What is the best way to talk to your spouse about holiday overspending? Each holiday season it’s the same old story: You endure a year-long battle of meticulously balancing and budgeting your funds, only to have your budget blown at the first sign of a holiday sale on Black Friday. If this form of holiday gluttony sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
According to a recent Crucial Conversations Online Survey, 60 percent of people either overspend or have a spouse or partner who overspends during the holiday season, and 78 percent say it is difficult to discuss holiday spending with their spouse or partner. The majority either put it off for months or avoid bringing up their concerns altogether.
Why do couples avoid discussing overspending?
Joseph Grenny, coauthor of the national bestseller Crucial Conversations (McGraw-Hill), says people fear budget conversations because they feel ill-equipped to hold these sensitive discussions.
“If not approached skillfully, criticism of spending habits can come off as a personal attack,” says Grenny. “People will become particularly defensive when their intentions are to please others with gifts and someone tells them they’re out of control. The problem is that most don’t know how to hold these conversations with the offender without damaging the relationship or acting like a Scrooge.”
The survey revealed that people fear budget discussions so much that they will employ just about any tactic to avoid an unpleasant conversation on holiday spending.
Top 6 tactics used to avoid discussions on holiday overspending
- Change or avoid the subject – 24 percent
- Hide price tags or receipts – 23 percent
- Hide recent purchases – 17 percent
- Walk away from the conversation – 10 percent
- Tell your spouse/partner it’s your money – 9 percent
- Change the subject to areas where the other person is “less than perfect” – 8 percent
Grenny says if people apply a few simple skills for holding these crucial conversations, the discussion will be more pleasant and will result in a better outcome.