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Toxic Spending Habits Hurt Relationships

July 21, 2016

Honesty and trust are the cornerstones of marriage. Unfortunately, statistics show that bad spending habits can destroy that sense of security, jeopardizing many marriages.

According to American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the average amount a person in a relationship spends without talking their partner is $275. Even with this buffer amount, a reported 56 percent regret how much they spent on purchases. It was also shown that 46 percent bought items they knew their partner wouldn’t approve of and 30 percent found creative ways to hide their purchases, like burying them in the backyard.

Out of control spending may be a signal to bigger issues. Money can be used to secure or destroy a marriage. Some marriage counselors say that a person in a relationship who feels neglected may use overspending as a weapon to hurt their spouse or get more attention. A couple may also be “love blind,” wanting to shower their partner with special gifts, no matter the cost. Yet, it’ll damage their bank account and their marriage.

If you and your partner need to re-examine your spending habits, why not complete a financial detox? By cleansing yourself of unnecessary purchases, you’ll be able to get back to basics and manage any debt you may have:

  1. Prepare. With your spouse, select the length of your detox (it could last a week or a month). Determine how much money you will allot to the necessities (like groceries and gasoline) during your detox. Remember, the goal is to only spend money on your needs as a couple (like bills), not your wants (like sporting tickets, Starbucks drinks or new clothing).
  2. Reflect. Use the detox time to rethink. Keep a log of things that you felt tempted to buy during the detox. Do you notice a trend in your spending cravings? Is it something you do out of habit? Do you spend to be more sociable (like having dinner with friends)? Or are they impulse purchases?
  3. Budget. When the detox is over calculate how much money you saved. Use your log book to see how much money you were tempted to spend. With your new found knowledge, talk with your spouse. Come up with a budget, economic solutions (like making your own coffee at home), and strategies to avoid future temptations.

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