credit card co and the bank and debt counselling. Previous posters' advice on separating him from access to money is the main thing to focus on. You're not alone, short pain for long term gain and all that. Face it now and though it might be horrible in the immediate term, it will give you back your life and freedom. Your dds will thank you in the future. Good courage.

cozietoesie Wed 15-Jul-15 11:49:53

An addicton to spending is as difficult to deal with as any other addiction - and it sounds as if you have a very unbalanced relationship at the moment. If you want to continue with it, to keep on having to be Bad And Boring Mommy, then go for the full thing. Separate all financial affairs immediately and keep an eye on your credit report and any mail coming into the house.

It's hugely stressful and depressing so I feel for you.

Viviennemary Wed 15-Jul-15 11:52:07

I think he should try debt counselling and if he doesn't agree to that what else can be done. He just can't manage money. So he has to have a finite amount a week and if he spends that in the first half hour then there's no more till the next week.

AnotherEmma Wed 15-Jul-15 11:55:05

Bloody hell, close the joint account!
You need to do everything you can protect yourself and your children from financial ruin at the hands of this man.

Personally I couldn't ever live like this, I would give him an ultimatum (acknowledge he has a compulsive spending problem, acknowledge impact on me and the family, get professional help, and *demonstrate changed behaviour*) or it would be divorce.

I can understand why you resent him for putting you through all that's happened. Even if he did change, could you forgive him? If not it could be over anyway.

sleepwhenidie Wed 15-Jul-15 11:57:23

As well as the practical steps recommended here such as separate accounts etc, he needs to get some counselling to get to the bottom of why he spends like this and start to address the causes, same as you would for any other addiction. It isn't going to go away by itself, he has to accept it is an issue and do the work to change it. flowers

AnotherEmma Wed 15-Jul-15 11:59:35

Another thought: do you have a will, OP? If you don't, intesacy laws mean that if you die before him, he will get all your assets. If that happens or if you do have a will and leave him money, there is a very real possibility that he will spend it all and leave nothing for your children.
So whatever happens, make sure you provide for your children in your will, but especially if you stay married to him.

BrendaBlackhead Wed 15-Jul-15 12:02:46

I agree with the others that it is an addiction which is just as hard to break as smoking/drinking/overeating. In my experience, no one will ever stop doing anything because someone has begged/pleaded/threatened - they have to want to do it themselves.

I understand about the "nice guy" thing. Dh has calmed down a bit in recent years, but for a long while he was always the person buying rounds, picking up the tab, paying way more than his fair share etc etc. It made me seem like Scrooge, but I had to be careful in order to balance out his wild spending. The funny thing was that when he started being a bit more circumspect - or fair even - friends and particularly family started making comments about his being mean. When he mildly objected to splitting a dinner bill in half when it was just him out with his brother's family of five (with three adult children), his brother threw a fit which upset dh.

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