Things to Consider With Your Relationship and Money

This week I’m taking a part of a “Blog Swap.” So instead of posting on my site today, I’m trading places with one of my fellow bloggers! I hope you enjoy hearing from a new perspective!

Your Relationship and Money

A lot of couples fight about money. I know my parents did while growing up and I know it’s caused a few minor spats between my fiancé and me. I know that money was a HUGE reason my brother and his wife split up. Why? Well, I have my theories on what happened with other people but I know what was going on between my fiancé and myself.

First up, I was a recovering shopaholic and he was still in spending mode. We had decided to pool our money together but didn’t do any other planning besides that. We paid our bills, had fun and that was about it—no savings, no real debt repayment going on, just everything up in the air. The game changer came when we both decided we seriously wanted a car and seriously wanted to get out of debt. What happened then?

couples

WE GOT SERIOUS!

I took our paychecks and made a budget. The only bad thing was that our first budget was so rigid that we eventually cracked. We lasted about 2 months with no fun money, no date money, and everything going towards bills, savings, and some toward debt. And then we weren’t able to get the car that we wanted to—so we borrowed some money to eat out from the car fund. And then we borrowed money from it to go to the movies. Of course we had every intention of paying it back but we didn’t. We stopped budgeting and we stopped saving. We felt like failures. We did eventually get the savings up to get a car but didn’t really save beyond that.

But that didn’t last too long thankfully because I got a new job. With the new job, came a wakeup call to me. I wanted to be out of debt in the worse possible way. I was ashamed of how much debt I was in. But an important thing to note here: I didn’t hide the amount of debt from my fiancé (then boyfriend). I was honest and knew that he wasn’t even a quarter as much in debt as I was (still am).

We both pulled credit reports to find exactly what we owed and to who we owed. I created a spreadsheet budget and debt repayment plan. I created a balanced budget this time. But another important thing to note is that while I did create the budget, he had an equal say in it. After all, it was our money that we pooled into it so it was our budget that was created. How this works to this day is that I take our biweekly budget to him a day or so ahead of time and we go over it. I make sure that our financial goals are still the same and if he has any questions or suggestions we discuss them.

When planning a balanced budget with pooled money, it’s important to note that (in my opinion) fun money should be equal. I make more than he does but I get the same amount. Why? Because we’re equal partners in this relationship. We have a separate amount of date money. This way one of us doesn’t have to worry about taking the other out with their fun money. And it truly is our fun money—our one rule is that (within reason of course) the other person doesn’t get to naysay what the other one buys with their money. When we were sharing our fun money, he’d wonder why I needed another book and I’d wonder why he needed more beer. Now that issue has been solved!

We don’t fight about money anymore. I’m not up the half the night wondering how we’re going to pay our electricity bill because he wanted to be nice to me and bought me a present I didn’t need and that we can’t afford. He’s not worrying about buying that beer he likes because he has a set amount of money that he can spend on it and knows exactly what that amount is. We paid for our brake job on our car by budgeting in the amount needed and it didn’t break our wallet!

Open communication, honesty and working together needs to be remembered when discussing financials in a relationship.

Editor’s note: it sounds like we’re really similar! I got pretty intense when I started our get-out-of-debt plan but we held out for a year and a half before we cracked. I also love how you mention the “fun money.” I actually talked about that in my post as well and it seems great minds think alike!

This post was written by BogofDebt. She’s a 27-year old that blogs about her finances and uses it as a way to keep her accountable on their get-out-of-debt journey! Please take some time to go check her site out!

About the Author

By , on May 25, 2012
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{14 Comments}

  1. Mr. FBS still isn’t into finances nearly as much as I am, but since starting my blog I come up with tons of different ways to keep him involved. He still would probably spend his money on whatever if I wasn’t around, but we both understand that and try to work out our differences. I had him write down what he saw as a future and show him each month what our budget looks like and how I plan to get there. Of course I also have fun money for both of us that we can spend at our will. That has really helped relax both of us.

