Money is something that consistently ranks near or at the top of lists like “biggest relationship problems” or “what do you fight over the most?” There are a few reasons for this. The biggest is that it is difficult to go from being financially independent to financially codependent with another person. Maybe you were raised to see money and saving one way and your partner was raised to see them a different way.
Whatever the reason, money has been causing problems in your relationship and you’re getting sick of fighting about it. Here are a few things you can do to smooth things out:
1. Stay Financially Independent
There is no rule that says you have to join your finances to your partners. Some couples find that maintaining that financial autonomy is the key to keeping money issues from infiltrating the relationship. You each pay into the shared bills but the money you earn remains your money. This way you can be as frugal or extravagant as you want and so can your partner. Neither of you has to worry or feel resentful of what the other person chooses to do with joint funds. This way, if one of you chooses to take advantage of a deal offered by, to use one example, coupon codes for AutoAnything, the other doesn’t have to worry that the purchase will get in the way of keeping the lights on.
2. Merge…But Only a Little
Set up a shared account that you can use to pay for joint expenses like rent, utilities, even groceries. Each partner agrees to deposit a certain amount of money into the joint account each month. After that, the money earned by each partner remains in that partner’s independent bank account. This keeps you from having to track every penny you put toward joint expenses versus how much your partner pays in (or doesn’t).
3. Set Up Rules
If you do choose to completely join your finances, as most couples do, set up some rules in the very beginning. Agree, for example, that neither party is allowed to spend more than, say, $20 without clearing the purchase with the other. This way you don’t have to worry about one person deciding on a whim to purchase something expensive on a whim and clearing out the bank account without the other knowing it.
4. Use Cash
You and your partner take out a certain amount of money each week in cash. You’re allowed to spend that amount on whatever you want, but once it’s gone it’s gone until the next week. If you choose to save it, that’s fine. Either way, you cannot spend more than that cash without checking with the other.
5. Shop Together
One of the biggest reasons people fight over money is that one person typically does not approve of how the other chooses to spend joint funds. The best way to nip these spats in the bud is to shop together. Spend time together searching out deals to make sure your money goes as far as possible. Use online coupons to help save money. Shopping together allows you to each have a say in what you buy and when. It keeps resentments about control issues from building up (particularly as they apply to money).