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I’m in a strange position; I blog about managing money, budgeting, saving & investing but yet my partner hates budgets. He’s actually a bit scared of budgeting and feels it’s too restrictive and will stop him from impulse spending. That is true but for me there is so much more to budgeting. It’s a time to reflect on your financial situation and make decisions on how to improve things. There will often be some sacrifices to be made, but if you understand the bigger picture and understand your reason why you want to improve things; it makes the day to day managing of your money real easy!
So back to my partner; he’s really not bad with his money and he does manage to save a fair amount, but the problem for me is that it’s not visible and I am often unnecessarily stressed about our finances.
The solution seems rather simple, we just need to discuss it more often and run a joint budget. That’s not so easy though as I don’t want to appear to be nagging and forever questioning him about his money.
So after some thought I’ve come up with 6 things that we can do to make sure that we don’t overspend and in fact stick to our joint savings goals. These tips don’t only apply to us though and if you’re in a similar position read on and see what you can do to get your partner on the same financial page as you.
Tip 1 – Understand each others views on money
This is an easy and ongoing discussion which will help you learn more about each other. Discuss how you parents dealt with money and whether you think it worked well for them or not.
Find out what money means to both of you and what your priorities are. Another way to look at it is to think about the amount of time you spend working for your money and ask yourself why. What’s the point of spending all that time at work just for money? What is it that you actually want out of life and what role does money play?
Also think about your spending habits and whether they reflect your priorities. If you really dream about quitting your job and traveling, but spend your money on clothes and eating out, then your spending and priorities are out of sync.
Have a look at my post on Values and Money to get a better understanding of this.
Tip 2 – Discuss one or two joint financial goals
It’s nice to have some joint financial goals that you can work towards. A travel fund is often an exciting goal, but more practical things like saving for home renovations, a special occasion, a new couch, etc can be very good for the relationship. It’s not uncommon that one partner earns more than the other and having joint goals can help both parties feel that they are contributing.
Tip 3 – Be transparent with your finances
I feel that it’s really important to be fully open and transparent with your partner about your money. Share bank balances and credit card statements with each other so that you both know exactly what the state of your finances are. It’s no use one person saving and investing and building up a nest egg whilst the other is living in debt and getting deeper and deeper into it.
If you’re afraid to share your financial info with your partner then you need to question yourself as to why. If you don’t trust your partner with money then you should really deal with that as it will never simply fix itself. Rather tackle the problem and figure things out!
Tip 4 – Share your fears
We all have fears that somehow relate to money. Things like
- not being able to retire
- having to look after family members and not reaching your own dreams
- having your home or car repossessed
- not being able to send your child to university
- not being able to look after your family
- losing your job and becoming destitute
Discuss your fears and think of ways that you as a couple can protect yourselves. This may simply mean contributing in an investment account or stocking up your Emergency Fund. Or it may be a large financial goal. Knowing the reason why you’re setting the goal will help keep you motivated!
Tip 5 – Discuss things as and when they happen
No matter how much planning and budgeting you do there will always be unexpected expenses and unavoidable issues. Be open and honest with each other as and when you spend money. Even if the spending was simply a splurge based on your emotional state, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your partner. As long as things are in the open you can discuss, analyse, plan & fix whatever issues may arise. Spending money sneakily behind your partners back can only result in bad news down the line.
Tip 6 – If one of you budgets, make it transparent
If one of you sticks to a budget, make it accessible to the other. Whether it’s an app or a spreadsheet make sure that your partner knows where it is and how to access it. You never know, they may just be interested to look at it and ask some questions. That should most definitely be encouraged as your finances affect both of you and your families future.
Don’t be discouraged if your partner isn’t as financially savvy as you. Money plays a huge role in relationships so always approach the subject with openness, patience and a clear mind. Stick to your values and speak openly about money in a non-judgemental way and always explain your reasoning and thinking and try to understand your partners. Let your relationship grow in this area.