REDUCE STRESS; Get Rid of Dysfunctional Money Behaviors – Part 3

By in Mind and Money, Money Management | 7 comments

Money & Relationships-Make it Work!

“I’d marry again if I found a man (or woman) who had fifteen million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee that he’d be dead within a year.” Bette Davis

 You gotta take relationships with a bit of levity or you’ll never make it through! This quote is the perfect solution for money and relationship problems. Unfortunately, it’s a bit unrealistic. Maybe a million or two is more doable.

No really, read on and find out how to handle money stress in a relationship.

MAIN TOPIC: She’s a Saver, He’s a Spender

This article is the 3rd in a series relating poor money behaviors with stress (#1-Shopping to Solve your Problems & #2 Procrastinating Dealing with Financial Matters). The topics are inspired by an article entitled Emotions, Money, & Financial Stress by Nancy Losinno, published at the US Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory website. 

You know who I’m talking about. Bluetooth came out, he got it. Iphone, Ipad, flatscreen TV, etc. he bought them all. New car every few years was required by him. Meanwhile the debt piled up. She tried to save, but his spending counteracted all of her efforts. 

I’m hesitant to continue, as the story is so familiar. We all know how it turns out…… fighting, stress, anger, depression, marital discord and DEBT.

Overspending in a relationship is unhealthy whether practiced by one or both partners.

Losinno clearly stated, that in a relationship the partners have the choice of creating WEALTH or a “FINANCIAL HELL ON EARTH.” Money secrets are devastating. Unhealthy family money attitudes can be disastrous. Money problems in a relationship can be the beginning of the end.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Get Real and Slam the Debt

It’s helpful to choose a partner whose money style is similar to yours. I am really lucky, el carino and I have very similar money habits. Neither of us is extravagant nor strives for extravagance. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…. since our 5th month together, I have handled almost all of the financial matters (not all the decision-making of course) for the family, and that has worked out really well for us. Obviously, I am not recommending this alternative for others, but it’s suitable for our family.


Lack of communication in money matters is a big problem. So is a difference in money attitudes. The problems that arise from money secrets and mismatched money attitudes can be corrected.


  1. Discuss money issues with your potential or current partner.
  2. Come clean. Lay it all out on the table.
  3. Together, list your debts and spending secrets, even though it is hard. If you can’t do it alone, see a counselor or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) specialist (through work).
  4. Schedule money talks regularly.
  5. Make an agenda and list you financial issues.
  6. Devise a plan to get rid of credit card debt.  Stick to the plan.
  7. Make a budget or spending plan.
  8. Find a middle ground for spending & saving that works for both of you.
  9. Look for low cost alternatives for the spendaholic; a new CD instead of a new MP3 player.
  10. Check out Oprah’s Debt Diet. After all, isn’t Oprah known for access to the best of everything?
  11. Start small, make a small money goal to start. Then reward yourselves with a “free” prize. i.e. a picnic in the park, a TV night without the kids, listening to music together, use your imagination….

Compromise, compromise, compromise 


Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.

  •  Continue to talk regularly and honestly about your money problems.
  • Motivate each other to spend less and look for ways other than spending to enjoy life.





  1. Great post!

    My boyfriend and I are both really cheap, but he’s more extravagant of us two. He has gotten the iPhone when it first came out, and I still have a regular non-smart phone. Sometimes he pressures me to buy something, but usually I don’t cave in.

    I WISH I could help manage his finances, but he doesn’t let me… =( I offer though =) He doesn’t have a TFSA or an RRSP (self directed) and any amount of nagging doesn’t make him get one. lol!


    July 19, 2010

  2. Some great tips here, Barb. Fortunately my husband and I are both committed non-spenders – just as well, as I think a different kind of sparks would be flying between us otherwise!

    Miss Thrifty

    July 19, 2010

  3. If your spouse is unwilling to do the action items you outline in this article, then you have bigger problems (not money). The dysfunction is just being reflected in the your money.

    Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    July 20, 2010

  4. Shawn,I can’t add anything else, you are absolutely right.
    Of course, I’m not saying you can’t have ANY secrets from your spouse, [don’t tell mine about the DQ sundae I had last night:)] …. But, for any relationship to work, you must go all in with the communication! Best regards, Barb

    Barb Friedberg

    July 20, 2010

  5. This is right up my alley! Spenders vs. Savers! As part of my Bliss Box contents, I’ve created a quiz to determine where the newlywed’s (or anyone really) fall. It’s scheduled to go live for Thursday. I’d love your input! Love the tips.

    Little House

    July 21, 2010

  6. Thank you for submitting this article to my weekly contribution. I hope to see another article in the next edition on Wednesday, 4 August 2010.


    August 1, 2010


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