6 Ways To Never Fight About Money With Your Spouse Again!!
According to this Good Housekeeping article, 90% of divorces are caused by money. Surprisingly, it isn’t necessarily the lack of money that causes the issues. It’s the differences in the spending habits of each individual and the communication regarding the money that is the issue.
I’ll admit, the first 7 years of my marriage, the ONLY argument my wife and I had was over money. Sandy had her ideas and I had mine and it caused friction and hard feelings. I was the one that always managed our very tight budget and Sandy would often say, “it always feels like I am asking daddy for money and I hate it”. I hated that she felt that way. Our relationship was perfect in every other aspect except this one. It took us many years but, we finally figured it out. I thought I would share what we did and maybe it can help save you some heartache and pain. See, we offer so many services here at CouponDad.net!, LOL.
So here are my top 6 ways to never fight about money with your spouse again!
1. Make a budget together!
This one will take some effort but, make some time and do a budget together. The operative word is together. Say it with me, TOGETHER. Sandy and I do our yearly budget in October and then each month we have our “monthly financial meeting”… sounds all fancy right… to talk about and go over our expenses and income for the upcoming month. Making the budget together allows both of us to be aware of the money coming and the money going out. It allows you to be on the same page. I love how I Am That Lady said, “I do not simply mean checking your account balances and making sure you have enough income to cover your expenses throughout the month. I’m talking about a proactive management of your finances”. Right on, I Am That Lady, right on!! If you are on the same page and you know what expenses are coming up, the Mrs. won’t be expecting a fancy dinner out on the town when only Ramen is in the budget and she will also NOT get upset with you when you have to tell her “no” because she will already know that only Ramen is in the budget. See. That’s one fight avoided!!
Don’t worry, we will go over step-by-step on how to make a budget that is easy and that you will be able to stick to it later!
2. Make goals!
Do you want to purchase a new house? Maybe its a new car? Or perhaps it’s an around the world vacation?? Whatever your goal is, write it down and budget and work together to make it happen. Have short-term goals and long-term goals as well. Don’t forget to make new goals once you have achieved a goal on your list. Our short-term goal is having tile installed on the lower level floors in our house. Our long-term goal is to be able to retire on an island somewhere. Having a goal to work toward helps keep the frivolous purchases at bay and helps you stay within your budget.
Communication is the key here. Share your financial wants, needs, and dreams. That doesn’t mean you will get that Gucci purse or that newest electronic gadget but, communicating your financial wants and needs brings unity and shows your partner the things that are important to you.
4. Be fair!
Now, it doesn’t matter if we are talking $5 or $500,000, I am a firm believer that each person in the relationship needs money that they are not held accountable to the other person for. For example, in our budget, we have a “Sandy personal” line and a “wine” budget line. Sandy likes getting her nails done and all that girly stuff and I enjoy a good bottle of wine. We budget that!! However, Sandy’s personal budget is the same dollar amount as my wine budget. We talk about the amount before hand. Just because I am the “bread winner”, that doesn’t mean my wine budget is bigger than her personal budget. We are equal players on this team and we get the same amount of personal budget. Furthermore, if I choose to spend my entire budget on 1 bottle of wine, Sandy doesn’t flip out or nag me about it. Or, if Sandy spends her entire budget on a single pair of shoes, I say nothing.
5. Stick to it!
You have done the hard work of making the budget now stick to it. Sticking to your budget, will not only allow you to track your money and see exactly what you are spending on but, it will also keep the harmony in your relationship!! We use a spreadsheet that we call “the tracker” and it list ALL of the money that we spend throughout the month as well as the amounts that we have budgeted and it keeps a running total. It also shows how much budget funds we have left to spend. There will be more about these spreadsheets later. Also, nothing will cause an argument faster if you have agreed on a budget of $250 for a new television and you spend $500… trust me on this!!
6. Be honest!
Be honest. Keeping secret accounts and stashes of money is, in my opinion, betrayal. Now, Sandy has in her purse her “secret $20″, and I know that. For some reason she feels better having that $20 cash and that’s fine. I’ll ask if she has cash and she will say no. Her secret $20 doesn’t count and that’s ok. I am talking about keeping money from your partner for the sake of keeping it from them. Whether it is intentional or not, not having the open communication is not good for a marriage. Also, be honest when you do go over budget. Yes, you may have to answer to why you are over but, at least you are upfront and honest about. Secrecy and lying about only creates more secrets and lies. It doesn’t take a Dr.Phil to figure out that deceit is not good for any relationship. Remember you are accountable to each other for staying within the means of your budget. Remember, fair is fair!!
So there you have it. It only took us 7 years to figure this out but, once we did, our lives became so much better. Since we have figured out our budget, we never, ever fight about money. Just like every other couple, we have our good money months and we have our very tight budget months too. But, doing our budget together really makes those hard times not feel so hard.
Lastly, the thing that we have learned over the years is not everyone knows where to begin with budgeting. I grew up with accountants for parents so budgeting was instilled in me at a very early age but, Sandy was pretty clueless about it. She was very familiar with know how to stretch a dollar but, actually budgeting was a foreign concept. People have asked us about budgeting and we are always willing to help. Stayed tuned for the Budgeting 101 post that will be coming in the near future. As always, drop up a line and we will be more than happy to guide you along the way.
What other suggestions do you all have?