One of the most difficult things about being in a relationship is managing differing feelings about money, saving and spending. People usually have different beliefs or habits ingrained in them depending on how they were raised, what their income level is and how much debt they have. The problem is only compounded when a saver and a spender move in together. But it doesn’t have to spell disaster. Here are a few tips for how you can help make it work.
Communicate. The biggest key to making the spender/saver relationship work is to talk openly about things. There should be no hidden secrets about what is being spent and, from the beginning, you should be clear about who is covering what household expenses. Discuss whether you will split everything down the middle or if the person with the higher income will be responsible for more of the living expenses. Having an open dialogue about all types of financial decisions will help the saver feel more comfortable knowing that their savings are increasing and should prevent the spender from keeping secrets about how much he or she is spending which could do damage to the relationship.
Set limits. Instead of having the saver micromanage every last bit of spending that the spender is doing, it might help to set a certain limit up to which each person can spend freely or to set a budget of “free money.” If the spender knows he has $200 each month to spend on whatever he wants, he may not feel as restricted or judged. Or, if you make a rule that any purchases over $50 have to be discussed with one another, you’ll avoid fighting about a big purchase after the fact.
Define goals. If you are both on the same page about what your goals are for the future, that’s a very good starting point. If you decide that you want to save for a house or a wedding and can both commit to putting a specific amount of money away for that goal, you can be more flexible with the rest of your budget from there. Though the saver may want to save more each month and the spender may want to save less, coming to a consensus somewhere in the middle can allow you to both meet your goals and leave both of you feeling a bit more comfortable with the progress you’re making (saver) and flexibility you have as to how much you spend (spender).