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May 21st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How do you get your spouse to stop overspending?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the economy in the toilet, millions of Americans have learned the hard way how to cut back on their expenses, and many have even begun saving more and living within their means. But not everyone.

For those of you out there with a wife who always needs the latest pocketbook or perfume, or a husband who just can't live without the new iPhone, listen up: Money Magazine - a sister company of CNN - has a great piece on how to get your spouse to stop overspending.

Research shows that people who overspend usually do it to feel good or in control - not because they actually need what they're buying. In fact, purchasing new items often makes them feel powerful and secure. Therefore the worst thing to do is lecture your spouse on the virtues of saving. The more you talk about this stuff, the more likely he or she will just want to buy more.

Instead, it's more effective to have your spouse 'own the problem' - meaning keep track of what your household spends and ask your husband or wife to review it. Don't say anything else - that way he or she has the choice to cut back.

But if that doesn't work, it may be necessary to get separate bank accounts. Or if the situation is really out of hand, you may need to take even more drastic measures.

Just keep in mind - at the end of the day, the latest gadget or clothing is a heck of a lot cheaper than a divorce.

Here’s my question to you: How do you get your spouse to stop overspending?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike from San Francisco writes:
My wife keeps the books, pays the bills, and is as tight as a tick. We've both reached the age where watching the bank account grow is more fun than going shopping and blowing money on nonsense.

Tom from Switzerland writes:
Marry someone who is not American, someone who has not grown up in our sickening credit and consumer culture, someone who does not adhere to the buy-now-pay-later mindset which has perverted our country and brought us to the brink of ruin.

Richard from New Hampshire writes:
The secret to a successful marriage is separate checking accounts (assuming both are working) and separate bathrooms. Both are equally important.

Matthew from Oxnard, California writes:
You can't, once a spender always a spender. I’m 17 and my parents have been divorced for 5 years because one of them was a shopaholic.

Heather writes:
How do you stop your spouse from overspending? How do you hold a moon beam in your hands?

B. writes:
Waterboarding?

Elisa writes:
My husband was very patient with my overspending for way too long. Eventually he showed me a spreadsheet with exactly how much we overspent on food and entertainment for several months in a row. He suggested we get 2 new bank accounts. One joint savings and one joint bill pay account. Now I don't feel like I'm being over-controlled or am out-of-control.

Kevin from Charlotte, North Carolina writes:
My wife is from the Hamptons. She has never heard of overspending.

Mike from Louisiana writes:
What overspending? I make it. She spends it. After almost 30 years of marriage I've found that as long as I don't spend anything, there's no overspending. She spends it all.


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Teri K. in North Florida

    Lose your job...the spending will stop. I guarantee it.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Take away their debit card, check book, and credit card. Then give them cash and a prepaid credit card, and have a divorce lawyer's number on speed dial!

    May 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  3. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Let me know when you figure that one out Jack........I'll need a full report complete with step by step instructions on how to accomplish this and still remain married.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  4. Jim, Naples

    Jack, only one way in this house.... intercept the mail and remove anything that looks like a shoe catalog.....

    May 21, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  5. Jim S from Gardendale, Alabama

    We have separate bank accounts and credit cards so she knows what she can afford and so do I. If one of us were to violate the trust associated with credit, they'd be hell to pay. It works quite nicely now because I'd l ike to think we are both responsible. What a concept.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  6. Lalitha

    Communicate, communicate, communicate!!! I think the most important thing is to talk about the personal financial situation. As long as both spouses understand it, it will help in not overspending. My husband and I have had to stop each other at times to stop from overspending. Earlier, we never questioned ourselves as to the need for the expenditure but now we question most of the big spends before actually spending.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  7. don dean bradenton fl

    That is an easy one,Do not have a spouse

    May 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  8. Fred R Deleon

    I do not have that problem with my wife. She never worked, she took care of home related issues, you know, cooking, took care of our kids
    took care of me with love and tender care..I take care of providing a financial security. One of the rules in my home is...ONLY ONE BOSS.
    Yes I know it may not be the American Style but I will tell you there has not been one single divorce in 3 generations of my family. I love my wife and treasure my kids. We just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  9. Mareike Kuypers

    Get a divorce and it's no longer your problem.

    May 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  10. Samir from Florida

    I lowered her credit limit on her credit card. Also, every month we go over what we spent last month. Sometimes putting numbers in front of them raises awareness. A few dollars on decorations here and there is not bad, but when you total up how many you've bought in a month, it's a real eye opener.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  11. LM from Fayetteville, NC

    Simple. We have two accounts and two check books and we aren't stupid to the point of spending more than we have.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  12. walter collins

    Haven't been able to master the process – two of my current best friends are ex-mates. Listening, and working more than one job didn't seem to work!

