When a saver marries a spender

Here are five tips for when you and your spouse have different views on money.

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  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lindsey Bell's blog. It has been republished here with permission.

  • I am a natural saver … always have been.

  • My husband, on the other hand, is a natural spender. He typically already knows how he will spend his money before he receives it.

  • Money could easily become an issue of conflict in our home, but for a few reasons (that I'll share below), it hasn't often done so.

  • _Just because a saver marries a spender does not mean conflict is inevitable._

  • Here are a few ways to prevent the conflict before it happens:

  • What to do when a saver marries a spender

  • 1. Have a monthly money meeting

  • My husband and I sit down once a month to talk about finances. Is it something we enjoy? Not really. Is it our idea of a thrilling evening? Definitely not. But it's necessary and beneficial to our marriage.

  • We talk about what we did well with our finances last month and what we'd like to do differently in the coming month. We look at our budget and make adjustments (more on that in the next point).

  • 2. Live on a budget

  • I know some people hate living on a budget. They feel like it prevents them from ever doing anything fun with their money. They hate the amount of work it entails. They don't like to be "told" what to do with their hard-earned money.

  • But here's the thing. Living on a budget enables both my husband and me to have a say in the way our finances are handled. We set up the budget TOGETHER, and we make changes TOGETHER. We decide beforehand how much "blow money" each of us will receive, as well as how much money we will save. Living on a budget stops many arguments before they even have time to develop because we both know ahead of time how most of our money will be spent.

  • My husband knows he will get money that he can spend on whatever he wants (without my judgment or questions). I do as well.

  • 3. Decide on an "approval limit."

  • If something comes up outside of your normal budgeted needs (which could happen often!), have a plan of what you will do. Decide on a certain amount that either of you can spend without seeking the approval of the other person. Then, if something comes up that is over the "approval limit," talk to your spouse before you spend the money.

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  • 4. Compromise

  • There are many times my husband has graciously agreed to forgo a purchase because of my desire to not spend money. There have also been many times I have agreed to spend some extra cash on something my husband really desires.

  • _The key to handling money issues in marriage is communication and compromise._If either of these elements are missing from a marriage, disagreements are sure to come.

  • 5. Value the differences of your spouse

  • My husband has taught me a lot about enjoying life, easing up, and trusting God with my future. I hope I have taught him about being prepared and saving for emergencies. We complement each other. His desire to spend isn't wrong, any more than my desire to save.

  • We are different, and these differences - when viewed appropriately - can make our marriage so much stronger.

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Lindsey Bell is the author of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity. She's also a speaker for women's events, a blogger, and a stay-at-home mother to two crazy boys.

Website: http://www.lindsey-bell.com

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