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Thread: Dealing with Deployment Impulse Buys..

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    #1

    Dealing with Deployment Impulse Buys..

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    When DH is deployed he falls into the trap of impluse buying. This time around I feel like every week I get a new package to the house with some kind of dumb sports memorabilia...and he is looking up a classic car and a truck to buy when he gets home. He did this last deployment too...came back and had to buy a new Mustang to replace his older model. It was clear he just became obsessed with the idea while over there with nothing else to think about.

    Where I get confused is how to deal with this. I mean, I understand getting bored and shopping online and getting an idea in your head for a big buy to spend your extra income on, but at the same time I can clearly see that this is just a pattern and is in my opinion a waste of money. I politely phrased all of this in an email to him...a few times...just saying, "This is your money, spend it how you want, but just keep in mind these x, y, z expenses we are going to have this year, as well as x y z that we will probably have in the near future...also remember that you fall into the boredom impulse buying mindset when you are deployed so please just think twice before you keep shopping...etc".

    I never want to be the type of wife that tells my husband how to spend him money, but I also am not going to just sit around and watch him be stupid with how he spends it either.

    I also need to point out that we are okay financially...my only debt is student loans, and his are the car payments and our mortgage. If I ever needed anything, he would give me his deployment money in a second, so I'm not saying that he is totally irresponsible or selfish with the money, just that I feel he could be a little smarter about it. We dont struggle to make ends meet, which is why he feels he can spend this money...however we aren't rich either and I would definitely feel more comfortable putting anything extra into savings.

    Has anyone else dealt with this? Is there a delicate way to say "You are being stupid because you are bored and it really isn't a good idea to be spending this money on frivolous things!"?
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    #2
    As long as my husband is saving for the future and paying the bills he has responsibility for, I don't care how he spends the rest. He works hard for it and I don't question it. He is into classic cars and it's not a cheap hobby. One of those cars is mine so I can't and won't complain. Only thing I can suggest is ask him if you can set up a savings account and put a certain percentage in it from his extra pay and then leave him alone with the rest.





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    #3
    If I were you, I would point out the emotional side of all this. It'll help you come across as caring and not mistake you for controlling. Him trying to fill a void with material things is never healthy. I sometimes get upset and will go to Target and only spend $10 but that habit is toxic, regardless of whether or not you can afford it.
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    #4
    What kind of spender is he, when he's home? Unless this is a huge change of character for him, I wouldn't say it's a 'toxic' habit.

    DH is a frivolous spender, especially during deployments, but I never worry about it. When I think he's getting carried away, I bluntly tell him that he needs to simmer down. We're the type of couple that talks about most, if not all, of our purchases, though. Plus, we're married. It's not just his money. So...

    ETA: Also, never, ever, show him this website. (http://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/)
    if i never see you again i will always carry you
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    time to eas, baby!
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    #5
    DF did the same thing during deployment and he sometimes just wastes money. Like, he has the netflix disc subscription for $12 extra a month even though he hasn't ordered a disc in over a year. He just is too lazy to take it off. And he has cable that he's not using because he's too lazy to call and have it moved over to the other room in his barracks. He also bought tons and tons of boredom stuff while he was gone. It doesn't bother me so much as stress me out because I so carefully track each penny to make sure I am paying down debt as fast as possible, and he just drops cash like it's nothing.

    I don't have an answer except maybe taking a financial course together. DF and I did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it really helped us to see where the other one was coming with regards to money. And it helped us set ground rules. We're doing it again before we get married.
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    #6
    I had this experience a bit with dh. He didn't actually buy much, but he spent a lot of time day dreaming about things to buy. In the end (since I do the budget), I let him know how much money he'd have when he got back to spend. He ended up buying a truck before he got back using that money. It's not what I would have done with the money at all, but it was the 'fun' money for him to use as a reward for getting through the suckage (deployment).

    He wanted initially to buy it at the beginning of his deployment and I managed to talk him out of that because I wasn't going to go pick anything up, and neither of us wanted a stranger coming to the house to drop it off.

