One of the biggest challenges that couples face is finances. It’s hard to adjust to managing spending habits for yourself let alone two people; trust me I know. The most challenging aspects of dealing with couples’ finances are honesty and compromise; two important things needed to be successful at any relationship in general. Below you’ll fine some tips for successful budgeting as a couple. Of course this is just a guide because each couple’s circumstance is different. The tips below are intended to open up the conversation about your finances and hopefully make progress towards being a financially stable couple.
Tip #1: Don’t Hold Back!!!
Set a date for when this important conversation is going to take place and bring everything to the table. This includes all of your personal debts and personal bank account statements. This is the time to be honest about your spending habits and any outstanding debts that may be lingering from your past that could affect your future. If you have a hard time limiting yourself to the funds in your bank account and find yourself constantly paying overdraft fees, let your partner know! During this initial meeting you’ll also want to pull your credit reports to see where you both stand credit wise.
Tip #2: Create a Budget TOGETHER
Once you have everything laid out in the open start creating your budget. It’s important that this be done together because this is the budget you both will have to follow. It’s also important to be realistic. Saying you’re only going to budget $100 for gas for the month and you commute 50 miles one way is totally unrealistic! Remember this is a budget for two, so make sure you include ALL expenses. Make sure you are both committed to sticking to the budget because that’s where most financial problems arise. Set allowances so that each person still has their sense of independency. Just because you combine finances doesn’t mean you have to lose your self identity.
Tip #3: Figure out Your Bank Accounts
Now that you’re going to be managing your finances together, it’s important to figure out whether you’re going to have a joint bank account or continue to have separate accounts. Some couples have a joint account strictly for paying bills and separate accounts for spending (I personally think that’s the best option). However you chose to manage you bank accounts, make sure you’re on the same page about it. Designate one person to balance the accounts so that you aren’t paying any additional bank fees.
Tip #5: Dream About It
Set financial goals together and dream big! Setting financial goals is a sure way to motivate you to stay on track with your budget. These goals could be anywhere from taking an elaborate vacation to purchasing a home. Whatever the goal is, write it down and commit to the time in which you both want to achieve those goals. If you happen to fall off track, it’s okay! Just readjust your budget and continue to push forward.
Merging your finances together as a couple can sometimes be a difficult thing to do, but not having important discussions about your finances could lead to much more difficult problems in the future. Take the time, take responsibility, and take action.
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