How to be a financially responsible couple

It’s no surprise finances are a source of marital stress for many couples. While financial disagreements can’t be entirely avoided, you can take steps to reduce the amount of stress money causes your relationship. By following the tips below, you and your spouse will be able to manage your finances more wisely and reduce the amount of strain on your marriage.

1. Analyze your debt. If you have debt (and almost all of us do) take a closer look at it. This includes examining any house or car payments, student loans, credit card balances, or unpaid medical bills. If your list of debt is quite long, develop a plan for paying it off. One recommendation would be checking out the resources produced by financial coach, Dave Ramsey.

2. Create a budget. This point is probably the most important. A budget will help you clearly define your income and expenses. When listing your income, make sure to include even the most minimal sources. On the other hand, your expenses should be categorized into essentials and nonessentials. Challenge yourself to trim down your nonessential expenses to put more money towards your savings each month.

3. Set a monthly spending allowance. While creating your budget, work in a small amount of spending money for you and your spouse each month. This is money you can spend on anything throughout the month with no judgments. My husband and I, for example, both get $30. This means if I want to get my nails done, and he wants to buy the latest video game, we both have the freedom to do so without the other getting upset.

4. Build an emergency fund. Ideally, a family emergency fund would have between three to six months of expenses. This money should have tight restrictions on what it can be used for. A spouse losing their job, a surprise bill or a necessary home repair would all qualify. Of course, not everyone can save such a large amount of money, but even a small emergency fund is better than none at all. Start by putting aside $1,000, and work your way up from there. Also, my recommendation would be to keep your fund in a separate savings account which will decrease the desire to spend it unnecessarily.

As you can imagine, financially responsible couples have many other habits which I didn’t mention here. However, if you and your spouse can implement the four points above, you’re well on your way to less stress and more financial freedom!

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