Tips and Tricks to Navigate Money Problems in Marriage
You are the type of person who counts every penny, saves every receipt, and is genuinely proud of their saving ways. And you finally found the person who completes you in every way except for one thing…your partner is a spender. With money and finances being the cause of most divorces this could spell trouble for your happily ever after before it begins. So, how do you put a frugal saver and an excessive spender together and make it work?
- Accept Who They Are
The first step is to accept your partner for who they are. Their spending habits are much like their basic personality traits; engrained and hard to change. One thing to remember is that your way isn’t always the only way. Instead of trying to turn your spender into a saver try to introduce better spending habits. Work together to make a spending plan that works for both of you.
- Set Goals
Since you and your partner are likely to approach spending and saving very differently is it important to sit down TOGETHER and make a plan, set goals, and figure out what is important to accomplish your dreams. The most important thing is to do this together. Remember it isn’t just about you anymore. Marriage is a partnership and the most successful partnerships have both partners involved.
- Set Boundaries
Now that you and your partner have determined your goals it is time to talk about what’s left over. Decide what your priorities are and how much money you think you will need to cover those priorities. It is important to keep the path of communication open and set boundaries on where you want to spend and how much. It may take a few months to get your numbers where you want them to be, so be patient.
- Let There Be Fun Money
Once your goals are set and your budget is planned anything left over can be considered fun money. Fun money is for those things you want but do not need. It is your Grande iced latte from Starbucks or that new golf club you have been eyeing. Do you need those things to survive? No. Do they make life a little more bearable? Yes. That is where the fun money comes into play. Set aside a small weekly fund for all those things you want but don’t need. Doing this allows for some financial freedom and avoids extreme saving and impulsive shopping.
- Get Involved & Revisit Your Goals Often
I can’t stress enough how important it is for both parties to be involved in the finances. You should both always know what is going on and where the money is going. If the saver of the relationship is always in charge, they might feel like the “bad cop” and become resentful of taking on the sole responsibility. On the flip side if the spender is oblivious to the current financial situation spending can quickly spiral out of control. Set aside a time once a week or once every two weeks to have a “check-in”. Doing so will keep you both in the loop about what is going on with your finances. During those meetings, it is a good practice to revisit the goals you set previously, and see how you are doing.
- Be Transparent
Honestly is always the best policy. Don’t keep secrets from each other when it comes to money. If you bought a new dress on a whim because you couldn’t resist; tell your partner. Tell them every time. We all make mistakes and it is better to let your partner know then keep it from them.
If your financial problems are beyond your control and it is causing issues in your marriage it might be time to ask for help. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to tackle all your financial problems by your help. Debt is conquerable. Sometimes all you need is a little help.
Written By: Rebecca Kidd