Couple Money header image ≡ Menu

Getting Your Spouse to Save More

I wholeheartedly feel that your spouse can be a powerful force with your finances. When you two are working hard towards your financial and personal goals that you’ve created together, you two are not only improving your finances, you’re making your marriage stronger.

On the other hand, it can be a daunting (and sometimes frustrating) task if one of you is a habitual spender and the other is saver. I’ve heard from other couples about the struggles and strains. Is there a way to help get your spouse on board? Can you save money and your marriage?

While every couple is different, I do believe that certain principles can help the two of you navigate this possibly tricky situation.

Start Small and Respect Each Other

Don’t expect your spouse to make changes overnight. More than likely they’ve had this habit for years before you two got together, so it will take some time to get them on board. Understanding how they’ve picked up these patterns can give you a clearer idea on how to approach them about saving more.

Talking directly about money can be stressful and put some on the defensive, so it may instead be helpful to just talk about goals instead and go from there.

What does your spouse want to do in the next year or five? Do they want to switch jobs, travel more, or start a new hobby? You may be surprised to find a goal that you can get behind to help them to learn to save.

Split the Difference

What if your husband or wife wants to spend the money you just saved? What do you then? There are several ways you can tackle this, but you may find keeping small separate accounts a plus. Go ahead and split the money saved – you can save or invest your half and they can spend theirs.

You may find that your spouse will start seeing a difference without you having to constantly reminding them of the benefits of saving.

Show, Don’t Just Tell

Speaking of reminders, sometimes, it’s better to let the results do the talking. Even though you really have their (and your family’s) best interest at heart, showing them how fun saving can be can be more powerful than telling them.

Do you have something that you really love and want to get (without getting into debt)? Save for it. Keep your spouse in the loop by having a chart on the fridge with your progress. Perhaps they will see that it really doesn’t take long to buy what you want, you just need to have a plan.

Make It Easy to Save

What if it works? What if you get your spouse on board to try and save more money? Start off with a joint goal that you both want to reach – a debt free vacation, a new television, or just bumping up your emergency fund. The point is you want your spouse to be excited about saving.

Go ahead and make it easy on both of you – automate your savings so the money is transferred as quickly as it is deposited. That can be a huge help as the money is tucked away before the temptation to spend it kicks in.

Thoughts on Encouraging Your Spouse to Save

I’m saying this as someone who has a spouse who was a saver and I’ve learned to not only appreciate the frugality of it, but I’ve embraced it. Saving more went from being a financial buffer or something to do crunch time, but it has become an enjoyable habit. I can have fun now and still have something left over for later.

What about you? Have you two have to deal with two different ways of tackling money? Was one of you a spender and the other a saver? What helped you two to work it out?

Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes

by Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

Get Free Email Updates

Want to build you net worth together? Sign up for the community newsletter!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. It really comes down to mutual respect and compromise. People in a relationship should want to help each other achieve their goals. If one is a saver, they should both want to achieve that goal. If one wants to spend a bit more, then the two should be able to come up with a compromise that will allow each to fulfill their needs. Maybe not to the fullest extent….but relationships are about give and take, right?

    1. Totally agree- relationships are a team effort. It can be especially frustrating when it feels like you’re fighting one another efforts, intentional or not. My hope is that couples learn from one another and build on mutual goals.

  2. I tried to make a rational appeal to my spouse and then carefully choose when and how to make more frugal suggestions. I had to accept those moments when it was important to my partner to spend a bit more, and be happy with the times that we made the more economic decision. Its a careful balance and has to revolve around respect.

    1. Great point about respect Leonard! I do believe that people have some explanation behind their habits (money or otherwise). While we may want them to move a bit faster, respecting them as they do make progress is important.