When you get married or enter a relationship, the topic of finances will come up eventually. You will quickly learn how your partner spends and manages their money. If you agree to combine your finances, you’ll need to learn how to manage money as a couple.
Couples run into issues with communicating about and managing money all the time. However, you can overcome common money issues and financial arguments. The key is to get on the same page and establish some methods that work for you. Here are some of the best ways to manage money as a couple.
Get Joint Bank Accounts
The journey of managing money as a couple is long-term. The first step should be to get joint bank accounts. That way, each of you can get a clear view of what’s going on financially. Some couples set up just one account that they share while others open one account each and connect them so they can easily transfer money back and forth.
Another idea I really like is each partner having their own account and then opening a third account to use for bills and other shared expenses. This is helpful if both people are earning an income and still looking for some independence. You can still connect all three accounts and even put both people’s names on them. That way, you can access money from each account, make transfers, and review expenses together whenever necessary.
Set a Solid Goal
One of the most common reasons for money fights and disagreements is that the couple is not on the same page financially. It’s important to make sure you both agree on important financial topics and the best way to do this is to set a firm goal. Find a financial goal that you both agree on and can work toward together.
This could be anything from buying a home to saving for a car or even planning a monthly date night. Oftentimes, one person has an idea of how they want to use their money while their partner’s plans are completely different. Get on the same page by finding one or two money goals you can achieve together and get excited about them.
Set a Joint Budget
The next step is to sit down together and create a budget. This doesn’t have to be a daunting process. For some people, the word ‘budget’ comes with a negative tone especially if they think it means cutting out spending or depriving themselves. Ultimately, a budget is just a spending plan for your money. It allows you to take control when deciding where your money goes.
Another benefit of budgeting is that it helps you be more intentional with your money to meet goals whether it’s saving or paying off debt. There are many different ways to budget your month. You can try percentage-based budgeting like the 50/30/20 method, cash envelopes to help manage flexible spending or consider using a budgeting app.
Apps like YNAB or Every Dollar help you track your spending automatically and create budget categories based on your existing habits and goals. Plus, if you like apps and are on your phone quite a bit, you’ll enjoy managing money with your partner this way as it’s convenient on the go. Be sure to talk about budgeting styles and settle on a happy medium that works best for both of you.
Allow Each Person an ‘Allowance’
Another great way to manage money as a couple is to allow each person an allowance. Set a fixed amount of money aside that each person can spend each month no questions asked. This money could be used for hobbies, lattes before work, or other purchases. The key is to use this ‘allowance’ as a way for each person to still maintain some financial independence and freedom when it comes to fun or impulse purchases.
Agree on an amount that works best for both of you. This could be $50 or $100 per person more or less. My husband and I tried this a few years ago and sometimes we’d adjust the amount depending on how much we could afford to spend each month. Nevertheless, it was a great way to spend on little things we wanted without worrying about the budget or having to answer to the other person.
Just make sure your allowance amount is reasonable and something you both agree on. For example, $500 per month may be a huge amount to spend on knick-knacks for some people.
RELATED: 6 Best Budgeting Tips For Couples
Be Willing to Compromise
In order to successfully manage money as a couple, you need to be willing to compromise. Realize that your partner grew up differently from you and may have different financial habits or a different money mindset. Try to find a common ground and compromise on some things to remain on the same page.
For example, if you insist on budgeting but your partner doesn’t like to budget, you may want to try out the easiest budgeting method such as 50/30/20, or allow some wiggle room in your financial plan so it doesn’t seem as restrictive. Compromising may also mean adapting the timeline for some of your financial goals as well so just be willing to be a little flexible.
Summary: Manage Money as a Couple to Improve Your Finances
In order to succeed financially and meet certain goals once you’re married, you have to learn how to manage money as a couple and do it well. This may take some time as you learn each other’s preferences and money personalities. However, it’s definitely achievable if you work at it. Start utilizing some of these tips to find methods that work best for you.