How to Get Your Finances in Order As a Couple

Get your finances in order as a couple

Kristina is a financial services professional and a personal finance blogger at Dinks Finance. She helps people plan their financial lives from college to retirement. You can follow Kristina on Twitter @TKBlogs.

Falling in love, moving in together and getting married are supposed to be the happiest times of our lives; but what happens when money comes between you and your spouse? The truth is that money can only cause stress in our relationships if we let it. The key to avoiding money stress in a relationship (whether you are dating or you are married) is to be open and honest with your spouse about their money, about your money, and about your couple’s money.

It is very possible that you and your spouse have quite different views on money, so if you are open and honest about how much income you earn, how you chose to spend your money and about your financial priorities, you can eliminate any potential money stress in your relationship.

Here are 3 tips to help you stay calm and carry on your financial lives as a couple:

Plan Your Couple’s Budget. Before you decide how much you can afford to spend each month on couple’s expenses such as housing costs, utilities and groceries, you have to know how much income both you and your spouse earn. Your income determines your lifestyle and once you know how much income you earn as a couple you can then set your expenses and plan your couple’s budget. Using an online budget software website is a helpful tool to track your monthly income and your expenses.

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Discuss Your Spending Habits.  Where do you spend your money? This is a very important factor that needs to be discussed with your spouse because how you spend money when you are single is most likely very different than how you will spend money as a couple.  Each spouse can track their expenses individually or you can track your income and expenses together as a couple. Sharing your financial lives and planning your couple’s budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a joint bank account; it just means that each spouse should contribute equally (either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of your monthly income) towards your couple’s expenses. Taking about your spending habits is a good idea because couples often disagree about how to spend money; they rarely disagree about how to earn income.

Learn about Each Other’s Financial Priorities.  Once you have planned your couple’s budget and you know where your money is being spent each month you can then set your financial priorities as a couple. Setting financial priorities as a couple doesn’t necessarily mean that you both share the exact same goals, it just means that each person is aware of your spouse’s financial priorities. As a couple each spouse can have individual goals and you can also set financial priorities as a couple. Your financial priority may be to pay off debt and your spouse may be debt free; therefore your individual financial priorities may be different. However you may both want to buy a house in the near future and therefore you will be saving money together for a down payment on your first home.

What is your personal financial priority? Tell us on Twitter @TKBlogs and @ReadyForZero.

Image credit: goodluz

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  • Derek Olsen

    Working together as a couple is extremely important. Fight together, not each other.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Absolutely, Derek! That is really the key to it all.