    May 21, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  13. gerry In Toronto

    Well you can try discussing it with her, eliminating credit cards and eliminating joint bank accounts but there really is only one solution, Jack and that's to make sure she gives you less in the allowance she gives you each week.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    My wife is first-generation American, and a poster-child for frugality. My problem is quite different ... she'll spend $5 to drive across town to save $1. After 30 years, I've never one this battle.

    Rick, OH

    May 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  15. Marie Ontario

    The best way to stop your spouse from over spending is to spend all the money yourself so as soon as you get your pay cheque go immediately to a Casino and gamble it all away which is more fun than losing it all in the stock markets.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  16. David of Alexandria VA

    I did it by not getting married - so my arguements about money are a lot easier to win. But, my father, who was challenged by this with his last wife, solved it by putting her in charge of the checkbook. Once she actually saw what was going for what, and was accountable for the outcome, her expenses plummeted and their bank account flourished.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Jayne

    It's not a problem. We have nothing to spend.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  18. Keith - Ohio

    If we knew the answer to that Jack, the credit card banks would be out of business. This isn't a trick question, right?

    This won't happen anytime soon, unless you destroy all of her cards.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  19. Alan

    I really wish I knew... I am going to have to change bank accounts to keep mine from blowing the budget.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  20. Jenna

    How do you get your spouse to stop overspending?

    Neither of us overspend now, but when we were first married we did.

    How did we stop?

    Very easy.

    Everytime we used our credit cards or atm cards we deduct it immediately from our checkbook. No more money = no more spending.

    No only that we paid our accounts in full every month.

    Did that keep it from having our interest rates increased, no, but we don't pay interest so what do we care..

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 21, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  21. nora CC TXAS

    Jack, I am the spouse who overspends, please don't give my husband any ideas about how to stop my pleasure in life!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  22. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Fortunately, I've never had the problem, my wife has never been a shopper. You could try the Nancy Reagan way, "Just say no". Or, put the home financial statements on the table along with any credit card bills. Divide the purchases by what they make on an hourly basis and let them do the math.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  23. Gigi

    ...I'll be looking for good suggestions on your blog today.

    Oregon

    May 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  24. Tom, Switzerland

    Marry someone who is not American, someone who has not grown up in our sickening credit and consume culture, someone who does not adhere to the buy-now-pay-later mindset which has perverted our country and brought us to the brink of ruin.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  25. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    That is really quite simple. I merely spend it before she does.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  26. Tina Tx

    Hide the check book and her/his credit cards and send them to spending anonomus.(sp)

    May 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  27. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    Jack, I’m the one who needs reigning in and she does it by showing me the bank statement daily. I do all the grocery and household shopping and need little else so this tactic prevents me from getting too much bling for my Harley and toys for my collection. It works but dang, I do really want that 1:18th scale 70 Cuda convertible.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  28. Joseph

    Do what I did. Don't get married in the first place.

    -Joseph, Los Angeles

    May 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  29. Mark in OKC

    Get a divorce!

    May 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  30. Joe in MO

    She's the one who stops me.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  31. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Cut up their credit cards.

    May 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  32. Lisa in Ga.

    Jack, my husband always say.. baby save all your money, save this save that.. I always end up rolling my eyes....spending all my money like a fool. I should have listened b/c I am broke and he is not.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  33. Pablo in Tejas

    D-I-V-O-R-C-E?

    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    May 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  34. Gabrielle Bourne

    Kids turn into adults and they react the same way about "nagging," they will do it anyways. Don't waste your time, energy and resources on someone who wants to keep up with the Jones. Let them "manage," or not their own affairs; see them self destruct on their dime and; don't ever say "I told you so."

    May 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  35. Don (Ontario)

    Jack, when it come to a spouse overspending, if you are like me, there is not much you can do except grin and bear it. Unfortunately the credit card companies know that, and the shopping channel is making somebody rich. The only way to stop the spending is to move to a remote island or join the mormons and live on a compound away from the outside world.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  36. odessa

    i don't worry about it at all because i am not married at all..but if i do get married, i will set my boundries when it comes to spending as well watching my pocketbooks.i love to shop for my kids and myself but i love to save money too.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  37. Kevin ,Fl

    Well Jack , I am one of the few lucky ones. Shes very thrifty and always watches her wallet. Now if we could get those "people" in D.C. to do the same thing I would truly be amazed.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  38. H - Toronto

    Hide her purse!

