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How Can I Stop My Husband From Spending Money We Don’t Have? – Marie

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

I was an asst. director at a computer company for 4 years of the 10 years I worked ( I am a medical laboratory tech by trade) at this company.

When I quit to be a full-time mom (and follow my husband as he did contract work as a nurse anesthetist) I was making ~$75,000. I had ~$45,000 in retirement and ~$20,000 in savings. We currently have a 6,000 sq ft home and 4 other propertys (2 are paid for and my mother rents one).

One property we used as a vaction home and the other we rent…which are vacant at the present time. My husband took a W-2 job 1000 miles away from home in 2011, working 2 weeks/off 2 weeks, he would travel home the 2 weeks he was off until August of this year. His plan was that we moved to where his job was in so that he could work contract on the 2 weeks he was not working his W-2 job and pay some bills off (he has refinanced our house 3 time in the last 10 years, consolidating debt only to get another $20,00 personal loan, $10,000 credit card, and another ‘household’ of bills . He constantly looks for other job opportunities where he can make more money and work less time.

How should I handle it when my husband continually spends money, which he says he’ has to’ in order to make more money.

He took a second job so that we could pay off some debt but we are not paying off that debt and not saving it either.

It seems like every time he gets a little extra money he finds something to spend it on rather than trying to pay our debt off.

We left most of our personal belongings and moved 1000 miles away to try and pay debt off but….I need direction!


Dear Marie,

Thank you for asking me for help. It is a very interesting situation indeed.

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I feel as if I certainly understand the situation. It sounds like your husband is trying his best to be a good provider and care for his family. It also sounds like he’s just scrambling and not really getting ahead.

The need to spend extra money that comes in may be a reflection of the fact you are not really getting ahead and need those “extra” funds to get back to level when you can. That’s further evidenced by your borrowing cycle.

I’d be interested in what he spends the extra money on. If it is on items that are more recreational than mandatory, I’d look for a need to use buying as a way to reduce stress or improve self-esteem.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Based solely on what you shared with me, I think the first step here is to not rush to make any changes until we gather some much needed data.

Some people might suggest you rush to make out a budget but budgets by guesstimate are really nothing more than a page of lies. Instead, we need good data and doing that by tracking expenses first is the logical approach.

Here is a recent podcast where I talk about this very subject.

Getting out of debt is about reducing expenses, increasing income, or a combination of the both. Let’s use your scientific laboratory skills and get a handle on where the money is actually going.

After a month of that, come back and update me about what you found. We can then develop a strategy that might work best to resolve the situation.

Does that seem reasonable?

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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