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How to handle an extravagant spouse

 Extravagant spending could be caused by a lack of financial discipline or triggered by emotional issues like stress or anxiety (Shutterstock)

Having an extravagant spouse can be unsettling especially when you have to constantly fight about everything from: how they spend their money, saving and even having their priorities straight for the future.

This erratic behaviour could not only be risking your financial goals but also slowly killing your friendship with your spouse.

Before facing your spouse head on, try to figure out the root of the problem. Extravagant spending could be caused by a lack of financial discipline or triggered by other emotional issues like stress or anxiety.

Here are discreet ways you can handle an extravagant spouse:

Be gentle when approaching your spouse

Money is a very delicate topic for most couples. Many do not like to sit down and discuss how to plan for the future or set goals, most people assume the talks will end in fights and disagreements.

This can be a problem after you are settled and married then you realize your partner doesn’t know how to manage their finances.

The first thing you should do is calm down, do not attack your partner or blame them for being irresponsible with their money.

Understand that this might be an old habit that will take time to get over. In order to help your partner overcome this, you need to be patient and plan accordingly.

Involve your partner as you put financial checks in place, so that they don’t feel caged or forced to curb their impulsive behaviour.

Have a budget

When you put in place a budget and financial goals for you as a couple, it helps give your partner a sense of direction when spending money.

The moment your partner doesn’t feel accountable to anything and household items are bought when needed, they can easily spend money on unnecessary purchases. Avoid verbal discussions with your partner, they can often be ignored because nothing is binding both of you to follow the set budget.

Write down your financial goals and ensure your partner is involved. Once your partner understands and agrees to invest, save and involve themselves with your financial plans, it will be easier to curb the need of being extravagant. They won’t have a lot of money at their disposal anyway.

Have both joint and individual accounts

When dealing with an extravagant partner, a joint account will help with offsetting household bills and other bigger payments like insurance and school fees. Both of you can agree that the account is not for personal use or unnecessary purchases. However, you can also each have your separate accounts where you can spend and buy your things without remorse.

If you decide to lock your partner with only a joint account to assess how they spend money, this will only frustrate them and cause a rift in your relationship.

Remember this is not a problem that can be solved once, you need to take it step by step and leave room for them to control something.

Have a list when shopping

Another reason why your spouse could be extravagant is because they always have the money at their disposal. When you go shopping without a list and you have your credit card readily available, of course they are likely to pick something that wasn’t planned earlier.

In order to curb this impulsive behaviour, before going shopping always write a list of the things you will need and carry cash. Yes, in this era probably carrying cash would seem outdated but it will save you the argument with your spouse about getting something new they like, because you will be having the exact amount of money you need for shopping.

Seek help from a financial adviser

Sometimes talking to your spouse alone will not help especially when they not being amenable to your suggestions, you may need a third party to steer you both through the problem and give a better perspective.

A financial planner will talk to both of you on a plain playing field without your spouse feeling belittled or attacked.

However, if your partner is being unusually extravagant and it is being caused by stress or other anxiety issues, maybe you could consider seeing a psychologist to get to the bottom of the problem first.

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