One of the toughest aspects of managing a relationship is organizing finances and getting on the same page as far as budgeting, saving, and spending. Rarely does a relationship work if both partners are not in agreement on what counts as a splurge and what doesn’t.
The failure to have this conversation can lead to not knowing when it’s time to call someone out on over-spending, which in turn can lead to a slow, simmering resentment and, worse, long-term debt. Here is a checklist on when a couples’ spending needs to be better managed:
Frequently Charging to a Credit Card
Obviously using a credit card for small purchases that will be easily repaid is not a big deal. A trip out to buy some cheap sunglasses does not need to be discussed with your partner, nor does an inexpensive lunch or even an afternoon at the movies—with popcorn and soda!
But if the credit card is being utilized for things that you can’t afford, that’s when you have a problem. This ties into the next two indicators, as credit card expenses needs to be figured into your monthly budget for both big and small expenditures.
Monthly Budgets Not Planned in Advance
A couple who shares much of their lives together should also share their finances. This doesn’t mean that one partner’s money belongs to the other, but it does mean that you should be discussing your expenses together and preparing a budget. Whether your bank accounts are linked or not, you should both be on the same page as to what your utility bills will be, insurance costs, car insurance, student loans, etc. This will prevent one partner from spending the last hundred dollars on a new smartphone instead of more pressing expenses.
Big Purchases are not Discussed Beforehand
A sure sign that a couple is not on the same financial page is when one of them makes a big, expensive purchase without discussing it beforehand without the other. This could be as simple as an iPad or as egregious as a new car. Regardless of your combined income, big purchases should always be discussed prior to sliding the plastic. Perhaps your other half has a more pressing financial need that he or she has been reluctant to bring up.
A financially responsible and respectful couple stands to gain more than just a sound bank account, it can also lead to a healthier relationship. Money is nothing to be scoffed at, and being open and honest with your partner should not be underestimated as a huge bellwether test in your relationship.