Money issues can run rampant in a marriage. In fact, it can one of the factors that leads an otherwise happy couple to divorce. When my husband and I got married, we were young, broke, and clueless about many things including money. But one thing we agreed on was to be open and honest about our finances. Perhaps it was a bit easier since we didn’t have much to begin with, but this set the tone for the rest of our marriage. There are steps you can take to protect your marriage and prevent money from causing marital strife. Today I’m sharing tips to help you set a solid foundation and safeguard your marriage.
How to Prevent Money from Ruining Your Marriage
Create a household budget
Knowing exactly where your money is going will help you and your spouse stay on the same page. When creating a budget make sure to include all expenses as well as your total household income. Don’t forget to track and include small purchases so the budget is as accurate as possible.
Have weekly discussions
Go over the budget once a week and discuss your bottom line in detail. Talk about how your money is being spent, and decide together on any changes you would like to make. When both of you are aware of the financial situation in your home, you are likely to be on the same page with finances.
Live within your means
It’s tempting to “keep up with the Joneses”, but living outside of your means and being broke can trigger money fights. Make budget cuts where necessary to ensure you can cover your bills and have room for savings in your monthly budget. This might require you to downsize your home, cut unnecessary spending and plan meals, but it will be well worth the effort.
Discuss large purchases
No spouse should ever go out and purchase a new car, home, or any other large investment without consulting their partner. It’s important that both parties have an equal decision in the buying process. Set a specific amount ($50-100 is ideal) that neither of you are allowed to spend without talking it over first. Having open dialogue about money is crucial to both your financial and marital success.
Add “fun money” in your budget
This will be the money the two of you keep on hand for special occasions, dinners out, coffee runs, or RedBox rentals. The two of you should each have a small amount of cash to spend as you please, so you don’t have to detail every single cup of coffee or nail polish purchase in the budget.
Reevaluate the budget
It’s important to keep your finances in check to prevent it from causing issues in your marriage. Reevaluate your budget every couple of months and decide where you can make improvements. Maybe you decide to cut cable and go for something like Hulu or Netflix. Or instead of eating out, you make a nice meal together at home and rent a movie. Making decisions together will strengthen your marriage and help you bond in the process.
Build an emergency fund
Having money on hand for unexpected expenses will lower the chances of a financial argument. The stress that will be alleviated if you need to pay for a car tire or other unexpected expenses will make it easier for the two of you to work together. Work towards setting aside a minimum of $1,000 for emergencies and agree that it won’t get used unless necessary.
I hope these tips will help you set a strong foundation to prevent money from becoming an issue in your marriage. I truly believe the best way to safeguard your relationship is by having open communication, mutual financial goals, and a household budget.