Saving money on a continous basis is challenging but rewarding. If you are married or living together, and trying to save while caring for a family, you can’t do it on your own. You and your spouse have to be on the same page. It won’t work for one spouse to save while the other spends. It’s kind of like a team sport. You really both need to be on the same page when it comes to putting money into your bank account and paying the bills.
Know Your Relationship
Saving money means you need to know how your partner feels about money and he/she needs to know how you feel. When I first met my husband, he was way ahead of me on saving. I considered myself a saver but still liked going out with friends. He was a complete saver. Every bit of money he didn’t have to spend went to his bank account. Dating became a compromise of still having fun with friends and going out occassionally but also going out without having to spend money. As we got to know each other more, our goals and values became closer in line as we both wanted marriage and family. Our conversations included our money goals and what we thought we needed to provide for our family. It is really important to talk about how you feel about money and what you expect in your relationship when it comes to saving and spending.
If you are complete opposites when it comes to saving money, you will have a harder time in your relationship. I don’t believe you can have one partner who spends, and one partner who saves. It’s not fair to either. A compromise has to be made and you need to talk consistently about what your goals are for the future and what kind of saving you need to do to get there.
A Joint Bank Account
Many couples don’t like the idea of joining their money together when they either marry or decide to live together. Some couples prefer to have their own accounts and split the bills. Before I married, I was advised not to have a joint account, so that I would have my own money to spend, but conversations with my soon-to-be spouse helped us to decide to join our money. I think having a joint account makes you more accountable to saving and is something you can grow together. My husband and I have never looked back or regretted joining our account. The conversation has to take place and you have to be open with your partner about how you will use your money.
Who Takes Care of the Money
This is another conversation you need to have. It’s much easier for one of you to look after the bank account and your household expenses. It saves time and neither of you are wondering who paid the hydro bill and who paid the credit card off. I have always been the one to look after this because, first of all, I had more interest in doing so then my husband, and secondly, even when I wasn’t working, I felt included in what was happening with our money. Having said that, the one who doesn’t look after the bank account and doesn’t pay the bills should still know what is going on. I hate to say it, but still today, there are many women who have no clue what moves in and out of their joint account with their husband. I’ve met them and I’m always amazed that they take no interest in where the money is going.
Don’t Hide Purchases
This is probably one of the worst things to do in your relationship when it comes to saving money. Now, don’t get me wrong, there has been the odd purchase of yarn (I am a yarn hoarder because I love to knit) or a purse or two that I haven’t felt the need to mention that I bought, but then again, my husband wouldn’t care about that, and eventually he sees it anyway. I’m talking the big stuff. Don’t hide major purchases. Be open and honest about the things you want to purchase. It saves heartache in the end. If there is a purchase you don’t agree on, see if there is some compromise to the purchase. If you need a TV and he wants a 70 inch, can you get away with something smaller and cheaper. Walk away from the conversation for a while. Sometimes, some thinking time allows you to see that a major purchase is maybe not what you need right now or maybe you can compromise on the purchase.
It is always important to include each other about finances and have many a conversation about your spending and your saving. You need to be in line with each other when it comes to saving or you will have problems from the get go. Conversations about money doesn’t need to be stressful, but you do need to have them and you need to be able to work out a plan for your future savings. Having the conversation now saves problems later on.