Managing Finances as a Couple

Sure, money can’t buy you love. Thing is, free of charge, it can also ruin your relationship(s).

Yes, we’re all-too familiar with the clichés: women buy too many shoes and men buy too many toys. No surprise that, statistically, money is among the three most common thing couples fight about; the group is rounded out by sex and communication. Ah, communication: Since women are well aware that men don’t like to talk, here are a few simple tips about savings, applicable to both your dosh and your dish.

The Value Add: It’s Not Just for Marketing Anymore
Often, values are at the heart of a person’s spending or thriftiness. Is your girlfriend always planning her next (expensive) international adventure? She likely values experience. On the contrary, is her budget so tight she’ll never let loose for a night out? Perhaps she values security and is trying to build up her savings. On the flip side of the coin, is she always on your case about how much you spend on boys’ night (and that’s without mentioning the whole coming home late/drunk thing)? Just tell her you’re engaging in values-based spending, and friendship and freedom are on your list. Understanding one another’s values is essential — and the only way to accomplish that is to talk about it. Since you’re (technically) in love, there’s a good chance you share some values and can work towards mutually beneficial values-based spending, like buying a house together to satisfy your need for comfort and stability.

You (Oughtta) Wanna Live Like Common People
You may have different financial goals; in fact, it’s likely enough. Still, saving for a common goal can bridge the gap. a common goal can be finite, like a vacation, or long-term, like the aforementioned house. Regardless, and obviously, the payoff is significant. Make various financial resolutions as a couple: agree to pack lunches instead of eating out. Encourage each other to cut back on little luxuries: you’re upgrading your smartphone because why? Put things in perspective and work together; guaranteed you’ll enjoy greater ROI, and become closer in the process of fulfilling the challenge.

Everything Accounts in Large Amounts
If you’re living together and taking turns paying bills and picking up groceries, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll both feel like you’re paying more than your fair share. The best way to remedy this is to set up a shared account for household expenses and make set contributions each month. Different formulas work for different couples: some may contribute the same amount, while others base their contributions on income or consumption. She may not want to fund your huge appetite if she’s a petite vegetarian, and you may not want to pay for CosmopolitanTV. Be very clear what your shared account is for, and set up scheduled deposits from your personal account so you’re never late.

Wet Behind Arrears
Most financial planners will advise you to set up a rainy day fund. This savings account is meant to be used for emergencies and kept separate from your other accounts. It’s recommended to have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses. Why open another account as a couple? Emergencies — such as job loss or major illness — can put a lot of stress on a couple and can lead to major resentment. How would you feel if you had to support your lady for a few months because she broke both of her arms and is a freelance writer? Probably the same way she would feel if you lost your job with no severance. You want to be a supportive partner, but at what cost — and what if you can’t afford it? With a joint rainy day fund, you’re both making a promise to be there for richer or for poorer.

Do you hide spending details from your partner? Of course you do. Tell us how much, though: Vote now in the tie-in DailyXY MONEY/LOVE Question on our Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Adam Holtrop.


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