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10 Ways to Stop Arguing About Money

1. Don’t think of it as a budget.

Instead, set goals that you are both excited to work towards. You can think of it as earning money for events, milestones, and merchandise you both want, rather than cutting out something you enjoy now.

2. Use a personal finance manager.

Figure out where your income is going each month. Decide how much flexible spending you have—or could have, if you made a few cutbacks. Buy generic, wait for the movie to come to RedBox, and, yes, clip a few coupons and wait for sales.

3. Take the next step and make big changes.

If you’re in over your head with loans and debt—or just out-of-control expense—you may need to work together to make long-term changes. Use public transportation instead of buying a new car, downsize homes, rent instead of buy, or consolidate your debt.

4. Give each other some space.

Agree on what’s reasonable for one person to spend without consulting the other. It’s going to be different for each couple.

5. Pay and save as a team.

While you may separate household chores, don’t divide up financial responsibility. Pay your bills together and take time to discuss any upcoming major expense. If it works for you, set aside time each week to go over everything—make it a date.

6. Do what makes you comfortable.

Keep joint accounts—or don’t. Do you mind if your partner can monitor your account activity online? Do you want them to have equal access to your accounts, or would you just like to have them as a beneficiary? Don’t do something because it seems “normal.”

7. Become just a little bit of a hoarder.

Besides putting money into a 401k or IRA, you should also be saving for an emergency fund. Once you have it, try not touch it—unless, of course, in case of emergency.

8. Pay children an allowance.

Use the allowance to teach them about budgeting and saving. It may help alleviate another source of tension between partners if a child is constantly going to one parent for money.

9. Get on the same page about relatives.

One major source of financial arguments may be coming from other members of the family. How will you take care of your parents as they age? What will you do if your brother asks you for (another) “loan”? If these questions are bugging you, get it out in the open—now.

10. Discover the dilemma behind the dollar signs.

Recognize if there are issues deeper than money at play—and address those before tackling money issues. They may include lack of trust from a previous relationship or insecurity after having grown up in a financially disadvantaged family.