Financial Friction: Spender vs. Saver

Q: One of us is very frugal when it comes to spending money, but the other is a spendthrift. This is causing lots of friction.

A: It seems there is no end of the ways money can cause stress between spouses. Listen to one of our callers:

Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

“My husband is a dreamer and I’m a realist. We don’t have a lot of money. It’s really hard now because whenever he wants to do something fun, I’m the one holding back because of the money. It’s affecting our marriage because we don’t get out to go on dates and things like that. I’m the one who’s sitting here counting pennies and he wants to go splurge on a nice dinner or something.”

This is a very common problem. It’s great when you’re dating and the other person is spending money on you; it’s altogether different once you’re married and you’re trying to have a budget and set financial goals.

We’d suggest that if you’re one of these frugal people and your spouse says, “Okay, let’s go out and do something fun,” you should confess that it creates insecurity, that it’s scary for you. Confess that when you hear about spending money and you’re counting every penny, it triggers your fear button, because you sense that you’re going to spiral downward with your finances. At this point, your spouse needs to willingly be cautious with those decisions so that you gain security.

At the same time, however, you need to guard your marriage. Figure out a way that you can set aside a few dollars a week to do something fun. Maybe you can’t go out for an expensive dinner, but can the two of you head to a fast food place or just get dessert somewhere? How about going to the movie during matinee hours? Whatever it takes. Your spouse needs that fun time and wants to spend it with you.

Count yourself blessed! And then figure out creative ways to make it happen.


For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!