    May 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  39. Melissa

    Get a separate bank account of your own so they can't drain it dry, then make them live on their own wage without help from you. Make them take responsibility.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  40. Ed'sKate

    Give him or her a $5.00 a week spending cap!!!!!! What joke of a question. Any married couple knows that is a million dollar loaded question that will only cause WWIII to take place in their home.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  41. Al, Lawrence KS

    After 33 years of marriage, I'm not even going to try to answer this one. My wife goes by one rule..."if it's on SALE, we need it." And I'm not about to argue with that.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  42. William Joseph Miller, Los Angeles

    1. Cancel all your credit cards.
    2. Get a divorce.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  43. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    To keep expenses down it helps to kep an inventory checklist of what you have, so that purchases will be limited to only replacing what you need. Create a small menu of food items that you usually eat and only replace those items when you shop. This will keep yours and your spouse mind focused, and less likely to act on impulse. But, in the end, remember that money is fake, relationships and family are real.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  44. John - Houston, TX

    It's very simple, Jack: If she bought it , she works and make the money to pay for it... Except for the essential things needed for our home and the kids. And it's working pretty well so far !!!

    May 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  45. Nancy, Tennessee

    I thought that in order for everything to be paid on time that I had to pay the bills. My husband spent like there was endless supply of money. Finally, he said one day that he put his check in the bank and he should be able to spend some of it. I knew he had no clue about the house, car, and utilities. I turned the checkbook over to him and said, "if you can pay all the bills and make it work, then go for it." He started eating lunch everyday at the same 35 cent hamburger joint in order to make ends meet. He got the picture.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  46. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    My husband and I are both equally guilty of buying stupid things we don't need or will ever use! We have reined in the knee-jerk spending habits a lot since the economy got bad, though. Hopefully, we will learn lessons about future spending, but probably not!

    May 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  47. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    When my husband was alive, we would sit down and list the things, in priority, of what was needed. We then would put ex amount of money away each payday until we reached that goal. It may take a while, but we were gratified knowing we did not have to go into debt. We never had credit cards. To this day, I still do the same thing.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  48. John from Alabama

    Jack: Every married couple have a favorite store to shop or location, such as, a mall in another city. Do not go to your favorite place. You save a lot of money. Destory you credit cards in the shredder.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  49. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    If someone chooses the last straw, divorce then I'd suggest finding a spouse like my wife. She saves her money and calls it her shopping money and spends it like it's gold but then again she was brought up to only buy what you need and not just what you want. I'm blessed and I know it because for me the first time around wasn't this way.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  50. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    You have this one backwards, I have to worry about myself not my spouse, she is the one who watches every penny, I am the one who digs up all the coffee cans buried in the back yard and spends with reckless abandon.

    May 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  51. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    I wish I knew Jack. Right now I am looking at about 300 pairs of shoes, 25 bottles of perfume and way to many articles of clothing to count. So when you find out please share it with me. HELP.....

    May 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  52. Shirley

    Here's a card with a $10,000 limit but you can only spend $500.00. Wake up! Reduce the limits, stop covering overdrafts, require two signatures for withdrawals. There is nothing more embarrassing than having the clerk at the check-out counter, or the waiter at your favorite restaurant bring your spending to an instant hault.

    Shirley
    Oklahoma

    May 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  53. Gabriel from Hartford, CT

    Simple: have him or her pay the monthly bills!

    May 21, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  54. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack
    When I got married in 1969 my wife wrote the checks and I signed the checks. This is a fool proof system that guarantees honesty

    May 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  55. Deborah, Waleska Georgia

    Don't get married- no spouse, no spending

    May 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  56. Lynne Parker in N. Augusta, SC

    Some of us are smart enough not to get married in the first place.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  57. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, I have to say I am blessed with a wife that bargin shops, finds discounts, clips coupons, and waits for sales on things she really wants. She is blessed because I hate going to any store period and really hate to spend money on anything. If there is something we must have, we plan on the cost and incorporate into the budget. We have done this for over five years and we are in pretty good shape, even with seven-month old twins.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  58. Kirk Johnson

    That's an easy one Jack... marry one like mine!

    May 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  59. stef in minneapolis

    I'll tell you how I got mine to stop overspending, Jack. I left him.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  60. Scott in Canada

    I'm the one that's overspending so.....help me?

    May 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  61. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    I had that problem with my first wife. BUT getting her "own the problem" by getting her to write the checks for household expenses (from our joint account) only made the problem worse. She paid her bills, but not the utilities, morgage etc. Overspending is a major problem in American society today. Children, and young adults, men and women, the elderly all are subject . We just need to understand that and learn self disipline when it comes to our spending habits.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  62. Mena

    Separate accounts, separate accounts, separate accounts! I can't say that enough! I pay ALL household bills out of mine (i.e. insurance, mortgage, gas, water, electricity, telephone) and provide most grocery/living items. Her car note and credit card are the only bills she's responsible for. It's set up that way because I have better knowledge of fincances and better control of spending. AND I'm a Type A personality! It works for us.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  63. Lance Schumacher

    It has to be different for every couple. My wife and I learned a long time ago, that our method was a single person in control of the funding, with a fixed allowance for both for personal spending. It has worked for 30+ years and continues to work as we have retired. Bills paid first, groceries next, savings and planned future "wants" (vacations, etc), and what is left is OK'd for person allowances.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    May 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  64. Rod

    When and if you find out a proven way Jack, please let me know as quick as possible. Oh wait, I know. Can you say divorce?

