Have you ever tried to talk to your spouse about the budget or finances and started World War 3? You’re not alone. Money can be the source of huge fights for many couples. So, how do you get on the same page about your finances without going to war?
Why Do Couples Fight Over Money?
While there may be more reasons than this, the most common reason for couples fighting is about money because of control. You don’t like the things your spouse is spending money on, so instead of combatting the issues you have regarding their choices, it’s easier to say there’s no money for that thing they want.
The second most common reason that couples fight has to do with having a very limited budget. If they are not making enough money to sustain their basic needs, money fights are inevitable. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t get on the same page and make real progress. Here are a few ideas to help with that.
1. Set Up a Budget Planning Meeting
There may not be a good time to talk about a subject that causes you to fight, but there sure are some bad times. Instead of waiting to bring up money problems, set up a planning meeting. This way, both you and your spouse have cleared your schedule to focus on the task. Before the meeting, you and your spouse need to write down any questions or concerns you may have.
2. Create a Budget Together
Budgeting can be a massive source of stress. The burden that budgeting and money management can bring, should be evenly placed on both people’s shoulders in the relationship. Not only is it burdensome, if both are not clear about the budget restrictions, other fights could happen down the road. When you are both on the same page about the finances, it makes purchases easier.
3. Come up With an Accountability System
It’s not enough to just have a budget. You have to agree to follow the budget as much as possible. That’s not to say that as a couple, you can’t call an audible and go over budget but, that should be a decision you make together.
Having a budget and sticking with it will keep you from fighting over purchases. If the purchase fits within a budget and you have the money to spend it, you both need to agree that you won’t be upset with the other person. There are many more ways you can creatively hold each other accountable with your finances, here’s a few things my spouse and I did early on in our marriage.
4. Set a Cap
Some couples choose to set a dollar amount that has to be approved by the other person. For example, you might place a $50 cap, and if an item costs more than that, you have to run it by the other person. This figure should be based on the amount of expendable income you have, and it should adapt as your income changes.
5. Have Monthly Sit Downs to Go Over Spending
Finances are never a set it and forget it type of thing. You will need to sit down regularly with your partner to help prevent overspending. When you have a monthly meeting, this helps keep the lines of communication open. You will be forced to talk about the topic regularly. I read a great book about financial frustration and creatively using your income and situation, to get to where your goals and future desires lay. You can check it out here.
6. Assign Responsibilities to Each Person
Each person in the relationship should have a clearly defined understanding of their role in your finances. One person can be in charge of paying the monthly bills. The other person can be in control of the daily spending.
Regardless of how you split it up, be sure both people are a part of spending the money. If one person is in charge of paying all the bills and spending the money, it is likely to bring about stress and frustrations.
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