Money Problems: Married to a Cheap, Selfish Husband

Yesterday I opened my inbox and found an email with the subject line “Selfish Husband” waiting for me. “My husband is selfish, selfish, selfish,” the email began. “He says, his money is his.”

All My Husband Cares About is Money

“I just read your post about family financial meetings,” it continued. “Your family meeting sounds like a great solution for considerate couples, but it won’t work for me. My husband is selfish with his money! All my husband cares about is money! He only cares about himself and his own financial needs. My husband spends money on himself, but not on me.”

Imagine a husband who buys whatever he wants whenever he wants. He doesn’t consult his wife and puts his wants above the rest of the family. No matter how often you argue with your husband, he doesn’t change his ways. Eventually, you decide all your husband cares about is money. He puts his money above all other things.

After ten years of fighting about money, this woman was at her wit’s end. She was mad, agitated, and downright pissed off at her selfish husband.

My Husband Says His Money Is His

Does your husband say his money is his, or it’s his money, so you don’t have a say in how he spends it? Some husbands don’t share their money. They make their wives ask for it. Beg for it, really.

These men care more about money than their wives or families. They often spend money on expensive purchases without telling their partners. Sometimes they spend too much on hobbies and self-interests and keep buying things they can’t afford.

In full disclosure, I’ve never thought of my husband as selfish. We began hosting family financial meetings in 2006, and I’ve never felt enraged by his financial choices or purchases. As far as I know, he’s never felt ill will towards my financial decisions either.

A Financially Selfish Husband

For a moment or two, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Did I have any advice to share? I wasn’t too sure. Then I remembered a similar conversation I once had with a former male coworker. I’ll call him D.

D loved to spend money on new technology, and he happily plunked down money for video games, new iPhones, and upgrades to old equipment.

“My wife tells me I’m selfish,” he told me, “but I don’t think I’m selfish at all.”

“These things don’t break our budget, but she says I’m a selfish husband for buying them. It causes a fight every time it comes up, and I’m tired of her nagging me to stop buying things I enjoy.”

After a while, my coworker and his wife became locked in a repeated cycle of arguments. D wanted to spend money on his hobbies. His wife said he was selfish for spending money on technology. They got into fights whenever he brought a new device home.

A Selfish Husband Buys Himself Expensive Things

One day I asked D if his partner ever got upset about his other purchases.

“No,” he told me. “She only gets mad when I buy phones, computers, and other gadgets. She says they are too expensive, and I buy too many expensive things.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “What if you bought something else?”

“Like what,” he asked.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I noticed that D only seemed to fight with his wife about technology. Would she feel angry if he paid for an expensive trip or spent money on pricey home renovations? Was D’s wife angry about what he bought, or was she mad because he didn’t consult her first?

D wasn’t sure, so he went home to ask.

A Selfish Husband Spends Money on Himself

“Your gadgets are selfish because you are the only one who uses them,” D’s wife told him. “If you spent money on vacations and home renovations, it would benefit the whole family. ”

D’s wife paid the bills. She wrote checks and swiped her credit card for the children’s clothing, sports activities, and utilities. Month after month, she watched the money leak from their checking account.

After paying the bills, D’s wife couldn’t bear to spend any remaining money on herself. She was angry that D didn’t feel guilty about spending money as she did. She felt like her husband could spend all their money and not feel bad about it.

A Selfish Husband Doesn’t Share His Money

D’s wife condemned his selfish behaviors and begged him to share money on the whole family. She made her needs secondary, and she wanted D to do the same.

D argued that they had plenty of money for both of them to spend the way they saw fit. He urged his wife to spend money without feeling guilty about it.

“I’m not like her friend’s husband,” D said after they talked. “I know she thinks I’m like him. She sees me as a husband who makes all the money and is unwilling to share it, but I’m not,” D said with a sigh.

Does your husband spend money on himself while ignoring your needs? Does it seem like your husband couldn’t care less about anyone other than himself?

A Selfish Husband Spends Too Much on Hobbies

Why were my coworker and his wife fighting? His wife thought he was spending too much money on his hobbies. Did he need to buy expensive new gadgets so often? She didn’t think so.

Clearly, she was angry that he was spending too much on hobbies, but was there a deeper issue going on?

As a long-time coworker and quasi-money mentor, I pushed D to dig deeper into his financial fights. Why did he keep arguing about money with his wife?

