Financial planning is a huge strain on everyone, but when it comes time to discuss finances with your spouse or partner, you may find you don’t see eye to eye. This can happen no matter how long you’ve been together or how well you get along, because over time, people change, and so do their values and priorities. Discussing money can lead to arguments and a lot of bitterness, whether it is from not having enough, or how to spend savings.
If you are the one having to initiate the conversation, perhaps you have concerns about your spouse’s spending or lack of attention to the budget. What is the best way to talk to your loved one? How can you convince them to curb spending?
Communicate Both Ways
Talking to your spouse about finances and budgeting involves listening, too. You are in this together and it is only through working together that you can achieve your financial goals. There are two important elements to communicating: how you express yourself, and how deeply you pay attention to what your partner is saying. When explaining your ideas and concerns to your partner, you want to ensure that you are not being aggressive, bossy, or accusatory. You should also be open to their concerns and suggestions. They may see some of your spending as excessive, or may not see their own that way.
Forget About the Past
The money you’ve already spent is gone. The best way to regain that money is not to argue but to work together to set up a monthly budget to avoid useless spending in the future. Fighting is pointless and it’s hard to figure out finances if you are both sitting there pointing fingers. Who wasted the money we had? Where did it go? Who went out to eat too much? Who bought an extra pair of shoes they didn’t need? It doesn’t matter; what matters is going forward. Past spending is only useful to identify areas where money can be saved. Even if your partner really is wasting money, approach the issue diplomatically and without blaming.
You Are a Team
You and your partner are together because you wanted to face life together. Finances are an important part of life, and facing them together means working as a team on all aspects of your money. All the planning in the world goes out the window if someone is not following the plan, so both you and your partner have to be on board. The easiest way to ensure you and your partner work together at keeping the monthly budget is by making it together.
This includes identifying priority expenditures, such as rent, utilities, food
Discuss Long Term Goals
Everyone has dreams and goals, things they want to do, have, or see. Of course, most of these things cost money and often require long-term planning to carry out. Making plans for setting a monthly budget and saving money, and what to do with the money you save, is not only a great way to introduce the financial discussion but to get your partner excited about discussing it too. When money is put into terms of things we want, it becomes a little more tangible. Even if your plans change after you save money, or as you save it, having a long-term goal will help you both stay focussed.
Address Debt Together
Today, everything is debt. We get car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other liens all the time. Addressing debt responsibly is about paying it on time, but also about working together when it comes to setting a monthly budget, as well as opening loans and credit cards. Whether getting a long-term loan for a large expense or a title loan for quick cash, making decisions about debt together can introduce good spending habits for both of you and also eventually build your credit. Your collateral belongs to both of you, so protecting it takes both your efforts. There are many things to consider before taking loan in the new year, so be sure to do your research together.
Talking about finances is difficult for a lot of people, but it can feel daunting if your partner needs to be convinced to work together. Following the above tips for getting a monthly budget can make it easier for you to avoid the stressful parts, and perhaps even approach the discussion with optimism.