How to Get Your Husband on Board with a Budget

Is agreeing about how to spend or save your money a struggle? Try these 8 Tips for how to get your husband on board with a budget.

Y ou want to budget successfully, but you’re not the only one in the money equation, and sometimes…

Your husband is a spender not a saver, and it’s a constant struggle to get on the same page as him when it comes to what to spend your money on.

Often, husbands don’t even want to have a conversation about how to reduce spending because there can be so much guilt surrounding money.

Our Budgeting Story

Like many of you, I’m the “budgeter” in my household, while my husband is a little more laid back.

He is much better at remembering to have fun and enjoy life. Overall, I have no doubt this is one of the many reasons God brought us together.

I tend to be a little too serious and always focused on work, work, work, save, save, save.

However, when it comes to budgeting and getting out of debt this could have become a point of contention for us.

When I first started learning about the importance of living debt free, I was worried that he wouldn’t get on board. To be sure, the idea of temporarily giving up so many of his wants was a real struggle.

As you know though, together we paid off our $22,000 in debt in less than 9 months and went on to build our emergency fund. Here’s how we approached budgeting as a couple with two very different financial habits.

How to Get Your Husband on Board with a Budget

1. Plan a Money Date

Simply opening up the discussion about finances can be a challenge in itself in many relationships. Each spouse may have so many preconceived notions about spending, saving, budgeting, and money that one or both may be reluctant to even talk about it.

However, avoiding this important discussion is a surefire way to sabotage all of your family’s budgeting efforts. If both spouses are not on board with the budget, as you’ve probably already discovered, it is a lot harder to reach your financial goals.

Plan a “money date” for you and your husband to discuss your budget. Try to think of it as something actually fun.

Remember when you were dating and dreaming of your future together? This is the same thing, just in a more grown up fashion. Managing your finances is an important way to achieve your bigger goals for your marriage and family.

Create a low-stress environment and get ready to open up the lines of communication. Leave the kids with Grandma or wait until they’re in bed so you don’t have distractions. Turn off the TV.

Calmly layout your idea of your family’s financial goals and why you want to achieve them. Make sure to listen openly as your husband shares his vision with you.

2. Realize this Truth About Relationships

When wives email me asking about how to get their husband on board with budgeting, they often report that their problem is that “he refuses to (insert money saving habit here)”, or “Convincing my husband to….” or “How do I tell him to stop spending?”

In fact, in my recent reader survey, when I asked what your biggest budgeting challenges were, one of the most common answers was: “My husband!”

I get it; it sucks to be on a completely different page than your spouse on anything, especially finances. But let me share a little piece of advice that has served me well…

It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is impossible to control anyone but yourself. The sooner you stop trying, the happier you’ll be.

If you have been pushing your husband to get on board with a budget and save money, and you’re only being met with resistance, stop.

Here’s what to do instead…

3. Ask an Expert

It is sometimes easier for a husband to hear this kind of advice from a well-known expert rather than from their wife.

Consider asking your husband to read Total Money Makeover (affiliate link) by Dave Ramsey. This is the book that taught me the importance of budgeting and how our current financial habits were affecting the future of our family.

As soon as I was done reading it, I handed it off to my husband and asked him to read it too so he could get a picture of what was going on inside my brain.

If you have been researching budgeting and getting out of debt for a while, it’s important to realize that your husband doesn’t necessarily have the privilege of all the information you do just yet. Give him a chance to wrap his head around the how and why before asking him to make changes in his spending.

4. Show Him Instead of Tell Him

The big “Aha!” moment for my husband came when I signed us up for I put together our budget based on our income and and current spending and just asked him to take a look.

At that moment, I didn’t have to say a thing. He saw for himself that there was no way we could continue on our current trajectory of spending.

That’s when he got on board with the idea of getting out of debt and budgeting.

5. Be Specific

Another challenge I see many readers come up against is when they ask their husbands to simply “be very careful with money” or “to curb spending”.

Then they get frustrated when their spouse just keeps on spending.

This doesn’t work because there is no information or agreed-upon plan for what is OK spending and what is not. Also, the broad idea of having to save money on everything can seem overwhelming and kind of miserable.