One day I asked D to describe his relationship with money. He told me he came from an affluent family where money was never an issue or a concern. His wife grew up in a family that constantly struggled to pay the bills.

Could this be part of the problem? D and his wife approached money from two different sides of the same coin. She wanted to save their money, while D wanted to splurge from time to time.

“My gadgets aren’t breaking the family budget,” D told me. His wife disagreed. She called him a selfish husband every time the topic came up. Time after time she said he spent too much.

Was he a selfish and inconsiderate husband?

This situation was so familiar to me. My husband also comes from an affluent family, but I do not. I need a lot of money to feel safe and secure. I suffer from a scarcity mindset.

D’s partner was afraid they would run out of money. I recognize that fear. I can spend money on my children, husband, and house, but I rarely spend money on myself. It’s a problem that has plagued me for most of my life.

What happens when one partner wants to spend money, and the other wants to tuck it away for safekeeping? The saver feels troubled watching money walk out the window. The spender feels frustrated and trapped.

A Selfish Husband Spends Money Without Consulting You

I talked to D in-depth about my financial frustrations. I told him how it’s hard to watch my husband spend money without fear or stress and how much I worried he would spend money without telling me. In a healthy relationship, partners shouldn’t spend money without consulting one another.

D wanted to talk openly and honestly to his wife. He gathered their financial information and hosted a family financial meeting of his own. He documented the family’s net worth, bank account balances, and monthly bills.

Then he created a spreadsheet listing his technical gear and expenses. He wanted to prove that his purchases didn’t impact their budget.

But an interesting thing happened along the way. D’s expenses turned out to be more than he imagined. Suddenly D understood why his wife was calling him a selfish husband. He was spending too much money on his hobbies.

D’s spending was impacting the family budget. It wasn’t a significant impact, but it was larger than he imagined.

A Selfish Husband Keeps Spending Money

D and his wife sat down to discuss his findings and develop a way to move forward.

He talked to his wife about the emotional impacts of spending and saving. While he understood his wife’s fear of spending, he did not feel the same way. In his opinion, this didn’t make him a selfish husband. He simply wanted to enjoy the money he earned.

As a reasonable man, D realized that he could spend money with a plan. So he approached his wife and explained that he needed more fun money in his life. My husband has often said the same thing to me.

D didn’t want to stop spending on things he loved just because he was a married father. He created line items in the budget for fun money—a fund for himself, his wife, and one for things they would both enjoy.

A Selfish Husband Doesn’t Share His Money With You

Will your husband share his money with you? A selfish husband doesn’t share his money with his wife.

Sometimes husbands don’t share financial information because they don’t know the details. Is that the case, or is your husband purposefully hiding financial information from you.

The best way to start a conversation about money is to gather the facts. Look at your income and expenses and determine how much money your spouse is spending on items that don’t benefit the two of you.

Search through the credit card expenses and ATM withdrawals to figure out where your money is going.

Then ask yourself. Is your husband selfish? Is he greedy with money? Does he spend all of your money on himself? The numbers on those statements don’t lie. Is your husband unwilling to share his money with you?

A Selfish Husband Spends Too Much Money

Does your husband spend too much money? If your husband is spending too much money on hobbies and habits, is he selfishly disregarding other household expenses? Is he purposefully spending a lot of money, or does he not realize how each small transaction adds up?

A selfish husband always puts himself first. He often does whatever he wants with little concern for his wife or family. He buys things he wants, then doesn’t have any money leftover. In these situations, a husband often doesn’t help his wife financially.

He won’t stop spending money even after you lovingly and tactfully point out that you don’t have enough to pay for his purchases. He will frivolously and greedily spend money with little disregard for other family expenses or desires, including your own. In these situations, a husband often wastes money and doesn’t have enough left to pay bills.

A selfish husband often spends too much money but won’t admit it or change his ways even though it diminishes the family bank accounts and causes emotional turmoil. He keeps buying things no matter what impact it has on your relationship, finances, or credit score. Does your husband keep buying stuff he can’t afford?

A Selfish Husband Spends Money Without Telling You

It would help decide how much money you can spend as a couple without discussing it first. Together, you should set spending limits. Some couples set their spending limit at $50 while others agree to $500 or more. If you want to spend more than that, you’ll have to talk with your spouse.

