I'm on disability and only source of income. I have a bad heart. We live pay check to pay check (wife doesn't work). Whenever we get an unexpected bill I struggle to pay it e.g., property tax, or vehicle breaking down. I have asked my wife several times to take over the bills so she can see what's coming in/going out. She acts like everything's OK and at times is spending more at the store than needed. More, but not a lot.
This causes us to argue. I'm the one who starts it because I know what we have and what needs to be paid. I've offered to go to counseling, but she refuses. This is too much stress on me because we always end up arguing.
She left about a month ago to go to a shelter. I'm afraid she's filing for divorce. If she comes back, how do I get her to get involved and, or go to counseling. I love my wife, but this is too much. I need feed back.
By gemini from AZ
If she comes back tell her the only money she can spend is what you give her. Set aside a weekly amount for an allowance and stick to it. This is for everything, groceries, laundry, gas, whatever.
This will require her to budget what she has or suffer the consequences. It gives her a taste of what you are going through and may help her understand more about the need to budget and stick with it.
What I would do is this: have all of your bills in one place; both of you together look at them, what is owing; and the amount that you need to pay. Then look at the amount that is left: and work out a budget. Make a menu; plan meals ahead of time; always and ever work together; perhaps you can help with the cooking and baking; cook once, eat several times; I think if the two of you could simply talk and communicate rather than thinking that the other knows what is going on: is what is needed really.
And see if you can't save a little; even if it's only change everyday; hide it away so when a large expense comes in; you have a little bit to pay it with! If she could understand your worry and concerns; i think she would be willing and happy to work with you on it! However, if one person is unwilling to work with you, or even go to counseling to see your point of view, i do not know that there really is much that you can do.
And you might try role reversal: where she takes your side, and you take her part: and speak and act as if you were her and have her speak and act as if she were you! Really an eye opener; suddenly it's like oh! When you can understand where she is coming from; and she can understand where you are coming from; it should resolve itself rapidly!
Seems like she is feeling some stress too. Arguing isn't solving the problem. Gotta come up with a solution that will work. Your wife can make out a list of foods and you go with her to the store to be sure you buy only from the list or discuss what purchases will be needed that week and look for those sales and use coupons if available. Make sure you've had a meal before doing the grocery shopping or you'll both end up desiring to add more to the cart.
With two people heading in the same direction, you both should be less troubled about finances and maybe have a little nest egg to splurge for something nice to share together. Give her some ideas of what working together can accomplish and let her see that dreams and goals include her too and having something really nice to enjoy that you always wanted for her to have and yourself.
There was a time in my young adult life, that I didn't see or get the big picture of what all my husband was going through because I'd never been where he was before. It wasn't until I had to get out there and do also that I came to fully realize the great responsibility that was on his shoulders to eek out a living for the family; getting up when you didn't feel like it in all kinds of weather and be concerned about your vehicle not breaking down on the road trying to get to work or having the money to pay for those repairs and have food too. It's a real struggle if you're not in the upper league income wise. I feel for you and I sure hope things work out. It's gonna take an eye opener to get your wife to see what you're talking about.
If you have yard space for a small garden, it would be nice to start raising a few summer crops and maybe can/freeze the vegetables for later use and this can help the grocery bill significantly.
Buy meats on sale and vegetables too. IF you can shop at more than one grocery store in your area, you can hit on a lot of sale items and bring home your savings. You can also buy toiletry items cheaper at Dollar General or Family Dollar than you can at grocery stores. Check into those places too. Every little bit you do here and there helps.
Also, a good idea courtesy of "Dear Abby". If she won't go to counseling with you, go alone. A professional will give you strategies to deal with situations and how to cope with stressors within the marriage. Best of luck to you.
While she is gone, have your dissability check sent to a bank account that does not have her name on it. Tell her she can't come back until she goes to councelling at least three times. If she won't at least you will have enough to live on and don't have to worry about someone else spending it. You have to take care of yourself first.
Gemini. I hate to say this, but how are you making out alone? Isn't it more peaceful, if a little lonely? Unless she expects you to pay for it, perhaps your wife would be doing you a favor financially by divorcing you. I know it's harsh and not what you want to hear, but it's a fact that two oxen in the same yoke can't go two different directions. Unless she realizes your new, reduced financial circumstances, it's just not going to work.
Ann Parker has a good point: with your wife not "on board" with your attempts to budget, you really shouldn't have a joint account or allow her access to your checking account, debit or credit card, etc. Our circumstances necessitate my allowing hubby to regularly use my check card, but you'd better believe I ask him to report every use of it! Our finances are completely separate other than that, and they'll stay that way. Let me mention here, my hubby is the spender in our household. We're both disabled and on Social Security, but I have a (very) small income from a work-at-home marketing job.
If you're determined to win her back and make your marriage work, let me suggest this: sit down and write her a letter from your heart. Tell her how you feel and what it does to you emotionally and spiritually when she disregards you and spends as if you still had oodles of cash coming in. If you have an address for where she's currently staying, mail it to her. I'll be praying for you.
Sorry, I forgot to mention, my hubby, like your wife, flatly refuses financial counseling. We couldn't afford it, anyway.
Going to a shelter to get away from you and your marriage is a pretty extreme step. Maybe you shouldn't worry about her coming back, just protect yourself and your finances if you two do end up getting divorced. I think it's rather cold-blooded to leave a spouse when they're ill, maybe you are better off alone.
Why isn't she working? Counseling, if need be by yourself, will help. Even if she agrees to get some counseling, if she isn't onboard she will not buy in to the program. The old saying "You can lead a horse to water, you can't make him drink" really applies here. Definitely severely limit her access to your income, all of the posts here tell you some ways to do this.
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