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What do you do when all your money saving strategies are being sabotaged by your spouse or partner?

You are doing everything you can to save money. You’ve made a budget, reduced expenses, cut back wherever you can only to find your dear one has used the credit or debit card, or spent money on things you didn’t plan for or you think are frivolous.

First, take a look at what you’re goals are. Are you are trying to gain control of unruly finances? Are you saving for a specific reason, like a new house or vacation or are you suddenly forced to make cutbacks from job loss or other major change in your income? Make a simple financial overview. Write down on paper your income, expenses and where the shortfall is.

Now set some time aside to talk about it; not during the big game or favorite tv show, or date night either. Pick a time when you and your partner are not tired, a weekend afternoon perhaps. Find someplace away from the kids or other distractions.

Next, be honest. Show them your written budget and discuss what you are doing and why. It’s much easier to see on paper. Many times when one person handles the finances, the other has no idea what’s really happening. Don’t be threatening or accusing. Explain that this takes both of you and ask for their “help”. Try to set a goal together. Listen to what they have to say. Negotiate if necessary. You might be willing to cut back on the coffee shop if they agree to take lunch to work a few days a week. Make sure you include some discretionary spending in your budget. It gives you both a sense of freedom but keeps you from surprises. Give your spouse a specific amount of cash each week, to spend as they please, no judgement from you.

Finally, if all else fails, you may need to get professional help. (couples counseling, not those awful credit counselors). Whatever you do, don’t let money problems fester. It will only hurt your relationship.