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How to Cope With Your Husband Being Frugal

by Lucie Westminster

If your husband spends his Sunday mornings looking for coupons in the paper, shops online to find the best deal in town or consistently refuses to spend money unless it's absolutely necessary, he is a frugal man. These behaviors may seem frustrating or confusing to you. However, instead of letting them become a source of contention in your marriage, communication and acceptance will pave the way for a peaceful relationship, despite his thrifty habits.

Talk to your husband about your feelings regarding his frugal behavior. If you don't like that he won't buy anything at the grocery store unless he has a coupon for that item, then tell him. He can't know what you are thinking and feeling unless you are forthright. Be honest and direct about your feelings, asserts licensed psychologist Clifford Lazarus in his article "Simple Keys to Effective Communication," published on the Psychology Today website. Even if a conversation doesn't change his behavior, openness and honesty are crucial components of any marriage.

Join in with your husband, and try to be frugal yourself. The old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," applies. Accepting and not trying to change your husband’s behavior will leave you happier in your marriage, states Joyce Woodford, in her article “Ten Tips for Healthy Relationships,” published on the Kansas State University Counseling website. Start scouring the Sunday paper for coupons to use the next time you head to the grocery store. Make a list of ways you can save money in your own daily activities and see how much you can save in a month's period. Have a friendly competition with your hubbie and whoever saves the most within a given time period gets a meal paid for by the other person.

Review your finances as a couple or with a financial advisor. While your man’s frugality might seem excessive to you, it’s possible to use some of his ideas to benefit your financial status. If his frugal behavior started out as a necessity when you had three young children and he was unemployed, showing him that you have sufficient funds now may curtail some of the frugal behavior. Financial strain increases depression symptoms, leading to withdrawal. These actions become a source of marital strain, according to Richard Vinokor and colleagues in their study published in 1996 in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology." Therefore, do your best to avoid stressing each other out over financial issues.

Take advantage of your husband’s frugal nature and plan a big event with your husband using the money he is able to save through his habits. Maybe you two have always wanted to cruise the Inside Passage of Alaska or bask in the sun on the island of Kauai. Instead of looking at his frugal nature as annoying, shift your own thinking and look for the silver lining in his behavior. Thanks to the fact he won’t buy anything that isn’t on sale, you might finally have enough money to take that vacation of a lifetime or renew your vows with your friends and family in a beautiful and extravagant ceremony in Las Vegas.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.

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