Do you at times feel like her money is hers alone, while your money is everybody’s money? Do you want to know how to manage money as a couple? Do you ever feel like your husband spends too much money on unnecessary things? For most couples, the above scenarios make a significant part of their life. Fights about money issues are very common in marriages, even leading to families’ breaking up. Susan Washburn (www.wash-mcg.com), a well-known writer, says: “Conflicts over monetary matters are often vehicles for expressing other tensions in relationships.”
However, remember that you and your partner are one. Therefore, you should always be united in all matters, including money issues. It would be best if you learned how to manage money. Marriage is not all about which money is yours. As a team, carefully plan your budget and calmly discuss the money ahead of time by focusing on the essentials first.
This article discusses nine tips on How to Manage Money as a Couple. Read on!
Table of content
- Set a Plan
- Be Honest with your Spouse
- Discuss Money Issues Calmly
- Manage Debts Together
- Write Down Your Plans
- Agree on How Responsibilities will be Shared
- Talk About Your Lifestyle Goals
- Set Clear Boundaries
- Open a Joint Account
1. Set a Plan
Everybody knows the saying that ‘before you can build a tower, first sit down and count the costs.’ What does this mean? Before you and your partner can spend money, it’s essential that you first set a plan. Sit with your partner, then plan together fearlessly and confess how you are feeling. Money shortages trigger deep insecurities in us. Talking about them beforehand can be useful by diminishing our fears.
Remember that having enough money doesn’t mean that you have the freedom to buy whatever you want. In your plan, identify your priorities, and spend money on these first. Always work within the bounds of what you can afford and try as much as possible to stay out of debt.
If you notice that you have extra cash unaccounted for, plan with your partner as to how you both would like to spend or save it. Likewise, if you notice that your plan has a deficit, try doing away with unnecessary expenses. For instance, rather than eat out at a restaurant, consider cooking and eating at home.
2. Be Honest with your Spouse
Both of you need to be open and honest about your earnings. Tim Berry (www.timberry.com), the founder and manager of Palo Alto Software, comments that “…if you’re completely open with your partner, there is less risk of resentment when things get rough.” So, being open with each other about your financial status can help you avoid any money-related fights and arguments common in marriage.
3. Discuss Money Issues Calmly
Good communication in marriage is one of the key factors that guarantee its success. Communication not only involves talking about troubling issues and problems in marriage but also discussing money. But what can you do if your discussions about money always turn heated?
First, choose the right time to discuss money as a couple. Don’t just wait until the family is financially strained to talk about money. Set specific and regular times to talk about your family’s financial status. For instance, you could consider setting aside one night each week to plan your earnings and see how you can solve any financial strains you may be having.
And, when you set a particular day or time to discuss money, adhere to this. Talk openly and calmly. Ensure that both of you are relaxed and listen attentively when your partner explains their opinions. Also, try to keep your discussions as brief as possible. When you include regular talks about money in your marriage routine, you will reduce the number of times you argue about money-related issues.
4. Manage Debts Together
One research study done by Fidelity Investments showed that marriage partners who carried debts had more arguments (67%) than marriage partners who brought no debt ….. what if you already have debts in your marriage?
If you and your partner are already burdened with debt, you are not entirely doomed. To manage money as a couple, you need first to address these debts as a team. Work together as a couple to clear and solve the deficit. How can you do this?
You can start by being honest about any debts that you have. Even if you had the obligations long before you married, let your partner know. Also, be honest about how you spent the family money. Only when you do that will you manage the debts together and wisely manage money as a couple.
5. Write Down Your Plans
You may be earning hundreds of dollars each month, even thousands of dollars. But, if you do not have a well set out family budget, all your hard work might be just going to waste. You can manage money as a couple by putting your outgoings on paper. This gives you a very clear view of what you are spending.
When you see your financial situation in this manner, it will act as an eye-opener, ensuring that you always manage money wisely as a couple. More so, writing down your budget and plans on paper will help you lessen any arguments that could arise from the misuse of funds. After all, there can’t be any arguments with facts.
