Money is one of the biggest reasons for couples to fight. One partner may be a spender and the other a saver. Other times, different upbringings lead to differing attitudes towards money.
When you’ve reached the point where you are always fighting about money with your spouse, trying to get on the same page financially can seem impossible. These tips will help you and your spouse start agreeing instead of arguing over money.
1. Agree on purchase limits to stop fighting about money.
If you’re trying to keep your budget in check, and your spouse continually spends, you may find yourself with no money to pay the bills.
Decide on a purchase amount that will require an “okay” from the other person. You may decide that only certain types of purchases require running it past your spouse.
Larger purchases may need a full discussion as opposed to a quick text or call before they are made. For example, you may want time to discuss the purchase of a new refrigerator, but a Keurig can be decided upon on the spot. If you feel this way, determine what amount of purchases require time to think over or discuss.
For example, my husband and I have agreed that purchases over $100 (from joint funds, see #4 for more details) need the approval of the other person. Groceries and Costco are excluded from this. So if I need to buy new work clothes, I’ll make sure he’s okay with it before I go shopping. We needed a new garage door opener last month, so he made sure I was okay with the amount before he picked it up from Lowe’s.
The advantage to setting a purchase limit is you can make smaller purchases on the fly without waiting or worrying about criticism from your significant other. Plus, you are working as a team to decide on larger purchases.
2. Discuss debt to avoid fights with your spouse.
Couples should discuss how they feel about debt with each other. What type of debt is okay-mortgages, car loans, student loans, or credit cards? When is it okay to go into debt (what types of purchases should debt be used for)?
Are you going to discuss any purchases that require the use of debt before they happen? Or only over a certain dollar amount?
Couples may have different views about debt and when combined with differing spending habits, you’re asking for marriage trouble. You’ll want to make sure you are on the same page financially when it comes to debt.
3. Consider combining (or dividing) finances to stop arguing over money.
Every family will have a different way of handling joint finances. Some couples might choose to combine all income and expenses through joint accounts. Others may find keeping separate accounts works best. Or maybe even a combination-joint accounts for bills and separate accounts for “fun” money or certain personal expenses.
You don’t have to listen to the gurus that say your accounts should all be combined. It may not be the best option for your situation.
Whichever route you go, you’ll want to be on the same page as your spouse. If you want complete transparency with money, but your spouse wants some separate funds, you’ll need to find a compromise you both agree on.
If you are currently fighting over finances, changing how you deal with joint finances can make a big difference.
4. Allow each partner an allowance amount to spend.
I highly recommend setting up an personal allowance system like described in this post. It is important that each person can have an amount that they are allowed to spend/save for what they want to. It was a real game changer in my marriage.
Decide on an amount that you are each allowed to spend without consulting the other. We do ours monthly, but if it is easier based on your pay schedules, you could do weekly or biweekly amounts. The amount might be the same for each person, or maybe you’ll have a different plan on how it’s determined. Maybe you’ll get to keep any work bonuses or side job money for yourself.
You’ll also want to decide what types of purchases will be used with your personal “fun” money. Will clothes come from joint funds or personal money? What about dinner with friends or lunches at work?
Stop fighting about money
Marriage is hard work, but you don’t have to make money come between you and your spouse. Come to an agreement on how much you can each freely spend and what types of purchases you should discuss (together) first. You’ll want to make sure you understand how your partner feels about debt and consider changing up your joint finances to stop fighting. Use these four tips to get on the same page about money and put an end to those money fights with your spouse.