Is it hard to talk to your spouse about money or you’re not sure how to approach your spouse about the household finances? Are you the one in the relationship more concerned about the details and your spouse...not so much? Is your spouse the spender and you're the saver? Are you in the situation where your bills are paid, you're debt free or have a low amount of debt but you don't have a savings and you are having a hard time talking to your spouse about saving? I know from experience that having a spouse who looks at money differently from you can cause some heated debates when discussing the household finances.
I am not a relationship expert but I am married and have had the "fun" experience of combining finances with my husband, so I complied a few tips you can use to have effective money discussions with your spouse. ( Note: I tried some these tips with my husband , they will not work for everyone but in our case it has helped us have effective conversations about money).
1. Timing. When you try to speak with your spouse about money make sure you both have time to talk. When one of you have to leave in an hour is NOT the right time. The conversation will become annoying to the other person because they are trying to get out the door. Also, make sure it is not while they are watching their favorite show, sports or while you are in front of anyone else.
2. Be in a good mood. Make sure you are calm and in good spirits because tone can either escalate or deescalate a conversation. If necessary, take a break and regroup later if you feel the conversation is going in the wrong direction.
3. Ask your spouse what are their life goals and tell them your goals. You should also get an idea of when they want to achieve their goals and ask them if they have a plan already (even if you know they do not). Ask your spouse how the both of you can work toward this plan together.
4. Pick one goal, preferably the one that is easy to achieve. Develop a plan for their (now your, combined) goal with an actual deadline and decide on a strategy on how you will reach the goal.
5. Put your plan in writing. Your spouse may actually have a plan that you had no idea about and some will have no plan at all.If the goal has a long deadline, create a goal chart with small incremental rewards so neither one of you gets exhausted during the process.
6. Be Flexible. Be willing to make adjustments. If something comes up, make sure you are open to all suggestions and then work together to update the plan.
7. Have money meetings. At least monthly to discuss where you stand financially, progress toward any goals and any upcoming expenses. You can also discuss any highs or lows for the month and how you both can work together to improve the next month.
8. Make sure your budget includes fun money, so you or your spouse does not feel restricted. Not having the funds for personal (miscellaneous) purchases is not realistic, you will blow your budget every month.
9. Admit mistakes. Be willing to admit any money mistakes you have or had made. No one is perfect so don't make your spouse feel "less than" because you want to be perfect patty or peter.
Hopefully these tips will help you create an atmosphere of teamwork and will make you accountability partners for each other.
If you have additional tips add them in the comments below or send me a message and let me know if any of these tips have worked for you.