Robbing Peter To Pay Paul: 5 Tips For Money Management In Your Marriage
Some things in marriage need to be discussed on a regular basis, but a lot couples let them slide. Household finances is one of those topics. In fact, it should be discussed even before saying “I do”, since spending habits are usually similar before and after marriage.
While we don’t want to look at marriage as a business, it does share some of the same professional properties. Its a goal-oriented partnership, and when one personal slacks off, the relationship suffers. Its the same with finances, one money misstep can create a burden marriage. A misfortune that will throw off both your balance and your goals.
There are two types of issues that will force a new couple to have to push back their goals if money isn’t handled properly:
1) Robbing Peter to pay Paul
2)Big Bang payments
Robbing Peter To Pay Paul
When financial woes ensue, many times couples resort to “bill juggling” to stay afloat. Its common to see things such as funds allocated for the electric bill used to pay the car insurance. While these tactics work temporarily, it puts the marital finances into a tailspin and leaves the couple always trying to find a way to recover.
Big Bang Payments
The Big Bang is when essentially all your major bills are due in the same time frame. You have no choice but to pay them and you are left squirming to find the cash. This scenario is far more stressful than Robbing Peter To Pay Paul because you are in essence tapped out. This will most certainly cause an astronomical amount to stress in your marriage, especially when its a frequent occurrence.
Don’t worry, there is hope. But I must admit from experience, it’s easier to set ground rules before these situations arise. Here are a few good rules to with:
1. Refrain From Emotional Shopping -As much as possible, never make impulsive purchases. If you set your sites on something, come up with a plan to purchase it, including how and when it acquired.
2. Agree To Agree – You and your spouse need be on the same page in regards to savings, bill paying, spending, etc. This requires consistent communication and understanding from both parties. Be sure to keep your end-game at the forefront of your financial planning.
3. Get Educated – Don’t be too proud to take a financial literacy or education class. The benefits could be monumental, especially when you plan to purchase a home, set up savings and create an education fund for your children. I recommend that you do this as a couple. Remember, (Applied) knowledge is power.
4. Household Maintenance Comes First – The primary income of your household should be used to cover your on-going household expenses first. Before you decide to spend any additional income, you should assure there is a nest egg to take care of unexpected concerns.
5. Proactive Communication – Financial issues are almost unavoidable, at some point during the relationship, they almost always arise. Be sure that you communicate with your spouse as soon as you see trouble on the horizon. Keeping each other in the dark will only cause bigger problems for the family unit. – Communicate, communicate, communicate.
These rules are only the first steps for married couples to get moving in the right direction. If they are instituted, any couple can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of financial struggles.