By Fabiola Alfonso, YWCA Financial Education Specialist
Tracking your expenses is one of the ways you can have control of your money. As a financial educator, I tell my students that a budget is one of the most efficient tools for money management. You can control your money, allocate it efficiently, and reach your financial goals faster.
However, when your partner tracks your expenses and demands that you provide receipts for everything, it’s a sign that you might be in a financially abusive relationship. In this kind of relationship, a partner uses this strategy to have control. This can trap someone in an abusive relationship because her free choice to leave is challenged due to a lack of financial resources.
Financially abusive relationships also have other signs, such as a blocking access to money. As a result, only one partner will have total access to assets such as savings accounts, paychecks, and credit cards. Only one partner will make financial decisions and will disregard the opinion of the other partner.
Another sign of financial abuse is when one partner doesn’t allow the other to work outside of the home. This makes the person vulnerable and dependent. In this situation, abusive partners constantly will remind the partner at home that she needs a breadwinner and won’t survive on her own. The employed partner also will threaten the at-home partner, saying he will get full custody of the kids due to her lack of financial resources.
The signs of financial abuse are subtle at the beginning of the relationship but they escalate over time. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 94 to 99 percent of domestic violence situations include financial abuse. Financial abuse is one of the main reasons partners stay in a violent relationship.
As I tell my students, couples always have disagreements about money but at the end, through peaceful negotiation and compromise, both partners should benefit from financial decisions.
So, the next time someone wants to track your expenses and asks you for your receipts, be sure it is to create a budget to move you and your partner toward healthy well-being and a solid financial future that benefits both of you.
The YWCA provides economic advancement classes to victims of financial abuse. These include financial education, financial coaching, job training, and other comprehensive domestic violence services. Our programs are free and geared toward empowering women to live independent and self- sufficient lives, and becoming active, productive members of our communities.