(Catherine is a guest blogger from Catherine Alford, formerly known as Budget Blonde.)
Ah, marriage. When you make all those vows on your wedding day and head off on your honeymoon into the sunset, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll have late night arguments about money or disagreements over big purchases.
In most couples, there is one spender and one saver, or as legendary personal finance expert Dave Ramsey says, one nerd and one free spirit. If you’re the saver in the relationship and you’re constantly trying to get your spouse on board with your financial goals, here’s how to inspire them to be more like you (you know, the one who is right. ;))
In most money conversations, it’s the saver who usually leads the charge. The saver is the one who brings up money issues, who tries to get their spouse to be more money conscious, and who plans for bigger purchases or long term savings. Sometimes, your other half feels defensive and attacked during these conversations, so allow them to be the leader from time to time.
You can allow them to be the leader by asking them their opinions and of course, listening to what they say. Ask questions like, “How do you think we’re doing in terms of our finances?” “Do you have any ideas on how we can save more?” “When do you want to buy a house and what should we do so we can meet that goal?”
Everyone loves feeling respected and appreciated, so by giving your spouse the ability to share opinions and lead the conversation from time to time, you can have a much more open dialogue.
It might sound silly to have an allowance as an adult, but many a marriage has been saved by allocating personal spending money to each spouse each month. Whether it’s $25 a month or $200 a month, having your own spending money allows you to feel a sense of freedom within your relationship.
There are so many men and women who feel like they have to hide their purchases or lie about the price of something. With an allowance, each person can spend their money as they please on whatever they want - no questions asked.
It’s best if you take out the allowance in cash at the beginning of the month. Or, you can have the money automatically transferred to a pre-paid card on the same date each month.
Has your spouse always wished for season tickets to their favorite sports team’s games? Or, perhaps he or she has always wanted a particular car, a vacation home, or the ability to retire early.
Whatever those goals might be, put them front and center. For the spouse who tends to spend more, visual goals serve as important reminders to watch spending. A picture of your dream vacation home on the fridge will cause your spouse to pause and think twice about a small purchase so that one day they can have the big purchase they want. The added benefit is that you don’t have to nag them to be more money conscious. The reminders are all over your house with pictures and subtle reminders for you both to keep your eyes on the prize.
Ultimately, it is possible to inspire your other half to be more money conscious, but it’s going to take some careful thought and compromise. The best thing you can do is make your spouse feel like a valuable part of your team whose voice is heard in all money conversations, whether they are tense or not. The more you work on open communication and setting goals together, the easier it will be to align your spending and savings patterns over time so you can have the future you want together.