Not getting 100% buy-in from spouse

Hubby says all the right things when it comes to our money plan but when it comes down to action not so much.  I don't think he even knows YNAB by name, certainly hasn't taken the time to watch any of the short video clips, etc...  he just says "I don't get your way" and stomps off.  His way was a list of bills and anything leftover he'd spend on hobbies instead of thinking ahead to his commercial driver's license renewal or groceries.  

My question is, "Is it possible to be successful with YNAB if only one of you seems committed to it?"

After reading one of the other threads maybe I'm framing the question wrong.  

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  • Hello Silver.  Yes, it's possible but it really depends on that other person.  My wife, for instance, has no desire to plan our money or look at YNAB... but she trusts me and listens to me if I say we can't spend on something due to our budget.  I wish she was into it like I was and we could make more decisions together but I don't think she ever will be.

    It sounds like your hubby doesn't really want to control his money; he may look at his way of doing things as some freedom meaning whatever doesn't go to bills he can blow on whatever he desires.  Do you think you might be able to get him to at least start to think of the future?  Planning really is making sure there's money for what you need and want in the future.  It's a more mature way of looking at things.

    He may never want to get into money or budgeting like you do but maybe through you he can.  I think many times in a relationship one ends up being the "leader" as far as finances.  Hopefully over time you can get him to see some of the principals and how it really does make your lives better overall.

    Like 3
    • ukimagic209 you give me hope!  He'll never love the numbers like I do.  I just wish I wasn't always having to slap his hand reaching into the cookie jar.

      Like 1
  • Hi Silver Robot !

    When you have a moment, take a look at our Join Forces Guide. It offers a number of tips and tricks on budgeting with a partner. :)

    It took me multiple tries and attempts to get my husband on board and I'm still the number lover between the two of us, but he's on board enough to enter his transactions and enjoy our budget meetings!

    Like 2
  • I don't get even 1% buy-in from my spouse. He bristles at discussions about money. He also does not contribute financially at all to the household. He's younger, and married into a 3 child family, so I guess he doesn't think he has to. So, he gets to keep all of his paycheck for his idea of what's important, and I am struggling to pay down my debt from before the marriage with reduced income (I lost widow's benefits when I remarried). So...I guess we're in the same boat (unless your spouse, however hardheaded, at least contributes dollars to the mix).

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    • Orchid Koala we're in a similar boat but your spouse sounds like more of a child than mine. . . and mine is a child.  It's a rough road and I hope you get some support.  It feels like what's mine is his and what's his is his.  He's been laid off so our income is reduced, but he doesn't seem to get that that means the discretionary spending is the first to go.  There is no "fun money" in our budget for me but there is a bit for him.  Even though it is his income that is reduced, I'm supposed to pull bunnies out of a hat so he gets "his" money.

      I can't get him to understand that it doesn't matter what the account balance is. . . it's the budget category he has to look at.  He's dead set against it.  Even when I show him how much he has spent. . . I must have made a mistake somewhere not him.

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      • Astrid
      • Astrid
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Silver Robot It may be a matter of different bank accounts.  Put the bill money in is own account so he cannot see the balance. What about an account that is just for his "pocket money"?  I know my husband likes that he has his own account with his own money to with what he needs/wants to. He actually likes to save now and prefers to not let his account go below a certain balance (we keep his account off budget)

      Sometimes the one account option does not work for everyone and you need "out of sight out of mind" for some categories.

       

      ETA:  just saw you started a post on hubby's fun money

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    • Silver Robot Yes, my spouse is clueless about what marriage really means. Mine spends his fun money on alcohol and smoking, which really gets me.  He has grand ideas about doing renovations on the house, but I keep telling him I am strapped. I've tried to get him to realize he needs to help, but he'll only help out with things that affect him personally (ie if the A/C goes out). My friend recently told me I should just let the electricity or water get shut off and see what happens (tempting!), but I can't do that to the kids. Yes, I too am getting used to the idea of watching the categories instead of my bank balances (although I have several accounts that I probably need to consolidate).

      Like
      • kayjenx
      • Debt Ninja Trainee
      • kayjenx
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Koala I feel your pain here. I'll tell my husband that we only have $21 for groceries till the next pay day, which is 10 days away. We shouldn't really need much since we do a meal plan and have bought what we need but sometimes something runs out, or we have perishable items (milk, fruits) that we need to buy weekly.  He has his fun money which he could use for snacks but instead buys video games and game credits. Then, we'll past the fruit vendor and he wants to buy a sliced mango (when we have mangoes at home) and expects me to pay for it.  He harassed me to get an A/C because he said the baby needs it and not only did that cost us to buy and install it, but my electricity bill just went up by $35 in one month, so now it is costing us every damn month. Money isn't his only issue, which is the bigger problem. I think it he was an overall swell guy I could deal with the money issue better but it just feels like one thing to the next.

