My wife has 125 lipsticks. Her $ 11,000 cosmetic bill is our household’s biggest expense – exceeding vehicles and housing
My wife and I have about $ 4,000 in expenses each month. She brings in 14% of our total income while me 86%. Before we got married, she lived with her wealthy parents, and from my perspective, she lacked vital adult experiences that she would have gained from fending for herself if she had lived alone.
I have been working since I was 12 years old. When I was 12, I had three paper routes. From there, I moved on to washing dishes, cooking and delivering pizza, and finally using my STEM degree. I left my parents’ house when I was 18 and have never looked back. I have been budgeting, planning and saving for over 20 years to achieve my long term financial goals.
I don’t really need the money, but in an attempt to help my wife gain a little adult experience, I suggested that she help us with 14% of our expenses each month, around $ 560. I hoped she would learn skills like budgeting, saving, and making regular payments on the same day every month, while also understanding the volume of my contributions to our relationship.
Recovery time for my wife
I let her choose the due date, but every month she begs her to wait for one more pay period because her account is empty. She begs to reduce the amount owed and complains about the part of her income.
Every month, I push the date back a week, to the point where it really only contributes 9-10 months a year. She is never able to pay the full $ 560 and she does not understand at all that the income percentage for me is the same and that I make the exact same contributions for our household.
In addition, I deposit $ 155 after tax directly into his checking account from my paycheck. So she really gives me back my own money. In April there were three pay periods where I deposited $ 465 into his checking account. She begged to pay $ 500 late, instead of $ 560, which basically got me $ 35 for $ 4,000 in expenses.
Surprise credit card statement
In January, I came across an overdue credit card statement in our mail that prompted me to take a closer look at his spending. Over the past two months, she was spending an average of $ 100 a day on cosmetics. After 60 days, her account was overdrawn and she had spent $ 6,000. I informed her of my extreme dissatisfaction and told her that this behavior absolutely had to stop.
Since then, she has been spending almost $ 1,000 per month, reducing her income because she only has an income of $ 1,000, and not as a result of our previous discussion. In 7 months, she spent almost $ 11,000 on cosmetics.
I come from a frugal lower middle class family. My mom has three lipsticks in total. My wife has over 125 lipsticks, which cost between $ 15 and $ 30 each, and she keeps buying more. She spends 100% of her free time watching teens, with $ 100,000 in cosmetics collections, playing with makeup on YouTube GOOG,
She makes $ 12.50 an hour in a bookstore, and my brain is bypassed trying to figure out how someone with that level of income can justify spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on cosmetics.
The biggest household expense
It is at the point where its cosmetic expense is the biggest expense of our household, exceeding our vehicles and our accommodations. In the meantime, I’m keeping us afloat on our own.
I’m just exhausted. I have worked, planned, saved and lived below my means all my life to achieve my financial independence and provide a comfortable life for my family. I am maximizing our two IRAs and am the sole contributor to our other long term retirement goals. I am insulted and disgusted by the amount of money spent on cosmetics.
I was patient and tried to approach her many times. She raises her voice very quickly and speaks to me to control the narrative and keep me from finishing my sentences, only vowing to double. I just can’t join her. We desperately need couples therapy, but she absolutely refuses to recognize the problem or participate in a solution.
I am extremely frustrated. I was thinking of marrying a teammate to help me deal with issues and life goals together. However, my wife only contributes extreme responsibilities. My patience is extremely thin. What should I do?
Dear team player,
First, budgeting: your wife makes you the marital equivalent of a hot cup of tea. She plays with the supposed budget to a point, making the whole experience taste just bad enough that you can finally give up and take care of it yourself.
And now cosmetics and jewelry: the proverbial cup of tea is very hot, and the closer you get to it, the greater the risk of scalding. It’s a no-go area, and you approach it at your own risk. It threatens your wife in some way, the question is how and why.
She doesn’t want to give up this part of her life. Marriage, of course, is all about compromise, but your wife gets something out of that jewelry and cosmetics. Whatever need this addiction fills, there needs to be constant replenishment. It might not end until your wife realizes what’s at stake.
The question is, to what extent is this kind of financial isolationism sustainable? She meets her needs on her own, while you keep the rest of the household budget and plan afloat. You could go on like this for months or years. The question is, how long do you want to do this?
You know what you want: your wife stops buying things she doesn’t need and acts like she’s only responsible for herself. But the question is, what if she keeps spending that kind of money and relies on you to take care of her retirement and everything in between?
No more facilitation of compulsive shopping. If she doesn’t have the money to pay the credit cards, you need to step in. Depositing money into her accounts so that she can spend thousands of dollars on cosmetics that she will never use must stop. You both need to be responsible for how the household money is used.
Here is a look at “Advances in Psychiatric Treatment” on compulsive shopping, which shows the attempt to run away from one’s deep fears and anxieties. “Most compulsive shoppers buy goods that are of little or no use to them and experience a release of tension after the act,” the authors write.
It can happen at any time. “The behavior can follow a chronic course, with frequent episodes of shopping. Unlike normal shoppers, who usually plan and budget before making their purchases, compulsive shoppers act on their impulses without prior planning, ”the researchers write.
Compulsive shoppers often suffer from low self-esteem and marked distress, and often have co-morbid conditions such as anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), binge eating disorder, and other disorders. impulse control and a personality disorder, ”they add.
It’s a black, white and red situation. With the intervention of a financial counselor and / or therapist, you can bring your wife’s finances back to reality so that she can see them in black and white. Then show her where the red line is for you, your relationship, and your marriage.
Let her know how you feel and what you think she is saying about your life. Show her on a graph how much money is spent on jewelry / cosmetics versus food, shelter, and transportation, and how this threatens your chances of living a comfortable life together, if not retirement.
Because this would have be an intervention. Just like gambling, alcohol, sex, food or drugs, shopping can also be addictive, and it risks losing your respect and love. It provides your wife with an escape. Somewhere to forget. The question is, what does it escape from?
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