Money helps you and your partner acquire the things you need to live the life you want: a house, a car, good food, the best school for the kids, and occasional travel and leisure. However, money can also be the root of big fights when not handled or discussed properly.
Couples may fight when their expectations of money, savings, and expenditures aren’t being met. Some fight when they’re not earning enough to sustain their lifestyle or pay for huge emergencies. Others fight when their partners lie about their expenses or are spending their combined income irresponsibly. Whatever the reasons are, we can’t deny that money plays a big role in marriage and dismantling it.
If you’re a young couple who’s planning to enter married life soon, you may be optimistic about money, saying “nah, these issues aren’t enough to destroy us”. Money problems, however, are inevitable. They may even come in times when you least expect them. What you can control though is how you and your partner respond to money problems that might try to break you apart.
We round up 10 best money tips for soon-to-be-married couples.
1. Start it right with a frugal, minimalist wedding
If your reason for wanting a big wedding is to please your distant relatives and brag on social media, then rethink: is the extravagant one-day celebration worth the year-long debt? Is it worth losing thousands of money for? Wouldn’t it be wiser to allocate your savings to fund your first year together?
Well, we’re not stopping you from having your dream wedding but make sure you two won’t go broke in the process. Trim down the guest list to only the ones who matter to you. Cut down on non-essential expenses, like guest favors, over-the-top decorations, and other unnecessary stuff that often go unnoticed. Lastly, team up with planners and vendors who respect your budget.
2. Make sure your short and long-term financial goals are compatible
What are your dreams and aspirations? Are you planning to invest in a business? Do you see yourself finding a new job in the future? Are you looking to reside in a bigger house or are you fine with a simple home? How much can you allocate for insurance policies, emergency funds, and other financial vehicles?
You don’t have to have the same interests and spending habits, but make sure your goals are compatible with each other.
3. Acknowledge your partner’s financial habits
Well, you may know by now that your partner is good with humor and sexy stuff but is he good with money as well? Discuss each other’s financial habits. What are their parents’ habits that they acquired? How about the ones they went against? What are the things they’re good and bad at?
4. Learn how to resolve money problems without fighting
Understanding each other’s values and financial habits help you handle the big issues that may arise during your marriage. They help foster more acceptance and empathy in relationships. Try not to make every small money mistake too “personal” and focus your energy on resolving the problem at hand as a team.
You can even sign up for online couples counselling to seek advice about solving money problems without resorting to resentment and violence.
5. Celebrate your differences and strengths
Just because you’re the “investor” and he’s the spender doesn’t mean your partnership won’t work. Create a budget that allows for both. For instance, if your partner is good at hunting bargains and negotiating prices, put him in charge of the spending while you invest the savings.
6. Discuss who’s gonna do what
With so much money matters to keep tabs, you should talk about expectations, like who’s going to do what. Who will be responsible for paying the bills? For doing the groceries? For filing invoices and taxes? For balancing the checkbook? For keeping track of the spending? Establish a workable division of duties that suit your talents, strengths, and needs.
It may also be helpful to have one of you to take the role of the “chief financial officer”.
7. Have a monthly money talk
It’s not enough that you’ve laid out your financial expectations, like how much should go to savings, emergency funds, and household expenditures. You should also track them by having a monthly money talk.
Schedule a once a month meeting to review your bills, budget, and progress on any debts. Discuss what went well and what needs to be reshaped. Make it fun by ordering pizza or rewarding yourself with a “Netflix and chill” date to destress yourselves after the talk.
8. Learn to have fun without spending a lot of money
Date nights, expensive Valentine’s day and anniversary gifts, luxury hotels, and pricey out-of-the-country travels – these are all great ways to strengthen your bond. However, these also cost a lot of money, when done more often than normal.
Find more ways to rekindle the romance and have fun without spending a lot. Normalize frugal dates, including cooking at home, visiting free attractions, eating at cheap yet quality eateries, and not expecting elaborate gifts.
9. Never lie about your expenses
Are you cheating with your partner…financially? It can be as simple as using your joint credit card to buy an overpriced dress or as extreme as putting your home as collateral to pay off your casino debts.
Transparency is key to a successful relationship, so make sure to be open when it comes to each other’s spending history.
10. Stick with someone open to change
Many young couples are afraid to discuss money matters before getting married. They’d rather focus on the romantic aspects of spending their lives together, through thick and thin. They’re not comfortable with the fact that their partners, whom they cherish the most, aren’t good with money or aren’t that financially stable yet.
While financial status and habits shouldn’t dictate someone’s worth, marry someone willing to learn better ways of handling money, and making your lives better.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.