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How do I get my husband to stop being wasteful?

I came from a family that conserved, we weren't psychotic about it, but we make an effort to turn off lights when not using, turn off running water, we didn't dish up more than what we knew we could eat, we didn't buy excess for the sake of "stocking" up, I guess we were minimalist, which I still am.

How do I get my husband to stop the wastefulness? He shops on an empty stomach and buys everything he sees! He suffers from eyesarebiggerthantummyitis and ever dishes up loads on his plate only to discard them later. Additionally, he wastes precious energy in everyway imagineable! How do I help him without being a nag?


Fri. Sep 28, 9:26am

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sounds like that is pretty normal behavior for Americans, or really anyone used to having a lot. My wife does the same thing, but when I try and say something she turns it around and makes it my issue. So I drop it, leave the lights on, let her spend $10 for a jar of spaghetti sauce, $200 for a coat for a 3 year old etc etc. It's not worth the fight, trust me.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 10:23 AM

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Give him time. He'll come around.

Before we lived together, I always lived in apartments where the utilities were paid and the heat was free, so I kept my heat at 75 durring the winter, took hour long showers and left all my lights on while I was gone. And, I did most of my grocery shopping at whole paycheck because it was right across the street.

When we moved in together, my wife and i found an apartment that was really nice, but no utilities included. Lemme tell you, a couple $250 utility bills convined me to change my evil ways pretty quick.

Now we're married and we have a house and we both look at ways to economize.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 10:49 AM

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as an american, i find it offensice that you would refer to wasteful habits as "typical" for americans. there are wasteful people in all societies, the usa does not have a corner on the market.

i would approach the topic as an opportunity to save up funds for a vacation or for necessary repairs to your house, car, pool, whatever. suggest that instead of cutting corners on the things you normally buy, you and he implement small changes in your habits---like turning off lights, taking a little food at a time, whatever you think could use improvement. and then ask him for suggestions, too!

Friday, September 28, 2007, 10:52 AM

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Example and time.

There are some things you can do to deny him some of his wastefulness. Get sensors for the lights he leaves on most often (esp the ones you don't notice are on--a distant den you never enter, for example). Springs on critical doors so they swing shut automatically. When you need new dishes, buy the smallest dinner plates you can (or large salad plates) and serve food on those, so that a full plate holds less food. (Buy cute or pretty ones so you can say "I know these are small but they were so pretty!" if he complains). If, like me, you plan your cooking for more than one meal, only put on the table what you want them to eat, and refrigerate the rest before gathering for dinner.

My husband used to leave lights on, but 20 years of quiet example (it's so automatic for me that I sometimes leave someone in the dark!) has had an influence. The only thing he still does that drives me nuts is take absurdly long showers...but those have gotten shorter, too. Just not short enough.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 10:56 AM

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Hey, don't be offended up there, Americans ARE wasteful. We live in the land of plenty and practice a lifestyle of excess. I have lived in Europe, parts of Africa, and in Asia and although the parts I was living in were very modern and developed, people still tended to use just what they needed.

As Americans we take a lot of things for granted, we just do.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 12:53 PM

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Eh, we only get that reputation because we drive gas-guzzlers. The other stuff is all habits and upbringing.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 2:55 PM

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You could try to make him read a book about green living and the suffering of the environment due to our wastefulness. He's probably only wasteful because he doesn't know any better and/or doesn't see the harm in it. Informing him is the key.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 3:00 PM

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My husband and I both do a fairly good job of not being wasteful, at least we're on the same page, but we have this problem with other family members. We use a different tactic with them since they don't really care about the environment much...MONEY. Instead of making little comments about how much energy it take to run a light bulb we mention how much money it takes to run a light bulb. They certainly make the connection when it's their money were talking about.

Friday, September 28, 2007, 3:15 PM

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