I found you on the NYTimes article. Ready for more fame? So I am doing what you do, but I have trouble getting my husband on board. He has student debt, but he earns more and has a stressful job, so he feels like he can treat himself to lunches out, cabs home, etc. To some degree if you work 120 hours a week you really cannot bring lunch, but some of it is just disregarding my goals. Did you go through anything similar? I read all the financial books and motivational materials, and just don't know how to get him on board.
This is a great question. I find this topic fascinating.
In my marriage, I am the spender and Mr. Sam is the frugal one (although he was not much of a saver and most of the debt that we had was "his" debt). I also earn more than Mr. Sam, so my situation is a little different than the situation presented by the above question.
After we got married, I decided that we should live a debt free life and I talked to Mr. Sam about my ideas here and there. I didn't force it on him all at once. I tried to get him to read the Total Money Makeover, but he is not much of a reader and only read a couple of chapters. He was all for paying off all our non-mortgage debt, but he thought I was crazy and he couldn't see how it was possible. Mr. Sam wasn't really on board until I presented him with a written plan that demonstrated that it was possible to pay off our debt in a year (a very focused, somewhat painful year). Thereafter, I went about setting up systems that enabled us to reach our goal (which I will write about soon, Steps 3 and 4).
So, you know your husband, how does he learn and process information, can you present a fully fleshed out plan to him in a form that will get him excited.
Regarding the eating out and cabs, we went with an allowance system (Steps 3 and 4) which each gave us a set amount of money to spend on discretionary items. Perhaps you could consider such a system and he would still have a certain amount to spend on these convenience items.
I don't think the fact that he earns more means that he gets to spend more. If you are married the money that comes into the household, in most States, is a marital asset. I'm sure there are folks that will disagree with me on this point but that is my opinion.