Despite what you may believe, a marriage without money fights is possible. However, if you and your spouse constantly argue about dollars, you may feel that this isn’t a reality in your household. The truth is, managing money with a spouse doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about being on the same page and adopting a few helpful principles. Here are seven principles for a marriage without money fights.
1. Create a Spending Plan
If you want a marriage without money fights, get together with your spouse on a weekly or monthly basis and create a spending plan. This plan should outline how much to spend on household expenses and other expenses. With a plan, there are no surprises.
2. Have Your Own Money
In addition to creating a spending plan, it’s also helpful for each partner to have his or her own money. This is money that you and your spouse can spend freely on yourself. Establish a realistic splurge budget. With your own money, you’re less likely to dip into family funds for personal items, and you're less likely to argue about finances.
3. Don’t Hide Purchases
Okay, I'm guilty of this — but it’s not a habit. And when I was caught, my spouse wasn't happy. For that matter, if you want to avoid money fights, be completely honest with your partner and don't hide purchases. If you have to hide a purchase, then you probably shouldn't be buying the item.
4. Be Honest about Debt
You might be embarrassed by your credit card debt. But if you’re not honest about balances, this can create issues in your marriage. For example, I know people who didn't learn about their spouse’s debt until they were denied a home loan, and I've heard of spouses discovering a partner’s debt after finding hidden credit card statements. Needless to say, it didn't end well for these couples. Put aside your shame and embarrassment, and always be honest.
5. Consult Each Other before a Major Purchase
It doesn't matter whether it's a car or a flatscreen television, consulting with your spouse before spending a ton of money can alleviate a lot of trouble in your marriage. Get together with your spouse and determine how much each other can spend without consultation. For example, you might agree that each person can spend up to $100 on his own, or more depending on your household finances.
6. Be Respectful
If you know how to manage money, you may talk down to your spouse if he or she makes poor financial choices. However, talking down and being disrespectful will only exacerbate the problem, and your spouse is less likely to come to you with money problems. Regardless of who makes the most money mistakes in the relationship, always be respectful.
7. Improve Your Credit Scores
A bad credit score makes it difficult to get just about everything. You might be unable to qualify for a home or auto loans; and if you qualify, you'll pay a higher interest rate. This can add to monthly expenses and strain the relationship. But if you work to improve your credit score, financing won't be as challenging.
Marriage is hard enough, and fighting about money is the last thing you need. Get on the same page as your partner and have discussions about the state of your financial health. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll develop a better financial relationship.