    May 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  65. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - I don't - luckily, my wife is a fairly frugal spender - I, on the other
    hand, ...

    May 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  66. don (in naples, florida)

    starve the beast. once you struggle financially for a while your spouse realizes that you aren't going to go get that second job she will stop spending. she will learn how to be financially responsible in a hurry!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  67. Sophie from New-Brunswick, Canada

    My father was the one bringing the most moeny and the most debts to the household. When my mother turned 50, she decided to stop bailing my Dad out of debt all the time. She told him "you own your debts and I own mine (she had none)" and that was the end of her bailing out my father every month. Daddy had to take responsibilities. He got a shock. He was spending like there was no tomorrow! As a result, now 14 years later, my parents are still married, they own a condo and have no morgage or car payment. My Mom is now retired as is my Dad. It can be done! Oh, and Dad only spends money on his daughters now!

    May 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  68. Jerry A - Toronto, Ontario

    Haven't a clue, Jack. Let me know when you get the answer, it might save me a second divorce.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  69. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: my spouse is pretty careful of what he spends and so am I. The boring task that we conduct at the end of each day is to figure what we have spent, keep a log and this way we know when we're going into a "dry zone" until the monthly closing date of the credit card. We pay off the bill at the end of the month and start again. It's a little tedious, but it keeps us both out of trouble in over spending.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  70. Mike – Denver, CO

    Getting them to own the problem is good, but getting rid of credit cards is better.

    May 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  71. Thom Richer

    That, Jack, is a question only for those with money to spend and a job or jobs to make it. Pretty slim audience for this question. Perhaps a better one would be, "Do you make enough money to allow your spouse to overspend?" There appears to be a widespread misconception of what an "average" American is. Perhaps we watch too many soap operas, financial advisors on talk shows and nightly news solution polution to recognize the disparity among our haves and have nots. Most of us would be happy just to be able to meet our needs without worry and know we will have a job for years to come.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  72. Richard in Colorado

    That is an easy one. Destroy all your credit cards.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  73. Peg from NY

    In my humble opinion, one would hope most adults have enough intelligence and discipline to say no. A good start would be to say NO and mean NO. In lieu of that,cut up all credit cards and have ONE debit card and suck it up. You may want to suggest they consider part time work if "things and stuff" are more important than a quality life.

    Just say no and mean it. SHEESH!

    May 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  74. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I found that guilt works wonders both ways and communication and knowledge of all the bills is a must. But then we are both pragmatic and not very materialistic.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  75. Martha, Alabama

    don't know ... neither of us overspends.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  76. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    I tried getting my spouse to "own the problem" by giving her responsibility for paying the bills. I didn't know banks would allow overdrafts to the extent they did, and surprise surprise, some of our bills weren't paid at all. So after taking back bill payment and going the separate account route I was once more surprised to learn how eager credit card issuers were to give cards to people with extraordinarily poor credit ratings, or course the interest rates were in the 20 to 30% range, and these were soon maxed out. I've bailed her out of these three times now, each with a broken promise to not get any more cards and to repay the funds I sometimes borrowed.

    So what are these even more drastic measures?

    May 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  77. Greg Ontario

    Do what I did. Cut the cards in half until the balance is paid off.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  78. Bo Haynes from philadelphia pa

    You can get control over spouse that over spend by being about of the bank account and setting limits on how much should be spend on materialistic items, even if it comes down to getting that spouse a bank card with a specific amount per moth or week. Remember controlling spouse that generate most of the income will be very very difficult.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  79. vern-anaheim,ca

    jack,were you able to stop your wife from spending?we have 2 checking accounts and she tells me she will spend her money as she pleases.did you ever try telling a woman not to spend,they'll do it anyway but i am willing to listen to any ideas you or the other writers

    May 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  80. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    I just point out to her all the people living under bridges and tell her that's where we will be if we overspend. Don't laugh, it works.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  81. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    I think the overspending out of control is the same as overeating : people are trying to fill up because they feel empty inside. When you do not feel empty inside you feed yourself moderately and with quality and the same applies to spending wisely! We are raised in a society where we are made to feel that we always need more...but what we need more is usually less of everything!

    May 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  82. Ronald Holst

    Jack If you Could Tell me that a few years Ago I would mist likely not Be Divorced Right Now.
    Ronald
    San Antonio ,TX.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  83. Linda in Arizona

    "Spouse"? LOL, that's a good one. I don't have one of those, thank God.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  84. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Easy....... cut up the credit cards!

