Top 10 Financial Tips for Young CouplesBy Caitlin in Money
Tired of always fighting over your finances and financial issues? Don’t want to be another couple who breaks up because they weren’t able to handle the stress of living together while dealing with the burden of debt?
We’ve put together 10 great tips to help you break the cycle of your money problems and teach you how to deal with any potentially fight causing issues.
1. Treat your finances like a business matter.
Set a specific time each month or even every second month to have a ‘business’ meeting. Here you can discuss all of your finances and if there are any specific or important problems that need to be dealt with either immediately or in the future.
No need to set any kind of time limit as each month will be different; some months may only take 10 minutes while other months could be up to an hour. What’s important is that you take the time to work together and keep track of your finances.
2. Don’t keep anything a secret.
At your first meeting make sure you disclose any and all financial information that might affect your significant other, secrets that come out later will only make any issues worse.
This is really important for those trying to build a successful relationship where trust is essential. Things like debt, extra sources of income, property and secondary accounts all need to be discussed.
3. Discuss any short and long term goals and dreams.
Taking with your significant other about your life goals and dreams is important whether they are big or small, long term or short term.
In terms of finances it’s important to discuss them because they might cost a lot or need to be saved for. If you both want to buy a house or have kids, those are big investments and must be planned for. Even if it’s simply that one you want to be able to go on a vacation once a year, it’s better to discuss them right away so that a plan can be put into place.
4. Start to build a budget.
The first and easiest thing you both can do is to keep track of all of your spending for one month. Make a spread sheet or write it all down in a note pad.
At the end of a month get together and add up your expenses and see where you spend the most and least amount of money. If you’re not happy with what you see then change the numbers around and put yourself or each other on a budget. Make small lifestyle changes so that more money is put into savings and less is spend on useless and expensive things.
5. Adopt the envelope system.
If you’re both visual people then try out the envelope system by labeling several envelopes with categories like food, savings, vacation, rent, electricity, bills and entertainment. If you’re in need of a lot of help and really want to stick to a budget then put the amount of cash you can spend on each category into the envelopes. But since most things are paid online or via checks or credit cards these days you might want to simply keep a list of what you’ve spent on each category in the envelopes.
6. Set up three separate accounts.
Setting up three separate accounts is a great way to know what money is going towards personal expenses and “couple” expenses.
Make a complete list of all the things that you both agree are “couple” expenses so that there won’t be any arguments later when one of you uses your joint account for something that might not exactly be a “couple” expense.
You should definitely discuss the accounts at every month’s business meeting as your expenses, whether they are individual or joint, will change on a month to month basis.
You’ll also have to decide the amount of money that will go into each account; based on your incomes this will be different for every couple.
7. Stop checking your bank account too much.
Constantly checking your back account isn’t always the best thing to do. Yes you want to be organized and know exactly what’s going on with your finances but you might fall into the trap of spending more when you see that your account has a higher amount than you had thought.
On the other hand if you have less than you thought the stress of it might deter you from facing your financial issues.
8. Divide up the financial jobs.
Sit down and have a discussion about what each of you likes to do or doesn’t like to do and even what you’re best at when it comes to finances. Maybe one of you is really organized and loves to get all the bills paid on time, while the other can’t remember what day of the week it is.
Then make a plan and divide up the jobs. Whichever one of you is organized can pay the bills, the other can keep track of the extra spending like groceries and even any investments you might have.
There’s no right way to do this and you can always switch jobs if you find that your plan is not working as well as it could.
9. Make a list of bad financial issues that you’ve made in the past
Keeping track of past financial decisions that negativity affected you can help both you and your significant other. Don’t be too negative and keep an open mind, this exercise is not meant to hurt the other person’s feelings.
It is always the best idea to discuss any issues and to communicate as openly as possible. Plus confessing any financial mistakes that you’ve made might even make your significant other feel more comfortable with sharing theirs.
10. Celebrate your financial successes.
Always celebrate when you’ve successfully followed your budget and have arrived at any goals you’ve set. Saving money and sticking to a strict budget is not always easy or fun so staying positive and celebrating the small successes is a great way to make it a little more fun.
It’s a great feeling when you’ve paid off your debts and worked hard to reach your financial goals as a couple so don’t forget be happy about it and celebrate.