Instead, create a very specific zero-sum budget that you both agree to follow. The thing about a budget is you do still get to spend money. In fact, you should assign a place for every single dollar to go every month.

If you are the one that typically manages the budget, be very sure that you include your husband in this decision. This will be a guide for you both to go back to when discussing what is acceptable spending. Instead of you telling him to quit spending, the budget will tell him where he may spend.

6. Be Willing to Compromise

Even if you are the one in the relationship who knows how to manage money, you won’t make nearly as much progress on your financial goals without getting your spouse on board. Sometimes, that means being willing to compromise.

I am horrible at this by the way, so I really have to make a conscious effort to do it, but when I do it’s very effective.

The concept of an ‘allowance’ has really helped my husband feel less restricted. He gets a set amount of cash each month that he can use for whatever he wants, no questions asked.

It’s not much, but that little bit of splurge money goes a long way to helping him happily stay on board with the rest of our budget.

7. Take Responsibility

There will be those of you that have sincerely tried all of the above tips for how to get your husband on board with a budget, and he still isn’t willing. I know it is super frustrating to be trying so hard and not feeling supported.

When you come to this crossroads, as I see it, you have but one choice. You can either give up completely, or you can choose to take responsibility for the spending for which you do have control.

I’d like to say that I always took responsibility for the budget categories that I had control of to ‘set a good example,’ but I’m sorry to say I went right along with all of our misguided expenditures over the years.

If you aren’t feeling supported at all in keeping a budget, it is easy to say “forget it!” and then start spending when you know you shouldn’t; but try to resist!

There is good news! Research has shown that women are in fact responsible for making the majority of the spending decisions in most families, so you can still make a big impact on your budget while still giving your husband time to come around.

8. Pray

Budgeting and financial stewardship is an important part of every marriage, but please don’t let this be a point of contention between you and your husband that makes the rest of your marriage suffer.

Be patient and pray to the One who has the ability to change hearts and circumstances even when we can’t.

How to Get Your Husband on Board with a Budget

By focusing on the things I could control (i.e. not my husband), I gave my husband the space he needed to come around to the idea to living on a budget. I chose to communicate openly, be creative with how I presented the idea of budgeting, take responsibility for my own spending, and be patient and prayerful while I waited.

Although my husband is the spender and I’m the saver, together, we have gone on to accomplish the huge financial goal of getting out of debt and building up our emergency fund. What we could have allowed to become a point of contention has only made our relationship stronger by choosing to respect our differences and work together.

Even when a husband and wife have very different habits, you can successfully work together to the same financial goal! Be encouraged! Even ‘spenders’ can eventually get excited about budgeting!

Have you struggled with how to get your husband on board with a budget? Share your story in the comments!

Is agreeing about how to spend or save your money a struggle? Try these 8 Tips for How to Get Your Husband on Board with a Budget.

shannon Clark, LIFE & FINANCIAL Coach

As a mom, I know what it's like to feel exhausted, overwhelmed by life, and inadequate to meet my children's needs. But I also know you don't have to stay there.

As an author and coach, I've had the joy of encouraging more than 9.1 million moms to find forward motion with their faith, family, and finances — without the frenzy.

Will you be next?

16 thoughts on “How to Get Your Husband on Board with a Budget”

  1. Your story is very similar to mine. I showed my husband last month that he was spending $100 to $300 each month in extra transfers from our main account to his personal account. He had no idea! He was a bit delusional about how much extra he was spending. We bumped up the allotment he gets every other week in order to hopefully eliminate these extra transfers each month.

    For me, the more things can be automated and predictable, the better. I’m glad we could adjust our budget to give him the money he actually needed each month. And now I have peace of mind to expect that X amount will be going out instead of being surprised with an extra $50 here, $30 there. The unpredictable spending drove me crazy!

    Great advice overall in this article!

