You’re in love. That’s a great feeling. You want to spend the rest of your life with someone. That’s a big commitment. All that is fine and dandy, but what if your guy is broke? How do you plan a life with someone who isn’t on the same financial level that you are? Some may say you can’t. Some may say to walk away and some may say that you can work through it together.
If you’re already in love with someone and decide to live happily ever after with them it may be hard to walk away because of money reasons. However on the other hand money can be a source of stress in a relationship.
According to CNBC money is the number one cause of divorce in the United States. “Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a survey of people in a relationship or partnership. Money and stress do seem to go hand in hand for many Americans, whether they’re in relationships or not. A study released earlier this week by the American Psychological Association found almost three-quarters of Americans are experiencing financial stress at least some of the time, and nearly a quarter of us are feeling extreme financial stress.”
If your man is less than perfect with money I say to give him a chance to change his ways before running for the hills.
Here’s how to work through money problems as a couple:
Talk about it
There is absolutely no reason to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to money. In fact I think prolonging the conversation only hurts the relationship and the finances. Only when you admit there’s a problem can you really change.
If you start noticing unusual money habits from your spouse, just ask them about it. Working through money troubles together will improve your relationship and make you a stronger couple.
Set time aside in your week
Instead of having a date night outside the home once a week, why not stay in and make it a money date night. Cook dinner together, open a bottle of wine and grab your bills. Setting savings and spending habits as a couple can help keep each other on track when it comes to improving your personal finances.
Staying home instead of going out is a good start towards changing your habits and saving money. Now take the $100 you saved on date night and put it into a joint savings account. If you do that every week you’ll save $5,200 this year. How great is that?!
Have a no spend day
Pick a day of the week where you both leave your debit and credit cards at home. Skipping the coffee, snacks, magazines and other impulse purchases can help save $10 to $20 a day. If you each save an extra $20 a week that’s another $2,080 you can save a year. That’s the great thing about money… a little bit can add up to a lot over time.
All of a sudden you’ve now saved over $7,000 per year together and can use that to improve your financial lives. Savings can be kept in an emergency fund, used to pay off debt, put aside for the down payment on a home or spent on a couples vacation. The point is you did it together and now you can celebrate.
Challenge each other
A little competition never hurt nobody. Saving together should be motivation to keep going, but knowing that your sweetheart is looking over your shoulder ensures you and your hubby stay on the right track. A little slip up here and there is OK, but only in the beginning. After a while you want your man’s money habits to change for the better so you can both get on the same financial page.
In addition to the stay-at-home date night and once-a-week no spend days compete with each other with other money challenges. This could include setting spending limits on Christmas gifts or making DIY Valentine’s Day gifts. Get creative and make money fun, not a source of stress.