When asked to write a list of what I am most grateful for, my husband’s name was first on my mind.
I currently live semi-under his graces. I get work only part-time, 2 days a week. The other 5 days, I get to play Mom at home with my baby. Meanwhile, my husband works a full-time corporate job to pay the mortgage, insurances, utilities, food, etc.
I am living my dream while he is toiling in the workforce. I am taking the role as dependant, while he is taking the role as provider.
It is becoming clearer and clearer that this is not working for our relationship. We are so stressed out about finances, that we take our fears and anxieties out on each other. Arguing and bickering are becoming more common place.
Unfortunately me playing housewife is not affordable to to our current lifestyle. Too many expenses, not enough income. Something desperately has to give. We are both trying our best.
This past year, we have had share of pain and suffering. I feel like this is a wake up call. We are nearing the bottom of our financial resources.
But we are not alone.
The average household carries a credit card debt of $15,482. Households with any kind of debt owe $134,058 (including mortgages), on average, data analysis found.
It is not unusual for financial stress to cause hardships in a relationships. Money issues is the 3rd largest reason for divorce.
Finances was the major cause of my parents’ divorce. I desperately do not want it to be cause of mine.
My mother was the more practical one. She worked a steady job and made sure to pay the bills. Meanwhile, my father was the entrepreneur who had little and unpredictable income.
He owned a restaurant that wasn’t doing well. It took a lot of my parents time and effort. There was a lot of financial stress in their lives due to the ups and downs of owning a business.
They parted ways after my father took out a $300,000 loan to buy second business. He did this without my Mother’s consent or knowledge. That was the last straw! My mother was so upset by his deception, she sent him divorce papers.
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I do not want money to force a wedge in-between me and my husband. So I’ve been working on to find ways to alleviate our frustrations.
Join me on this journey to taking financial responsibility in your relationship. Check out the strategies below to implement with your life partner.
Track, Track, Track!
Your family may have a budget, but are you sticking to it? Does your budget really reflect what you are spending? Do you even have a clue what you are really spending money on? Are you really watching to make sure that you’re not overspending in a budget category such as health, food or entertainment?
One of the best ways for your to do this is set a financial date once a week. In our household, hubby and I are starting Financial Fridays. Instead of spending time making a hot breakfast on Friday, we make cold cereal. The time we save not cooking, we spend looking over our budget. We look at every category, and make sure we are on track.
Regular tracking is the best way to alleviate stress. Having a clear picture of your financial situation gives your direction and hope for your future.
So much of the stress my husband and I were feeling was because we had no idea what our financial picture really looked like. Now that we are meeting regularly, we feel like we are in more control.
If you over-communicate you may be annoying your partner and wasting some time. You may feel like a nag. If he or she saids “you’ve already told me that.” Then you know you did your part to communicate effectively, and you can drop the matter. Simple.
However, if you under-communicate you are setting your relationship up for disaster.
If you are not relaying important information to your partner, than you could be wasting money and falling greater into debt. If you are not sure you should communicate something, just do it. What can happen from under-communicating can be much worse being a nag.
Stop Excess Spending
This is a huge problem for my husband and I, because we are still spending in the lifestyle we used to have instead what our current budget allows.
We really had to buckle down on normal expenditures, and stop buying the extras that we used to. This is a huge learning curve for both of us.
This was also a wake up call for us that we wanted a better lifestyle. We felt we needed to more income if we were to have the lifestyle we truly deserved.
Cut Expenses Together
Start talking about ways for your to cut your expenses.
In what categories are your bills just too darn high? Is there a way for you to cut your basic expenses? Can you get cheaper car or health insurance? Can you get a cheaper phone or cable/streaming service bill? Could you cut your entertainment expenses?
For my family this was food. I couldn’t believe that we were spending over $1,000 in month every month on food. We had budgeted for $600 for 3 people. No wonder we were going broke every month. We needed to find that $400 again, and quick.
Sell Your Things
If you need extra cash quick, selling something you already own and you don’t use is a fabulous idea.
Now is great time to clean out the garage. Pick a day you and your partner have off together, and start rummaging. Find things that you do not use that have value, and sell them.
For my husband and I we both put our bicycles up for sale. They had been doing nothing but collecting dust for years. One day we will be adventurous and ride our bicycles, we thought. But that day never came. Hopefully our bikes will sell soon, and we will use that money to buy extra Holiday presents.
There are lots of great apps to sell your items like Offer Up and Let Go.
Take time to dream together. Sit down with your partner and talk about your ideal lifestyle. What you would cultivate together if you had all the money in the world?
The sky’s the limit here. It’s okay to dream big, even when you are feeling overwhelmed financially. Having both partners concentrate on abundance, may help you achieve your goals so much faster.
Try writing your dreams down in a journal you keep together. Maybe create a vision board for your relationship. (Date NIGHT idea!) It is important that you are aligned in your dreams and aspirations, especially on a financial level.
Suck It Up!
If you decided you need more income, then you may need to take a second job in the short or longer term to get the financial stability you and your family need. You may need to start a profitable side hustle.
You may need to sacrifice some time and freedom with your family for some short term gains. Talk to your partner about what you are willing to sacrifice to get that financial stability. Talk about what you are not willing trade for money too.
For instance, you maybe willing to take a job with a long commute or lots of travel time for a short while. But you may want to keep interviewing to find something better. You may want to still have at least one day together as a family, or make sure you have job where you can take time off if you child has school play or recietal.
Learn and Grow Together.
When we started having financial problems, I started reading all about money. I felt so excited about everything I was learning. I would share some insights with my partner. Sometimes he wouldn’t really get it, which is probably my fault for not teaching it well.
Instead I decided I wanted my husband to learn with me. I asked him to start listening to the same audio books I was listening to so we could learn together. I sent him the articles I was reading, so we could discuss such ideas together.
It is so much more fun to grow with your partner. But it is also very important. If you and your partner are not growing together, than you may start growing a part.
Find Relationship Help!
If you find that you and your partner are still not on the same page, still fighting over nickels and dimes… then ask for help.
Again, you are not alone. It is very normal to have financial woes. It is very normal for money problems wreck your home life.
Take action to save your relationship. Find a therapist, coach, minister or friend that is willing to mediate for you. Do anything. Money cannot buy love, because love is even more elusive than money. Love is worth the fight a thousands times over.
Now that you are spending time tracking your budget and expenses very closely. Now that you have done what it takes to cut expenses and increase your income if needed. Now take time to reflect on how things are working.
Have you been able to alleviate some debt?
Have you been able to alleviate at least some worry?
Are you and your partner having a better relationship just from your new connection with each other?
Though you still maybe be swimming in some financial murky waters, do you at least now see the lighthouse guiding your way?
It can take some time and patience to get into new habits. But once you have a new routine with your partner your financial situation will become clearer through better tracking, communication and planning.
How do you and your family deal with finances? Chime in by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear from you.