Your Ridiculous Money Issues Are Probably Killing Your Relationship

woman upset with husbandLove conquers all -- except, apparently, where overspending is concerned. That's the result of a new study from personal finance website GOBankingRates.com.

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Just in time for Valentine's Day, the website surveyed over 5,000 Americans about their "financial deal breakers" in a relationship. Surprisingly, "ugh, he's a billionaire, and it's SUCH a drag" didn't make the top five.

What did?

Counting backwards:

#5. Poor credit.

#4. Too cheap.

#3. Too much debt.

#2. Secretive about finances.

#1. The aforementioned relationship killer: Overspending.

We think it's curious that people were more turned off by, say, someone who buys a new purse when they already have three vs. not knowing where that mysterious three grand in the bank came from, but whatever. The point is, overspending is like Kryptonite to relationships.

And what exactly qualifies as "overspending" does have some wiggle room, since we all have a different threshold for appropriate spending, explains Elyssa Kirkham, an editor at GoBankingRates.com.

"One clear definition is consistently spending more than you earn," she told The Stir. "This failure to live within your means can lead to other financial issues like credit card debt or anemic savings."

Neither of which is very romantic.

More from The Stir: 11 Couples Who Make the Saver vs. Spender Relationship Work (PHOTOS)

Interestingly, the men who participated in GOBankingRates's survey tended to be more worried about an overspending partner, says Kirkham, "which could indicate that men view themselves as having healthier spending patterns."

(And there is evidence to back this up.)

"Overspending can cause big problems because of how it reveals differences in financial values," Kirkham explains. "It can cause the frugal partner to feel like their partner is irresponsible, lacks self-control, and is even hurting the couple's financial future. The overspender, on the other hand, might feel resentful if they feel their partner is trying to control them or judging their behavior."

Are you guilty of being an overspender? Don't worry, we won't tell anyone. But we will suggest a few things you can do to curb this insidious habit and save your relationship in the meantime:

1. Become an open book. Since another deal breaker is being secretive about your finances, "try to be honest about your spending habits and stay open to your partner's concerns," Kirkham advises. "This honesty will help create healthier and more productive discussions of your money."

2. Go over your budget. Nope, we don't mean you should blow your mortgage money on a trip to Ireland. (Sorry.) We mean sitting down and reviewing your admittedly boring ole budget with your partner. And when you do, "try to stay open to your partner's suggestions of where you two could spend less," says Kirkham.

One suggestion: Setting up a separate "fun money" fund for each of you. This cash that you can spend without answering to your spouse "will give you some breathing room to spend a little when you want," says Kirkham, "while keeping spending within a reasonable amount."

More from The Stir: 5 Ways to Handle Money Stress Without Freaking On Your Partner

3. Learn your triggers. "Pay attention to times when you're tempted to give in to the urge to splurge," says Kirkham. (PMS, anyone?) "Come up with alternative ways you can reward or care for yourself that don't involve spending."

Take a long, hot bath and catch up on your reading, for instance, while your husband keeps an eye on the kids. Or go for a long walk with your dog.

4. Mix it up. "When you're trying to change money habits, it can be helpful to disrupt your normal money management routine," points out Kirkham. For instance, try switching to a cash-only system so you can be more aware of how all your little daily purchases add up.

Or keep a running total of each item you buy when you go shopping. That way, Kirkham says, you can better decide if you really should buy each item -- and won't get sticker-shock when it's time to check out.

Romantic? Well, think of it this way: It's definitely more so than having screaming fights about money.

 

 

Image via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

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