8 Helpful Tips for When You're the Frugal Partner in the Relationship

My husband and I have been married for 11 years. When we first got married and started having conversations about our finances, every single time it would turn into an argument.

As the naturally frugal partner and a planner, I have always been the one to manage our finances, pay bills and make budgets.

Over the years, we have had to figure out how to do it together.

Today, I want to share with you a few things that have helped us develop a lifestyle that fits us both.

Couple arguing

1. Compromise

The first thing to accept is that it is not going to always be your way. You can not just convince your spouse to be frugal. You have to compromise.

From just being married in general or just sharing your space with another individual, you realize that no matter how sure you are that you are right, the other person’s perspective is valid, too. You have to be humble enough to compromise and let go.

2. Communicate

Communication is key in any relationship, and it is just as true about your financial relationship. You might naturally be a person of action and not of words, like me, but it is still crucial to communicate with your partner exactly where your money needs to be going.

If my husband sees money in the bank and doesn't know that it's already designated for specific things, like household needs and bills, then he's going to be more inclined to want to spend that money.

The process of tracking expenses is all about communication, too. If I go over the expenses with my husband, which he might not do on his own, he can see in black and white exactly what we've been spending our money on. It sometimes comes as a shock to him to see how much we spent on things that we just really didn't need.

A lot of times sitting down, sharing that information and talking about it will help that person see the importance of not spending frivolously. This is how you might be able to teach frugality to the spouse who spends less consciously.

3. Pay bills early

If your spouse is someone who just cannot handle cash laying around, you might want to make sure that you are taking care of the absolute necessities quickly and upfront.

If you have monthly bills that need to get paid, do not wait until the due dates for those bills. Sit down and just pay those bills so that that money does not sit there looking idle.

Online banking

4. Get separate bank accounts

When I was growing up, I always had this sense that it is a bad thing if a husband and wife get separate bank accounts, because it looks like they are not unified.

However, for us, because of our different spending habits, it has worked well to have both a joint account and separate spending accounts.

When each of us gets paid, our income goes into our joint account, and a percentage goes from that joint account into our individual spending accounts.

This way, my husband can experience that freedom that he wants to be able to have with the money on his own account. He can see something he likes and just pay for it.

I, on the other hand, can also spend my money on what I want, which is almost nothing, or I can put it into a savings portion of my account. This way, I meet my need to save and he meets his need to spend.

5. Separate bill and spending accounts

If I have not convinced you and you still want to keep joint accounts, you can also do what we have done in the past, which is to have a joint spending account and a joint checking or bill account. You can break those accounts up so that your spending money is not crossing over with your bill paying money.

Every week when money came in, we would see what bills were due that week and leave that amount in our bill or checking account with a small cushion of money. The rest we would transfer into the spending account, which we would use for any household expenses and so forth.

This helped us ensure that at least we did not accidentally spend the money we needed for our bills and other our absolute necessities.

Couple looking at finances on laptop

6. Set savings goals together

We used to always get into arguments over what we should save for and what we should not.

Once we started asking each other what big things we needed to put our money towards, I knew that I could start making that savings plan, and I had his full cooperation.

Having that shared goal makes the savings process a lot easier for me because I know I have his support.

7. Have a side hustle

A great strategy we have developed is using our main job money for our needs and our side hustle money for our wants.

Because my husband is a spender and likes to be able to have a little extra money to throw around, he will use the money from the photography and videography he does on the side for that.

He also keeps his ears open in general for any additional jobs that would bring in some extra money so he still gets to feel that freedom of spending.

Of course, I do the same. I have made a little extra money through doing Amazon KDP or making and selling T-shirts, and I use that money instead of my regular income to fund whatever extra thing I want.


8. Plan frugal activities

One thing I have found useful is to, as the frugal spouse, take on the responsibility of planning our outings and family activities.

I know that I am going to shop around for the best deals, utilize coupons and discounts and try to see how we can have fun for free. This way, I can plan those things and show that we can still have a good time and enjoy our life without spending a lot of extra money.

Frugal partner

I hope these tips will help you and your partner find a middle ground when it comes to finances. Are there any other strategies your family uses? Share in the comments below!

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 1 comment
  • Rebecca Fullen Hopkins Rebecca Fullen Hopkins on Nov 08, 2023
    Yay for you! I was fortunate enough to receive this advice before I was married 30 years ago. My then fiancé and I had this as one of our many conversations prior to marriage. We agreed on His, mine and ours checking accounts. We each directed a certain percentage of income to the ours account for bills and His and Mine were discretionary funds. We also set a maximum amount that we could spend without discussing it with each other. That amount was adjusted over the years, but it has worked great for us.