Pampering Is Pricey Sound familiar? Learn how to compromise pampering habits before the creditors start calling. BY DODIE THEUNE
Kaia Lai (www.kaialai.com)
It's okay to spend money on yourself, but not at the expense of your relationship
It’s not rocket science that arguing over money is one of the top causes for divorce. With that being said, you and your extravagant, spend-happy loved one need to agree on your budget in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Therefore, it’s very important that when you set up a spending plan, whether it be for manly gadget stuff or sweet smelling girly stuff, you agree to make a certain amount available for each other’s more personal interests.
You and your spouse are bound to have different ideas about what items are appropriate for inclusion within the budget. One spouse may be a “clothes horse” whom follows every new trend, while the other may be comfortable wearing a shirt with holes, but splurges on season tickets to sporting events.
In successful marriages, couples accept their differences. They may differ in their religion, culture, politics and careers, but it’s imperative to find some common ground when it comes to money—especially when there is one primary wage earner.
When a spouse overspends, they may be trying to satisfy an unmet need. A young mother who feels trapped at home with small children may find that buying things through QVC makes her feel connected to the outside world. Perhaps a husband is a workaholic and feels unappreciated, so he goes out and buys a new golf club because he “deserves” a treat, despite the fact that it wasn’t in the budget. When a wife earns her own money, she may resent her husband trying to take control of the money or a husband who brings home the bacon may feel unacknowledged.
Overspending on a consistent basis is a red flag for a marriage. It’s almost always a cry for attention or a covert expression of anger. When one spouse willfully and consistently breaks those rules, harsh measures such as cutting off credit may only exacerbate these problems.
A marriage counselor can intervene to assist a couple in realizing how their repressed feelings are being played out in their finances, while teaching couples to communicate openly about even the smallest upset and grievance so they don’t fester. A counselor can also be a guide for couples as they find ways to make sure each other’s needs are satisfied without breaking the bank.
Dodie Theune is the Senior Vice President for the Bryn Mawr Trust Company.