How to maintain financial health
Money and spending are points of contention between many married couples. But it does not have to be this way! Discussing money more openly and working together to make big financial decisions can help keep both your marriage and your bank accounts in a happier state. Here are some more specific tips to help you maintain good financial health as a married couple.
1. Share a Bank Account
Some couples are more comfortable completely combining their finances, while others are more comfortable keeping things separate. But even if you mostly keep separate finances, it can be really beneficial to open a joint bank account. Deposit the money intended to pay bills and other shared expenses into this account. This way, you both have access to the money and can openly see how it is being spent. If you want to also maintain your own individual accounts for discretionary spending, you can do so, but you'll want to be open and honest about how that money is spent, too.
2. Have a Monthly Money Meeting
Put it on the calendar, and hold yourself to it. Discussing your finances once a month gives you the time and space to discuss goals together, assess how you're doing financially, review your budget, and plan big purchases. Throughout the month, you can both keep a list of items you want to discuss at your monthly money meeting. This approach prevents you from continually putting off hard money conversations, and it also ensures neither partner is left in the dark in regard to the finances.
3. Deal With Salary Differences Fairly
Most couples do have a salary difference between them. Above all else, remember that your spouse's salary does not equate to their worth in your relationship. Neither partner should have more or less say in what happens with your money because of the amount they earn.
That being said, you do need to have a plan for handling any salary difference in your marriage. Simply splitting things 50/50 isn't fair if one spouse earns $30,000 a year and the other earns $100,000. Will the spouse who earns more pay a larger portion of the bills? Maybe the higher-earning spouse will pay for entertainment and other optional items. There are many options, so decide between the two of you what's the fairest and most reasonable.
4. Discuss Larger Purchases First
You should not have to ask permission from your spouse before buying a $5 pack of socks or a $6 sandwich. In fact, discussing every single purchase can leave you feeling suffocated and childish. However, it is important for you to discuss larger purchases beforehand.
Many couples set a limit. If they are going to buy any item over that limit, they discuss it with each other first. You can determine as a couple what that limit should be. Maybe it's $100. If that's the case, then before buying anything that costs $100 or more, you check with your spouse.
5. Set Goals Together
Money and spending in marriage are a lot easier if you're working towards a common goal. So, make sure you set goals together. Whether your next goal is to save for a house, a vacation, or to set aside a healthy emergency fund, setting that goal together keeps both of your eyes focused on the same prize.
If you approach money and spending as a couple, you'll have a healthier marriage and a healthier financial life. Try implementing the tips above into your own routine. As you grow as a couple, you can modify these strategies to suit your own needs.