If you’ve ever argued about money, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, disagreements over our finances are often cited as one of the primary causes of divorce. Sometimes (okay, maybe a little more than sometimes) even the kids will weigh in on the argument. I can’t help you when it comes to deciding which console to buy, but I can help you avoid fighting about your finances. Follow these steps to minimise disagreements and bring a little more harmony to your home.
1) Understand your attitudes regarding money
You and your spouse probably came from different economic backgrounds. Perhaps you want to save money and your partner wants to spend. Maybe you can’t get on board with your wife’s addiction to shoes or your husband’s need for the latest Apple product.
My tip: Understanding your differing views can help you find a middle ground. Maybe your wife never had new shoes growing up, or maybe your husband has never been able to afford the latest technology until now. It might mean more to them than you realise.
2) Include everyone in the budgeting process
Most of us don’t like being told what to do. Especially kids, in case you hadn’t noticed. Creating, imposing and enforcing a budget without consulting other family members will inevitably cause conflict.
My tip: Have a meeting with the entire family to go over the budget, and let everyone have their say. When everyone is involved in creating a budget, conflict is avoided and the budget itself is more likely to be successful. Try out the budget template that I’ve developed – click to download.
3) Discuss major purchases with your spouse
Coming home with a pair of $150 shoes without discussing them beforehand is one thing. Surprising your spouse with a brand-new boat home is an entirely different situation.
My tip: Agree that all major purchases are discussed beforehand. Everyone likes surprises, but keeping expensive ones to a minimum will help to keep the peace.
4) Schedule regular family budget meetings
So you’ve had the big family meeting to create a budget? That’s a great start, a 10 minute meeting once a week should be sufficient to keep everyone happy from then on. Go over your spending for that week and compare it to the original budget. That way, any corrections or adjustments can be addressed regularly and with everyone’s input.
My tip: This is also an excellent opportunity to plan for any non-budgeted spending in the week to come.
5) Give everyone an allowance. Including you!
I’m afraid you’re not off the hook with this one. At the end of the day, many financial disputes come down to someone feeling like they don’t have any freedom or control over their finances.
My tip: Giving everyone a few dollars to spend however they want can prevent resentment and make family members feel like they have some freedom with their money.
6) Have some common financial goals
If you all share a common goal, it becomes a lot easier to resist those pair of shoes or that new iPhone. A vacation, dream house, college fund or new car, for example, can make everyone feel happier about cutting down on spending. Set, pursue and achieve goals together.
7) Think before you speak
Try to get your emotions under control before you express your financial concerns with your partner. If they’ve run up the credit card again, share your displeasure, but leave your emotions out of it.
My tip: If you focus on the behaviour rather than the person themselves, they’re less likely to get defensive.
We’ve all fought over money, but with patience and understanding, most of these arguments can become a thing of the past. Communicate with the whole family about financial decisions and review spending on a regular basis. Before you know it, you’ll be skipping down the path to budgeting bliss. Maybe in a new pair of shoes, too. I’d recommend flats.
Thanks again for reading. If you like it, please feel free to share it! Happy Valentines Day.