Readers’ Scoop: My Wife Is A Shopaholic

shoppingBy Clark Kent. Every month I open the mail to review my credit card bills and bank statements only to find $300 spent here and $200 spent somewhere else, which I know I never spent money at. These mysterious transactions aren’t a mistake. They are what happens when you have a wife who spends money like a drunken sailor. I love my wife, but she is driving me into the poorhouse with her inability to control her love for shopping.

My advice to TLS readers is two-fold. Men, don’t let your wife just have your credit card without setting guidelines for what she can buy and how much she can spend. Women, please don’t spend exorbitant amounts on a credit card without calling your husband to ask his opinion if you should be spending his money on such-and such items.

Thank you.

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  1. Hey! Welcome to life buddy! Ladies like to shop. Let her take care of paying the bills a few months. When she’s a few hundred short every month she will get it. I did this and it worked.

  2. To Clark Kent, Shlomie, took the words right out of my mouth, wow that’s none of anybody’s business except you and your wife, I can’t believe that you would make this so public, but if you need some adivice, maybe you should write to DEAR ABBEY.

  3. the way you are trying to go about it will make every man a control freak, no she does not have to call you when she wants to buy something. what you should have is normal communication in your marriage you can try to explain to her what your finances are. maybe tell her to get a job, but absolutely do not control her.

  4. What makes you think you can dictate how much money she can spend? She’s raising your kids while you’re running around doing “real-estate” deals and going on “business trips”. Maybe the problem is that you’re not spending enough time with her and instead the only thing that makes her happy is to shop. Did you think about that?

  5. First of all, spending money excessively is by no means a trait limited to ladies. Some people across the genders simply cannot resist the urge and the rush that comes with spending and purchasing.
    Second, you should not be dictating to your wife rather act like you are in a partnership ( which you are) and discuss budgeting and ways that both of you can be involved in any purchases over a determined limit.
    Third, by the very tone of your letter and the derogatory way in which you describe your wife’s habits, I would strongly urge the two of you to seek couple counseling ASAP. There are some free and inexpensive programs in town which can be of great service to you.
    Good luck

  6. that works both ways
    “don’t let your wife just have your credit card without setting guidelines”
    really ~ this is not a child that needs that kind of understanding , its your wife I would never treat her like she is not an equal in the marriage!

  7. I am very surprised this letter got printed. To write “a wife who spends money like a drunken sailor” is reprehensible! Even if it is meant in jest, it is 100% unacceptable to ever talk about your spouse in such a way.
    I also take affront to the writers assumption that every wife is out there spending their husbands hard earned money without a care for the consequences. It seems like it is a problem he has with his wife, and is something they can deal with. Personally, I think it is more of a maturity and respect issue. Any person who knows what life is all about, knows they can not just shop all day especially with money they dont have. Spending “his money on such-and such items” also shows lack of respect for her husbands hard work.
    But there is another angle I would like to point out. Believe it or not, women actually work too! In Lakewood specifically, women are many times the bread winner of the household. They work all day so their husbands can sit and learn. Where is the warning to the husbands? Dont go spending your wifes hard earned money! She works, takes care of your children and cleans the house etc. SHOW SOME RESPECT!
    I know its hard to believe, but there are also families where BOTH spouses work. Gasp! Some people actually try to pay bills pon their own without relying on others for assistance. And in todays day and age it is very expensive so both husband and wife work. They spend “their” money carefully and wisely. There is more of a respect for money. Most dual income families are NOT spending ALL theur money on frivolous shopping excursions. They work hard for their money and spend it wisely and with much thought.

  8. What these ladies dont realize is there will be a time one day when your creditcards are maxed out and then they will really see how much money you really earn every month.Speak to a family married twenty years and they will tell you about their financial nightmares.BUDDY,this is just the beginning.Tear them up now and suffer the shalom bayis consequences before you are in deep water.

  9. Do what my husband and I do- sit once a week and do the bills together. That will give you both an idea of how much money you actually have to spend that week (or every two weeks). My husband and I used to fight about this- and blame each other for poor spending habits- but then we started doing bills together. Now it is a shared responsibility to balance the budget. And we check with each other before purchasing big ticket items. Good luck!

  10. Send her to work. Even is earns very little it will not allow her so much time to shop and she will also see respect the value of money faster when she sees what it takes to make it!

  11. What do you mean “your credit cards” dont you share everything. Why dont you speak to her directly instead of using this forum? If there is such a problem like you claim,cancel the cards.Maybe you dear husband also like to spend.

  12. first of all, shame on you for making this issue public. (even if you are anonymous). second of all, see a marriage counselor. this is a private issue between you and your wife only. it is noone else’s business. plus it leads to loshon hora. i feel bad for your wife that you’re posting this on tls.

  13. many women get married very young and have lived in their father’s shadow their whole life and have never had to work and take care of any bills. It is important to marry a girl who is more independent in this way if you don’t want this type of issue to deal with. Girls who work and support themselves while they are still single understand the value of money more. My advice to you would be to send her out to work a couple of hours a day so she will learn about the concept of money. Also, take that credit card away!!!! You are driving yourself into debt!

