There are couples who are good with money and couples who are not good with money. Want to make a guess as to who argues more about finances? Money is one of the largest threats against having a successful relationship.
As the couples who are good with money will tell you, all it takes is a little planning and communication to shave down that threat. Here are some tips to think about.
Discuss All Purchases
Yes, even the small ones. This is especially important when a relationship is still young. Before going away for that romantic weekend, discuss the budget. Talk about your plans for the next bonus check.
Even when it’s “your” money, let your partner know when you are going to splurge on some new boots or concert tickets. By starting small and being open, you are setting yourself up to success when it comes to bigger ticket items.
Set Savings Goals for Big Purchases
What are your priorities for big purchases? Now, what are your partners? Are they the same? Then you’re in luck. But most likely, they are different. You may have your heart set on that new 60” 4K HDR flat screen while your partner has their heart set on a new refrigerator.
Be sure to communicate and share goals. It isn’t a competition, after all. With proper planning and saving, everyone can get their wish.
The worst thing you can do when things get serious with a partner is lie about your financial situation. If you’re struggling under credit card debt or student loans, be upfront before you talk about moving in together.
Your partner should know what they are getting into. It’s best to have a discussion about that terrible credit score before you attempt to make a large purchase together.
Focus on Savings Goals
Rather than simply planning around spending limits, try to set goals for saving each and every month. Create a dollar amount and work together to hit that goal.
Once you hit your savings goal for the month, go ahead and pick up that new pair of sunglasses (after discussing the purchase with your partner, of course!)
50-50 Split Does Not Fit All
Incomes vary, so expecting a 50-50 split from your partner may not be realistic, or even kind. If you make 25% more than your partner, that should absolutely factor into how you split paying your expenses.
As your relationship grows, you may consider merging your accounts and pulling everything from the same pool. But until then, be realistic about what your partner can contribute.
Review Finances Together Monthly
Set aside an evening at the beginning of each month to look back at the previous month and see how you are doing financially. This shouldn’t lead to arguments… it should lead to a celebration of your small victories and hitting your savings goals.
If you do see a problem, it’s best to address it before it gets out of hand.