Anytime you or your spouse choose to buy something over this spending threshold, you’ll need to talk about it. Your husband is selfish if he spends money without consulting you. A marriage is a partnership, and both partners should have an equal say in significant purchasing decisions.

A Selfish Husband Makes Big Purchases Without Telling You

Your husband is selfish if he begins making big purchases without telling you. In healthy relationships, couples discuss large purchases. If your husband intends to buy a pricey item, he should consult with you first.

A selfish husband buys himself expensive things without telling you about his plans. I’m not talking about a small purchase here and there. I’m talking about making big purchases like electronics, cars, trucks, and vacations.

A selfish husband shows up with a brand new car in the driveway or an expensive home theatre system plastered on your living room wall. All high-priced items should be discussed and agreed upon as a couple regardless of who earns more money. So should less expensive, recurring costs, like hobbies, that can drain your bank accounts over time.

If your husband spends all your money on himself, he won’t have enough money to spend on you or the rest of your family. He can leave you feeling guilty for buying things for yourself too.

Why shouldn’t your husband make a big purchase without telling you? When you don’t talk about money, you can’t work towards shared financial goals. Did you want to take a family vacation or save up for a hotel to celebrate your anniversary?

You can’t do that if your husband spends money on other big-ticket items. A selfish husband’s spending will consistently bump shared goals and priorities off your wish list, which isn’t fair or sustainable over the long term.

A Selfish Husband May Be Cheap

Sometimes a husband can act cheap and selfish at the same time. He may tighten the purse strings on his spouse’s purchases or belittle her for buying things he deems unnecessary. These husbands are known for asking where all the money went when they know it went to pay for gas and groceries.

A husband like this appears cheap because he doesn’t want you to purchase products for yourself, your kids, or your home, but in this case, he isn’t cheap.

A Selfish Husband is Controlling with Money

Cheap spouses don’t like to spend money on frivolous items. That makes sense, but if your husband is only classifying your desires as trivial, that isn’t cheap. If he’s further belittling your choices, that’s controlling. Is your husband only cheap with you?

In this case, you must ask yourself an honest question. Is your husband cheap and selfish, or is he attempting to control your relationship with money?

Does your husband limit his purchases or only those you wish to make? If he is genuinely cheap, he won’t want to buy anything for himself either.

A Selfish Husband Makes You Ask for Money

A selfish husband will often say his money is his. He’ll make you feel bad about paying household bills or buying things you need.

Does your husband make you ask or beg for money? That’s not how a marriage should work. You shouldn’t have to ask your husband for money or feel like your husband won’t give you money when you need it. Instead, money should be accessible via checks, cash, or debit cards.

It’s important to set rules for your relationship. As a couple, you should discuss money management issues. Do you maintain joint accounts or separate ones? How much do household items cost? How much do you need for personal reasons each month?

A Selfish Husband Doesn’t Give You Money

A selfish husband will make you ask for money and not give you any when you ask for it. In a kind, committed relationship, you define the rules for money management so that you can both access the cash you need when you need it.

In a healthy relationship, a husband shares his money. In a selfish relationship, a husband won’t give his wife spending money if she works or stays at home with their children.

If your husband is selfish, it doesn’t mean he is financially abusive, but selfish behavior can lead to financial abuse.

By definition, financial abuse includes behaviors such as:

  • Denying a spouse access to money
  • Controlling household spending
  • Refusing to include a spouse in financial decisions

Unfortunately, financial abuse does happen in relationships. Financial abusers use money as a means to control a partner’s ability to acquire or manage financial resources.

Abuse can take many different forms. Sometimes a wife is not permitted to work, or a husband spends money behind his wife’s back. Other times the husband manages all of the money and refuses to allow the wife to access any funds without receiving permission first. These actions are beyond selfish.

A Selfish Husband Buys Things Without Telling You

Not all husbands are selfish, like D; some don’t realize how much they squander on themselves. To find out if you are married to a selfish husband, you need to talk about your finances together.

Before you schedule a time to talk with your partner, take a few minutes to think about your relationship with money.

How do you feel about spending and saving, and how does that compare to your partner’s views? Do you need a lot of money to feel safe and secure? Do you suffer from a scarcity mindset? How does your partner feel, and how does that differ from you?

How can you talk about those emotions without calling your partner names? Calling your partner a selfish husband isn’t going to help. He will immediately become defensive. You need to understand your relationship with money before you start talking to him.