    May 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  85. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Jack, I am the problem at my house and I have destroyed all my credit cards.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  86. Karen, Nashville

    Giving your spouse orders is a losing proposition. Best is to do what I did. Marry someone who is smart and responsible.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  87. Randal

    You have to have money in order to over spend, this question is assuming a lot. Now if I had one of those UAW union paying jobs making an average of $74.00 an hour, then I would be able to answer your question.

    May 21, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  88. Ralph

    Jack- tell me and we'll both know.
    Ralph – Corpus Christi, Texas

    May 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  89. Rich, Kankakee, IL.

    Stop putting money into your joint account, when it runs out she will have to get money out of her personal account to pay the bills and nothing else. If she want to buy stuff with money from her personal account that is on her, once her money is gone she will wreck her own credit history as long as it is mine, and my credit history is safe to do not care!

    May 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  90. Emma Ashtabula, Ohio

    Interesting that most of your bloggers interpreted the word spouse to mean, Wife?
    I think that the press and our free market politicians suffer from short term memory deficits. During Bushs' first 4 years he encouraged Americans to spen, spend, spend. Now we are being condemned for this. I think the question should be, "should we deport all non-American companies that were involved in the Wall Street credit default swap crimes? Should we equally put 8 trillion dollars in social security and take social security out of the general fund and put it in a real government trust fund?
    When these corporate crooks are given corporate welfare and equal amount should be given to U.S. citizens.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  91. Dee in sunny (and dry) Florida

    That's easy. We are not overspending in the first place.

    Since my husband has been out of work for a year we have cut back to the essentials! And even before he got laid off we did not overspend.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  92. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, it's been a battle, but I finally convinced my wife that we don't buy things just because we want to and can afford it. I made myself the example for her to follow. She strays a little, but she's gotten really good at make a penny squeak – almost as good as her miser husband.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  93. Tom in CA

    We use cash, debit cards or checks for small items.

    If an item, or spending spree, is over a certain amount, then we talk about it. Communication is the only way to go.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  94. Scott Stodden

    Jack I really think the best way to stop your spouse from overspending is to sit down together, go over your finances together, and tell each other this is what we're going to spend. Otherwise another easy way would be just dont have a spouse, I dont have a spouse and I love it that way, that way I cant blame nobody but myself.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Il)

    May 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  95. happy girl

    Jack,
    You don't stop an overspending spouse. I've been married nearly 20 years and firmly believe that the secret to a happy marriage is for each spouse to frequently squirrel away enough money each pay period to use as they please (within budget of course). Life is short - you've gotta find your luxuries where you can. The trick is to budget for those luxuries and encourage your spouse to budget as well.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  96. Chip

    Most Americans consider themselves "moderate" so why do politicians continue to pursue the votes of the extremists? Pelosi and Read do not represent the ideals of the majority of the country and should be replaced by people who do. There clearly is no place more liberal and out of touch with the reality of middle America (or any of the rest of America) than San Francisco. ANYBODY would be better in the positions of Majority Leader and Speaker (respectively) than those two.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  97. Chuck in Tampa,Florida

    It's all about the credit card. Remove that , check the mail frequently for any bills and yes, have the telephone number of a divorce lawyer on speed dial.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  98. james sloan

    Dear Jack, I got rid of my overspending wife via divorcr. Now I have no one to blame but myself. I'm now in a more serious hole yhan I ever imagined. Jim / Phoenixville, Pa.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  99. Ron Temecula

    Hi Jack:

    You must be joking. My lady spends $1000.00 a month on face cream and amkeup at Neiman Marcus. The end of time would have to occur for her to stop spending that way. The woman is insane!!!

    Ron Temecula, CA

    May 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  100. Wesley from Illinois

    I'm sorry, I can't tolerate overspending in this economy. There is nothing to talk about if my spouse constantly overspent, it's over, I can struggle by myself. I would tolerate cheating before overspending because at least it wouldn't cost me any money.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  101. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Never been a problem for me since we tend to respect the fact that its a common pool of money and we need to be responsible when using it. However, if there was a problem, I'd try talking to my wife. Revolutionary idea in this day and age.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  102. michael LV,NV

    AH , you cut up her cards and say your broke .

