When Shawndra and I first were married, money was a hot button topic. First, we did not have a lot. Second, doling it out was very tricky. We tried a number of different systems (we still are fine tuning), but we finally have a good system in place. Once a month we discuss all of the foreseeable bills. We go over how much we have, versus how much we can spend. It's not a perfect system, since there are always the unforeseen(s): new tires, air conditioner repairs, etc. But, what makes it work for us is that we have the same goals in mind with our money. We always set aside a portion for each of us to use as "fun money." That is to be used however we want. It helps to have this so neither of us feels completely trapped in our money matters. We still have a little freedom, but we are normally very frugal. Like most couples, we have student loans, a mortgage, and all those other bills that you wish you did not have to pay. But having that little bit of fun money takes the burden off paying all of those off. Shawndra is the brains behind all of this. I really can take no credit, except for the fact that I agreed with her financial system. It may seem taboo for some folks that Shawndra is steering our financial plan, but she really is more diligent and practical with it. I am a spender and she is more of a saver. I guess, like most things in our relationship, it works because we really balance each other out. We still argue from time to time about our finances, but not like we did in the early years of our marriage. And for that I can thank Shawndra--again.
Everyone knows that one of the things couples disagree about the most (and one of the main causes of divorce) is money. How to save it, what to spend it on, how to divide it up, who pays for what, etc. etc. I'm lucky (not sure if my husband feels this way!) because I am the "money person" in our relationship, meaning that I am a saver thanks to my inherited desire to save like my dad. I have always tried to save at least 10% of our salaries (more whenever I can swing it!) and have always been frugal when it comes to buying "stuff" (aka clothes, shoes, stuff for the house). For example, our microwave blew up (and I mean, it looked like two miniature people were having a light saber fight inside) about two months ago. Most people would just go out and buy a new one, but we have just been using the stove instead and really don't miss having a microwave (except for my morning and evening of green tea has suffered a bit). Some people might say this is cheap, but we just say its frugal. We would rather spend money on activities and vacations rather than "stuff" whenever we can avoid it. But that's just us. The point is, being on the same page about what to spend money on has really helped us cut down on money fights. And, starting a few months ago, we have a weekly planning session over breakfast each weekend about the upcoming week--bills that need paid, what we are going to spend money on this weekend, how much we are saving, etc. These money talks have made me feel closer to my husband because I feel like we are on the same team and the burden of managing our money is not just resting on my shoulders. So, if managing your money is something you struggle with in your relationship, consider having a weekly open and honest discussion about it. Happy saving!
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