Working all day and coming home to a house full of Amazon boxes is not a recipe for financial success. With many consumers working from home these days, the allure of the “buy now” button on Amazon and other online retailers is trapping countless people in the debt trap of impulsive spending. And let’s face it, even folks who have returned to the office or don’t have the luxury of working from home can be tempted to make online purchases from their phone or computer.
Obviously, anyone in this situation is at the very least having conversations about paying off debt, but how is your spouse dealing with the issue? Money problems are one of the primary factors in marital arguments and divorce. Impulsive spending usually leads to an unmanageable financial situation. If you’re a spouse who’s married to an impulsive spender, try the following:
1. Have a conversation about materialism
Materialism is a mindset, not an emotional condition. This is the most solvable of your issues with a spouse that practices impulsive spending. They’re not really doing it to fill an emotional void. It’s more about status and ownership. A simple conversation about what the two of you truly value in life could curb the habit. Open communication is a key to happiness.
2. Look for the underlying causes of the impulses
If the first suggestion doesn’t change the behavior, try to identify the underlying causes of the impulsive spending. It’s often connected to anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. These are serious problems that should not be treated lightly. Remind your spouse that it’s “OK to not be OK” and try to get them to admit that they have a problem.
3. Understand how obsession and compulsion work
Obsession is fixating on an object or a behavior. Compulsion is acting on that obsession. Visualize this in the frame of compulsive spending. By understanding the “why,” it becomes simpler to work on the “how” of correcting the problem. Have a conversation with your spouse about this. He or she may not recognize what they’re going through as a problem.
4. Explore professional counseling options
We’re not medical professionals, so we don’t want to hit this point too hard, but sometimes professional help becomes necessary when a behavior is causing financial unmanageability. Check with your health insurance provider to see if counseling is a covered option. Have a conversation with your spouse about it to see if they are open to it.
5. Seek a spiritual solution
Many impulsive spenders have found relief by turning to religion or spiritual paths that focus on being comfortable with self. Believe deeply enough in something and your life will change. Several books have been written on this subject and there’s a wide selection of churches and temples that offer self-help programs. One of them might be right for you.
6. Keep the lines of communication open
You’re in this together. Maintaining an open dialogue might just be the best solution on this list. Communicate your concerns and listen when you get feedback on them. What seems like an insurmountable problem today could be something to laugh about in your golden years. In other words, never give up hope. This is a solvable problem.
Kevin is a former fintech coach and financial services professional. When not on the golf course, he can be found traveling with his wife or spending time with their eight wonderful grandchildren and two cats.