Once you understand your money mindset, you can sit down for a calm conversation. As a team, a husband and wife can schedule a family financial meeting, create a budget, and generate a list of shared financial goals.

During this meeting, try not to focus on the negative aspects of your spouse’s behavior. Instead, talk about the comfort and security that money can provide.

If your husband spends too much money, try to understand why he overspends. Did he grow up without a lot of money? Is he depressed or anxious? Is he spending to make himself feel better about his looks or life?

Overspending and selfish behaviors often stem from much deeper issues. To stop them, you might have to uncover hidden truths about your spouse.

Seek Counseling When Appropriate

Some couples may need counselors or therapists to discuss their money issues together. If calm, rational conversations don’t work, consider seeking help to support you.

How to Stop Selfish Behavior

I don’t know if this information will help the reader who emailed me. Without a lot of details, it’s difficult to figure out if her husband is genuinely selfish or if he views money differently. Maybe he is a jerk. As an outsider, it’s tough to know. After all, what can I tell from one angry email?

I replied to that email with a ton of questions, but I haven’t received an answer yet. I hope the reader’s husband is reasonable like my friend D.

Math is such a small piece of financial arguments. Emotions play a much more significant role.

I know the fights have continued for ten years, but I hope this reader and her husband can resolve their money issues together.

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30 thoughts on “Money Problems: Married to a Cheap, Selfish Husband”

  1. Run run run! A partner selfish with money is selfish in all aspects of marriage!

    I am currently separated. Money was always an issue for us. My husband is selfish. His money is his and my money is ours. I had to saved money to stay home to have our child. I still paid 50% of the bills while out of work, to care for the baby. When I went back part time because we did not have a daycare, I still paid 50% of the bills and took care financially , and physically of my son from my first marriage by myself. When we ate out ,(fast-food) I paid for my son and myself and he paid for himself.

    We had one date after the baby was born. I worked part time because I stayed home with the baby. I also did all the cooking, cleaning , mowing, taking out the garbage, grocery shopping.

    That one and only date before we separated. I paid the babysitter and he for the first time since our first date paid the bill.

    Before when I worked full time I made more money and our money was together (accept he found reason not to work and spent money secretly) . Our money was in a joint pot to cover his child support , back child support (before he met me), back taxes (before he met me) and all bills cars purchases . He spend on whatever his kids and ex wife asked for even if it wasn’t in the budget even if I did not agree.

    So when our money was separated and I was 5 months pregnant I had to work extra hours to save up to cover the time I would be home to take care of our son and my oldest child(11)

    The kicker.
    He had the nerve to ask me for the $8 for my brit box subscription from his amazon account. While working part time making less money than him, watching our son cooking cleaning etc. Thankfully because I am frugal and uses a spreadsheet I could show him I already covered it.

    We are separated. And it is like pulling teeth to get a check to cover his half of daycare so I can work.

    This is not a marriage.
    Marriage is two people helping each other , generous with their hearts, mind, body and wallet.
    My husband is selfish with all four.

    If your partner is selfish with their money, hides it, lies about it, takes advantage of others. Run run run!!!

    • I am sorry that you have encountered so many struggles with your spouse. Thank you for leaving this comment your words will provide encouragement to others who stumble upon this post and read your words. I agree with your terms for marriage. When people get married they should “help each other, be generous with their hearts, mind, body and wallet.”

    • You are spot on! A husband who is cheap with his money will be cheap in all areas. NO. FREAKIN’. KIDDING!
      Cheap with their attention, their TIME, effort and hell no are you ever a priority over his family and friends. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.
      Yup, I married one too. Been together 44 years. Now he’s struggling with memory issues and in taking over the finances, I’ve discovered a multitude of savings accounts and IRAs I didn’t know existed. I see it as a lifetime of being ‘cheap’ with producing lifetime memories. I’m angry and grieved. Bad combo.