    If he's really getting out of hand I would make a monthly budget for fun items. While he was gone I let myself buy something every month, it varied from a hundred dollar hair cut and dye, to a three dollar bottle of nail polish. I would though point out that if he's having random things sent to the house, so he can't even use them while he's there (like dh bought some dvds to watch while he was there, that made sense to me)...I would suggest waiting to buy random things that he can't use right now, and then when he gets home he can decide what he really wants. I know that sounds a bit basic, but DH really was like "yea, I guess you're right, I might change my mind by then and want something else/better, so I'll just save the money now and wait".
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    #7
    In OUR marriage, the money is "our" money regardless of who earned it. There was a period of time when I was making almost double what my DH was, but I still paid down his debts so that it could improve OUR future together. That aside, I think that if you guys have some kind of savings account (mutual, joint, separate...?) and he's contributing a decent amount to his retirement account, then he should be able to spend money as he pleases, within reason. I hate to say maybe you can give him an "allowance" because that sounds so demeaning, but maybe he can have $XXX amount of money as whatever money every month while he's deployed. Living paycheck to paycheck with ZERO savings account is really scary and not very responsible. I can't tell from your post if he has any savings at all? And does he contribute to a retirement? If not, maybe you can go ahead and get those started - maybe even do an allotment for the savings so he never sees the money and isn't tempted by it.
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    #8
    Thank you all SO much. I wasn't sure if what I was thinking and feeling about the situation was 'normal' but you girls helped me realize that his deployment spending habits are kind of normal. I guess I would get fixated on buying something with the extra money if I was stuck in Afghanistan too haha. And I really like the idea of suggesting that as long as we have x amount in our savings, the extra can be for whatever we want. That's how I usually manage my own account, so it'd be a good suggestion for him too.

    We talked about it a little more last night and it turns out he wants to get rid of his old project truck, so at least we wouldn't have 5 cars sitting in the yard...just four...haha. The way he phrased why he wanted it was just so like him that I couldn't fight him on it. I guess if classic cars are his only vice, I can't really complain.

    By the way, I will definitely keep the 'this is why im broke' site a secret haha! Also, I like the idea for a separate savings account that we don't touch no matter what to avoid the temptation too.
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    #9
    I don't think it's wrong to tell him not to spend money on something. I let DH know if I think his spending is getting out of hand, and he lets me know. We rarely have that issue, but when we do, our rule is to talk to the other person before buying something that is not a necessity, and if the other person agrees to it AND after 24 hours you still want it, then you can buy it. For me, I use the 24 hour rule anyway....but I can understand how that might not work if he is over there obsessing about it anyway :-/. We kind of had a plan from the start though, before he left, about what we were gonna do with the extra money (pay off debt and get a bunch of money in savings). I hope you're able to work it out with him! I would be very concerned if my husband were doing the same thing! He does talk about all this stuff he wants to buy when he gets home, and I've been buying some of that for him here and there, but I've made it clear to him that he can't come home and then go on a huge shopping spree, and he is totally ok with that.

    Edit: while on deployment my husband discovered the "ThinkGeek" website. I have had to talk him out of a LOT of purchases on there!!!!! Lol. He sent me an entire email wish list of stuff on that site that he wanted. I did buy some of it for him as a welcome home present, but he is out of his freaking mind if I'm going to let him buy the $200 coffee mug shaped like an m-4 barrel or whatever lol :p
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    I love the 24 hour rule...that's what I do for myself, but he needs some work on it...and sometimes he'll agree one day that I'm right and it's an impulse buy, but then he gets caught up in the idea again a few weeks later. That's what happened with this car thing this time.

    I thought we were in the clear and were going to talk about it more later, and I got a call from the car dealership in FLORIDA yesterday and the message said "I've been emailing back and forth with your husband about this car, I'd love to talk to you..." I was FUMING. Especailyl because I spent 2 hours with our contractors talking about necessary kitchen repairs and figuring out if we have to address structural issues in our living room as well. I politely emailed DH saying " Why did I just get a call from a car dealership? You didn't do something stupid like buy a car from halfway around the world without seeing or test driving it, did you? I suggest you CALL me about this one. "

    Still haven't heard back because he doesn't have phone access often, but I refuse to discuss this over email any more. In his defense, he doesn't realize how crazy the house repair issues are getting because I was trying to handle them without worrying him, but at this point, I realize he NEEDS to be worried about them so we are going to discuss that.

    Thanks for the advice and letting me vent. Not many people understand the money issues that come up during a deployment...the typical married people money issues are just about tripled when one of you is half a world away...
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