Today, we are joined by my fellow personal finance writer and friend, Carrie Lowrance, from Freelance By Lowrance. Like me, she graduated from Financial Peace University and learned a whole lot more than how to spend her money. She’s joining us today to share her own experience and wisdom on the subject of financial disagreements in marriage. This information already made an impact on my own marriage. Can’t wait to share it with you.
It’s a painful fact. The number one reason for divorce in this country is fighting over money. I used to hear it all the time at my old job.
“Well, he went and spent money we don’t have on new hunting gear.”
“We fight all the time because we’re behind on our bills.”
“I can’t believe he used his gas money to buy snacks for work. Now he’ll come asking me and I don’t have it.”
This is one of the biggest emotional/financial crises in our society. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to fight with your spouse forever. You can make this stop, I promise you.
Three years ago my husband and I attended a Financial Peace University class that opened our eyes to a lot of things. How we relate to each other when it comes to money was a big one. Granted in our five years of dating and only six months of months of marriage at the time, I only remember fighting about money twice.
Still, the things we learned were eye opening and I knew that if we ever fought about money again, it would be done in a very different way. Here are some of the things we learned that helped us understand each other better.
Are you a Nerd or Free Spirit?
In nearly every relationship, there is a nerd and there is a free spirit.
The nerd is the numbers person. They like crunching numbers and doing budgets and making sure things all add up.
The free spirit is just that – a free spirit. They would rather crawl in a hole than balance a checkbook. You want to talk about investing for retirement? Zone out. Tell me how our stocks are doing? No thanks. Finances and financial stuff is just not their thing.
In our relationship, I am the nerd and my husband James is the free spirit.
Laura’s Note: I was really surprised to find out just how “nerdy” my husband was after studying Financial Peace. My assumption was that he didn’t like making budgets, paying bills, keeping track, etc. After we discussed it, I realized he likes it WAY more than ME. Take time to talk about it with your spouse and find out where his or her interests lie.
Are you a Saver or Spender?
Every relationship has a saver and a spender. I am the saver. I watch our budget carefully, save all my change, sometimes put leftover grocery money towards another goal. James is the spender. We decided that 10% of his check would go into his checking account. Whatever he does with it is up to him. It keeps a healthy and peaceful balance to things.
Budget Committee Meetings
This is the most powerful thing we do to diffuse friction. If you are not on a written budget every month, you should be.
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Every month we have a budget committee meeting. This usually comes during the last week of the month to discuss the upcoming month. (For example, as I write this, we should be having a meeting next week.)
I write out the budget and crunch the numbers. Then we sit down and look it over together. We double check things and account for any extras coming up. Once we’re in agreement, it is set in stone. Neither of us do anything outside that budget before discussing it with the other. This is especially important if you are trying to get out of debt.
Recommended Reading: Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
One last tip for the guys:
One thing to keep in mind is that women have a “security gland.” If you come home and we’re upset about something financially, we are probably feeling insecure.
This gland will flare up if we are drowning in debt, there isn’t enough money coming in, or for various other reasons. We do not expect you to fix everything, but if we are feeling this way, give us a hug. Then sit down and talk about it with us.
Don’t get frustrated or angry; we need your support and feedback the most in these times.
Take these tips and use them in your own life. I guarantee you will learn a lot about yourself and your partner. Not only will they enrich your financial picture, they will enrich your relationship too.
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