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  • Wow Orchid, that sounds like a very frustrating situation.  I know that some couples keep separate accounts (sometimes also with a joint account) but what your describing sounds more extreme than that.  So it seems that he trusts that you'll make sure that all the bills get paid and he's free to do whatever he likes with "his" money.  Actually sounds very immature on his part; most spouses at least want to contribute to the finances in some way even if they don't actually pay the bills. 

    My wife and I are at the other end of the spectrum; we have one account and all our money goes in there and all the bills and expenses get paid out of there.  My wife had ran up a bunch of credit cards (long story) but we got debt consolidation loan for that and it's just paid out of our money; there's no "your debt / my debt, your money / my money" going on.

    I'm sorry to say it but your spouse sounds more like a child than a true partner, financially.  When you're married you pretty much share everything and that includes lots of things including money and the bills.  It's just part of being in a marriage and being committed to one another and joining together.  If he's not willing to join in financially it makes me wonder what else he keeps to himself or how "married" he really is.

    I understand though that there are lots of different situations and personalities and agreements between spouses.  Even with all of that considered it sounds like the way things are it makes it much harder on you and much easier on him and I'm sorry to hear that 🙁

    Like 2
    • ukimagic209 Yes, he is all about himself. Many times recently, I've asked myself exactly what I'm getting out of the relationship. I already know what he gets: free living expenses. :(

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    • Orchid Koala I'm very glad to hear that you're having some serious thoughts / reservations about what this person means to the relationship.  Maybe he just looks at this as what he gets and not what he can also give.  A marriage is completely a partnership!  We all have to learn that along the way.  The question is... can he?

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  • I am having a similar issue with my husband. He likes knowing that when he wants to do something the money is there but he cannot be the one to hold it. He feels like you pay for everything when you get paid and what you have left is free.

    Additionally, he doesn't trust me. He constantly blames me when I say we can't afford something and accuses me of spending all the money on myself. Which is absurd since he gets 2x the fun money I get and with YNAB I can literally account for what i spend. He has even accused me of understating my income and that what i put in YNAB is all fake.

    I think for it to work, your spouse would really need to put faith in you and trust and follow the budget. If not you will get fed up sooner or later.

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    • kayjenx  Being the one to constantly say "no, we can't afford it" gets tiring doesn't it?  I feel like that's all I do. . . be the bad guy who doesn't want anyone to have any fun.  

      Like
      • kayjenx
      • Debt Ninja Trainee
      • kayjenx
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Silver Robot  no it's not, but I personally feel like he asks because he knows I'll say no. I mean i might JUST have told him we only have money for x and then he will ask if we can buy y. It's like he thinks I'm lying. And well he already accuses me to misusing funds, even when I give him access to YNAB and he technically has access to my online banking to see if what i say i have is what i really have. It's hard because I cannot trust him with the money which is why all he gets is exactly what he needs to spend and so it won't affect our family, but there are always ways that he sneaks in expenses. Buys stuff on the shared credit card, or adds items to the shopping cart and OMG it kills me to have to put things back in front of the cashier and he knows that. I am close to the point where I might start to go grocery shopping alone because the overspending is so bad.

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    • kayjenx Yup, sounds familiar.  I cringe when  Hubby goes to the grocery store alone.  It's bad enough when we go together.  It's faster and less frustrating to go by myself.

      I found out today that he's been operating under the assumption that he had an "extra" category for his fun money for the past 5 months.  He has his "train" category but he didn't think his train club dues came out of that category.  He has ynab on his phone. . . apparently he hasn't looked at it. . . .there is no "dues" category.

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  • My wife has student loans that long ago went into default and have reached astronomical levels.  To her mind the very idea of getting out of debt is untrue.  She sees it will never happen.  Now I have a plan where by snowballing our money we could be out of credit card, car and Parent Plus loan debt in seven years.  She simply does not believe it can happen.  What I do know is she wants to maintain an ability to see theatre once a month.  I have that budgetted at $200, though it should take much less than that, this is where I am starting.

    My hope is to not have to involve her further until we have a win or two.   I get an extra check in June and so in July I hope to show her how just following the budget I've made we were able to save $X.  I'm hoping after showing that I might have a chance of convincing her to go along with it.  