    • That is great to hear! I am the same way with liking things to be automated and predictable. Life is so busy, it’s easy to let things slip otherwise. I love that you and your husband were able to meet a compromise you’re both happy with! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  2. It’s hard to not get resentful when I am making sacrifices (like giving up my cleaning service and lunches out) but he keeps spending on frivolous things (like a new tennis racquet). Especially when I am the breadwinner and not happy in my job and he has his dream job working for himself. My next tactic is to have him do the zero sum budget. I keep making the budgets that are not being followed. So I’m asking him to make the next one so he can see exactly where the money is going. Let’s see if this helps.

    • I’m so sorry, that would be super frustrating! I do think it’s a great idea to have him take a turn with the budget so he can see where the money is really going. You’re doing great by taking responsibility for your spending. Keep at it! It really will make a positive impact on your financial future and I hope also on your relationship with your husband. It may be an unpopular idea in today’s culture, but true love is about giving up our own comfort and preferences for the other person – even if they don’t appreciate it. Hang in there :)

  3. I’m new to your site and love what I see! I’m not a mom but hope it’s okay that I stay and learn from the wealth of knowledge that’s here. My husband is the saver and I’m just not as diligent as I want to be. However, I prayed for help and guess where I landed?????:) Hopefully the mom’s here can “mother” this undisciplined child into shape!

  4. I didn’t plan to read about this at all, though my husband and I need to have a budget. My current situation its that Ive been asking him to talk about money/budget for a while now and he keeps avoiding the subject. I know we have now some debt to pay (other than the house) and I hope as I read your articles I learn some ways to put us together as a team in this subject which has been a contention area from the start. I just didn’t realize how much money impacts your marriage. Thank you for sharing all this info. Very hepful.

    • I’m glad you found the article Patty. Money really does affect marriage and family. I never realized the financial stress that was going on in my home until we finally did something about it. I’m praying that your husband will come around to the idea of budgeting and working with you on this quickly!

  5. It was so nice to read this and see that I am not the only trying to save and my husband being the spender. I know that deep down he truly wants to be out of debt. But things like going out to eat, taking our son to the arcade or the family to the movies always get done before a really budget is made! And I know those things are important but learning how to budget them in instead of just spending and not having enough money to pay towards debt gets so frustrating and I get so annoyed that I just spend money because why should I try to save when I am the only one doing so…but if i saved the $5 or $10 that I want to spend it would be better than nothing! We have stared taking the Dave Ramsey class online together and he really enjoys it. I just pray it starts to take affect soon! Thank you so much for this encouraging letter I and so glad I found it. and please be praying that I will be able to encourage me husband in saving, and getting out of debt. Instead of me feeling like I am trying to control him and the money he has worked for!

    • It sounds like you’re on the right track Jordan! Budgeting for those fun outtings would be so much better and I remove lots of stress it sounds like. I pray your husband gets on board soon.

  6. “Show H(er) Instead of Tell H(er)”

    This is what I did with my ex-wife (before she was my ex-wife). It took a lot of research on where we really spent all our money, but when I showed her black and white on a spreadsheet, she got on board quick enough.

    Credit cards had been the real killer, allowing easy spending.

    Putting them in the sock drawer and using debit cards out of a joint account, with only a fixed and minimal ATM withdrawal at the beginning of the week, made it obvious how much we could — and couldn’t — spend.

  7. This article brought something Hugeto light… being willing to compromise.

    My husband truly wants to save, but he resist discussing budgeting. NOW I realize it’s out of fear that my desire for control will result in a disagreement that will go unresolved unless I’m willing to trust him and God more and push my pride aside.

    Thank you!!!

  8. I try to get my wife on board with a budget. I give her 2000.00 a month for groceries and gas… I pay the bills from my account yet she still complains about how it’s not enough.

    • Let me ask you this. How would you feel if the roles were reversed and your wife gave you a set allowance? Would you be motivated to stick to a budget? My guess is you wouldn’t like it. What adult would? I urge all couples to work together on their finances. There’s usually going to be one person responsible for budgeting and paying bills, but you should both openly and clearly communicate about your financial situation so you can work toward goals together. When you’re both working toward a common goal – you’ll both feel more motivated and take ownership, and the stress and strife about finances goes way down.


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