  14. We got rid of credit cards and only use our debit cards. We live within budget. And even though we both bring in a nice salary, you would think that we are poor compared to people earning a lot less then us -because we live within budget. I feel bad for other people who cant control their spendng and live up to society’s pressures for name brands, and every accessory that comes out. I am grateful to Hashem that I don’t have this nisayon.

  15. Although this letter does not belong on TLS. The response to the husband is that both HE and HIS WIFE are not on the same page as to the finances.


    1) He has enough money and he’s spending it, but not giving his wife money. So his wife see’s no reason to cut back

    2) He has plenty of money and is just stingy (a kamtzan)

    3) He doesn’t have money but is not communicating with his wife as to the finances. Once the wife realizes she will stop spending on extra’s. Its the husbands and wifes job to know where they are holding.

    The husbands advice of controlling his credit card will make the wife feel like a “shifcha” and is unnecessary in a marriage with open communication and mutual understanding. If this couple cannot communicate effectively they should seek guidance.

  16. This is so shameful to wise women all around. I don’t care how much a woman likes to shop, if she had any sense or wisdom , she would shop carefully or not at all. When I hear women say, I just cannot resist, I have to swallow back the nausea. Are you a aware that if your husband cannot afford it, you are enabling him and yourself bimbo, to struggle even more? Extreme immaturity, what an insult to women. Go get a job. See what life is all about. This grinds my gears!

  17. i’ve got the opposite problem…i’m the wife but HATE shopping and my husband loves shopping….he actually wishes i would shop more!

  18. Mr Kent- this is your quote; My advice to TLS readers is two-fold. Men, don’t let your wife just have your credit card without setting guidelines for what she can buy and how much she can spend……
    And here is my question; if this advice that you’re giving all of us didn’t work for you- obviously, why then do you think that its going to work for the rest of us.

  19. I think many of the responses here are very inconsiderate.

    Why all the nasty responses?
    If your wife is really a shopaholic, she needs some professional help.

    If not, it’s a question of communication between the two spouses, in a amicable manner as to how to budget, what extras are important to each. Each person can become familiar with the other one’s needs and try to accomodate eachother needs within their means.

  20. I don’t have that problem. My wife handles all the money in our household. She has been doing that for over 45 years. All our credit cards are paid in full every month, and therefore, we pay no interest. We have no outstanding debt. BTW – we are retired and living on SS.

  21. I think this letter should be taken down, and be rewritten in a fine manner. The problem is something that should be discussed, as it is a big problem with a lot of couples, but the letter has to be respectful. It is really not appropriate for a frum, yeshivish site. Thanks

  22. What I don’t understand is, if the letter weiter has all the answers on how to deal with this then why write this letter. Just use all your ideas and it should be fine.

  23. If the letter writer’s story is really true, his problems are far deeper than just his wife spending “like a drunken sailor” (a horrid connotation, in my humble opinion). It seems like this woman is out of touch with her (financial) reality, and thus seems to have no discretion and sense of responsibility with her spending.

    I’m a woman too, and I love to shop and spend, but the reality is, I don’t have extra money to throw around. It’s been tough, but I have to be reasonable and wise…and most of all, a decent human being to my wonderful husband – and not saddle him with maxed out cc.

  24. did you hear about the husband whose credit cards were stolen?
    he did not report the theft!!

    it seems the theif was spending less then his wife ! 🙂

  25. to #27 I have a great idea. Lets send seal unit 6 to get those terrible credit card companies that are a bad influence on us. Better yet, maybe we should no allow children into our school whose parents use credit cards. – and now for the real answer. The husband should say the following words to his wife (Chris Cristie style) NO. we can’t afford it.
    This has been a tried and true formula for many households and it actually works quite well.

  26. Hey! My husband uses MY credit card! There are people who spend without limit and don’t know how to budget. Some people even buy things they don’t really need. This man should discuss a budget with his wife and they should make an accounting of all their regular expenses – housing,, utils.,car payments, insurance , tuition, etc. and discuss how much can be spent on clothes, how much can or should be saved etc. Some people never learned how to budget and some people think they need everything their heart desires, and some people are also really sick. This man has to work with his wife to their own satisfaction, but, he doesn’t have to compare her to a drunken sailor, I didn’t know that it was a metaphor for a big spender.

  27. to Clark Kent, maybe you should give your wife a credit card with a certain limit on it. I do it with for my kids once it’s spent then you can reload it or not

  28. To everyone- Thank you for bring this important issue to the public!!! HE IS NOT AIRING HIS LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC. he is just hoping other people wont fall into this issue. My advice is to get her a job. Sitting around all day makes them want to spend money.

  29. I guess this makes me grateful for the husband I do have… and for the problems that I don’t have… THank you for making me count my blessings!

  30. to # 41 what if she can’t work because she has children that are young, and who will watch her children if she does, it cost money to pay someone, Do you have a job for her and are you willing to watch her children?

  31. The letter writer is nor here to just kvetch but to share a point with many others in the same boat and get a message across.

