As many married couples know, financial troubles can take a toll on your relationship. Debts can keep you from good credit scores, comfortable homes, and an eventual retirement. That leaves you and your partner a lot to worry about! However, if your spouse has bad money habits, consult these steps to take so that you can work together to ensure successful savings.
- Sell off things you don’t need. If your spouse—or you—has objects lying around that you just don’t use anymore, consider selling them! Whether you’re putting up old video games, shoes, or the contents of your attic, you’ll save space and earn money all in one go. Additionally, to ensure that you make a fair profit from your items, check online pricing to see their value. For all you know, you may be harboring something worth a pretty penny!
- Organize your funds. First of all, an untouchable savings and/or investment account is crucial. Use this to stow away what you’ll need later and make sure that you have some sort of income that earns investments for the future. Next, if your spouse is prone to spending too much, create a petty cash fund or jar. If your spouse spends through that fund for the month, then he or she can’t spend anything else. No more unnecessary snacks, clothes, or movies. This will help both you and your spouse monitor his or her money habits. It also will provide noticeable reinforcement for your spouse about the negative effects of his or her spending without cutting into your savings account.
- Take a money management or accounting class. Though of course this can be done at a local college, that may be expensive unless you audit. Check online for cheap—or free—classes. Additionally, consider reading up on financial management. There are many free resources online, ranging from articles to tip sites to eBooks. You can also look for information at the library.
- Talk about your finances. Many heartaches in marriage can be solved with clear communication. Try and set a time once a week or once a month to talk with your spouse about spending, common goals, and bills. While it might seem boring, it will ensure that you’re both on the same page. As a fun idea to reward your savings, you can also spend some of this time discussing ideas for a nice date night or plans to buy yourselves something you’ve wanted, providing you keep a healthy control of your finances.
- Address the root cause. Maybe your spouse spends more because he or she is accustomed to a certain lifestyle—or because he or she spent many years going without. Knowing the psychology behind his or her habits will help you both tailor the right plan to save money.
- Temper expectations. No matter how much your partner agrees with your concerns, it’s very unlikely that he or she will turn into a model spender overnight. Still, if he or she is willing to work with you, please be willing to work with him or her. This fosters unified teamwork as you both adopt these steps to take if your spouse has bad money habits. Establishing financial cooperation will only unite you if you both endeavor to handle your budget together.
- Be encouraging, but firm. When your spouse begins the journey to financial stability, he or she may make mistakes or waver. Be encouraging and show that you are on this mission with him or her. Still, if your spouse continues to overspend, you may have to be more firm before the disaster hits. Don’t let him or her weasel out of saving—remind your spouse that his or her habits will affect both of you. If you have children or are taking care of other people as well, explain to the spouse just how negatively his or her money issues will affect the people her or she loves.
Though debt may be difficult to shed, remember that this is now a partnered venture as you tackle these steps to take if your spouse has bad money habits. Joining together to solve your problems will help you both find a faster—not to mention easier—solution.
If you want to turn your newfound savings into higher earnings, Ty J. Young can help. Call him at (877) 912-1919 or continue to read the Retirement You Earned Blog for more useful advice.