When you get married, the way you handle your finances will likely change. Though you should have discussed your personal finances and financial goals with your spouse before getting married, that doesn't always happen.
There will probably be times when the two of you are at odds regarding your finances, either due to differing viewpoints on how to do things financially, or perhaps even because you are financially incompatible.
Follow these five steps to stop fighting about finances and avoid the financial problems that can lead to divorce.
Keep in mind that if there are bigger issues, like having your spouse steal your identity and take a loan out in your name with our knowledge, you may want to consider marriage counseling to help you deal with those issues.
Listen to Your Spouse
If either one of you is having a hard time sticking to your budget, then it may be time to sit down and figure out why the budget isn't working for you and begin to develop a plan to stick to the budget.
Does your spouse feel like you set up the budget or that the categories are not reasonable? Did you dictate the budget and not make a team effort? Or is the budget you created for your new family simply not realistic?
That's when you should have a conversation with your spouse on the best way to formulate your budget, including how much money to allocate for groceries, eating out, clothing, and other fun extras. Don't forget to budget for padding your emergency fund, which is necessary for any workable budget.
It's also a good idea to include a line item for money that each spouse can spend, no questions asked. That can help keep your marriage healthy.
You should agree on how to deal with other issues that may pop up, like an unexpected car or home repair, credit card debt, or what to do if your parents ask for money.
Agree on Larger Purchases
It's important to both be on the same page regarding larger purchases, such as a car, vacation, or another splurge, but it can be difficult. It may be that one of you feels that the item is necessary now, or wants to invest in a more expensive option to save money in the long run. Try following the rule that until you both agree on the purchase, it should not be made.
If you are objecting ask yourself why. Can you pay for the purchase in cash? Is it stopping you from reaching a goal? Do you just want to spend less money overall? Spend time explaining and listening to each other until you are able to resolve your differences.
Some couples also set a spending threshold and anything above that must be cleared with a spouse. For example, if you plan to spend more than $200 at Target, you should consult your spouse first.
Think Toward the Future
If one spouse simply does not see the need to worry about the retirement or buying your first home, it can be frustrating for a spouse who's a planner. If you are the spouse who worries more, you may need to start by asking specific questions about the future, such as purchasing a house and saving for retirement. Often, if you can set goals together, then it is easier to get the other spouse on board.
Some people are not planners, but once they realize that the budget will help them reach their goals they are more willing to work on a budget. You can work to get your reluctant spouse on board by illustrating how saving for the future will benefit them, as well.
Get on the Same Page
If you want to stop having financial fights with your partner, it's important to get on the same page. Whether your primary financial goal is to pay down debt, fund your child's college education, or stick to a realistic budget, it's important to communicate to your spouse what is important to you, money-wise.
For example, you can explain how much value you put on his or her willingness to work on a budget. Alternately, be sure you know your partner's financial goals and make working toward them a priority, as well.
Once you're on the same page, you may be surprised at how much more smoothly your finances work—and how much more easily you and your spouse can discuss all things related to money.
Be careful not to turn discussions about the budget into nagging sessions or start throwing accusations at each other about money.
Make Accountability a Priority
One of the key things to managing money without fighting is to be on the same page with your budget and other financial goals. That means you'll need a way to have accountability, both to your budget and to each other. One way to do that is to use a budgeting or financial app on your phone that is able to be synced with your spouse's phone, like Honeydue.
Being on the same page and having accountability is key to managing your finances smoothly with a partner. As mentioned, it also helps for each partner to have money to spend on the things that they enjoy the most without needing to explain those purchases to the other. That may be considered splurge money, mad money or an allowance.