Fighting Over a Blown Budget? Try eBay Therapy

Arguments about the family budget; maybe they happen during the monthly or yearly budget committee meeting (you are having those aren’t you?); or maybe they happen at dinner just before bed.

Regardless of when they happen or where they occur, these disputes always seem to result in mudslinging worthy of a heated political bout. The accusations are inevitably a variation of the same theme: “the reason we’re short on money is because you blew our budget!”

Time to face it: you two are great together, but you both have terrible judgment. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you have to admit that on at least one occasion (seriously, just once?), you have each made a poor purchase.

So in an effort to find a compromise, it’s time to recognize each of your lapses in judgment, and maybe even make back some of the money you spent with eBay Therapy. It sounds crazy, definitely simplistic, but it works quite well.

When the discussion starts to get tense, and the “you blew our budget” comments are about to fly, it’s time to do the following:

1. Stop the argument immediately. No, you’re not going to avoid the discussion, just put it on hold until you can find a compromise. The idea is to start the discussion again only when both of you are ready to face facts: a poor purchase is human, and you both have made at least one.

2. Find your Token. Each of you go find an item that represents one of the worst, most ridiculous purchases (between $50-$100) that you made last year. Make it count, find something you really regret purchasing and have gotten little use from.

3. Open your eBay account. List the tokens: auction style, aggressively priced to sell.

4. Sell the tokens. Add the money back into the budget. Now that you are wondering what’s so fantastic about such a simple idea, let’s analyze what occurs.

Cool Down – First, by moving from argument to token-hunting, you lighten up a heated moment and put a little fun into an otherwise stressful situation. Focusing on this new task gives you both a chance to cool down and avoid saying something you will regret.

Compromise – In addition, you are forming a compromise by admitting that you both have made at least one poor purchasing decision over the last year. According to Jay Slupesky, licensed marriage and family therapist: “sometimes the best solution to a disagreement between partners is to agree on a compromise.”

Each person gives a little on their position and the couple “meets in the middle.” Your tokens provide concrete evidence to the compromise. You each give a little on your position and now that you are on common ground, the discussion can resume on equal footing.

Focus – You limit the scope of the conflict to the point of contention. Unfortunately, financial arguments rarely stay confined to finances.

Mudslinging from other areas of life tends to be brought into play when financial arguments get heated. With eBay Therapy, you focus on the conflict: whether one or both of you blew the budget. Staying focused doesn’t help you prove your side of the argument, but it confines the argument to one topic: finances, and finances alone keep the mothers-in-law out of it.

Liquidate – Look past the argument that got you here and you’ll see another benefit of eBay Therapy: you both made purchases over the years that have real value…to other people! It’s time to start making some spare change off of the trifles that idly sit throughout your home.

So, will eBay Therapy solve all of your problems? Of course not…if you and your spouse are in dire circumstances, it’s time to seek out professionals that will help guide you. But it will help diffuse minor budget arguments.

Nor will eBay Therapy provide cover from an egregious budget violation, such as a new 60-inch LED TV, you’re on your own with that one. But by cooling the situation, compromising with your spouse, and focusing on a common goal, your participation in eBay Therapy is a good step towards a healthy budget and a healthy partnership with your spouse.

This is a guest post by staff writer at PT Money: Personal Finance. Check out the blog to discover more ways to save money, make extra money, and spend money wisely. See the latest review of the best credit card for college.