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Don’t we all wish everyone had our financial savviness and the world could be one big ball of financial peace and freedom?
Yeah, me too…
Truth is, it may be very rare for two people to come together and both be on the same page when it comes to managing their finances.
Opposites attract right? Unfortunately.
Even though you may be pulling your hair out everytime your partner makes a dumb financial move, just know there are ways in which you can both learn how to manage your money together in harmony.
1. Separate accounts
When we think of love we often think of unity. You know, togetherness. Becoming one.
If boo-thing cannot get it together in the finance department then separate those accounts!
When you’re sharing an account with someone who isn’t the best with money, you’ll both have access to the funds. This means that your hard earned money is in the line of fire which often leads to unnecessary stress and arguments.
Now, don’t take this as meaning that every single account has to be separated. For instance, I have five bank accounts that are all for different purposes.
Checking account #1:
My first checking account serves as my ‘bills account’. Here, I have a portion of my paycheck direct deposited to pay all of my bills. My bills are on auto-draft or set up to automatically be taken out of the account, so I’m able to just let technology do its thing. This gives me the peace of mind that no matter how screwed up my other accounts may be, at least my bills are not affected.
Checking account #2:
My second checking account serves as my ‘expense account’. Now, this doesn’t include my bills, such as my car payment, but it funds my gas and food.
Checking account #3:
This is the ‘fun account’. Any remaining funds from my paycheck get deposited into this account as spendable income.
Savings account #1:
My first savings account is just your basic savings. I contribute something to this account bi-weekly because, ya’ know, it’s the adult thing to do.
Savings account #2:
My second savings account is my emergency savings. You should aim to have at least $1000 saved up in preparation for a financial emergency. This account prepares me for the unknown and ensures I have enough money on hand to handle it without having to dip into my other accounts.
Accounts like a savings or one that serves the purpose of holding funds for bills is okay to share because you aren’t (or shouldn’t be) withdrawing funds or swiping debit cards.
Your accounts that have your spending money, however? Se-pa-rate.
This decision does not have to be permanent, just one to cover yourself until his bad habits become good financial moves.
2. Create a budget
A budget is the Holy Bible to keeping your finances on track. It allows you to take control and give your dollars a specific job each month.
Without a budget, things can get hectic because you don’t exactly know what you’re bringing to the table nor how much is leaving it.
Related reading: Budgeting for Beginners
Sit down with your partner and make a list of all expenses and income. It’s important to do this together because you’ll both have an understanding of your complete financial picture. This lessens your chances of experiencing any hiccups down the road.
Once you’ve got your budget created then move on to tracking his spending. This part may be the most time-consuming, but you need to figure out where his weaknesses lie in order to strengthen them. You may even find some weaknesses of your own.
Go through all bank statements over the previous month and add up how much was spent and on what. If this sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry just yet. We live in a world full of technology that allows us to cut corners so to make this part easier I highly recommend using Personal Capital.
Personal Capital is completely free to use, and it allows you to track your expenses from all bank accounts. If you’re familiar with Mint it works the same way but better because it also helps you manage your retirement accounts.
I don’t know about you, but things like a 401K are still a foreign language to me!
Related reading: Manage Your Finances Like a Boss + Personal Capital Review
3. Proactively educate
Us ladies are known for “nagging” by our male counterparts, but I like to this of this as proactively educating *wink*.
Identifying your partner’s bad money habits makes it easier to stop them before they happen. If you feel as though there might be even the slightest chance of a stupid decision being made then intervene.
For example, if boo-thing always overspends when he goes out with friends then it would benefit both of you to gently remind him to stay on budget before his next outing.
4. Assign small tasks
Bad financial management comes from a lack of knowledge, or just simply not giving a rat’s. In this case, we’ll go with a lack of knowledge.
Consider assigning your partner small tasks to complete in order to help them get into the swing of managing their money. This could be making a deposit, paying a bill, etc.
The more they learn and understand, the less stressful things are for you are the shorter your to-do list becomes.
5. Put them in charge of a bill or two
You may be clutching your invisible pearls at the thought of you handing off the responsibility of paying a bill to your beloved, but take a deep breath and loosen the reins.
It’s important to let him be in charge of a bill or two, no matter how small. Not only will it make him feel more involved, but he will also get a better understanding of how his decisions affect his finances.
Only handling a couple of bills lessens the chance of him completely busting the whole budget.
I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? You may be sitting in the dark from an unpaid bill in the beginning, but once he gets the hang of it that’s one less thing you have to worry about each month.
6. Set up a sinking fund
A sinking fund is a fund that’s set up for a specific expense. It takes the guilt out of treating yourself because you saved up for your purchase/expense in advance.
As a couple, set financial goals that you will work towards together. This could be purchasing a home or just simply saving up for your next big vacation.
Financial goals will ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to what you want to accomplish as well as the steps you’ll both take to reach them. Consider starting with short-term goals first and then ease your way into long-term goals once you have both gained momentum.
To start working on saving towards your goals, check out Digit. After analyzing your account’s behavior, it saves money for you so you don’t have to. It’s honestly amazing to see such small contributions add up over time!
The app makes it easy to keep track of your progress and you can get your funds at any time. You can try Digit free for 100 days when you sign up through this link before it switches back to the regular price of just $2.99 a month.
Last but not least, be patient with him. Certain things take time, and there’s no sense in stressing yourself out over something that’s not entirely in your control.