Thursday, May 5, 2011

Couple Time: Money Matters

When I first got married, my husband was fresh off his mission while I had been living independently, working to pay all my bills myself, for over three years. I determined that I obviously was the most logical choice as financial manager for our new little family. I therefore took it upon myself to track all of our income and expenses, pay all the bills, and even start building up our emergency fund (now that all our savings had been used up on the wedding). I was so sure that I could handle it and my husband would never have to worry his pretty little head about money.

Funny thing, though--he actually wanted to know what was going on with our money. Huh. He didn't want me to just take over and not tell him anything. Go figure.

That launched the next stage. He took over and despite his many attempts to include me, he basically ran the show for the next few years. I would get too annoyed trying to sit down and do anything with him and often it was easier for him to just do it himself than try to do it together and end up fighting.

Sometimes I'm glad we're not newlyweds anymore.

We have improved over time, but we still hit snags now and again when we try to go over finances--particularly when the income doesn't quite match our (my?) desired expenses.

Money and financial issues have often been listed as one of the highest causes of marital conflict and divorce. No one is immune from having to work through these kinds of issues in their own marriage. I am interested to know how you can turn your own marital finances from this:

to this:

aren't google images great?

Who manages the money in your family? Husband? Wife? Or do you do it together?

How do you prevent money from becoming a trouble area, particularly when the budget is tight?

Any tips or tricks for keeping the peace when money is involved?


This post is intended mostly for looking into the relationship side of managing finances. If there is interest, we can certainly do more posts about the nitty-gritty how-to of family money management. Just let us know!


Rebecca said...

This is something I am extremely passionate about!

My husband and I manage the money together. I think it's important that both parties know where the money is going. Although we do it together, I take care of actually paying the bills and making the budget. My personality is better fit for doing this than my husband's so that's why we do it this way.

I think the best way to make sure that money is not a trouble area relationship-wise is to TALK ABOUT IT. Communication is key when it comes to financial matters.

ps. If you ever do a post about the nitty-gritty of financial stuff I'd love to put my input or do a guest post. I loooove to talk about finances and budgets! :)

Erin said...

We did the same thing when we were first married! We both had such different ideas about how to keep track of the finances. After 6 years, we've finally come up with something that works well for us.

We divide up the responsibilities. When his check is deposited, it automatically is divided into our two accounts. He takes care of the monthly things like utilities, housing, insurance premiums, car maintenance, fuel, phones, etc. He has a spreadsheet to keep track. I withdraw my money and use the envelope method to take care of living expenses like groceries, date night, kids needs like clothes. We both use the methods that work for us, and there is no disagreeing on amounts. You get what you get, and you make it work! As long as I don't go over budget, he doesn't get to complain over how much we spend in groceries. :) He also has a personal account for himself, and I fit my personal things into the family budget (like new clothes or craft stuff.)

We get together every once in a while to talk about how we are each doing and what the finances look like. We both know both sides, but we both have our responsibilities and that makes us feel like we are both equally involved.

Anonymous said...

It took us a few years to work things out too! Now we talk about it together, but we are each responsible for paying different bills. I only talk to my husband about it when he seems calm, rational, and in a good mood. If he starts acting stressed or upset, I say, "Well it's just something to think about." Then I wait until another time to re-approach the issue. Sometimes he just needs time to think about something, or adjust to a change of plans. :)

Megan said...

we do it very similarly to Rebecca and Anonymous. While I actually pay all the bills and draw up the budget, I talk it over with my husband every two weeks when he gets paid. The one thing that we do differently is that we set aside $20 a check for each person and they can spend or save it however they like. Also, unless its coming out of our discretionary money, if the purchase is over $30 we have to agree on buying it or it doesn't happen. This has saved us a lot of headaches of the 6 years we've been married.