Money fights are one of the leading causes of stress in a marriage. Getting on the same page with your spouse financially will relieve so much pressure and leave you feeling at peach knowing that you are both in this together!
Here are some tips that I have found REALLY WORK for my husband and I. When we started out we were not at all on the same page with our finances, how we handled them and our plans for the future with our money. These 5 strategies have nearly eliminated money arguments and allow us to live a life that is a bit less stressful.
Tip #1: Schedule your meetings ahead of time
When you schedule your meetings a few days in advance it allows you time to think. I found that when my husband and I first started arguing about finances I would try to sit him down right when he came home from work and get him to discuss our money problems. This did not work at all. He is the kind of man that needs to be in the right head space to have these conversations, so scheduling them ahead of time gives him a bit of time to mentally prepare. We are now at a point in our marriage where we always know our meetings are going to be on the last day of the month to prepare for the upcoming month.
Tip #2: DO NOT KEEP SECRETS
Honesty is key in every area of a marriage, including finances. My husband took a long time to open up to me about his debts. He was very ashamed and embarrassed of his student loans and refused to talk about them with me. This caused some major arguments and a lot of stress for me. I am the type of person who likes to have all the cards on the table so that I can see exactly what I am dealing with. Now that we both know everything about our debts and have a written out, detailed plan on how to tackle them we are much happier.
Tip #3: Write down your priorities
In most cases a couple may not agree on how their money should be spent, saved or budgeted. It was very helpful for us to each come up a with a list of some things that were the most important for us financially. For example, my list had things like getting out of debt, saving money to put in an emergency fund, and saving money for a home. Even if you and your spouse have completely different items on your list it opens the floor for discussion to allow you to start compromising and figuring out how to make sure you are both comfortable and stress-free. Here are some examples of other priorities you may have regarding money and planning:
- Paying off debt
- Paying off your home
- Saving for kids college
- Saving for retirement
- Saving a 3-6 month emergency fund
- Saving for a new car
- Saving for a baby
- Sticking to a strict monthly grocery budget
- Spending less on frivolous things
- Saving money for a down payment on a home
- Allotting money for fun activities
- Saving money to go on a big trip
Tip #4: Be respectful and listen
I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest downfalls in my marriage is compromising. I am constantly trying to remind myself that marriage is all about compromise and I need to be working on that. Our monthly meetings have helped me grow in this area because my husband and I definitely do not agree entirely on how our money should be allotted. I agree to allow him to have more “fun money” a month than I would like and he allows me to use more money to throw at our debts than he would like. A big part of our budget meetings is making sure we do not raise our voices with one another and that we really HEAR what the other person is saying. Something that my mom said recently that works for her and my dad is that she will say “I know you are listening, but do you hear me” and that has really resonated with me and helps me to remember to really hear my husband and respect his opinions, even if I do not agree. You can overcome disagreements and find a way to make things work if you mutually respect each other and listen to one another.
Tip #5: Take some time if you need it
Recently my husband and I have had to discuss some big, life changing events that will have a big impact on our finances. We both had some completely different ideas in our heads as to how we were going to plan for upcoming changes. To give you a little context, we are moving this year and my husband is planning to go back to school. We both agree that we will not be taking out any more loans, EVER. But when it came to moving we both had different ideas on how to pay for it, where we are going to move to, and when. So we agreed to take a couple of days to think about the other persons feelings and point of view and come back to it. If we had tried to come up with a plan during our initial meeting, things would not have gone well and we probably would have ended up fighting and upset. Taking some time is never a bad idea.
I would love to hear some of your tips on what works for you and your spouse when it comes to budgeting and talking about money! Let me know in the comments!