Top 6 Ways That Couples Can Avoid Financial Conflict

Unfortunately, financial conflicts are common among long-term couples – particularly during times when money is tight. That’s why more people are coming clean with one another about how they spend, what they buy, and what they want to achieve someday.

Financial conflict can arise for any number of reasons. Among the most common ones:

  • An unexpected expense such as a medical emergency
  • Mismatched values or lifestyles
  • Different spending habits
  • A general lack of communication

Disagreements in some of these areas don’t need to spell out the end of an otherwise solid relationship. All couples experience problems now and then, and finding ways to work together on solutions can bring you closer than ever! If you’re struggling in this area, consider taking some of the below steps to resolve financial conflict in your life.

1. Establish Simple Rules Around Spending

One of the simplest ways that couples are resolving money differences is by establishing spending rules with one another. Those rules might differ from one couple to another, however. Both people need to be on board with them. A rule can take on whatever form makes sense in your situation. It might be:

  • Agreeing on individual spending limits for both people
  • Sharing in advance any pricey purchase plans
  • Discussing how shared money will be spent
  • Agreeing to a monthly budgeting conversation
  • Allowing each person a discretionary amount to buy whatever they want

2. Create a Household Budget Together

Unless you’re flush with cash – and congrats if you are!! – one of the best steps you can take from a financial perspective is to create a detailed expense budget together. The further you break down expenses, the more aware you will become as a couple of where your financial needs lie. Creating separate weekly, monthly and annual budgets are a great way to become aware of how money is being spent and where you might be able to cut down.

Everyone deserves to splurge a little now and then. Once you’ve covered the necessities, you’ll have an idea of how much money remains in your budget for everything else!

3. Be Honest About Spending Habits

Problems arise when people aren’t transparent with one another about anything, including their spending habits. Overspending or being in debt can bring up feelings of shame, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, talking to a loved one is sometimes the first step needed to get to a better place financially, emotionally, and even romantically.

Moreover, there are multiple ways for creating healthier spending habits. Options include:

  • Getting rid of problem credit cards
  • Using prepaid debit cards
  • Creating a bill payment plan
  • Using a spreadsheet or budgeting app to track your spending
  • Seeking therapy to address an underlying addiction
  • Talking to a financial expert

Once both people are aware of the situation, they can work together to support one another in creating healthy habits for a better future.

4. Communicate About Child Rearing and Career Goals

Another area that trips up even the happiest couples: When one person reveals an expensive goal that the other had not anticipated. In a marriage, especially, surprises such as whether to have children can throw a wrench into things. The Illinois Department of Human Services estimates that it costs somewhere between $15,000 and $18,000 to raise a child in this country. That’s a lot of dough for anyone with an unstable income, particularly if you’re planning for more than one child!

The same can be said for a partner who announces the desire to attend med school or make a significant career change. Everyone is entitled to change his or her mind. But one person might have to take on more hours at work to help support the other. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open when you are starting to envision a major change of plans that will impact your significant other from a financial and lifestyle standpoint.

5. Discuss Plans to Deal with Any Debt

Even if paying off debt is not yet possible, it helps to start talking about it. Take a look at the details so you’re realistic about how and when any debt will be paid off. Perhaps an alternative option such as debt settlement will be necessary so that the terms of your partner’s financial agreement can be renegotiated. Debt can feel less stressful once you start to develop a picture of how to deal with it over time.

6. Get a Prepaid Credit Card at Your Neighborhood Currency Exchange

Getting a prepaid debit card at a local Community Currency Exchange (CCEA) is one of the fastest and most convenient ways that anyone can start getting control of their spending. While you’re here, ask about the many other services available that can help couples start dealing with their financial issues together.

Stop by your nearest CCEA location to find out more about what we can do for you today!

A couple sitting on a sofa. They are turned away from each other and their arms are crossed.

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