Go on a Money Date
Looking for a romantic night with your partner? Maybe you should talk about money.
I’m joking, of course. I know that talking about money isn’t romantic and it may actually be a sore spot in your marriage. I get it. There was a time when talking about anything to do with money made us fight.
But, once you have your money conversations and budget as joint team then you won’t need to fight or be tense about money. Even if you don’t have any money and money stresses you out, dealing with money won’t stress you out because you have a partner who is on the same page as you.
So, how do you get your partner to actually sit down and talk money with you?
Invite your Partner on a Money Date
Make a money date night with your husband. Put out some yummy snacks and maybe a drink (nothing too strong! This is not a conversation that works well when either of you are tipsy).
Explain that you feel that money has been causing tension in your marriage and you want to work together to create a budget you can both live with. Remember to keep the atmosphere calm and non-judgmental. You are a team. This needs to work for both of you! You may not agree on the priorities but you have to agree that if it is priority for one then it must be a priority for both.
It may take some tweaking and reevaluating, but if you both come at it like a problem you have to solve together then it will work.
Things to Discuss:
How much debt do you have?
What is your real income at this moment?
What are your fixed expenses (things that don’t change every month- rent, loan payments, bills, childcare)?
What are your usual variable expenses? (you may have to do some research for this by looking at credit card bills and bank statements)
What is bothering each of you?
What are long-terms goals that you would like to have? (pay off debt, save up for house, save for kid’s college, save for YOUR college, make a wedding fund etc.)
What are short-term goals you would like to have? (buy a new couch, pay for summer camp, get a new wig)
What things stress you out about your finances? (Is it not having enough? Is it not knowing? Is it feeling lie you’re doing it wrong?)
What things are non-negotiable for you?
What things are up for negotiation?
Just talking about these things, even if you don’t figure out an answer, can be really beneficial. You don’t have to have life and your finances figured out. You do need to be on the same page as your partner, you do need to have a clear view of what you want your finances to look like. You need to have a real and in depth discussion about money and finances.
Make a Budget
After all these discussions, you need to have a WRITTEN budget with real dollar amounts assigned. There is no “giving” money from one spouse to another. All money is budgeted and accounted for. This may take time and more than one money date to make it happen. Just remember that this is a process and as will all processes- it takes time.
What if this doesn’t work?
Caveat: if you find that these types of conversations always are unproductive or are leading to great distress for either one of you then it may be prudent to table all conversations until you are able to have them with a professional. A competent therapist may be able to help you work through the issues that are keeping you from working well together.
If your partner refuses to have this conversation with you or withholds money or information about your money from you, you may be a victim of financial abuse. Help is available.