Finances & Money

Couples in Conflict: Different Money Priorities

Today’s article comes courtesy of Ana at As you can partially tell from her site’s name, she’s a spunky anti-debt mom and wife, and is now debt-free except for her mortgage, which I also aspire to be soon (debt-free, that is). Take some time to visit Ana’s site and consider subscribing to her RSS Feed or Email Newsletter.

It’s not easy accomplishing financial goals when your spouse don’t share the same money priorities. Believe me, I know! I am a rabid anti-debt crusader with a cape and all … married to a very normal guy who was raised to believe your credit score is the most important part of your personal finances. I don’t own and don’t believe in credit cards, and hubby refused to give all of his up. (I have extracted his promise not to use them unless we both agree on it, which for me is never.)

We just became consumer debt free last month, and I am all ready to roll up my sleeves and start building an impressively-sized cash emergency fund. I want to pile up enough cash in the money market account to handle just about anything I can think of, from three months of expenses to replacing the antique furnace and ductwork. I want to be able to laugh in Murphy’s face and give him the one-finger salute if he comes calling. You remember Murphy … that guy back in World War II who quipped “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Just yesterday, after a late breakfast, hubby sat down and started to discuss all the things he thinks we “need” for the house. A new DVD player since the old VCR/DVD combo bit the dust over the holiday season. Stuff to organize the closets. Stuff to improve the main bathroom. A new TV. New bath towels and hand towels.

I must have gotten a “look” on my face, because he stopped when I turned to face him, then amended that we should *plan* for these things to be added into the budget. This is on top of last week’s conversations on buying a new couch and table. And on top of the weekend prior’s conversation about ripping up the carpet in the dining room and replacing it with tiles or linoleum.

I’m just glad hubby comes and talks these ideas over with me. My ex-husband used to go out and buy these types of things and “surprise” me. Yeah, it’s always a big surpise to find out the bill money is now converted into a new kitchen table…

OK, so I don’t really have it that bad now. But we do still have different financial goals and priorities. Hubby has been pretty patient while I was in total debt-killing mode for the past fourteen months, and now he is champing at the bit to get to all these Tim Taylor-esque home improvement ideas. Meanwhile, I fret about an A/C and furnace unit that is old enough to buy alcohol and may even be old enough to get its driving insurance reduced. So we talk to each other. We try to persuade each other to come around to individual goals. Sometimes, we even look for some middle ground. But I guess as long as we communicate, we are doing better than average.

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Clever Dude


  • This is always an issue at our house as well. Through years of compromise, we’ve managed to go from thinking room on a credit card was purchase power…to money in the account was purchase power. Now I’m trying to get it to where only money in the envelope is purchase power…and maybe later to the only money in the “dedicated spending account” is the purchase power.

    Spunky indeed, this was a fun post to read. 🙂 Reminds me of home quite a bit, LOL.

  • How true this post is!!!! Although CD is financially savvy on most regards, he is definitely the one with ideas of what we can do to our home, most of which cost a pretty penny (hardwood floors, redoing “his” bathroom, etc; getting a plasma TV). I, on the other hand, think “one project a year!”. We keep each other in check by my “let’s sleep on it” policy. And if I think it’s lavish enough, I’ll tell him to wait 6 months and see if he still wants it (it’s kept us from buying many vehicles!!).

  • Stacie, we won’t even get into the subject of vehicles. That was a MAJOR disagreement in our house!

    QFFP, actually that was a board buddy’s description LOL although it was probably quite accurate.

    Mr DebtBeater, May the Force be with you! Sounds like you have a “reluctant spouse” as well, and I know how slow it feels like the change in mindset is moving.

  • I am so pleased that I have manage dto get my husband focussed on my goal of paying of the mortgage as soon as possible. He no longer spends loads of money although he does buy the odd books every so often which I never see him reading. He is looking forward to the day when we have enough passive ncome that he can give up his job.

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