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Stop fighting over finances: Here's how

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a relationship expert and an internationally respected psychologist, author and seminar leader. She has given life-changing guidance to couples for more than 20 years.

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Is he an over-spender?

If you're fighting over finances and your man is an over-spender, here are some helpful marriage and money tips for you. Resolve your budget issues and stop arguing -- here's how!

Woman looking at couple's finances

How to stop fighting over finances

The credit card statements come in the mail and you're appalled. Your mate has blown the budget yet again on really important stuff (yeah, right) like lunches out, some techie marvel and getting the car detailed.

Your most likely response is:

  1. Oh, no worries. The poor dear deserves some treats.
  2. Yikes! I'm going to have to clip coupons harder faster.
  3. Waving the credit card bill at him, screaming: "You need to do something about your spending habits!!! @#$%^!"

How did you answer?

If you answered #1:
You're a saint, and your spouse should worship at your feet, but you will likely end up broke by the end of the year.

If you answered #2:
You're a devoted and well-meaning sweetie, but you're likely to end up miserable, shoeless and eating catfood.

If you answered #3:
Here it comes!... the full blown monthly drag-down, knock-out, who-racks-up-more-charges fight which ends up every time with yelling, tears and frightened kids hiding far from the den. Lovely.

Dealing with your man's over-spending

Fold, sacrifice or pitch a fit -- all three methods are ineffective. Instead, try another approach altogether, something like: "Honey, I need your help here. I'm wondering how we could re-organize our budget. What do you think?"

Now your spouse doesn't need to defend himself, which means he can actually put his thinking cap on and try to figure out what to do. Most men really love fixing things so take advantage of that and get his help to fix the credit card mess.

Listen to his ideas

Really listen. Don't just give him lip-service. Then offer your ideas. See if somewhere between your ideas and his there is something workable, like a certain amount of your paychecks allotted to a "hands-off, for household expenses only" account, and maybe another amount to a "fun account" for each of you. Or maybe you agree at the beginning of the month how much goes towards what, remembering to factor in pleasure as well as necessities.

Finding a middle ground

Self-sacrifice as a regular thing isn't healthy in a relationship, nor is tearing Honey's head off for over-spending. Finding that middle ground may take some effort, but it is totally worth it.

More on couples and finances

You're not alone if you and your partner fight over expenses. Find out the top 3 things couples argue over >>

More love expert advice


Every couple will have to face the money battle eventually. The key is knowing how to handle it right. If you go into it bringing out the big guns, you're more than likely attacking him and not listening. If you approach his overspending more calmly and ready to compromise, you're more likely to see results.

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