On your written budget plan, describe every fixed expense that you have. Set aside some money as savings and write this on the budget plan as well. Also, write down all the variable costs, for instance, food, electricity, and telephone bills. With such a detailed plan, it will be much easier for both of you to manage your money wisely.
The book ‘Budgeting’, written by Denise Chambers clearly explains how family budgets should be created. As Denise points out, “all family members should be included in drawing up the plan so that all have a commit the family budget.” If your family comprises just you and your spouse, you need to write down the budget together. Then, regularly, meet to discuss how your set budget is working out. Drawing a family budget together will help you manage your money wisely, living within your means.
6. Agree on How Responsibilities will be Shared
In some cultures and traditions, it is the man’s responsibility to care and provide for the family. In other cultures, the burden of caring for family responsibilities falls on the wife. However, the best way to manage money as a couple is to share responsibilities.
For instance, you can agree to care for the smaller family bills and expenses as a wife. As the husband, you can then decide to manage the significant accounts, such as house rent, taxes, and contracts. Also, communicate and keep your partner informed of your duties. Irrespective of the method you use to share responsibilities, you should have one goal in mind: to work as a united team.
7. Talk About Your Lifestyle Goals
When both of you got married, you most probably visualized what you would do with your money. For instance, you probably thought of the new wardrobe of clothes you would acquire or the new 60-inch television set you would buy. It is not a sin to dream of such lifestyle goals. However, if you manage money as a couple in a comprehensive way, you need to discuss your lifestyle goals together.
Catherine E. Aponte (www.apontepsyd.com), the author of the bestselling book ‘A Marriage of Equals: How to Achieve Balance in a Committed Relationship,’ mentions that “it’s a good idea to have an agreed-upon understanding of what it means to compromise about important issues.” When it comes to lifestyle goals, both you and your spouse should be willing to compromise on some things. For instance, you don’t have to insist on getting a new wardrobe if doing so will put a financial strain on your marriage.
So, talk about your lifestyle goals, whether short-term or long-term. Talk about plans that involve making large purchases and discuss how you can save towards achieving those goals. As you save and meet these goals together, you will develop better managing skills as a couple.
8. Set Clear Boundaries
If you are to ensure that money is managed well in your marriage, you need to set clear money boundaries from the start. Talk about your expectations. Also, discuss and set a maximum spending limit with your partner. When someone intends to buy a product above the agreed spending limit, they will have to consult first before buying it.
Also, agree on how much independence each person will have. How much money can one spend without consulting the other? For instance, you could decide that each person can spend up to $20 or $200 without consulting the other person. Having such clear set boundaries will help you manage your money well as a couple and minimize wastage.
9. Open a Joint Account
When it comes to opening a bank account, couples have a wide range of options to choose from. For instance, you could decide to share an account or even open separate accounts. Both of these options are not bad ideas. However, it would be best to try out the waters before jumping into the deep end. What does this mean?
Consider having a joint bank account as a couple. Agree on how much each of you will contribute every month. Some of the money you save in your joint account can be used to cater for several home bills and expenses. After a while, evaluate your progress to see how having a joint statement works out for you.
If everything is going well, you can start contributing more to the household and family. Opening a joint statement as a couple can safeguard both of you from using up all household savings!
When you were still single, your money was your money. You had the freedom to spend it in whichever way you wished. However, as a married person, your money is no longer yours. Therefore, you need to learn how to manage money as a couple. How can you do so?
First, be honest with your spouse. Inform them of any debts you might have and discuss how you can solve the debts. Also, set your plan and budget, prioritizing the most critical expenses in the family. Write your goals down on paper. More so, mutually agree on the kind of lifestyle you will lead and how you will share your family’s responsibilities.
When you follow the above nine discussed tips on managing money as a couple, you will never experience money-related issues that stifle your love. You and your partner are a team, so work as a team even when it comes to money issues. After all, your marriage is worth more than all the money you can make.
Those are but a few tips that can help you manage money as a couple. Have you found any other practical tips that can help couples manage their money wisely? Please let me know in your comments below.