    May 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  103. Cori

    Jack, I have friends who spend their paychecks before they're even earned. How do you stop people from overspending? It's almost impossible. When you're dealing with shopaholics who need intervention, you will most likely lose a friend. Credit cards make it easy to shop these days. Instant gratification rules. If you find a solution, please, let me know.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  104. Lisa in Shelton CT

    COMMUNICATION and mutual agreement on saving and spending goals. If credit counseling or psychiatric counseling are necessary, being willing to do the hard work and respect agreed upon parameters will indeed payoff in the end – with money and a better relationship.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  105. Richard New Hampshire

    The secret to a successful marriage is seperate checking accounts(assuming both are working) and two bath rooms.Both are equally important.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  106. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Simply have my lawyer contact the offending spouse and tell them in writing that if the overspending doesn't stop divorce papers will follow.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  107. Rahn Hasbargen New Brighton, MN

    That's like asking "How do you get the government to stop overspending?" The answer is DISCIPLINE, and that is very lacking in this country's personal and governmental lives. Thus, we get what we derserve-uncrontrolled greed, spending, and debt.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  108. Judie Williams

    What might work for major cards is to call & have credit limit(s) reduced...say to $1000.00. The individual store ones ? Have no idea other than to perform plastic surgery, OR when he/she whines about a vacation, new car, etc., remind them they have spent the allotment..

    CYA..........in many states, the spouse is responsible for the debt, whether he/she incurred it. Too bad that the young and "in love", (or is it lust ?), NEVER inquire about a credit report prior to marriage...actually it is a good idea @ any age...especially if you are marrying someone who is divorced........

    May 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  109. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Easy, she's now my ex.

    May 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  110. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    I have never seem a Brinks truck at the end of a wake, My wife has more shoes than the hold island of cuba

    May 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  111. William Courtland

    It is just not that simple of a situation to warrant an easy cure all answer... Lie? but it is wrong to lie: like telling your spouce that you need to start sending money to your mother to prevent her from moving in, or that you have lost your job, and are always out hunting while you continue to go to the job you have not lost, or just having your boss give you a pretend pay cut and two different pay checks.

    The problem is with the individual and those individuals in this specific situation. The spouce could easily be just a gold digger and will leave when the money runs out... A true mania might be involved or the individual might have a obsessive compuslive disorder...

    Just forget your wallet or your purse when you go out: and know that he or she has hers: and expect them to pay after they are broke..? The individual's expected response then comes from the mental constitution those individuals have.

    Just buy it for her or him first: then scold them for spoiling Christmas... On the month the new gadget is to come out: make that the time to balance the taxes with charity by draining the account before they can make the purchase themselves: to teach them to wait. Get what you need... but not always what you want... good song.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  112. Ken in NC

    Jack, I couldn’t get my wife to stop overspending but she did run off with my best friend. Only problem now is that I miss my best friend because he was my fishing buddy.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  113. Bernard Clark

    If your an American husband, you'd better find a subtle way to do it! Enough Said, LOL!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  114. Richard in Mexico

    Barefoot in the winter and pregnant in the summer. (Joking...)

    May 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  115. Karl from SF, CA

    Take your spouse to a National Park in a bear costume?

    May 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  116. Pat

    Divorce them.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  117. Todd

    Jack,
    Do what I did, pick up a DO-IT-YOURSELF divorce kit for $69.95.
    Todd – Massachusettes

    May 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  118. Danny C from Texas

    you dont

    May 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  119. Tom Reed

    Who cares about my spouse overspending.... HOW DO YOU GET YOUR GOVERNMENT TO STOP OVERSPENDING!!!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  120. steven

    easy, take away their credit cards.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  121. Terri Livatino , Buenos Aires , Argentina

    You can't...........head for the hills while there's still some cash in your wallet !!!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  122. John

    It's simple; Marry a responsible adult who understands the importance of financial responsibility. Can't find someone like that? Don't get married!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  123. Mike

    Real simple Jack Remain single!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  124. Mike in Louisiana

    What overspending? I make it. She spends it. After almost 30 years of marriage I've found that as long as I don't spend anything, there's no overspending. She spends it all.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  125. AP, Aurora, Il

    Hey, just follow what our great friends from Saudi Arabia do. Doesn't a Judge (Really, there is a judiciary system there?) has a briliant idea there?

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  126. Danielle

    I'm bipolar and a Democrat....my husband has to handcuff me and throw me in a closet.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  127. Heather in Alberta

    How do you stop your spouse from overspending?

    How do you hold a moon beam in your hands?

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  128. Damon Powell

    Ask your spouse to dump the expensive sattelite TV and CNN, and go back to rabbit ears and local news.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  129. kevin

    my wife is from the hamptons. she has never heard of over spending.
    kevin in charlotte,nc

    May 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  130. george

    im a bachelor jack and the woman i date .............allways are smater than me and make way more money than myself..............therfore i rarely if EVER have a say regarding how she conducts her financial affairs.

    one of the reasons im probobly single is because i dont have the guts to tell a woman she cant shop anymore.
    george
    chester,ct

    May 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  131. Helen

    How do you get your daughter-in-law to stop over spending should be the question. I have tried everything because my son cannot get her to stop spending...my last suggestion which worked somewhat was to make him take over the bank and the bills then he was quite surprised at home much she spent of course then he had to pay everything up and get them up to date, which meant borrowing from mom! Now they are both on track and it hurt her dearly to have to pay mom back but they did it. I pray they learned their lesson this time but only time will tell.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  132. Mark

