How To Be Financial Partners

Achieving balance
Creative Commons License photo credit: James Jordan

In most marriages and relationships there needs to be balance for things to work. In our marriage we’ve always been partners, but often one of us will take on a particular role, usually one that is best suited to our temperament and personality.

Finances though have never been either of our strong suits. If I were to categorize us both, I’d call us mostly reformed spendthrifts. We have a way of talking each other into things that we think we “need.”

We’ve both made mistakes, both big and small, but we’ve never had balance until recently. We realized that I’m good with controlling expenses, and he’s good with handling the fun portion of our money. We’ve realized that I’m good with planning, and budgeting, and he’s good at sticking to the plan (even when I try to talk him out of it!).

Some financial bloggers/experts advise having monthly “meetings,” or date night to talk about the finances, but we’ve learned that is the LAST thing we want to talk about at the end of the day. It’s probably been a good month since we’ve had a real sit down, and often then I feel like it’s more information than he wants to hear, just because I like to talk about finances and money more than he does. (A note on our finances, we have joint finances)

On Thursday (payday), when I was done paying the bills and setting out the plan for the next 28 days, I did something new. I sent my husband a detailed email describing what was being paid when, and how we were handling spending money this month, and some of our short term goals. I also included 2 items that he needed to address. I labeled it “Financial Update.” I also included a little bright note at the end to make it not so tough to read.

The reason this works for us, is because I am more concise in email (no rambling allowed), and he can choose to respond with a simple reply and I know that he got all the info. I also like that we’ll be able to go back and look at these updates regularly for more insight into how we can do better.

Being partners isn’t always easy, but as long as you have the similar goals and communicate them to one another you’ll be in great shape. The key with relationships is open communication, and a willingness to be put your partner’s needs in balance with your own needs.

How do you and your spouse/partner communicate about money?

Kelly

About Kelly


Kelly Whalen is the founder and editor of the Centsible Life blog. She started the blog 6 years ago as her family faced a mountain of debt. The blog became a resource to readers and a hub for everything you need in life for less. Kelly lives in the Philadelphia area with her superhero husband, 4 awesome kids, and one adorable dog. She still believes you can have it all....just not all at once.


Comments

  1. aj says

    I am the one who handles 90% of the finances but we talk about everything, all the time, so my husband is well informed. He runs his own lawn care & maintenance business and I am his “accountant” so we work together on the record keeping on that as well. He will check account balances online, and make some online payments for me, or remind me to make certain payments…but i am the one with the excel spreadsheet budget that actually tracks everything. I am the CFO and he is the CEO of our family and together we run a great company! (kids!)

  2. aj says

    I am the one who handles 90% of the finances but we talk about everything, all the time, so my husband is well informed. He runs his own lawn care & maintenance business and I am his “accountant” so we work together on the record keeping on that as well. He will check account balances online, and make some online payments for me, or remind me to make certain payments…but i am the one with the excel spreadsheet budget that actually tracks everything. I am the CFO and he is the CEO of our family and together we run a great company! (kids!)

  3. says

    I’m lucky in that neither my hubby or I are big spenders unless we agree. He always tells me if he’s going to buy something or if he has already and it’s never just stuff we don’t need. He usually uses birthday money or money he got from side jobs fixing computers for that stuff, like music or gadgets.

    I get all of his paycheck into my checking acct except a fixed amount that goes into his so he can get cash out if he needs to, though he doesn’t often. We put most everything on a credit card, so I can monitor it and ask what a certain charge was for, etc.

    I do all the financial stuff since he hates all that. I’m the planner and he’s the free spirit, so it works out well for me to do it all. I let him know what’s happening and he’s always fine with it all.

    He’s a ‘no worries’ laid back Aussie, so it works well for us.

  4. MB says

    I’m lucky in that neither my hubby or I are big spenders unless we agree. He always tells me if he’s going to buy something or if he has already and it’s never just stuff we don’t need. He usually uses birthday money or money he got from side jobs fixing computers for that stuff, like music or gadgets.

    I get all of his paycheck into my checking acct except a fixed amount that goes into his so he can get cash out if he needs to, though he doesn’t often. We put most everything on a credit card, so I can monitor it and ask what a certain charge was for, etc.

    I do all the financial stuff since he hates all that. I’m the planner and he’s the free spirit, so it works out well for me to do it all. I let him know what’s happening and he’s always fine with it all.

    He’s a ‘no worries’ laid back Aussie, so it works well for us.

  5. says

    Great post! I think it is awesome that you’ve been able to find a communication method that works well for you. There is no magical tablet anywhere that says you have to sit down face to face for exactly 60 minutes, once every week.

    The beauty of marriage is tinkering with a system that works for you!

    My wife and I usually spend around 15 minutes every other day going over expenses that we’ve spent. We updates our daily tracking spreadsheet. I make sure the amount in our cash envelopes matches the spreadsheet.

    We then can discuss any categories that are out of control or even better… categories we are doing well in!

    We only seem to have problems when we let ourselves slip to 4-5 days without tracking. It takes so much longer to remember everything and we usually will bump into at least one charge we forgot.

    For us, a more regular commitment helps us stay on track!

    Great post!

  6. says

    Great post! I think it is awesome that you’ve been able to find a communication method that works well for you. There is no magical tablet anywhere that says you have to sit down face to face for exactly 60 minutes, once every week.

    The beauty of marriage is tinkering with a system that works for you!

    My wife and I usually spend around 15 minutes every other day going over expenses that we’ve spent. We updates our daily tracking spreadsheet. I make sure the amount in our cash envelopes matches the spreadsheet.

    We then can discuss any categories that are out of control or even better… categories we are doing well in!

    We only seem to have problems when we let ourselves slip to 4-5 days without tracking. It takes so much longer to remember everything and we usually will bump into at least one charge we forgot.

    For us, a more regular commitment helps us stay on track!

    Great post!

  7. says

    My boyfriend and I have a joint account where we split shared expenses like rent and groceries. I learned the hard way, until you’re married, keep your finances separate!! I can only chalk up such an obvious lack of common sense to an out of brain experience.

    But now that I am older and smarter, this is how we manage it. Whether we’ll keep the same arrangement if we’re married, I’m not sure. It all depends on the circumstances. I will say, however, that I prefer our individual accounts and shared accounts. We both have our separate pool of money we can spend on what we want.

    We put a proportion of our money into the shared account, and pay for what we share together. There’s not a lot of discussion about it – we buy groceries, rent, dinners out and other entertainment from it. Splitting the check on everything lead to a lot of fights. We find having our must have expenses shared, and our incidentals separate keeps the peace pretty well.

  8. says

    My boyfriend and I have a joint account where we split shared expenses like rent and groceries. I learned the hard way, until you’re married, keep your finances separate!! I can only chalk up such an obvious lack of common sense to an out of brain experience.

    But now that I am older and smarter, this is how we manage it. Whether we’ll keep the same arrangement if we’re married, I’m not sure. It all depends on the circumstances. I will say, however, that I prefer our individual accounts and shared accounts. We both have our separate pool of money we can spend on what we want.

    We put a proportion of our money into the shared account, and pay for what we share together. There’s not a lot of discussion about it – we buy groceries, rent, dinners out and other entertainment from it. Splitting the check on everything lead to a lot of fights. We find having our must have expenses shared, and our incidentals separate keeps the peace pretty well.

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