You bought ANOTHER pair of shoes?!! Your student loans are killing us! This is all YOUR fault!
“IF YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARGUE OVER MONEY, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. IT’S THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE MARRIED COUPLES FIGHT ABOUT. IN FACT, MONEY FIGHTS ARE THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DIVORCE, BEHIND INFIDELITY.” – Ramsey Solutions
I always hate hearing statistics like that, because it makes me feel like fighting about money is inevitably going to lead to divorce. But that’s not the case.
Disagreeing isn’t the issue. It’s what you do when you disagree that will make or break your marriage.
Before we jump into the solutions to your financial disagreements let’s chat about the problems. Can you see yourself in any of these situations?
COMMON REASONS COUPLES ARGUE ABOUT MONEY:
- One person is a spender, and the other is a saver.
- The finances aren’t combined, and one person isn’t pulling their weight.
- There’s so much debt, and you can’t agree on which bills to pay.
- One of you wants to give more, and the other isn’t interested.
Did any of those hit a nerve?
Things don’t always have to be this way. Now, don’t get me wrong. The spender is probably always going to be the spender, but they CAN get their spending under control. And the disagreements can be minimized, but you’re going to have to put in some work. If you’re ready for that, then read on.
Here are the five things you can start doing today that will help you and your spouse stop arguing about money.
- Quit pretending like everything’s fine. Set aside 30 minutes this weekend to chat about your finances from a very high level. This isn’t a time to point fingers. It’s simply a time to come together and start the conversation.
- Explain to your spouse how you feel about the state of your finances, that you want things to change, and that you’re willing to do your part to make things better. Then give them a chance to talk as well.
- Bonus Tip: Pray to start and pray at the end. Jesus needs to be in the conversation with you or things could go sideways real quick.
2. SET SOME GOALS
- Do you want to get out of debt? Give more? Just spend less than you make? At the end of your initial conversation make a plan for a follow-up (set aside an hour this time). Both of you need to think about your financial goals/priorities on your own, and then come together as one couple to make a single plan.
3. COMBINE YOUR FINANCES
- If you haven’t already, you HAVE to combine your finances. If you’re living from two separate bank accounts it’s much easier to point the finger. If you’re married you’re one now. Finances included.
4. PUT TOGETHER A SPENDING PLAN
- Is this how your budget works… You pay your bills and do whatever you want with the rest? If that’s the case you don’t have a plan. No plan means no clarity. No clarity means more arguments.
- Figure out exactly how much money you have coming in every month, then assign every dollar to a category. Check out the links at the end for help with this part.
- Remember: if you find you don’t have enough money to cover #allthethings then you have to get rid of some of the things.
5. SCHEDULE A FOLLOW-UP
- When you first start implementing a spending plan (also known as a zero-based budget) it’ll feel weird and restraining. That’s totally normal. You’ll also find that over the first few months you’ll need to tweak the plan. The cool thing is that you’ll be in it together.
- Schedule a follow-up at the end of every month to discuss how things are going and what changes need to be made. This may seem boring, but after a while the conversations will shift to fun things like how much closer you are to reaching your goals! Ex. This month we put an extra $100 on our student loans. This month we paid off a credit card!
I know this doesn’t necessarily sound fun. Quite frankly (at least for me…) it’s not. Trent LOVES talking about money. I’d much rather just spend it and let the chips fall where they may, but that truly is a recipe for disaster.
If you and your spouse are really struggling we believe these five steps will help get you on the right path. If you need some extra help reach out. We’d love to help you figure out a plan. firstname.lastname@example.org
Because there’s a better way,
Sarah (and Trent)
Did you find value in this blog? We’d love to hear it! Did we miss something? Let us know and we’ll address it in a follow-up blog.