Common Money Fights Couples Have
Couples disagree and argue from time to time. However, money fights can be the worst. Money is a part of our everyday lives and it can trigger a variety of emotions including frustration and anger. When you get married, your relationship moves to a much deeper level and you have to face the responsibility of managing your money together.
There will definitely be some bumps in the road no matter what your situation is. But it’s best to identify your issues and work through them before they lead to a classic money fight. While there are many financial counselors and marriage counselors out there who can help, there are three main money fights couples have and they come with three solutions you can implement on your own.
Here are Common Money Fights Couples Have And How to Avoid Them:
1. The ‘Spender vs. Saver’ Money Fights
They say opposites attract right? You probably shouldn’t be surprised to find out that one of you is the ‘saver’ and the other is the ‘spender’ in your relationship. When I started dating my husband, I was very frugal and financially savvy. In other words, he had a lot to learn. We used to fight about money because he would make impulse purchases that I didn’t approve of like to feed his video game habit for example.
Usually in these situations, the saver of the relationship is the one who is upset. In rare occasions, the spender will be upset at the saver for being too strict and not letting lose every now and then. The saver is most likely disciplined with how they handle their finances and want their partner to be the same way. It’s common to want your partner to save more and prepare for the future or stop living paycheck to paycheck.
When you are extremely passionate about something and dedicated to improving your household’s finances, it’s no wonder why you might get a little upset and initiate an argument.
Try talking to your spouse or partner calmly about your issues with their spending habits before everything blows up. It’s important to try to understand things from the other point of view first so your partner doesn’t take get offensive. If they like to spend money on x, y and z discuss what each of your values is and introduce valued-based spending. Value-based spending is a great concept to follow because it encourages you to spend money on the things you value most as opposed to the things you don’t want or need.
If you spend only on your values and things that will enhance or add to your life, you can avoid wasting money on impulse buys. For example, if my husband values playing video games because they are a hobby and help him relieve stress after work, they might be important to him even though they’re not necessarily important to me. I can even help him adopt frugal spending habits like buying things on sale and at a discounted rate.
In addition to practicing value-based spending, you and your partner can set an allowance category in your budget that allows each of you to spend up to a specified dollar amount each month on whatever you want no questions asked. Our allowance budget is about $50 per month which isn’t a lot but it’s our money to spend on the things we like and the other person can’t get upset or try to dictate how the money is spent.
See how much you and your spouse can afford each month after you account for bills, savings, debt payments, and other responsibilities.
2. The ‘Financial Infidelity’ Money Fights
Financial infidelity never results in a happy ending. When you are in a committed relationship or marriage, it’s best to be open and honest about your financial situation from the start. If you don’t talk to your partner about your finances in detail, they will have no way of knowing that you have $80,000 in student loan debt for example.
Financial infidelity isn’t as common for younger couples who start their relationship when they both don’t have a lot of money and everything is pretty much in the open. Nevertheless, when you hide things from your partner, they will eventually find out and feel upset and betrayed. This can lead to serious trust issues down the line which can hinder your relationship.
The solution to financial infidelity is simple: talk about your finances candidly with your partner. You don’t have to reveal your debt total and credit score on the first date, but once the relationship gets serious enough to where you both want to share your lives together and before you get engaged, you should sit down and have a conversation about your financial situation.
Talk about how much you earn, how much debt you have, whether you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy and anything else that will give your partner a better understanding of your overall financial picture.
This can be hard to do at first because you probably don’t want to feel like you’re being judged but it can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. Your financial situation is a huge contributing factor to your future and your partner needs to be on the same page. Plus, when you love someone, it’s not always about the money. When you and your partner both know everything about each other’s finances, you can both provide support and help each other find a solution to any of your money problems.
3. The ‘We Have Different Priorities’ Money Fights
This fight is probably the key root to all money fights. Whether you are fighting over your partner’s spending or the fact that you’re not contributing enough to your retirement fund, it all might boil down to a difference in priorities. You and your partner may live together and manage money together but you are your own people and may have different priorities and goals.
One of you may prioritize having an entertainment budget while the other might prioritize taking a vacation every year. For my husband and I, we realized we might have different priorities because our goals for buying our first home were different. I wanted to buy a house within 2 years while my husband figured we wouldn’t be ready for at least 5 years. This didn’t lead to any fights or disagreements luckily, but it could have if we would have let it fester and failed to discuss our differences.
You might have guessed this one. It’s imperative to talk to your partner about your priorities and goals so you are both on the same page. Having a weekly or monthly money meeting is a great way to avoid any issues or miscommunication later down the road. Having money meeting or budget meetings really helped my husband and I clear up so many issues.
You and your partner should basically set a time and date to go over your financials. You can discuss your budget and any changes, current goals you have, issues you are witnessing, and any other topic that needs to be addressed.
We use money meetings to discuss everything from our monthly budget and savings goals to our plans for the future and ways to earn extra money. It was at one of our money meetings where I revealed that I wanted to quit my job and freelance full time so my husband and I devised a plan that allowed us to both prioritize this goal.
In addition to having regular money meetings, you should also be willing to compromise for the greater good. Since marriage is a partnership, compromise is absolutely necessary.
Have you ever had any of these arguments with your spouse? How did you fix the situation?