    My wife and I have a joint checking account we use for the house, groceries, or other purchases that both of us need. We both also have seperate checking accounts that we each use for whatever we want to buy. If she wants a new dress or new shoes, she knows it comes out of her account. If I want a new MP3 player, it comes out of my account. We both know that any money spent from the personal accounts is each persons money and we never fight over it. It is each persons money and we can buy whatever we want from those accounts.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  133. Keith King-Burch

    Don't you say "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor" well now your poor so just stop spending!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  134. johnchristopher Saskatchewan

    OOOOOOOooooooo let me count the ways....ah, threats, whining, screaming, blunt instrument, holiday in Mexico, 357 magnum, gatling gun or maybe small nuclear device....ok ok forget the newqulr divas.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  135. Robert Verheijen, Las Vegas

    I was laid off from a very well paying job in February and have not been able to find employment yet, despite sending out literally hundreds of resumes. Making cuts in our spending has been an absolute must. Where previously we used to spend rather freely, we have now established a rtaher stringent budget, and at the end of every month we evaluate together how we did. This way we both share the responsibility, and although there is always stress on a relationship when one of the two partners is unemployed, that stress is not about the money anymore.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  136. Kathleen in Marietta, GA

    Kevin in Dallas, TX, I strongly 2nd that motion. That is a great idea and I had to do that to my ex-husband. Teri K in North Florida your idea is risky because you might end up in more debts, no job and no spouse.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  137. Mike Page in South San Francisco, CA

    My wife keeps the books, pays the bills, and is as tight as a tick.

    We've both reached the age where watching the bank account grow is more fun than going shopping and blowing money on nonsense.

    The beauty of this system is if some day in the future we decide a new car would be cool, we write a check for it. No sweat!!

    Mike

    May 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  138. Camryn Prevost

    Spend some money to liven up your bed room, and occupy your spouse's time with some romance during these rough economic times. Will help keep your spouse's mind off of shopping, and keep the two of you happy!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  139. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard, CA

    You can't...... once a spender always a spender. Im 17 my parents have been divorced for 5 years because one of them was a shopaholic.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  140. Lonnie Jones

    The secret to lengthy and (maybe) happy marriage is separate bank accounts, credit cards, etc. Each person needs to be able to see both sides of the spending equation.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  141. Dave in Long Island

    send 'em to Darfur for a few years, then they will realize how OTHER people live without riches and while your spouse is buying that huge diamond, she will remember how the kids in darfur are dying of starvation , AIDS, Malaria, etc.)

    Plan B- stick their amex card in the trash compactor, it always works teeheehee

    May 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  142. Elisa C.

    My husband was very patient with my overspending for way too long. Eventually he showed me a spreadsheet with exactly how much we overspent on food and entertainment for several months in a row. (It was almost always the same $700 when it was supposed to be more like $300 to $400.)

    He suggested we get 2 new bank accounts. One joint savings and one joint bill pay account. This allowed us to see exactly what needed to be paid. I can spend what ever I want of my "budget." No limits on what I buy. The only limit is how much I spend. That helped.

    We use the savings account to save for a family cruise, vaccation, taxes, or even fun big purchases. Now I don't feel like I'm being over controlled or out of control.

    I have full freedom over my limited frivilous spending. No more unlimited poor purchasing.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  143. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, my wife says it is easy. Just be married to a cheap-skate who fixes and patches everything in the house. That way you never have to replace anything.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  144. Marie in MT

    Seems a bit sneaky to add this to a credit card bill. I am absolutely disappointed. I feel safer hiking with wildlife than being anywhere near a drunk with a gun. Since when does the NRA get to dictate my right to be and feel safe?

    May 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  145. yvan Levrault

    Both people have to agreed on a common vision about financial future of the family. My wife and I do not agreed on everything, but we have a share vision about where we wish to be 5 or 10 years from now. We want to have a second home, want to we enjoy overseas vacation every year and want to retire by the age of 65. We also know that banks and credit card companies are not your friends.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  146. Tracy in Bama

    Of course part of the solution is to have a couple "own" the household budget. Considering that we mostly buy unneeded and over priced items to feel better or feel more in control couldn't it help if we also talked all those "scary" emotional bad feelings through with our spouses as well? Isn't that part of having a functional household, or marriage, or relationship with any significant other? I realize if we all got really good at doing that too it could put the credit card companies in a position to have to earn a more honest living, but would that be so bad?

