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Is your pet peeve about your partner that he has subscriptions to every streaming service on the internet? That she spends too much time couponing? Or is the thing irritating you… all of his or her spending habits? Then it’s time to stop bickering over cash.
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.
Figure out where your income is going each month with Money Manager when you pull in accounts and track your cash flow. 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.
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.
Agree on what’s reasonable for one person to spend without consulting the other. It’s going to be different for each couple.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.