Money is one of the primary causes of conflict within marriage. Here are a few steps you can take to help avoid a conflict.
- Focus on the long term: It's easy to squabble over little day-to-day things, like why your spouse spent $5 on a cup of coffee or $15 on a manicure. Instead, take your focus off the little things and find agreement on the big picture, like how you'll accumulate a down payment for a house or save for your retirement.
- Don't keep secrets: Trying to hide large purchases or credit card debt is akin to "financial infidelity" and can be just as dangerous to a marriage as cheating with another man or woman.
- Save automatically: Having a hard time getting into the discipline of saving? Make it automatic by arranging to have a set amount of money transferred from your bank account to a savings or investment account every month. It's the best way to "pay yourself first." Learn more about First Tennessee's Automatic Savings Service.
- Use the envelope system: It may sound old-fashioned, but it works. At the beginning of each month, stash some cash in separate envelopes for non-essentials like eating out or going to the movies. When the money's gone, so is that activity for the month.
- Put your credit cards "on ice": Literally – fill a bottle with water, drop your credit cards in and stick it in the freezer. Then, the next time you're tempted to buy something on credit, you'll have to wait for your card to thaw out – and by then, you might decide you don't really need it after all.
- Have a "money date night": Spend an evening together each month paying the bills and talking about your finances: where things stand (be sure to celebrate financial successes), areas that need improvement, and your hopes and dreams for the future. Order a pizza or Chinese food and make it fun!
- Share financial responsibilities: Even if one of you is the "financial guy or gal," you should both have at least some responsibility for finances and have a general idea of the family's financial situation and goals.