3 Tips to Avoid Money Fights

Sometimes budgeting in a marriage can feel like a game of tug-of-war.

You want one thing and your spouse wants another. If you pull against each other, both of you—and your money—could end up in a tangled pile. And that won’t get you anywhere financially. In order to succeed with money, you both need to get on the same side of that rope.

But…how do you do that?

It starts with you and your spouse understanding each other’s views about money. When you know what the other person wants and work together toward those goals, your money conversations change. You fight less. You smile more. You trust each other on a new level. Doesn’t that sound good?

1. Talk it out. The best way to get on the same page with your spouse is communication. Sit down and discuss what you each want out of your lives and money. Turn off the TV, put the kids to bed early, and have an open money conversation—nothing is off limits. If you want to go to the beach every weekend, say so (even if it’s unlikely to happen). The point is for both of you to speak honestly.

When you know how your husband or wife thinks about money and what is important to them, it becomes much easier to make a plan for it.

2. Cooperate on goals. Do you want enough money in the emergency fund to cover six months of expenses, but your spouse wants to start investing before you get there? Finding out which one to pursue can be tricky. So who wins? The answer is both of you—through compromise. Find middle ground to agree on, such as agreeing to a five-month emergency fund or hosting a yard sale to round out that six-month fund. When you share your goals, it brings you closer as a couple.

3. Set a “big money” spending limit. If you are both new to budgeting, then set a spending limit on big purchases. Determine the total that you don’t go over without talking it over with your spouse. For example, if the determined amount is $300, then you must discuss any purchase over that amount first. Weigh the pros and cons of why you should buy the item or not. Wait overnight before making the call. Then you make a decision together. That way, both people know their votes count. Once you get used to budgeting together, you’ll know when big purchases are coming up and you can work them into your monthly budget or create a fund to save up for it.

Whatever you and your spouse do to get on the same page with money, make sure there’s a lot of communication. The more you talk, the better you’ll understand each other and the quicker and easier you’ll reach your goals. That’s how you accomplish amazing things like getting out of debt, saving enough money for college and retirement, and going on super-awesome vacations as a family. When you get on the same page, you win—just like with tug-of-war.

Only here, you’ll end up with a pile of money instead of a pile of opponents.

If getting on the same page has been tough because you struggle with making a budget, let EveryDollar make it easy — easy to sign up and easy to track your spending.