Talking About Money in Marriage

Disclaimer: I am not a relationship expert and this is not a marriage advice blog. The advice in this post is simply what has workied for me and my husband.

Here is the final part in my four-part series on Planning Your Financial Future.

Planning Your Finacial Future Series

According to the second most common cause of divorce is money. Call me crazy, but if I know something is more likely to cause a problem I want to face it head on. My husband and I have been very open with each other on spending and finances since early in our dating relationship. Remember how I helped him discover that he was spending $1,300/year on Starbucks? Yeah, that was probably 4-5 months in…

When it came time to get married, there was NEVER a question as to whether we would have joint or separate bank accounts. We are in this together, as a team which means a joint bank account all the way! I’m not going to delve into all the reasons you should have a joint bank account. Instead I’m going to direct you to my dear friend Jill’s blog. She very eloquently discuses how separate bank accounts can become a point of contention in your marriage.

I’m the primary money manager in our household. However, that does not mean I get to decide how to spend our money. So what does talking finances look like in our household? It typically starts with me sitting down with the computer and a notebook. I write out all of our expenses and their due dates. I look to see how we did with our budget the previous month. Are we spending a lot less in one budget category but going over in another? I check in with where we are in our financial goals, and I start brainstorming what can be done to improve.

When we are both fed, rested and not dealing with other stressors we sit down to look at all of the findings. The last time we sat down to evaluate our finances it was with a big change in mind. I was going to be out of work, without pay, for 3 months to recover from surgery. We needed to reduce our spending even more than we already had. Below are some key issues to discuss.

  • Can we cut anything and/or are we paying for a service we aren’t using?
    • We cut our Netflix DVD subscription. We weren’t using it because there weren’t any new movies we wanted to watch. When there are 8+ movies we want to watch we will subscribe again. (To make it the most cost effective you need to watch 8 movies a month.)
    • We love our Dollar Shave Club subscription, but we don’t see a reason to replace the blades every week when they still have a lot of life left. We ended up with a stockpile of blades. Therefore, we’ve postponed our subscription until we run out.
  • Discuss goals. Both you and your spouse deserve an opportunity to discuss what short-term goals you have in addition to your long-term goals.
  • Discuss areas that need improvement.
    • We went over our grocery budget by $100. Guess what equals $100? The amount of money we spent at restaurants. Probably need to work on reining in our eating out habit. Together, discuss what foods you might want to have at home. For us, running out of freezer meals is a recipe for failure to stay under budget.
  • Are there lifestyle changes that might help reduce costs?
    • Would you be able to cut a gym membership to start working out at home?

Keep your dialogue open and frequent. Together with your spouse you can make your financial dreams reality, but lean into one another through the hard times. At the end of the day your spouse is of exponentially more value than any amount of money.


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