How does money affect your relationship?
BY DUMEBI ONYEMAECHI
Money can be a sticking point for many couples – agreeing on a household budget will inevitably present its challenges if you and your partner have different spending priorities. On top of this, money can be an emotional issue for swathes of people, making talking about it openly a real challenge. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to come to a compromise with your partner on how household funds should be spent.
You and your partner are different people, so you will likely have different priorities and beliefs about money, saving, and spending. Since money is such an integral part of daily life, differences in opinion can become insidious if they are not addressed. Since we sometimes tie our self-worth to how much money we have too, talking about it honestly can be an emotional challenge as much as a logistical one.
With this in mind, having a conversation about money with your partner, sooner rather than later, could save many arguments and a lot of stress further down the road.
How to have Stress-free Conversations about Money
One of the best ways to avoid money-related arguments is to agree on a time for having the discussion in advance. This will ensure that neither you nor your partner feel like financial issues are being sprung out of the blue. This also means you can make space in your schedule so you won’t be worrying about other things. It could be a good idea to schedule a sort of financial check-up every six months, to make sure things keep running smoothly.
Another way to minimise the stress of talking about money is to agree on a budget together – especially if you live together, or plan to do so soon. Being open about your financial goals and priorities will help your partner to understand your spending habits. When both of you have created the household budget, rather than just one person, you’ll most likely find it much easier to stick to. When each of you has had an input, you won’t feel as if the other person is trying to control your spending – you’ll be spending and saving as a team. An online budgeting tool could help you with this.
If the budget does break down – which it is bound to occasionally – it is also important to make sure the person who overspent does not feel attacked. A healthier strategy is to accept the mistake, and talk about how it could be avoided in the future. For example, you might have exceeded your monthly entertainment budget, and decide to prevent this from happening again by organising more date nights at home. If you are overspending in an essential category, such as groceries, you might have to cut back on non-essentials to make the budget balance. You might also decide to use short-term credit, such as a Wonga loan, to keep things running smoothly – this should not be done without consulting your partner!
In short, clear and consistent communication with your partner is the best way to keep your budget manageable, and avoid the stress of arguing about money. Even if you and your partner have very different attitudes towards money, if you want to stay together, a frank discussion could help you overcome them, and find a balance you are both happy with.Vanguardngr.com