1. Be honest
Being honest about your financial situation is crucial in every relationship. It can be tempting to avoid talking about financial problems, but starting the conversation is the most important (and often the most difficult) step.
Be honest about your spending habits and encourage your partner to be honest about theirs. Approach the topic in a calm manner.
Remember, this conversation is a collaboration of ideas and thoughts, not an opportunity to accuse your partner of overspending. The more you talk about money, the easier it becomes.
2. Decide whether to combine your money or keep it separate
Decide which financial situation will be best for you as a couple. Will you combine your money or keep it separate? If you feel it will be easier to pay the bills together, then combine your finances.
Don’t forget to tell your partner about all your expenses (especially the unplanned ones) if you combine your salaries. If you feel that combining your salaries is too codependent, keep your finances separate.
However you decide to handle your finances as a couple, it’s important to remember that you are a team and big financial decisions will work out best when made together.
3. Budget, budget, budget
Do you know how much your partner earns? Have a candid conversation about your salaries, then create and decide on a budget that best fits BOTH of your needs.
And no, there is no need for a complicated Excel spreadsheet, simply list your income in one column and your expenses in another. You will soon see expenses that can be cut.
4. Eat at home
Dinner dates can become very expensive and can put strain on a relationship. You or your partner might feel pressure to take each other out and these unplanned expenses can add up quickly.
Why not eat at home? The gesture of cooking for your partner or cooking together is very romantic. You’ll earn brownie points without forking out too much money!
5. Set up money goals
Are you getting married? Are you having a baby? Planning an overseas trip together? Wherever you are in your relationship, there is probably something you are saving for as a couple.
Decide beforehand how much both of you should save each week/month/year. Setting up some saving guidelines and sticking to them can prevent some serious relationship conflict.