One of the first things any couple should do is put all their cards on the table and set up a budget. If you set up a realistic budget based on your joint goals in life, there shouldn’t be that much to fight about. However, most couples do sometimes fight about money. Having a budget will cut down on fighting if you both understand the point of the budget and agree with the budget.
Write Down Your Joint Goals
What are your goals in life? What do you see your life being like in 5, 10, 20 years? The important thing to remember is that goals need to be based on reality to work. If you have a lower-middle-class earning situation, you’re not going to live the upper-middle-class dream. That’s okay; you can still be happy if you work toward what you want together.
Create a Family Money Mission Statement
This can truly help your family develop a realistic budget that is based on your family values and priorities. Do you want to live happily on very little or do you want more? If so, you may need to set up a mission statement that values education and moving up the income ladder realistically.
Create a Spreadsheet for Income, Investments & Expenses
Don’t try to memorize what you see regarding your accounts. Put it all into a spreadsheet or any system you find that helps. You should be able to see at your income, investments, and expenses, at a glance, including both the budgeted amount and the actual amount. In addition, you should see your pay down progress if you’re working toward paying off debt.
Determine How Much You Need to Save
Using your future goals, you’ll want to determine how much you need to save. If you want to have a certain amount in your account by a certain year, what will that take, based on today’s numbers? You’ll adjust this each year to account for changes.
Review Finances Together Regularly
Take the time together to review your finances and how you’re both doing on a regular basis. Some people like to do it every single month, and others do it quarterly. It will depend on your situation and how much control you both need to exert to ensure you stay on track.
Consider Getting Professional Help
One way to cut down on fighting if you are having issues deciding things determined above is to get some professional help. If a financial advisor helps you set up a budget that will help you reach your stated goals, there is no fighting. You can blame it all on the financial planner :)!
Be Considerate & Flexible
As you’re creating your budget avoid placing blame for anything from the past. Start fresh from today with what is your reality. If you’re in debt due to poor planning even if it’s just one of you at fault, let it go and work from now to change the future. After all, you really cannot change the past. It’s done and over, time to move on.
Ensure Each Party Has Their Own Spending Money
Regardless of the budget and the plan, always work in a way that each of you gets some money that you can spend any way you want to. It may not be very much while you’re trying to pay down debt but try to make it fair and equitable.
Fighting over money can be eliminated if you are both on the same page. The goals you have should be shared jointly. Each person should have a say in how things are handled. Even a non-income earner deserves to have a say in the family budget, helping to develop spending and saving priorities. If you both accept that this is a joint responsibility, fighting will be cut down tremendously.