One question that crops up all too often is how to get a partner on board with better money management. Married life and money are so intertwined that it’s vital to find a system that both are happy with.
How do you get your partner to stop wasting money?
- Have a conversation about your goals as a couple and how they might be achieved.
- Show them results.
Talking about married life and money
The key with this is to have a powerful why. If you remember the blog post – Your why – you might remember that your why is the secret ingredient to getting better with money organisation. If you want your partner to change their spending habits they are going to need a reason to do it.
“Lets save money for the craic” isn’t going to wash well. What is something you both have been talking about for ages? “In a few years it would be lovely to take the kids to Disneyland” probably isn’t a big enough why. Think bigger.
“Imagine being able to finally visit your family in Canada and while we are there we could… fill in the blank…” is more likely to work.
Imagine being able to finally visit your family in Canada and while we are there we could…
Why is that more likely to work?
Because the goal is centered around something they would love and something you both gain from. A trip to Disneyland for the kids might be enough of an incentive if the kids are pestering you both and secretly your partner has always wanted to go. Otherwise it is unlikely to motive a big change like organising your money.
Generally speaking humans are by nature a selfish lot. We are motivated most by how something benefits us.
Other advice about having a money conversation?
- Pick a suitable moment to have the chat. When your sister and her family is en route for a visit is not the best time. If the kids are running around like jungle animals during a stampede it is not the right moment either. Choose a time when you both can focus on the conversation and aren’t in a rush to be somewhere.
- Avoid placing blame! This is not easy especially if you are feeling frustrated but for this conversation to go well you need to refrain from playing the blame game.
- Reassure your partner that the things they value will be incorporated into the budget. Taking all the fun things in their life away won’t encourage them to stick to a budget.
- Allow them to share their concerns and really listen to what they are saying. Pay attention while your partner speaks and stay off your phone!
- Talk about what each of you consider essential and what can be removed from your expenses.
What if talking doesn’t work?
Show them it can be done but don’t make it a secret.
If they are adamant it can’t be done then explain that you intend to save some money by implementing a budget and sticking to it. Avoid having secrets around money. You want your partner to be invested in this and they can’t be if they don’t know you’re doing it.
If you are responsible for the food shopping, for example, set yourself a budget and stick to it. Challenge yourself to save money for a goal such as an emergency fund. Then when you need an emergency fund and they are panicking you can calmly explain that you have the money.
People are oftentimes more trusting in something new when they can see results. Seeing you work on tackling a goal and achieving it should bolster their confidence to get on board and start organising your money together.
Married life and money are hard to get balanced right but when they are in harmony life is that little bit sweeter. It is worth the effort to find a compromise now and avoid rows in the future.
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