Money. Bills. Budgets. Credit cards. Personal finance isn’t the most exciting topic in the whole world, but it affects everyone…granted, some more than others. I would guess that Brad and Angelina don’t fight about money, but the average couple at some point does. While we can’t avoid every heated discussion about money, here are a few tips to help couples avoid money arguments as much as possible.
1. Create a budget. Boring, right? Sure it is, but it’s also crucial. If you don’t know what your monthly cash flow looks like, you’re likely to overspend. That can lead to having to choose between certain expenses or reducing/eliminating the fun in your life temporarily. So figure out what you earn versus what you spend. Check your budget and have a conversation about it at least once a month.
2. Make compromises. If you have to make budget cuts somewhere, start with the non-necessities like entertainment, dining out, coffee shop coffee, nights out, etc. Just be sure that you’re BOTH giving something up. There can be resentment if one person has to cut out their vice, but the other’s lifestyle remains status quo.
3. Be honest with each other. If you have a joint checking account, make sure you’re both keeping an eye on it. If you have separate accounts, be open with each other on what your accounts look like. If you do fall behind on something or are running short on cash, talk about it right away and make a plan together. Also, my husband and I have a rule: we discuss any purchase we’d like to make that’s over $100. If you don’t talk about it that could lead to both of you making large purchases and busting your budget.
Being open and honest about finances is the best way to make sure you’re both on the same page. Don’t hide any spending…and if difficulties do come up, remember that you’re in it TOGETHER.
These are just a few tips. For more, check out “The Ultimate Guide to Marriage and Money: 5 Tips for Success” and a testimonial from a couple that met with one of our Financial Counselors: “Marriage and Money: A hot button issue“.
If you as a couple are struggling with your budget or credit card debt, you don’t have figure it out on your own. LSS can help. We empower people every day to conquer their debt for good and achieve their financial goals. If you’d like to get started and check out your debt repayment options, call us at 888.577.2227 for your free session either over the phone, in-person, or via Skype. Or, get started online right now.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.