How We Stopped Fighting About Money

How We Stopped Fighting About Money

How We Made a Budget… and Stopped Fighting About Money

By  Abbigail Kriebs

A few of years ago, my husband and I were in limbo. We were trying to sell a house that wouldn’t sell and paying off student loans on an education that promised a higher-paying job but didn’t deliver. Our savings weren’t growing, even though we both had full-time jobs. We felt like we were hurtling along in life, but never getting anywhere.

A friend was leading a class on budgeting, so we signed up — more as a favor than anything else. I mean, we weren’t frivolous with our money! We weren’t smothered under debt! We weren’t like other couples fighting about money.

But we weren’t talking about money, either. And since finances influence every other area of life, we weren’t talking about our jobs or our goals. They were kind of there, kind of fuzzy and not at all the driving force behind our decisions.

That budgeting class changed how we thought about money — and ultimately how we related to one another. Being forced to sit down and talk about our financial situations brought life into better focus. Often, our conversation spilled outward from money into how things were going at work, what struggles we were facing, revealing our insecurities and helping us listen to each other person more deeply.

How to Avoid Fighting About Money

It’s not news that most fights in a relationship have something to do with money. But happier couples figure out a way to talk about their issues with clear solutions in mind, according to a 2019 study published in Family Process.

Most of these fights start because the people in the relationship aren’t on the same page. Maybe you’re working off different budgets (or no budget), or you have different attitudes toward money.

Talking about money early and often in a relationship can help you make sure you’re working together, rather than against one another, and prevent future fights. And creating a shared budget can help ensure you’re working toward the same goals and bring you closer as a couple.

Here’s how to talk to your significant other about money, and how to create a budget that works for both of you.

Make Sure You’re Not Tired, Hungry or Rushed

It may sound silly, but it’s not. If you try to sit down and sort out money problems when you are any in of these three states, you are doomed to fail.

It’s important to give yourselves the time you need, especially the first few months you sit down to talk. Don’t start the discussion when one of you is going to have to run off to work or right before bed.

 

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