Til Debt Do Us Part: How to Stop Fighting About Finances
Along with sex and household chores, finances are one of the biggest argument instigators among couples. Why? Well, money can be hard to come by, even harder to save, but frighteningly easy to spend. If you and your partner don’t have a rock-solid save-versus-spend plan, you could see your union unravel.
Keep the peace -- and the love -- with our simple saving tips.
1. Save for something you both want
Maybe your spending trigger is clothes and he can’t resist buying the latest tech toys. It’s fine to have separate interests but eventually your need to have the latest handbag and his gadget-obsession will sink you financially. Rather than say no to all spending, why not put your money towards something you both want? Putting money away for something that gets you both excited (a vacation, a kitchen overhaul) can make it easy to save. Decide on a weekly or monthly amount and rather than spend on individual items, sock away your money for something mutually meaningful.
2. Track household spending
How much do you really spend on groceries? What about gym memberships, internet and cable, or entertainment? If you don’t know where your money is going, you’re always going to feel anxiety where spending is concerned. Rather than accuse each other about overspending, sit down together and track your spending. Once you know what you’re putting money towards each month, you’ll have a much better idea of where you can cut costs without having a fight every time the Visa bill comes.
3. Come up with a budget
If you feel like you’re constantly struggling to make ends meet, rather than fight about who’s spending more than they should, devise a monthly budget -- and stick to it. Factor in the big items: rent/mortgage, food, electricity/hydro, and then set aside some for incidentals such as entertainment or specialty items. If each of you knows how much you can spend in a month, there’s no need to argue about someone dipping into money that isn’t allotted to them.
4. Have one splurge night a month
Being totally frugal all the time is no fun. Rather than deprive yourselves (and fighting about the fact you never have any fun), devote one night a month to whatever you want to do. Make a reservation at that bistro you’ve wanted to try, go see the movie and get dessert afterward, take the weekend road trip you’ve been dying to take. But once the fun is over, go back to being diligent about your spending.
5. Find affordable ways to have fun
Not every weekend needs to involve dinner out, a shopping trip or some other form of spending. While it’s nice to splurge, there are myriad things to do that don’t cost a cent. Head to the park for a nature walk, grab your bikes and go for a ride, hit up a fall fair or farmers' market while the weather is still mild, or find some free (or pay what you can) events in your area. Galleries and museums often have a free or discounted night or afternoon once a week or month.
For more financial advice (and entertainment), tune into Til Debt Do Us Part on Slice.
Jessica Padykula is a Toronto-based writer and editor who regularly covers style, beauty, health, travel and lifestyle trends. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula.