If you listen intently to the marriage vows you took you will hear that one person will be the saver and one person will be the spender. “For better or worse… For richer or poorer.” These words subliminally brace you for what’s to come. Many of us vow to stick it out through the rough financial spots but sadly today, financial distress are one the top 10 reasons couple’s divorce. There are few couples who have the same spending habits which can either make or break the relationship. Being a saver can drive the spender crazy and being a spender will drive the saver even crazier.
When you’re single you can manage money any way you want but once married that may not match with the way your spouse manages money. To manage both sides of the coin and avoid unnecessary arguments, both parties need to develop a system that works for them and stick to it. As a newlywed couple or as a couple who wants to get their finances in order, it’s important to start by remembering you both are on the same team. Follow these steps and you will not only see your money grow but your relationship will grow as well.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Finances. It’s best to discuss money goals before you get married but if you skipped that part, set a date to discuss your finances immediately. Bring all documents to the table (credit reports, bank statements, credit card bills, etc). This will allow you to lay everything out on the table. Nothing should be hidden. Being up front leaves no room for financial infidelity (more to come on that in a later post).
- Write Down Money Goals. I suggest writing down money goals separately before bringing those ideas together. Writing down your own money goals will allow each person to guage where they want to be as a couple. Once these goals have been written, choose goals that will be not only benefit the couple but also the individual. One person may not see the value in saving for a vacation but just because one of you may not see the value in it doesn’t mean there is no value there. Learning to appreciate the differences in individual goals will help you reach your goals as a couple. Review them regularly to make remain on target.
- Merge Bank Accounts. I can’t stress how important this is!!! Too many couples continue to live like roommates and keep everything separate. Keeping money in separate opens the door to financial infidelity. How can you hold each other accountable if everything is separate? There is nothing innately wrong with having various accounts but there should be one household account. Any additional accounts should be an enhancement for the relationship. For example, we have three checking accounts. Our salaries are deposited into one account and then we have two separate accounts for miscellaneous spending.
- Create a Budget and Track Your Spending. Before we got married we created a budget but it was very vague. Once we got married, we created a more detailed budget that works for the both of us. We started tracking our spending to see where all our money was going. Tracking our spending showed us where we were being wasteful and where we can save more. We’ve been married a little over a year and just came to an agreement on how much how much we get for fun money. The budget should include more than rent, food, and utilities, but it should also include co-pays for doctor visits, oil changes, etc. Doing a monthly budget will allow you create a detailed list of what’s actually due for the month.
- Work On Getting Out of Debt. This may not seem doable but it is. Start small by listing everything that needs to be paid off and take your time. Don’t allow it to overwhelm you and create a plan to become debt free by a certain date. Once you pay the first bill off will be freeing and your momentum will continue to build.
Marriage can be hard enough without adding unnecessary burden to it. If you create good money habits as a couple, you can conquer anything.
Money Management Tips was first seen on Hobbies and Cents.