    If anyone has any better suggestions, I'd like to hear it.  

    Note:  she is not buying electronics or clothing or stuff like that, she simply does not believe we can change the amount we are paying out each month on things.  For her, past is destiny, not simply prologue. 

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    • Magenta Nomad good luck to you.  I think your plan of showing her the "wins" is a good one.

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    • Silver Robot 

           Well, spoke too soon I think.  Showing wins would be great however today we learned our HVAC must be replaced in toto.  That would be at least $13k for parts alone on the very low side.  And we do not have it.  We must fix it because the heat is completely dead and the AC is on life support.  It could fail again tomorrow or not for a month but I doubt it will last the summer.

            When I went to see about a line of credit against our equity I was told by my bank my credit score was too bad to apply.  Why is it bad, you ask?  Because we paid off the house in February.  Our score dropped nearly 100 points and two grade levels.  Did I mention they held the mortgage?

       

            After all this, not o mention the emotional state we both are in, she is never going to believe any scheme whatsoever will work to end our debt.  I am not sure I believe it is feasible.   This is just the latest of many such calamities.  Building up my hope that it might be different this time only makes it feel worse.

       

           Perhaps it is time to admit we will die in debt and just quit fighting it.

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      • Ducky
      • Violet_Lobster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad 

      Don't feel completely discouraged.  It'll still happen -- it's just gonna take longer.

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      • Frugalitarian
      • Optimizing spending, one purchase at a time.
      • Sky_Blue_Octopus_990955
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad Well, that just sucks! I'm sorry that happened to you (especially the credit score stuff - words can't begin to describe how frustrated I get with the whole mentality behind "a good credit score"). 

      Now might be a good time (if you haven't already) to really look at what you own and ask if it's making you happier than the money you would get by selling it. It sounds like you guys aren't super spendy, but there might be stuff you're just used to owning/storing that would be put to much better use producing a little income. 

      Also, you said your wife likes to go to the theater. My wife and I are theater buffs ourselves (especially musicals! 🎶). We've found that we can go to great shows at our community theater for free by volunteering to usher. The work is incredibly easy, and once the show starts, we're able to just sit down and watch. I'm not sure if this is applicable to your situation, but it might be worth investigating, if you haven't already! 

      Best of luck! 

      Like
    • Magenta Nomad Don't give up. I'm in the same boat. I've got two years during which time I've got to get my debt paid off so I can live without child support payments. It's a huge chunk of my income, and I'm also trying to start (ack! Very LATE) to contribute to some retirement savings. I'm pretty sure I'll die in a nursing home, stinking of piss and pinesol. It can be very depressing. But using YNAB is the first thing that's given me hope in a long time. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...even if it is just a tiny speck of light wayyyy down there.

      Like 1
    • Ducky It appears YNAB needs a great deal of faith that it will work.  And w/o some proof that is not likely.  I've found no one on any of the blogs or forums that is ever dealing with the crap I've got going on.  So you'll forgive me if faith is in short supply here.

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    • Frugalitarian 

      WRT selling stuff; unless it is a kidney or something like that, we don't have a bunch of stuff we are not using.  We've been ditching crap rather meticulously, but none of it has any residual value.  We do not have a car we could let go.  So there is nothing w/ enough residual value to cover the HVAC replacement.  

      Right now I'm just doing all I can to find financing.  Because if I don't soon, I am not sure how bad will be the impact on my wife and us. 

      Despondent would not be an exaggeration for where we were yesterday.  Numb and despairing would sum me up today.  My guts are in knots and she is not much better than yesterday.  So we are just trying to find a way out of this crisis.  We don't have the luxury of doing something more inventive.  And we never have.  25 years, 4 cars dying, external part of AC crapped out, refrigerator then washer and drier...  Doing the math something major hits us every few years and we have no time to get ahead.  Hoping we could now get ahead was probably what made this all the worse.  Perhaps abandoning hope would be more helpful.  :)

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      • Ducky
      • Violet_Lobster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad Not talking about the system itself, but rather the faith to keep trying to improve your situation.  It might take years to do it, but it will always be possible unless you give up.

      Also: If it actually gets bad enough, bankruptcy is an option. Though that still won't do anything to the student loan balance.

      Like
    • Ducky Sorry.  I'm tapped out on hope and faith right now.  If I hadn't just decided to take the advice and believe we could do it and make a plan just before this crisis hit, this would not be as bad.  But after actually deciding to hope for a better future to be sideswiped like this.  Add this to the madness and chaos of the last two years and it just hurts too much to hope.  

