When it comes to money, my husband is a saver and I am a spender. Luckily, in a marriage that is a pretty good balance! If it were up to me, we would probably have no money, but a lot of fun! Shopping and fun activities would be on our daily list of activities. Thank you to my husband though, he helps my shopping addiction and we are able to save our money, even when I became a stay-at-home mom and went down to a one income family.
When we first got married, everyone had their different opinions on how to manage money. Some of our friends shared bank accounts, some had separate. Some had lots of credit cards and liked to shop, others were good savers and didn’t buy a thing! I learned quickly that money, as bad as it sounds, is an essential part of a marriage. It’s a lot of work to manage and sometimes really hard to stay within your means.
Just like every newlywed couple, we didn’t have much when we got married. We were young and still in school. We lived in a small, but perfect one bedroom apartment. I loved it because I could vacuum the whole house with just one electric socket! Super easy cleaning! Within the first six months of our marriage, our car broke down, we had a miscarriage that required a lot of medical bills, we started fertility treatments and Tyson randomly had to go the ER one day because he sliced his finger. These moments in our lives happened quickly and suddenly, which helped us realize the importance of managing money in marriage.
My husband and I grew up differently when it comes to finances. Tyson saw his dad creating the budget and handling all of the money in his family, where I grew up watching my mom do all of the finances in our home. So together, we came up with a plan that works for us! I heard once to take the best from Tyson’s side of the family, the best of my side of the family and create our own family. So that is exactly what we have done.
I thought I would share with you 5 HELPFUL TIPS IN MANAGING MONEY IN MARRIAGE.
1. DIVIDE UP RESPONSIBILITIES: Everyone is different and each of you in your marriage will have strengths and weaknesses. In our marriage I am very disciplined in staying within a budget that is created for me and my husband is very skilled in making that budget. Strive to find what you are good at and don’t be afraid to work together. Remember that you are a team and the more you work together, the more successful you will be. Discuss together all aspects of taking care of your financial lives and divide up the responsibilities so that managing your finances isn’t too overwhelming.
2. COMMUNICATE: In all aspects of marriage, communication is the most important aspect to work on. Oddly enough, it’s one of the hardest things to conquer. I have heard many stories of marriages being strained because of their lack of communication with their finances. It’s vital to marital bliss to be up front with all expenditures that happen. I can’t imagine that you ladies would be very happy to hear about a brand new television costing thousands of dollars outside your budget appearing in your home without your consent. At the same time I am sure your husbands wouldn’t be too excited to come home to 15 bags full of the cutest clothes from Forever 21, when he didn’t agree to your wardrobe enhancement (no matter how cute they are sadly). Be smart and remember that effective communication saves marriages and helps you both reach future financial goals together.
3. CREATE A BUDGET: It would be wonderful to have a money tree that grew out in the back yard and there was an endless supply of the green stuff to help you in your marriage. Unfortunately, we know that isn’t the case. So much of what the American economy is today is because so many people spent more money than they were making. Sit down with your husband and go over the monthly expenses. Talk together about goals that you want to meet for the future. Are you planning a vacation? Do you plan on buying a house down the road? These things require money and if you are spending more than you are bringing in it will be hard to save enough money to reach those goals.
4. SPECIAL SPENDINGS: Allowances – This was one of the best suggestions someone gave us when we were first starting out. So many times I wanted to go shopping, it’s what I love and in many ways think it should be considered an Olympic sport, seriously. I found out after the first few months of marriage that my husband did not share that passion and when we monitored our account he would become very concerned with my sporting expenditures. The idea of creating “allowances” came from many places but ultimately came from Dave Ramsey’s book: The Total Money Makeover. In it he talks about making sure you pay yourself, because after all we do go to work to make money, we need to enjoy a little of it. We decided that we would give each other a certain amount of money every paycheck that would be our “allowance.” I loved it because I got to spend mine on whatever I wanted and he got to spend his on whatever he wanted. This idea of course is budgeted and is not any huge amount but it helped us find time to spend money on things that make us happy.
5. YOU ARE EQUAL: This point is most important. So many marriages have fallen apart because of money. It is necessary to have and therefore it is necessary for both of you to work together as a team. Team work can be hard sometimes, but when you find a system that works for you in your marriage, you will find success and make your money work for you instead of the other way around. In a previous life when I worked as a Sales Manager for a large hotel in town (shout out to my friends!) I learned that when I was working with others around me well, it was because we all had mutual respect for each other, as we would all strive together to hit our sales goals. This will be the same for you in your marriage. Remember that when both of you are working together to tackle the trials that will come your way, you can reach financial success and help your marriage to be a happy and healthy place to come home to at the end of every day.
6. THE EMERGENCY FUND: Another vital aspect of money in your marriage that is highlighted in Dave Ramsey’s book is something that I was taught as a child growing up, always have an emergency fund. Life happens as I mentioned above. There will be unforeseen things come your way. The car will break down, appliances will die, kids will get sick. It’s just life. Prepare for it. Have an amount set aside that you are always contributing to that is something you can draw from when emergencies happen. You don’t want to be stuck with a thousand dollars of medical bills out of the blue that you can’t afford to pay for. Your financial future is too important to risk to leave it up to life to decide for you. Create this cushion for your family, that way you know that whatever comes your way will not throw your family into financial turmoil.
There are a lot of apps and websites you can use to manage your money. Mint.com is a site that we have used in our family that has helped us. It is completely free and tracks your expenditures and helps you to see where you are in your current monthly budget. Give it a look and do your research for other sites and programs.
Money really is a huge part of our lives whether we want it to be or not. We will always have bills to pay and food to put on the table. It can cause the biggest stress and arguments in a marriage, especially when things get tight. I know if you follow these six helpful tips, managing money in your marriage will come easier and the stress of finances might be lifted up.
Do you have any advice on what has worked for you in your marriage? Leave a comment to share your experience with others! Thanks!
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