  2. A budget definitely can’t be too tight – if it is, it becomes unrealistic and nearly impossible to stick to. My husband and I had an uber-tight budget for about a year, and when we finally cracked, we cracked BIG TIME.

  3. My girlfriend and I plan to combine finances once we get married although we both know what is going on with each other right now. Nice to see some good advice! Thanks!

  4. Great share BOG. Love them or hate them, you’ve got to have a budget. Companies don’t last very long if the employees are allowed to spend whatever they want. In our “company of 2″, the same has to apply.

  5. A lot of people think a budget is about less freedom, but you’ve shown that doesn’t have to be the case. Putting your money in its place is very liberating, and allows us to find a way to enjoy life’s little pleasures without being foolish.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I really do find my budget to be more liberating than before. I’m having fun but still paying debts (and bills!). It’s about balance and of course, not just buying things to buy them! My fiance balances me out and I balance him out–he was spendy and I was way too cheap at one point!

  6. The best advice my wife and I got in pre-marital counseling is communicate, communicate, communicate. Once you both know each others’ minds, goals and ambitions in life, the reasons for conflict dwindle to almost nothing. Great communication is the life blood of any relationship. Here’s to a debt free future for both of you.

    Cheers!

    Josh

    • bogofdebt says:

      Communication is something we both agree is high importance. After all, neither one of is a mind reader. It might be a lot easier if we were and way cooler!

  7. It’s interesting to me that you sort of both turned it around at the same time – the first time didn’t stick but the second time did. How was your boyfriend able to share in your wake-up call when you got your new job – particularly since he was the one who had to do the 180 since you were already recovering?

    • bogofdebt says:

      Honestly, I handed him the bills, grocery recipts and income. I told him to make a budget. I’d been up worrying again because he was really sweet and bought me a “yay you got a new job” gift that we again didn’t have the money for. So I just handed him the info and asked him to create a workable budget. I didn’t offer help, just pointed out “oh you forgot we have to buy kitty food” or “oops no car insurance”. I didn’t do it in a mean way–I just wanted to let him see what I had been working with. After a half hour of him thinking he had everything accounted for and me pointing out little things that are so easy to forget, he turned to me and said “I don’t want to do this. You do this but let’s talk first.” From there we really talked for the first time. He wanted to have the same life I did but wanted to have fun as well. I admit I can be really rigid and unbendy so that’s where the fun money came into play.

  8. Hi Bobbie!!! I loved this week’s blog swap topic. Something we all do but can do differently.

    I liked this part – I make more than he does but I get the same amount. Why? Because we’re equal partners in this relationship. We have a separate amount of date money.

    Both people in a relationship should always have equal say in everything. My BF and I were talking about this and how one person shouldn’t carry all the weight in the decision making, and also should have separate allowances for fun money so we can do whatever we want with it, no questions asked. Equality is huge in a relationship because once one person has the upper hand, the other one will not feel good about it.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Hi!

      That’s exactly what we thought as well. He didn’t want to be left out of the budgeting process and he also didn’t want to feel like “oh I get $25 and she gets $50″ because it would start to grate on him and his pride. And we also will do things so that if we are buying a movie (rarely) that we both want, it doens’t come out of 1 person’s fun money. Instead, we budget it into our budget! Why should I have to buy something we are both going to get a lot of use out of? Or vice versa of course.

      When I was doing all of the budgeting and had no input from him, he didn’t like it because it made him feel like he was back to being a child. I didn’t like it because I felt like I had a lot of pressure. That’s why we do our meetings now.

  9. Modest Money says:

    Thanks for sharing this story of how you handle your finances in your relationship. That sounds like a pretty good system. Since finances were a major issue in my last long term relationship, I’m trying to learn more about how other couples successfully handle this stuff. It seems that even if people have different views on finances, you can ultimately find a middle ground that makes both of you happy.

  10. Michelle says:

    I definitely agree. I need to follow this better. We are pretty open about everything, however, it’s starting to bug me that he doesn’t understand the financials. I need to clue him in!

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