It's one of the most common causes for marital strife and one of the most common reasons that couples separate. It's not always an easy subject to broach -- a lot of people have differing spending habits, different ways to handle money, and sometimes, those differences can't be easily solved.
Here are some tips for handling money in a relationship:
1) Don't make the money talk into a big production. While one partner may spend while the other is a saver, it's important that you're both open and honest about the way you handle the finances.
2) Come up with some mutually agreed upon reasonable guidelines for ways to handle money. It can be as simple as running purchases over X dollars by your partner BEFORE spending it.
3) Come up with some reasonable goals for your life -- saving for college, trips, and how to keep on top of all the holiday spending so you're not constantly dipping into savings.
4) Set up a savings account, and each week, put five dollars in there. It sounds like chump change, but it can add up over time.
5) Decide whether or not you should have mutual bank accounts or separate ones. This can be a huge help for couples who have different ways of handling money.
6) Begin to track your spending before putting together a budget. Each day, write down how much you've spent and on what using a shared spreadsheet. This can help you identify things you're overspending on and ways you can make the budget work.
7) Create a realistic budget that actually works for you. It may appear that the weekly Starbucks runs are indulgent, but perhaps this is how your partner blows off steam and gets away from work for awhile.
8) Set aside some money as "fun money" for the month. Use it to do dinner out, see a movie, or buy something for the house. You don't want to feel guilty for having fun -- just make sure that it's within the budget.
9) Have weekly meetings about the budget and make them fun, not super serious and scary. In those meetings (maybe make some popcorn?), make sure you check in with each other as to how you're both handling the budget, if it's working, and plot out any upcoming bills.
10) Work together to make sure your finances are under control and that you're both on the same page with the money stuff. It's awkward to talk about at first, especially if you're not accustomed to it, but remember that you're a team -- you can do this.
Any other advice for handling money in a marriage?
Image via Tax Credits/Flickr