Money is a hot-button topic in marriage and one of the most common things married couples fight about. It takes money to live–and even more if you have children and many expenses every month.
It can be very easy to get out-of-step with one another in the finance arena, especially where debt is concerned. The good news is, there’s plenty you can do to productively navigate conversations around finances and debt in your marriage.
Let’s look at a few ways you and your spouse can handle money issues together, without staying in constant conflict over it.
Be transparent with one another.
It can be easy for expenses to grow and compound as life progresses. Unfortunately, it can also be too easy for debt to accumulate before you realize exactly how much money you owe. With our fast-paced lives, pausing to talk about money likely doesn’t happen as often as it should, either.
It’s important for you and your spouse to be transparent with one another about finances, and to keep money a regular topic of productive discussion between the two of you. Know your monthly expenses and be familiar with one another’s expenditures. It’s also important to agree on a budget that works for your marriage and your family.
Get clear on how much money you owe.
You and your spouse need to total up the amount of debt that you’re actually in. If the debt is spread over multiple credit cards or more than one loan, then it can be easy to fool yourselves into thinking that you don’t owe as much as you do.
Once you get clear on exactly how much money you owe, you can start to figure out a game plan for paying that off.
Minimize credit card use.
Generally speaking, we spend less when we choose not to use credit cards. Our brains don’t register the pain of handing cash to someone else when we use a credit card, so it can be easy to spend a lot more money than we intend to. At the very least, if you can minimize your credit card usage, you’ll find yourself spending less money overall.
Make a debt payoff plan together.
Work together to figure out how you’re going to pay off any debt you owe. Handling finances is incredibly personal, so this is going to look different for every couple. What works for one couple may not work as well for you, so it’s important that you and your spouse work as a team to figure out what might work best for you.
Once you’ve decided what to do, it’s time to put your plan into action. Are you going to increase your income? Cut your expenses? Whatever you decide, make sure you’re both on board with the plan.
Many couples choose to cut expenses because it’s faster and easier than securing a higher income (at least, in the short term). Work together to decide where you’re going to trim your spending, then stick to the plan.
Here are a few expense-cutting strategies to think about:
- Make coffee at home instead of stopping by the coffee shop
- Bargain shop for clothes, shoes, and home goods
- Meal-prep over the weekend so you have lunches ready for the work week–which will help reduce eating out
Even small sacrifices can make a big difference when it comes to cutting costs. So even if you find a place to cut a few dollars here and there, do that–because every dollar counts.
You can do this!
Handling your finances as a team is a feat that will reap rewards time and again in your marriage. And, paying down debt is absolutely one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever accomplish together in your marriage.
If you need a little extra help navigating money and marriage, we’ve got a fantastic event coming up on Valentine’s night, February 14th with Rachel Cruze. We are presenting a very special Money and Marriage event in Nashville, TN.
You don’t want to miss this event. It’s a great opportunity for you and your spouse to learn about money and how it affects your marriage. Plus, you’ll have fun in the process. We can’t wait to see you there!
How do you and your spouse handle money conversations in your marriage? Let us know in the comments!