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Wife Spending Too Much. Can I Protect My Savings?

Despite my wife earning more than me she cannot save. Spending is usually on superficial depreciating assets such as big car, designer clothes, and makeup. This can account for well over half her income in any given month.

Due to living frugally myself I can save half of my income. How can I continue to save without risking losing half if we cannot resolve these issues? Additional pension contributions? Any other protected long term investments? LISAs and S&S ISAs seem vulnerable if things were to turn sour over financial tensions. 

Despite my advice she will not save an emergency fund in case her big car needs work or we have a problem at home. When the boiler needed doing I footed the bill. I also have to pay for holidays and she pays me back in monthly instalments. 

It's a difficult situation for me as we want to start a family and get a better house but she will see a big drop in her 'disposable' income if we did either.  Obviously with current spending habits and related tensions this would have to wait. 

She is an only child and despite being in her late 20s and earning much more than them her parents pay her phone bill and often give her random expensive gifts. This is something I wouldn't want for my own children as I consider it spoiling and would prefer to reward them for achievements and invest in their education and life experiences. I appreciate that it's not my business what other people do with their money though.  

Everytime I try to bring up budgeting it leads to an argument as she gets very defensive and says its her way of coping with stress. 

I don't want to be overbearing or spoil our relationship but the spending needs to be curbed to some extent if we want to meet our goals. 


  • Keep_pedalling
    I presume you are thinking about in the case of a divorce, where the stating point is a 50/50 split in all marital assets which would normally be the case where no children are involved. You say you earn less than her but according to an earlier thread you were worried about being a HR tax payer so we are talking about two people on good wages.

    Pensions would be included in any split so any savings you have are going to be offset by her higher pension value so I would not worry about it. 
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,611 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    "Those that carry their own water never spill a drop".

    So true!!   I may have to steal that saying 😉

    (Is it yours or attributed to someone else?)

    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.51% of current retirement "pot" (as at end June 2024)
  • RobM99
    RobM99 Posts: 2,565 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    Sea_Shell said:
    "Those that carry their own water never spill a drop".

    So true!!   I may have to steal that saying 😉

    (Is it yours or attributed to someone else?)

    Not mine, but one I'll use for sure!  (Was I a bit harsh in my views?)
    Now a gainfully employed bassist again - WooHoo!
  • tightauldgit
    I think the only way you could honestly protect yourself is to divorce her now because no matter what you do with your savings she would be entitled to half of it or just to spend it while you have it. 

    You need to sit down and have a conversation with her and explain that you won't continue like this and then see if she agrees or not. 

    Do NOT be havings kids with someone when you are in this situation. 
  • Retireby40
    If she can't control her spending and isn't addressing an issue that you have with her or at least trying to find some compromise then forget about having kids.

    Parents need to be on the same page as difficult as it can be and they are expensive little buggers.

    Your child/children will have many events and costs. If your wife is going above and beyond what she should be spending you will be left to foot the bill.

    Personally I wouldn't entertain the idea of kids until there was a change. You are young enough to give it a year or two and then move on. But be careful that you aren't dragged down by them.
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 11,204 Ambassador
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    She says she spends as she has so much stress.  That sounds like there is something major the matter that she isn't dealing with.  The spending is irrelevant as long as that whatever is unresolved.  

    Meanwhile - I'd be tempted to take away all her credit cards including any access she has on her mobile.  Not saying that's actually a good thing to do but it might make her stop and think.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
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