    May 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  147. James Collins

    Hey Jack the best way to have my spouse stop spending so much money is to have them do the budget and pay the bills if thats not a cure-all then ill just quit my job, lets see how they get money then

    May 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  148. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Like you said Jack: "it's Cheaper To Keep Her", so let her continue spending and just, "Suck It Up".

    May 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  149. Taylor

    Easy. It’s called managing the family finances. As a two income family my wife and I have developed a specific formula. Her check covers all of our bills (minus daily expenses like food and gas). When my check arrives we split it three ways. Each of us gets equal parts with the third being dropped into a savings/emergency fund. If one of us spends all of our daily income before my next check comes well, don’t sweat it, all the bills are already paid. So, even if I don’t have money in my wallet because I bought a new phone or the latest Xbox 360 game, everything important is already covered. It’s called disposable income.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  150. pam in wnc

    After taking my husband to visit the doctor for meds and regular therapy appointments, I let my husband "run" our house. The meds didn't stop the screams of "how in the hell did you ever manage this mess!?" Several months later, he still sweats it out every payday, but basically he's keeping under control better. That method of madness, if you can stand it, WORKS.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  151. raphael

    jack
    let me know when u have the answer to that.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  152. John from Alaska

    My spouse doesn't overspend. In fact she seems to get extraordinary pleasure from SAVING money. She treats shopping like a competition and she never pays full price. She does such a fabulous job feeding and clothing myself and our three teenagers that I actually ENCOURAGE her to treat herself with a new pair of shoes or purse occasionally. My theory Jack is: HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  153. Steve Canada

    My lovely wife is of Scottish heritage..She throws nickels around like they are manhole covers..HER spending is not an issue .I am working an extra year or two instead of retiring due to my own spending habits....I'm learning the hard way...every damn moring when the alarm goes off !!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  154. Cindy

    Jack, affter much arguments with this issue we came up with a method:
    1. We agreed on an amount that we can purchase without asking each other.
    2. We agreed to discuss any purchase greater than an XX amount; this purchase may take from 1-3 months. We did this to prevent buying due to compulsive behavior and from peer pressure (like from friends).
    3. Major purchases must be discussed and can take greater than 6 months to purchase (and only if necessary).
    It was understood that we needed to solve this issue to have a healthy marriage. The plan is working.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  155. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    It wasn't easy, Jack. There was no cure until long after I got a divorce as she continued to milk me of my money.

    After that, I had to go court, prove she had lied about the status of my children and get a court order – from a lady judge, no less – to terminate her child support and alimony.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  156. Scott Diem

    Jack,
    What is up with the idiots who say that it's a waste of money to put signs noting that the money is from The Stimulus Act. Maybe they are thinking the signs are coming from China. Sign makers of the country are entitled to some jobs too.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  157. Rusty Lawson

    How do I keep my spouse from overspending I'd never married so I have no problem.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  158. chuck barnard

    Piece of cake. Destroy all credit cards except for gas and oil. Pay all bills with checks which require both to sign. Then each month, purchase (with said checks) a Visa "Gift Card" for each spouse in the amount they mutually agree is fair for each. That way each spouse can spend all they want to up to the limit of their discretionary spending "control" card, and all other money goes to pay the bills.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  159. Roland(St George,UT)

    The suggestion you mention is a great one, but I believe the first step is always "Take a look at yourself first." What is the other (non-spending) spouse contributing to the problem? Is she overweight? Did she let herself go? Has she become a nag? Does she keep a nice home to come home to? Are the kids well-behaved, or does dad have to come home to a big mess every day? Please don't mistake this for chauvinism...I'm not saying that cleaning up everything is solely the responsibility of the wife. It goes both ways as well. Husbands need to ask themselves what are they not giving their wives either? It could be the husband is a workaholic, never at home, or not mentally there, and not giving his wife (or kids) any emotional love and support. Overspending like any other psychological addiction is usually a symptom of a problem...and rarely the actual problem itself. (Roland/St George, UT)

    May 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  160. Rob Dalpra

    I'm not sure Jack, but when you find the answer...you better tell Mrs. Obama!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  161. Chika Uzokwe (Greece)

    Simple Jack, be the carefree one that seems to over spend, deliberately seek her advice sometimes. She will 'wisely' play the role of a think-before-you-do woman of the house.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  162. Sid.....Texas

    Sadly enough Jack, nothing I could do to stop my spouse from spending money would be legal........

    May 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  163. John in Santa Barbara

    My wife used to say, "We can't be out of money, we still have checks." If you want to control spending, go shopping with her. You will fight, you will argue, you will hate each other to the point of threatening divorce, but you will spend less money.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  164. Michael McDowell

    Jack that is an easy one! For women who have to stop their husbands they just use "chastity" and "abstinence". For men, they usually will end up on Nancy Grace or America's Most Wanted!!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  165. Adnin

    You CANT!! Especially if you love him/her... unfortunately...

    May 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm |