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Starting about a year or two ago, my wife (let's call her Sally) has been rather dishonest about some of the activities we've been apart of. Most of the time I don't notice, but my friend notices far more frequently. I would just like to preface this that our marriage is going good and there have been no problems with it.

The other week, my company invited spouses for an after work party. Without going into much detail, the first thing Sally did was fill up her bag (and the zip locks she tucked away) with various nuts and sweets. I noticed this when she kept packing me lunch with the same sweets/nuts as the party a month later. Most recently, Sally found out that a vary popular water park lets readmission if you have one of those temporary tattoos. Since we go a lot (at least 2-3 times a week during season), Sally came up with this plan where she would get a real tattoo that greatly resembles the temporary tattoo. Sally is currently in the process of "observing" each weeks tattoo. She has loads of notes about them, which leads me to believe that she's actually serious.

How can I talk to her and stop these minor schemes?

  • I edited to take into account that Interpersonal SE doesn't help people "convince" others, we can only answer questions about interactions between two people, such as you asking your wife to stop her scheming. For reference, can you let us know what your country of residence is? – ElizB Sep 5 '18 at 15:42
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    Both of these schemes relate to what might be called 'economies'. Is it possible that there are any issues with the household budget that you aren't aware of? – Spagirl Sep 5 '18 at 15:53
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    How do you discuss other points on which you two disagree? Why do you think this situation is different from those? – Raditz_35 Sep 5 '18 at 16:02
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    It sounds like she's taking frugality to an extreme. Is this an extension of what she used to do? For example, in the past has she made sure to use coupons, shop around for the very best deal, etc? Or is this something that's completely new and unusual? – DaveG Sep 5 '18 at 17:17
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    If it helps, my wife and her parents used to do these types of things. It was a consequence of growing up very, very poor. But many of their strategies were pennywise, but pound foolish. It's worth understanding where this behavior is coming from redirecting it into more useful efforts. Also henna would be a better option than a tattoo :) – jcmack Sep 5 '18 at 23:21
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Ask her about these behaviors

There is some reason that she does these things (or a collection of smaller, non-overlapping reasons), and knowing the "why" will be a critical element in talking to her about this at all (whether or not you try to convince her to stop).

Trying to better understand her is key-- you should be trying to obtain information about her, not trying to transmit information about what you want her to be. Seeking information is not the same as expressing judgments, and it's easy to slide from the former to the latter.

Once you understand more about why she does these things you can try to discuss and address those causes

This step depends a lot on the specific reasons behind her activities. If, as some comments have suggested, she's trying to be very frugal then a conversation about your family finances and monthly household budget reviews might help a lot. Conversely, if she just gets a thrill out of small-scale scheming maybe talking about potential consequences to you both will be effective ("If the waterpark finds out about the tattoo, you could be banned for good!" or "People at the party saw us sneak all that food, and my coworkers are giving me a hard time about it.").

In summary

Any efforts to get her to stop doing these things will be greatly aided by an understanding of why she does them in the first place. Once you know more about that, you can address those causes in the hope of eliminating the (perceived) need for those behaviors, and then the behaviors themselves.

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