Money is one of the things married couples argue about most. Because each spouse brings to the relationship his or her own preconceived ideas about spending, saving and finances in general, it can be difficult to avoid disagreements on this subject.
Money is one of the things married couples argue about most. Because each spouse brings to the relationship his or her own preconceived ideas about spending, saving and finances in general, it can be difficult to avoid disagreements on this subject. At some point, all married couples need to find common ground and learn to compromise and work together when it comes to their finances. Without this give and take, disagreements about financial issues can quickly erode the love and trust in any marriage. The following tips will help you work together as a couple to solve your money issues and put you on the path to better financial management.
1. Make necessary changes
If you continue to handle money the way that you have in the past, you will continue to get the same results. If you have been living paycheck to paycheck, the only way to change this scenario is to start spending less than you earn and put the rest into savings. If you are deeply in debt, the solution is not to continue to borrow money, but rather to stop using credit cards and resist buying things that you don’t absolutely need. If you are willing to make difficult changes in your approach to finances you will be more likely get the results you seek.
2. Examine your values
What is it that matters most to you? Are you using your resources to accomplish worthwhile goals in your life, or are you frittering them away on things that don’t truly matter? Money spent on things you value usually creates a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. However, money spent on things you don’t truly value leads to frustration and futility. If you are not sure what is important to you, you will tend to scatter your resources on a variety of targets in the hopes that something will pay off. Discuss your financial goals with your spouse. Decide together what is most important to your family and think of ways to reach those goals together. Talk about each of your spending weaknesses and agree to support and remind each other of your long-term goals when either of you is feeling weak or impulsive.
3. Decrease your spending
Financial freedom is more often the result of decreased spending than increased income. Cutting back on expenses, choosing frugal alternatives and using your own talent and ingenuity will generally lead to greater financial rewards than will getting a second job. Brainstorm with your spouse about ways in which you can cut down on some of your expenses. If you are both willing to give up some of your luxuries and conveniences you will be more likely to be successful in cutting back.
Look for ways to enjoy life without spending money. Find free activities you can do as a couple or family. Taking a walk through fall leaves or building a snowman together can be more satisfying than going to a movie, and it won’t put a dent in your budget. Begin appreciating what you already have rather than worrying about what you don't have. Not only will this help you to save money, it will make you a happier person.
5. Understand your spouse's standpoint on money
Each individual brings their own history and emotional connection to money into a marriage. Your spouse’s family dealt with money in a particular way and that is the way he or she will be used to doing things. One way or the other isn’t necessarily right or wrong, just different. Find a system that works for both of you and that you can agree on. If your spouse hates paying the bills, volunteer to do it in exchange for getting out of something else you hate. If you both hate handling the finances, alternate monthly. There are plenty of different ways for you and your spouse to configure the financial workings of your household. The important thing is that you come up with something you both agree on and that allows you to meet your financial goals.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.