In the last article, we discussed a way to help abate the fight over money – Allow the Spender to manage the funds (bill paying, etc.) for a while.
Savers, before you start with “WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?” hear me out. See the last article to view the theory behind this experience.
Preface. Both parties must be willing to go thru with the experience. Savers can’t thrust this upon Spenders and Spenders can’t force Savers to do anything. After all, isn’t that how fights start? The two must agree that the relationship and the financial relationship is worth the opportunity to think outside the box, therefore the comfort zone.
Use the following steps to prepare yourself and your Spender for a wake-up call.
1. Start with bill paying.
2. Choose 2 or 3 bills that have: A) low or no late payment fees, B) the least consequences for non-payment, and C) do not affect credit score. For example, electric bills can maybe carry a balance for a month or 2 without penalty nor an angry letter. Credit card or mobile phone bills would not be good candidates. They both affect credit scores and mobile phone carriers suspend service after a month or 2 of non-payment. This will ensure the Saver (or, regular bill-payer) doesn’t have a coronary and the Spender (or, non-regular bill payer) isn’t potentially overwhelmed.
3. Determine the length of time the Spender will be responsible for the chosen bills. In the example of the electric bill, maybe 3 months responsibility would work. This will give the Spender a chance to practice responsibility/establish a pattern, the Saver a chance to relieve some financial tension, and both to dialogue a bit about how the other handles the responsibility.
4. Saver, resign yourself to not micro-manage the Spender. While you may see this as a delegation of responsibility, you’ll want to keep it clear to yourself that for this period of time, the chosen bills are not your responsibility. If the Spender has questions, don’t try to read between the lines, just answer the question and allow the Spender to think for him or herself.
You are free from the weight; you are free from the care of those particular bills for this specific time. Enjoy it.
4. As the Saver, communicate the transfer of responsibility to the Spender in a way that best suits the Spender. Maybe base the communication on the Spender’s main argument. For instance, if part of the Spender’s argument is that there is a lack of trust. Savers may want to frame the communication in that manner.
5. Show the Spender your bill paying methods for those particular bills, providing any tips about the vendors that may be helpful. However, allow the Spender to choose his/her own bill paying method.
6. Monitor the Spender from afar. Maybe monitor the Spender’s progress by simply asking how it’s going. As the Saver, or someone more experienced with the bill, you may have the due dates and amounts memorized, but the Spender may not. Gentle reminders once or twice a month, in a friendly non-patronizing manner, may help both of you. Spender – can hurry up and make the payment, if it was forgotten. Saver – you can probe without making the Spender feel like a child.
Remember the goal here is to allow the other experience things from your point of view. Saver, allow the spender to make the decision about the bill. Spender, allow the saver the freedom to stay out of it…unless you’re drowning, then, of course, ask for help.
Try it out.