August 7, 2012

Marriage vs Finances: Love or War??

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Everyone has one of these growing in their backyard right???

And just like my tree, I am sure yours ONLY grows $20, $50, and $100 bills right??

{Don’t we ALL wish!}

Sometimes it feels like that would be the answer to a lot of our problems. If we only had the money. Studies show that financial stress is one of the leading reasons for divorce. Couples avoid talking about money because they don’t want to upset the other person, face the current financial situation or ask permission to spend it.

So what can you and your spouse do to better your own financial situation and quit throwing or flushing your money away?

We have some tips from the divas! (Keep in mind that NONE of us are financial gurus and these are strictly suggestions from personal experience that have worked for us.)

  1. Make a budget and stick to it as strictly as possible. Be sure to include a realistic amount of spending money so you won’t have any excuses when things come up.
  2. Decide together as a couple, a dollar amount that is not to be spent without speaking about it to the other person. This could be as little $50 or as high as $1000 if needed.
  3. Write your financial goals down and put them in a place where you can see and read them often.  If you are working on paying off debt, keep a list of the balances and payments and cross them off one-by-one when they are paid off so you can see the success daily.
  4. Whoever pays the bills needs to be organized enough that the other spouse could easily take over if something happened. Whether that’s teaching your spouse your system or creating a spreadsheet to keep track of monthly bills due, this is potentially a step to PREVENT financial frustration. It also allows both people to see where the money is going and can analyze if and where downsizing can occur.
  5. On a weekly basis, balance your checking account and any other accounts you have so you can see where you are with the money being spent. When you do it weekly, you will know how much is left for the month and it is so much easier to stay within your budget when you are constantly thinking about it.
  6. If you have a hard time saving money, make a completely separate bank account (NOT at your primary bank) that is NOT conveniently on your way home. Make a name for the savings fun like “Vacation Fund” or “Boat Fund”. It will help you want to save, and then when emergencies occur, OH LOOK! You have a bit in your “boat fund” that you can use. How nice. {wink-wink}
  7. Make an appointment today with a financial adviser and educate yourselves on savings accounts, retirement, and most importantly what the market is doing today.  Be sure to make a list of questions and feel free to take notes you can look back on later. There are plenty of advisers out there who DO NOT charge fees to sit down and talk about your personal situation.
  8. If your situation calls for it, bring in help. Programs and books like Dave Ramsey’s or mint.com (just to name a few, but there are a TON out there!)
  9. Be sure to contribute to a retirement account each month. TIME is all you have like we said. It is the only thing you can’t ever get  back. Even if you think you cannot afford putting $25 away a month, you should and can afford to.
  10. Look at successful people you know and learn good habits and strategies from them. Talking money with some people is too personal, but if you have a family member who is successful, how could you pass up learning from them? Perhaps they can share something they’ve learned to benefit you.
  11. Be open to opportunities that come your way to make more money. We live in America! They are all around us all the time! Even if you take a part time job for a few months and direct deposit your earnings straight into your retirement fund… Like mentioned above, TIME is what makes the biggest difference! Brainstorm your opportunities together as a couple.
  12. The most simple way to avoid money problems though… is to live within your means. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it. Credit cards only hurt most of us… that is not money you “have.”

HERE is a link I found for suggested income spending/saving…

{Again, these can be found all over the internet.}

Good luck with your marriage and your money! We hope it is more than successful! XOXO

Check out Amazon for your Dave Ramsey products today!

 

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Recent Comments

11 Responses to “Marriage vs Finances: Love or War??”

  1. Couples shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their money situation, no matter how it looks. The one who keeps track of the finances should have a plan, and share it with their spouse (or significant other, if you’re not married yet). Uncertainty over what you even have can be worse than knowing you are running low!

    As for the point you bring up with the credit cards, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never owned a credit card – only a debit card. You can’t spend what you don’t have that way.

  2. Julie Julie says:

    Great tips Wendy! I especially like the toilet paper picture:) There is a really funny Saturday Night Live clip on this topic called “Don’t Buy Stuff” which could be a good ice breaker if you need to talk about this with your spouse. Here’s the link to it on Hulu http://www.hulu.com/watch/1389

  3. Hannah says:

    My husband and I both took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course when we were in college before we got married. It has saved A LOT of money arguments in our marriage. Even though we still struggle to make the right financial choices, having gone through that program put us on the same page and gave us a reference to go to when we can’t make a choice. I highly recommend it to anyone! :)

  4. Erika Erika says:

    Great advice, Wendy!

  5. Ginny says:

    Thank you for this. We do really good NOW in our home, however I think even for those that are doing well… its a great idea to have these reminders and sit down as a couple every now and then for a “check in” we try to do this once a quarter just to look at the bigger picture and change up the budget if needed to accomplish changing goals.

  6. Dana says:

    I love all the suggestions,and comments, but I feel like one is missing. Being charitable should be a part of everyone’s budget, in some way. If you’re interested in Dave Ramsey’s plan, he includes this also. Whether that means religious donations to you, or a cause you find for starving children or educating women in other countries or a yearly donation to your local shelter/food bank/children’s home, just make sure its something! Charity helps our budgeting by giving us perspective, and organizing our spending around priorities and less selfishness- which is the root of Most overspending/debt/credit cards.

    I also really like the idea of a silly clip or something similar to break the ice in talking about a not-always-so-exciting topic with your spouse!

    Great post!

  7. Julie Julie says:

    On a helpful note, head over to the Dating Divas Community and listen to Shannon and Dino Watts talk about “Making Love and Marriage Work”. They have some excellent ideas on finances in your marriage and give great suggestions on what to be discussing with your spouse.

  8. Kristen kristen says:

    Wendy you are so great and always have such great advice.
    Julie- that video is hilarious! thanks for sharing!

  9. Tara Tara says:

    Love these tips, Wendy… and yes, Julie – that was an awesome video!! Cracked me up! Sheesh – some people just don’t get that advice. If you don’t have the money, DON’T buy it!! :) I think that fun video would make the perfect opening when talking to your children about money as well! XOXO

  10. Elise says:

    I have a question out there for anyone who may know about this…my husband and I have a credit card we are slowly paying off (not being able to find work doesn’t help, neither does my husband’s meager military salary). But I want to know that if cancelling it and paying it off that way with hurt or help my credit. What I mean is this…without the credit card, how can I build back up my good credit? Will cancelling it help us pay it off faster even though I don’t use it anymore, with the high interest rate it has? My husband wants us to keep it for emergencies but I feel like it’s a huge burden and a major temptation to spend.

    If anyone can answer this I’d be one happy lady!

  11. Wendy wendy says:

    Elise, a couple of options… yes cancelling it will help you never to use it again. You can also call and request the credit limit to be dropped each time to pay a chunk. Then you still technically have it, but you dont have room to spend on it. We did that when paying one off too, we had to put money on it to use it. And when it got paid down 500-1000 we would call and ask the bank to lower our spending limit. I hope this helps. Good luck! Being out of debt will be amazing for you!


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