      Like
  • WRT selling stuff; unless it is a kidney or something like that, we don't have a bunch of stuff we are not using.  We've been ditching crap rather meticulously, but none of it has any residual value.  We do not have a car we could let go.  So there is nothing w/ enough residual value to cover the HVAC replacement.  

    Right now I'm just doing all I can to find financing.  Because if I don't soon, I am not sure how bad will be the impact on my wife and us. 

    Despondent would not be an exaggeration for where we were yesterday.  Numb and despairing would sum me up today.  My guts are in knots and she is not much better than yesterday.  So we are just trying to find a way out of this crisis.  We don't have the luxury of doing something more inventive.  And we never have.  25 years, 4 cars dying, external part of AC crapped out, refrigerator then washer and drier...  Doing the math something major hits us every few years and we have no time to get ahead.  Hoping we could now get ahead was probably what made this all the worse.  Perhaps abandoning hope would be more helpful.  :)

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      • Ducky
      • Violet_Lobster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad -- One thing I've learned by looking at those who "experiment" with being poor and finding it "not so hard" to be financially independent, even if it's just a "modest" lifestyle...

      The main thing they did that the other people didn't have is, essentially, a feeling of hope -- due to their life of "abundance," they've been conditioned to believe that, no matter what, things will eventually work out.

      So, they keep trying. And they do, eventually, succeed.

      One potential workaround regarding A/C: Ever think of buying a window unit and just staying in that room for most of the day?  I remember doing that when I was much younger, living in an apartment that had no central A/C  -- the rest of the place felt like an oven, but that room was pretty comfortable.  There are some portable units that does heat AND A/C now. And they're only a few hundred.  Yes, it'd be a huge downgrade from having central A/C, but it'd be cheaper.  This assumes you don't have a fully open floor plan.

      Like 1
      • Ducky
      • Violet_Lobster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad 

      Oh, and I'm sure you've checked all the rules regarding the student loan, but just thought I'd mention: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/the-complete-list-of-student-loan-forgiveness-programs/

      Just in case something in there is, in fact, applicable to your wife's loan.

      Like
    • Magenta Nomad It sounds like you guys have had a rough few years.  Do either of you have an employee assistance program at work?  We were able to get some financial guidance through mine.  They might also have some counselling for the strain all these setbacks are taking on your family.  I'm in Canada, not sure where you are, and we have credit counsellors who might be able to offer options for you. I realize none of this fixes your HVAC.  I hope you don't give up.

      Like
    • Ducky A reasonable suggestion.  However I live in a swamp (Houston, TX). 

      1.  If we were to forego central air, the mold in the house would be untenable. 

      2.  A unit in every room would likely be more expensive than running a new system.

      3,  I could stand the heat just fine but "we" could not.  Happy Wife, Happy Life.  Mostly I'm just going for not-leaving-for-a-hotel wife.  ;)

      4.  The CIA (Community Improvement Association), the martinets of our yuppie concentration camp, would sue me.  

      Given all of that, this perfectly reasonable suggestion, will not work for us.  Thank you though for the suggestion.  If I was on my own or in an apartment, I'd be on this.

      Like
    • Ducky I've not read that.  But we are years past default and into garnishment.  We're doing something the company wanted that will rehabilitate the loan.  My guess is it will put lipstick on this pig so they can sell it to someone else, who will demand $1k/mo., we'll tell them we can't, it will go back into default and they will continue to stack penalties and interest and the insanity will go merrily on.  The amount owed now is three times the original amount borrowed for some perspective.  

      It is beyond ridiculous and she can't be rid of the @#$%ing thing.  

      Like
    • Silver Robot Actually I do have an EAP.  So that is a good suggestion.  I happen to work for the government and we still have some reasonable perks of working here.  I have regular support, both professional and good friends.  My wife does not.  But that is another topic.   

      What I need is someone to run our finances who actually wants the job.  :)  If a credit counsellor would take over our finances and run them, that would do some good.  Otherwise just hearing the same platitudes and admonishments is not really helping.  

      The last two years have been dreadful and do not show signs of improving, now this personal crisis comes along and I'm just tapped out on hope.  

      Like
      • Ducky
      • Violet_Lobster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Nomad 

      One last “from the left field” suggestion: Ask the HVAC people how much it’d cost to install a whole house dehumidifier instead.  I realize it’d still not be ideal, but may be easier on the budget until you get more breathing room.

      Like
    • Ducky I appreciate the suggestion, but that would simply not do.  It would not keep it sufficiently dry nor would it keep Herself cool.  This would be a non-starter.  

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