Quit hogging the bills! You and your spouse love planning vacations, parties and romantic dates together. However when it comes to your finances…not so much! Your partner wants to increase the mortgage payments while you think you can't afford to. You think too much is being spent on entertainment your spouse disagrees. Many partners not only have very different spending habits, but also very different perceptions of what their household's financial plan should look like. Far too many couples fail to coordinate their financial lives, inadvertently impeding their chances of getting ahead. Paying down your debts as a couple can make the process much easier for both of you.
Here are some steps for using communication to build your financial management skills as a couple.
Create a budget together.
You could be the most frugal person in the world, but if your partner is not on the same page as you, he or she could end up spending all of those dollars that you so carefully saved. Taking the time to sit down and create a household budget can be a huge eye opener for many couples. Especially once you actually look at all of your discretionary expenses, and the total income you have to work with. One partner should not push the budget onto the other. A shared budget is more successful when it is created through compromise and agreed upon by both spouses.
Identify shared financial goals.
Once your joint budget has been created, have an open discussion with your spouse about his or her financial goals. These could be anything from paying down the mortgage to buying a fancy sports car. Discuss your own financial goals and identify areas of common ground, such as paying down debt or building savings. Determine which goals to prioritize based on your shared values, and work these goals into your financial plan. Once you are both working toward the same goals, they will be easier to achieve.
Put your differences to good use.
If one partner is organized and good at remembering things, have that spouse handle bill payments. The spouse who is frugal and easily avoids impulsive spending should do the grocery shopping. Meanwhile the person who gets the shopping itch and enjoys looking around for things can be in charge of buying gifts for others. It's easy to fall into the trap of having the partner who is at home more do all of the shopping, or having the person who makes more money make all of the important financial decisions. But by doing this, you are depriving your partner of the chance to contribute his or her talents to running a well-functioning household, and possibly putting unnecessary stress on yourself by trying to do it all. Think of your household as a team, and build on your partner's strengths to get positive results.
Lastly, remember to celebrate your achievements! Accomplishing financial goals together, no matter how big or how small, is a great way to build on your relationship with each other.