By Tayon Mitchell
Disagreements over finances are commonly cited as the primary cause of divorce. Even the kids can get in on the argument when it comes to clothes, video games, and toys. Avoiding money-related fights can enhance the level of harmony within the home.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to minimize the disagreements.
Discover how to get a handle on financial disputes in the home:
1. Understand your attitudes regarding money.
It’s possible you grew up in a wealthy home, and your spouse didn’t. You might value saving over spending, and your spouse is the exact opposite. If your wife grew up wearing the clothes her older sister outgrew, she might place a high priority on buying new clothes regularly.
Your husband might value having a brand new car because his family could only afford cars that were over 10 years old.
Understanding your differing views can help you find middle ground regarding finances. Those new clothes or car might mean more to your spouse than you realize.
2. Include everyone in the budgeting process.
There aren’t many of us that enjoy being told what to do. Creating, imposing, and enforcing a budget without input or explanation inevitably causes animosity.
Have a meeting with the entire family and go over the budget. Provide an opportunity for everyone to give their opinion and ask questions.
Everyone will be more likely to stick to the budget if they’re involved in the process.
3. Discuss major purchases with your spouse.
Coming home with a pair of $50 shoes is one thing. Towing a new boat home without a discussion is an entirely different situation.
- Have an agreement that all major purchases will be discussed beforehand.
- Minimizing surprises helps to keep the peace.
4. Schedule regular family budget meetings.
A 10-minute meeting once a week should be sufficient. Go over the spending for the week and compare it with your current budget plan.
- Discuss how the spending is matching up with the plan. Any corrections or adjustments can also be addressed.
It can also be a convenient time to see if anyone has any unbudgeted expenses coming up.
5. Give everyone an allowance, including you.
Many financial disputes come down to someone feeling a lack of freedom or control. Providing everyone in the household a few dollars to spend any way they desire can be helpful.
- Having to get permission before every little purchase can create resentment.
6. Have some common financial goals.
Everyone in the house is likely to be more agreeable to a reduction in spending if it’s being done to reach a desirable goal, such as a vacation. Saving for a dream house, retirement, or college can put everyone on the same page. Set, pursue, and achieve goals together.
7. Think before you speak.
If your spouse has run up the credit card again, take some time to get your emotions under control. Share your displeasure with them, but leave your emotions out of it.
- If you focus on the behavior rather than the person, you’re less likely to make someone defensive.
Fighting over money is a common occurrence. With patience and understanding, most arguments over finances can become a thing of the past. Include the whole family in the budgeting process and review the family’s spending on a regular basis. Your family will thank you for it.