  2. What to do when your spouse earns insane amounts of money and spends every penny on junk? Fast food, tools, cars, gaming, landscaping/pool stuff. I can’t complain because he earns it. But I’m the one who won’t get an MRI because it costs too much. Craziness. I get so depressed over it, but there’s nothing I can do. I guess I will just enjoy the nice house since I can’t get him to sell it (very high taxes). Thank goodness there is a retirement account, but we won’t be able to do anything other than drinking and gaming. Our children are just like him – with his credit cards.
    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Hi Lauren, Have you considered financial counseling? I’m not an expert in this field, but a friend of mine met with a therapist who specialized in financial issues. Through therapy they were able to discover the reasons for overspending. A financial coach may be able to help as well. They can show your husband how money saved today can grow into gobs of money in the future. If your husband wants to quit his job in the future, have more flexibility, etc. it may help to forward project your savings if the spending slowed down a bit.

  3. Hi, I would need some advice and help since I came across this link while searching for my problem and it really syncs with my situation. What do I do if my husband listens to his mother who tells him that his money and his wife’s money is separate. Because she plans to ask him money for her needs; and in case her son’s money is not seperate; she cannot lay any claim on it. Reason why I say this is because when she came to our house, she said openly, both of you should spend on your own requirements and do a 50-50 split on the expenses(when she knows, I do not earn as much as my husband and cannot pay and if I do; my savings would be nill). Last yr we were in Dubai for his onsite role, I joined him; Sadly we had a miscarriage which needed surgery; he told me we should go back to our country and do it as it would be less expensive(100K less). It was Covid 2nd wave, travelling was not that easy, so I told him I want to get it done here for which he said I was being unreasonable. I shared the information with my parents who were angry and they called him to say in case if you don’t pay for it; we will pay for it. This hurt his ego, I did get my surgery done in Dubai, but caused up a huge fight and trust issues between us. My husband in the beginning of our marriage had student loans and credit card debts; so I took upon myself the major expenses of the house so that he could pay off his student loans and debts. No interference was done at that time by his mother or split of expenses 50-50 suggested by her till then(as he would not have been able to do that then); but now as her sons’s loans/debts are paid off and we can finally plan for our life together(house/car); she gives him this advice on phone on speaker, if your wife does not give advance payment for house, don’t pay for it alone. She says she can ask money from her son whenever she wants since she has sacrificed a lot. We have applied to a joint loan for which I am ready to split monthly emi payment 40/60 as per our salaries; so that no single person taking the heat of it, but now in anger or in an argument – he does mention it to me that you should pay 40 percent of the rent to me. Why do independent women want their husbands to spend financially. Its not that I do not spend in household expenses( Rent+Wifi + few groceries- his end and Max Groceries+electriciy+water+gas -my end); there is hardly a diff of 2000 bucks but since rent is more; he thinks he ends up spending more. Now I feel even though we are signing up for new house; I feel he is in this marriage only for the comforts of not paying the bills alone and for my inheritance.His mother’s intervention was objected my me , but he said that making an taking an important purchase, he can consult with his mother, it would not affect our financial decision. I do not trust him that he will not think about putting the financial pressure on me via his mother. How do I proceed with it and safeguard myself or I should not enter into it?Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for reading the long note till the end.Regards,Swati

  4. I could use some advice. My husband works hard and does pay all bills minus my car payment. I do work but I dont make a lot. My money goes to my car payment, gas, and small extras we all want and need (ex. fast food, shoes, and maybe a fun thing to do every once in awhile). He does say he works hard for his money and pays bills so what is left is for him to decide. He has seasonal hobbies. He gets into things like mountain bikes, rc cars, and motorcycles. All his time and money goes into these things at the time they are new and exciting. I feel neglected and also broke constantly. Our house is old and literally decaying and floors falling in. That isnt fun stuff to spend money on and is a huge chunk of change. So he spends money on the fun stuff. Dont get me wrong, I think they are fun too and support his living life fun but feel it needs to be in moderation. When I bring it up he sais im complaining to much. Im about at my witz end. Ive seen thousands go out. I dont care about him spending really its the amount at once and all the time on things while neglecting the home and/or me. I dont want to feel selfish and I dont want to nag, however I have tried so many angles to bring it up and its always wrong and ending results is always bad so Im totally overwhelmed with frustration and sadness and guilt of even bringing it up anymore. I am all about having fun but I could only image if I spend this much money as well what would happen. Plus I can’t spend the money out of the account without asking him and coming up with a speech on what and why I want the money (his money). My bank account is from my work paycheck and is gone in notime paying for stuff because so small. His account can have thousands in it, but because he does pay all bills anything left after bills is his. HELP. How can I in a positive way talk to him because every way I go about it makes him upset and nothing gets resolved!!


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