It’s the same argument over and over again: you and your partner can’t agree on household finances.
If you and your partner have different spending habits and different ideas on managing your finances together, you aren’t alone. Many couples face this issue. And many couples see it crop up as the same argument repeatedly. Over time, it can lead to resentment.
However, this doesn’t have to remain your reality. You and your partner can work together to find a compromise that both of you are content with. Here are some ways you can approach it.
Talk About Your Financial Values and Where They Come From
A good place to start when it comes to understanding each other’s financial mindset is looking at your values. Many begin building financial values in childhood based on their parents’ habits. For some, this leads to becoming a frugal adult. For others, it leads to frivolous spending.
Looking at each other’s financial values isn’t about making excuses. It’s about self-awareness.
This is a good time to talk about how you both think money should be spent and why. For instance, one person might show appreciation and affection through expensive gifts, while the other prefers quality time. Understanding this helps clear the air a bit.
Consider the Best Way to Manage Your Finances Together
Unfortunately, managing finances as a couple isn’t black-and-white. There’s a lot of gray area. Perhaps one person makes significantly more or has more debt. If things were split 50/50, this might create contention. Of course, the 50/50 method may work for some people, but not everyone.
Some things to consider are if you want to keep a joint bank account, separate bank accounts, or perhaps have a joint account with personal spending reserves for each person. There’s no right or wrong option. It’s about what works best for you and your partner.
In terms of contributing to a shared bank account, it’s important to consider whether contributions should be a flat rate or a percentage of income. The same goes for bills. Perhaps you decide that the person with the higher income covers a larger percent of the bills. Or perhaps you decide this person tackles fixed expenses like rent and groceries, while the other puts money into a fund for savings, nights out, or vacations.
Another thing to consider is creating a budgeting plan together. This might help alleviate stress if one person is frugal and the other a frivolous spender. Having a budget you manage together creates transparency and helps you create a plan that works for both of you.
Be Open to Compromise
As with most aspects of being in a relationship together, be ready to compromise. Compromise is important in creating a financial environment that you’re both comfortable with. It certainly won’t be easy, but it will help prevent resentment from building up.
For instance, a frivolous spender might have to compromise on having a set amount of “fun” money to spend. A frugal saver may have to accept that not all unused finances are going into a rainy day account. Consider if there is a shared goal you both want to meet. Perhaps you want to buy a house, take a big vacation, or prepare to have children. Having a shared goal can help motivate compromise and put the focus on a bigger picture rather than every little thing.
Are you and your partner still struggling to meet in the middle when it comes to managing finances? A couples counselor can help you work through it together and reach common ground. Reach out today to set up an appointment.