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Marriage and money: how to keep the peace

Savers and spenders: you can reconcile financial differences with your loved one

Money is a source of conflict in nearly a third of all relationships, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

When it comes to budgeting, two can quickly turn into a crowd. That’s because some of us like to save our nickels, while others would prefer to spend every last dime. And it’s hard to get the other person to change their mind. (Okay, so you might be a little stubborn too.)

But there’s room for everyone when making a budget. Savers get a sense of control over their money, while spenders get permission to buy without guilt. Both win!

Here’s how savers and spenders can keep the peace while balancing the budget:

Scenario one: one spouse really likes to spend

The stat: according to a recent SunTrust survey, 36 per cent of people don’t seek the advice of their spouse or partner before making purchases of any size.

The fix: In marriage, money belongs to both of you. That means you should both decide how it’s spent. So if your spouse is the spender, compromise with a reasonable amount of money for him or her to spend on fun, no questions asked. And if you’re the spender, make sure your spouse works some fun money into the budget. This gives you some freedom — within boundaries.

When it comes to big purchases, determine a dollar amount to spark an automatic money discussion. That could be $100 or it could be $300. For any item over that amount, talk it over before you buy. And maybe sleep on your decision. If you both still want it in the morning, go for it!

Scenario two: one spouse really likes to save

The stat: the same SunTrust survey found that 34 per cent of people said they were the savers in the relationship, and their partners were the spenders.

The fix: if your spouse is the saver, be glad! You’ve got a built-in money manager. This doesn’t mean they get to make all the decisions. It means they actually enjoy handling the budget. So, let them. But they have to run it by you before it’s final. And you absolutely have to provide your input.

If you’re the saver in this equation, be sure you’re allowing your spouse to have his or her say. Saving is a top priority, but if your children need new shoes or your spouse wants to go out to dinner, it’s not the end of the world. Simply work it into the budget. It’s okay to take the lead when it comes to budgeting, but don’t try to fly this plane without your co-pilot. You need them!

Keep it together

Once your budget is done, the last proactive step in your plan is to track your money throughout the month. This will help you and your spouse stick to the budget without fighting about it. Think of it as a way to say: “I love you!”

This article was published courtesy of EveryDollar, which is a simple, online budgeting tool that helps users set a monthly budget and seamlessly track expenses. For more information, go to www.everydollar.com.