Money matters are the main cause of disagreement between couples. In extreme cases, arguments about money lead to couples splitting up. However, you and your partner could talk about financial matters without ending up with raised voices and hurt feelings. Want to make money talk a lot easier as a couple? Take note of these tips.
Get to know each other. To fully understand one another, you have to know what makes each other tick. Simple enough? Getting to know one another involves full disclosure of yourself, and that includes your financial self. Tell your partner about your debts, sources of income, property owned – everything. This shouldn’t be limited to the present. What are your financial goals? Do you want to buy a new home? A new car? When do you plan on having kids? The idea is to communicate about your financial hopes and dreams and together formulate a plan to achieve those.
Build your budget. Keep track of your expenditures every month. Know where your money goes. Free financial apps to help you manage your budget are available online but the best way to start is by using the envelope system. Have separate envelopes for food, rent, utilities, clothes, and so on. When the money runs out in one envelope, it’s time to stop spending. But don’t worry. You can keep tweaking your budget until you find what works best for both of you.
Separate what’s mine, yours, and ours. Just because you’ve built a budget together doesn’t mean all your expenses have to come from one pot. You can also opt to build a separate account for you, your partner, and a joint account. What you do with your account and what your partner does with theirs are not subject to intense scrutiny. This is reasonable especially if both of you have different spending habits and if there’s a large income gap. Say you want to buy a present for a friend or a loved one. You can get the money from your own account without having to defend your purchase.
Come clean with your past. Be honest with one another. You’ve each made bad financial decisions before and you also have bad habits you can’t let go. Vulnerable to sales? Have a bad credit history? Share these experiences with your partner so that you can help each other change and overcome your bad habits. Ultimately, you are a unit and to reach your goals, you have to understand each other’s weakness so you can work on them together.
Work as a team. Assign a role for each other. Based on your strengths, figure out who buys what, who keeps track of the budget, who decides about investments, and so on. You can switch roles every month until you find out what works best for both of you. Don’t be so hard on each other. If one of you makes a mistake about your budget, be understanding. Make budgeting as fun as you can and reward yourselves for every goal you reach.
Do you and your partner have a technique in efficiently handling financial matters? Share your secret with us. We’d love to hear from you.