My wife is unbelievably stingy

What you need to know:

Suggest a session with a counsellor who will offer you a safe environment to open up

Good people, I need help about how to go about this ‘small’ matter. We have been traditionally married for two years. Before that, we had dated for three. So basically, I have known my wife for five years. She is naturally a good person. BUT, she is very stingy with her money. We both work so the idea is to split bills. Unfortunately, that burden I have carried. I do not know what she does with her money. Even for small things like sanitary pads that she should naturally be buying for herself, she has refused to. She keeps throwing about ‘Sente yekikazi, this and that.’ How do I get her to be more involved, financially? Lutwama

While a generous person finds giving as a pleasurable activity, a stingy person withholds and finds giving hard and uncomfortable.

They may borrow stuff from other people instead of buying their own. Stinginess is a form of fear of not having enough.

This fear motivates a person not to give away their possessions even if giving will not cause them any problems.

As a psychologist, it is difficult to escape the influence of nature and nurture. In other words, a person’s stingy behaviour can be propagated by their past childhood experiences.

A child who grew up in scarcity and constantly witnessed their family members worrying about money may develop financial insecurity.

This financial insecurity makes it hard for them to give away something they believe they lack.

You realise I said “believe” because it may be real that they do not have or it is perceived.

This would mean that even if the person has a lot of money, they may still feel insecure deep down and hence a stingy manner.

So how do you support your stingy spouse as you mentioned above? It will be good to understand her from her own perspective, plan to have a date out of home, and use it as a way to get through her heart and find out what she fears most about spending her money in the family.

People open up better if they are shown understanding than when judged.

Still, in a non-confrontational way, you can suggest having a joint account that deals with family expenditures and separate accounts too.

You mentioned that she even fails to buy her own sanitary towels and for this, I would suggest that you stop enabling the behaviour by feeding it.

One of the characteristics of a stingy person is being highly dependent on other people. Deal with your own fears of what you think might happen if you do not pay for every little bill including her sanitary towels.

Give her a chance to learn to take care of her needs and sharing what she has.

Be a good example by letting her be part of the budgeting and financial plans so that she can appreciate your effort and maybe learn to release part of her money.

If you realise it is a perceived behaviour as mentioned above, suggest a session with a counsellor who will offer you a safe environment to open up about what is hurting in your relationship.

Financial issues can rock a relationship into separation if not dealt with in time.

Being stingy may be a learned behaviour that can be ‘unlearnt’ if one acquires self-awareness or emotional intelligence.

Reader advice

Start secret investments

Masaba Kissa Robert. You are not alone, brother. Stop crying. Hustle for yourself and have some assets to your name alone secretly. You do not have a wife yet. You have a girl friend who is most likely to abandon you the moment she will feel you no longer meet her financial needs to her expectations. Just imagine wasting all your hard earned little money on such a selfish person who is draining you and will soon desert you when you own only an older pair of shoes, trousers and shirt. Where will you start from?

She is selfish

Jamia Komwaka. I do not think she is stingy she is just selfish, who does that to a man who officially married you.

That one is a parasite

Oneka Kenneth Poseidon

In simple terms she wants to be “a hybrid woman.” Hybrid women want the traditional benefits of being an African woman (everything given to her by her man) and the contemporary benefits of an emancipated woman (working, financial independence & sipping beer as she watches TV as the husband cooks supper). They are many nowadays. Let her choose to be one of the two not both. I do not encourage divorce but a working woman who cannot help her husband is a parasite and genetically stingy. Run for your life tactically. We live in a world of abundance.

Draw a budget

Phoebe Miriam. Man, sit your wife down and request her help in offsetting bills! If this fails, sit down and draw a proper budget taking into account the fact you need to save some percentage of your salary ! Let her handle her personal stuff from now on. Let her know you are on a short string budget and cannot afford her personal stuff which she could handle.

You must provide

Possible Miryam.  As a man you must provide, make money and stop complaining. If she does all house chores she is okay because that is what she should do. Do you help with the house chores???

Expect equality

Brina Bae Neymar. This is where you men go wrong. The moment you split bills with your man expect equality in the house. She will at some point even tell you to help her with laundry Since she also helps you with bills. Much as men want to be helped with bills don’t expect to be the boss of the house when you are splitting the bills very few women can do that so you better be the provider you have been otherwise.

She wants free rent, food

Matumbwe J Christopher.  If she is working and not contributing something small, you in trouble. She came for free house rent, food, enjoyment but not companionship. Basically she is punishing you for marrying her.

Become stingy too

Patricia Ekau. Stop giving her your money. Become stingy too. Create a scenario where you not are paid or loan is taking up your money and see her contribution.

Signs that you’re stingy:

lSharing money with others is absurd.

lYou identify with people who are Scrooge-like.

lSplitting the cost of something feels normal to you.

lYou don’t donate to charity.

Hoarding pennies is routine.

lYou know how much money you have all the time.

lFeelings of jealousy, competitiveness, and envy take over you when something good happens to someone.

lYou think about yourself first before giving even minute things.

lYou don’t show appreciation until you’ve received praise.

lApologising when you’re wrong is hard.