Money may make the world go ‘round, but issues concerning money can put a real damper on a relationship if not handled well. Whether you have a lot or a little, there’s bound to be some disagreement, somewhere along the way, as to how your income is best to be spent or saved.
If you are having disagreements, it would be worth your effort to put the time aside, preferably in a few installments, to put together a realistic budget. When you have all the numbers in black and white, you may see that both you and your partner’s goals can be met. It may also be that you must choose categories and shuffle numbers, but at least you can both see what is going on.
Here’s how your budget-planning pilot session should go:
· Set a date and time and stick to it.
· Relax – you’re both on the same side here. Make yourselves something nice to eat so this can be as enjoyable as possible.
· Write down as many specific categories as you can both think of.
· Be realistic. Use old bills, credit card slips and bank read-outs to make your calculations as accurate as possible. Much of this information can now be tracked down on the internet.
· Once you’ve seen where your money is going, see how much you can shuffle your expenses.
o One couple may be very happy paying an electric bill for having the a/c on 24/7 and go out to eat only once every month or two, while another might choose eating out often and limiting the a/c.
o You may see that your budget cannot cover both your gym membership and your partner’s golfing expenses. You might solve the problem by choosing a limited-hours gym membership and by your partner golfing at a slightly lower-scale golf course.
· Meet together on financial issues again every two weeks, then once a month, once things are running smoothly.
Finances can be a win-win team effort, helping to build your relationship. If you are both honest and open with each other, you can help your financial future thrive!
To Greater Intimacy,
Rachel Moheban, LCSW