Ideas for Improving Your Financial Life as a Couple

Money is one of the biggest areas of contention for married couples. It doesn’t have to be the case with you! When you and your spouse become intentional with your finances, it can open the way for constant communication about this facet of your life so that it can be a way to grow closer instead of apart.

We recommend including taking a look at your finances as part of your year-end review. If you haven’t yet begun talking about money, now might be a good time to start. If you already have the habit in place, take this time as a chance to evaluate and set new goals to reach together.

Our spouse is not the enemy! If one of you tends to spend more than the other would like, use it as an opportunity to understand each other better.
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5 Tips for Improving Your Finances as a Couple

Here are some of our most important tips for working toward improving your finances as a married couple:

1. Remember that you and your spouse are working as a team, and you are not fighting against each other.

We cannot underemphasise this point. Because husbands and wives clearly grew up with different perspectives of money, it’s tempting to think that our way of viewing finances is the correct one.

Before we start talking with our spouse about our goals for our finances, we have to get this underway: our spouse is not the enemy! If one of you tends to spend more than the other would like, use it as an opportunity to understand each other better. Why is he spending so much in coffee shops? Why does she take cabs instead of public transport? Is there a need somewhere that’s not being met?

2. Set realistic goals.

If you feel that you would like to have bigger savings per month, set goals that you and your spouse can realistically reach. For example, cutting down your monthly expenses by $500 within the first month might be too drastic. Instead, consider paring it down slowly, perhaps by $100 in the first month, $150 in the second, $200 in the third and so on.

3. Think in terms of the “5-jar system.”

We love the 5-jar system, which takes its roots from the Jewish way of training their kids to handle money. For everything that you receive, divide it into five jars: 10% goes to tithes (or charity), 20% to investment, 10% to savings, 10% to giving, and 50% to spending.

For the coming year, consider applying the 5-jar system to your finances. If you can’t reach the recommended percentages yet, it’s OK, but do consider working towards it. Or, consider taking the 5-jar system as the different areas of finances you can set goals in. For example, if you currently don’t have much investment, now may be the time to work towards it. Or if you’ve struggled with giving, make realistic goals for it in the coming year.

4. Make allowances.

As much as we want everything to be perfect, we need to be aware that money isn’t always easy to handle. Make allowances, either for yourself or for your spouse. This means that you might want to set a part of your budget as Fun Money, or to cover over-spending, or emergency monthly expenses.

5. Commit to transparency with your spouse.

When it comes to shared goals for finances, you and your spouse will need to commit to be transparent with each other. But this can only work if you both also agree not to be judgmental of each other! Easier said than done, we admit. (Perhaps our little booklet on healthy communication can help? Check out this link.)

Improving Your Finances As a Team

It’s crucial that you and your spouse work together as a team to reach your financial goals. Remember to start small and stay consistent, and be in constant, non-judgmental dialogue with each other. Slowly but surely, you will find yourself better able to work towards your desired financial state.

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