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Amaliah Agony Aunt: My Husband Is a Spender, I’m a Saver – How Can We Make It Work?

by in Culture & Lifestyle on 22nd April, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.
We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

Dear Aunt Maya,

My husband and I have very different attitudes towards money. I’m a saver, but they’re a spender, and it’s causing a lot of arguments between us. How can we find a way to manage our finances that works for both of us?

Maya Areem Responds:

Salaam alaykum,

Thank you for writing in. I hope you are well and in a good place insha’Allah.

There is a lot to unpack here and I don’t know the intricacies of your marriage so please do take this with a pinch of salt.

Firstly some questions:

  • Are there other areas of your marriage that you seem to have different approaches but somehow meet in the middle? Is there anything you can learn from that?
  • How is your communication generally? Sometimes conversations about money can be because there is a lack of communication in the marriage so think about if you can both work towards having healthier communication styles to really be able to move forward on this.
  • Do you have joint financial goals together?

For spenders it can be hard to save when there is no clear financial goal, motivation to save or structure. For savers, it can feel like spenders aren’t taking finances seriously. I have also found that this spend save dynamic is prevalent in a lot of relationships – perhaps because being with someone different to you often is helpful to attain a middle ground!

I would also think about what are the facts of his spending? Does he spend too much? Does he spend on things you don’t find important but are important to him? Does he spend on things that improve quality of life but aren’t so important to you? Does any of his financial decisions bring unnecessary risk? 

Some tips to help you both:

  • Look at your outgoings and have a discussion about your current lifestyle and how you feel towards the spend. Sometimes spenders need to see in black and white the reality of their expenditure. From here you can create a spend plan and even have it categorised but to keep it simple start with one number, the key is not to make it drastically different to what you and your partner is spending now. Good finances start with good habits so slowly kerbing the spend is a long term game. You may also want to ask yourself here if you are being too cautious in spending, if there are different attitudes to spending find your common ground through compromise.
  • Set a saving goal, these can be multiple e.g a holiday one, a big item you want to buy, a rainy day fund. Really discuss why these are important as this is the key motivation to save.
  • Have conversations often, small and consistent ones.
  • Make it fun, have spending and saving challenges, adults are big kids. If you hit saving goals then reward yourselves by spending on a treat! If money has historically been a root of a lot of arguments then make it the root of fun!
  • This may be an unpopular one but consider splitting the responsibility of saving and spending. What would that look like? And would it be helpful?
  • Finally I think it’s really useful to do personality tests in relationships, they help understand your partner and some of their behaviours and vice versa, which makes for better communication. 

Love and duas,

Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.