    I happen to believe that a LARGE part of the women shopping problem is due to the need to get the expensive brand name things!
    I may not be a shopaholic but as a woman I like to get new fashionable things instead of always the same old boring. I have been horrified with the prices in some stores, and horrified with the amounts my friends splurge on name brand things— just for the name!
    Honestly, I learned to look around in stores and believe it or not manage to put together a nice fashionable wardrobe at sometimes a total of $20 per “outfit”
    I was raised to spend wisely.
    My parents did NOT say you cant spend and dont buy and make us crazy but they taught us to budget. They taught us to figure out what we need and what we want and to get the best price. They would buy me one new outfit for Yom Tov and offered that if i wanted another I could use my babysitting money towards that- of course I learned to spend less and to chose better when I needed and didnt need but I wasnt deprived or controlled.

    Shopping “in town” style today has become a sickness for my fellow friends. GO buy yourself nice things- – – but learn to do it with a cheshbon! I see from the girls getting married today they need the latest most expensive etc…. guess what????

    When I got married (and no I’m not from generations of old) just within the past few years—- I discussed with my chosson what was the most important thing we wanted to spend on and what we could do less with. We decided by us that our bedroom set was the most important to put the money into and decided to get the least expensive of a set that made us feel happy (which was $2000 less than the average kalla bed set today!) the rest… we got second hand or not expensive and I can not tell you how much that made our start easier. YOU HAVE TO COMMUNICATE about your expensives in a positive way not in a controlling way.
    I have more to say but this is way too long all ready— oh well…

  32. Many times husbands who say these things are the problem and not the wife’s spending. Many times it is poor financial management and fear of sharing power with his wife that causes this type of behavior in men.

    Any man who feels that he must treat his wife this way and tell her how much she is “allowed” does not respect her very much. I know this from personal experience, as I have always been very frugal but am married to someone who used to panic when I would say that I was going out to the kmart. Finally, all financial management had to be taken away from him [by rabbinical decision] due to his tremendous financial ineptitude and I have been managing the finances for some time now and all of our bills get paid and we don’t owe anyone anything.

    It could be that the letter writer himself has many issues that need to be explored in therapy and his wife is using that 200 or 300 dollars to buy much needed shoes for his kids or food or what have you.

  33. Two comments: From the sublime to the ridiculous?
    Sublime: Spend quantities of quality time together. It is hard to share values (like money) with a stranger. Work as a team, budgeting, shopping together (!), making financial decisions, balancing the books, filing the papers, sharing opinions respectfully about spending priorities – and play as a team, too. Time itself is a shared resource for building a BNB. Share the parenting and household “mitzvah opportunities”! When the budgeting brain cells get swallowed by the dishwashing brain cells, we risk that glazed look whenever the conversation turns to finances.
    Ridiculous (haha): Perhaps it’s just a question of punctuation – a classic (?Jewish) problem. Out of 47 comments, can we find five without any error in punctuation, spelling, capitalization or grammar? Nu, so what’s a comma or period, between friends? It’s the difference between $1.000 and $1,000! Do apostrophes matter? What’s the difference between “Your shopping” and “You’re shopping”? Do you want your partner to buy shirt’s or shirts’ or shirts – or skirts or sheets? What’s the difference between reading over what we write before posting a message and reading over what we spend before signing a credit card? Sentences with commas instead of semicolons tend to shlep on and lose their sense of meaning; so do shopping sprees. End with a full stop! 🙂

  34. Some of these comments made me laugh but in truth there all the same I just wouldn’t call my wife a drunken sailor but hay buddy have fun and good luck

  35. I am a fiscal conservative and I have to believe this came as a big sense of relief to my new husband who was previously married to a woman who was generous with herself, stingy with others, and hid money all the time. We talk about money constantly; what we are saving for, our current needs and/or wishes. I don’t inform him of all my purchasing, we have online banking so each of us can see where the money is going, giving us an opportunity to question if need be, before the end of the month. He jokes he’s the only husband in Lakewood who needs to beg his wife to go shopping. We spend more around yom tovim, and I do try to stay fashionable within a budget. I respect him and our marriage too much to clutter it with things I don’t need. This self-control by both of us has been a gift and drawn us closer together. Because we live like this, when thrown a financial curve ball, we are better able to handle it.

  36. as a former shopaholic i can give u some advice. first is get rid of the credit cards! just cut them up and throw them out! second is let ur wife take a certain amount per month and thats hers to spend however she pleases and no more. she will learn to save up if she wants something more expensive. third, try to find the underlying reason why she is going on these sprees and approach it from that angle. she should try to find more constructive ways of spending her time, maybe excersize instead, volenteer for an organization, anything to keep her mind off of that need to shop.

  37. it seems like your only problem is that she is spending a little to much, please do not stop her. i am a business owner in lakewood and my parnossa comes from shopaholic woman . if you take away her credit cards i will lose my parnossa.

  38. Who cares about this!!! Clean up your Town. It never looked this way years ago; and learn how to drive! There’s been enough deaths, and we are an embarrassment to the rest of NJ.

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