Today we're discussing 10 reasons couples fight about money and giving you tips for building a solid foundation with your spouse so you can both take control and work together to overcome any financial conflicts that might come your way!
Do you know what one of the top arguments in marriage is about? If you said money, you were spot on! It's one of the leading causes of divorce, too. Shocked? If you're here reading this post, chances are, you may be struggling with finances in your marriage… Have no fear, we've got some tips for how couples can stop fighting about money!
Really focus and be honest with yourself while you're reading this. If you find that you're struggling with one of the reasons couples fight about money, then be sure to read on to our tips to help you not only stop fighting about money, but be more proactive in preventing fights all together! Are you ready to get to it? Let's go!
REASONS COUPLES FIGHT ABOUT MONEY
There are SO MANY reasons that couples may fight about money. These are just the top reasons that we've come across.
- Communication Styles
- Different Background Experiences
- Financial Education
- Spender Versus Saver
- Different Long-Term Goals
- Who is “In Charge” of the Money
- Who “Earns” the Money
- No Budget
- Holiday Spending
Communication styles can play a huge role in why couples fight about money, just like they can in all other aspects of life.
- Aggressive communicators usually try to take over the conversation and don't really want to hear the other person's point of view. The spouse may think that they're trying to “take over” the finances.
- Passive communicators usually don't speak up, so it's hard to know what they're thinking. They may think that someone else is trying to make decisions for them since they're not standing up for themselves. This may lead to some negative feelings on both sides.
- Passive-aggressive communicators usually will speak up, but they may not say exactly what is on their minds. It's hard to know what they really think.
Background makes a big difference – if your family struggled financially and pinched pennies, you may value money more or it might just cause you stress. If your family was blessed and never had to worry about money, you will definitely have a different perspective. This background will have a big impact on your thoughts, feelings and experiences with money.
Most of the time, couples grow up and have completely different experiences with money. Some are given opportunities to earn and manage their own money, while others are never given the opportunity to worry about money.
Some might have just gotten money and spent it like it was nobody's business. They didn't really learn why or how to manage their money. Other kids worked hard for their money, were taught to set goals, learned to delay gratification and made sure their money went towards things that they really valued. Keep in mind, these differences can really lead to some sticky situations and differing opinions!
The truth is, we are all taught differently about money and have different levels of knowledge. Some of us may barely know what checking and savings accounts are and how to use them, while others know how to invest their money and get a return. Others are taught about credit cards and how they work, while some only use cash or debit cards. Some are taught that debt is trap to avoid no matter the cost, while others are taught that it's okay to go into debt for certain things. Others have been taught how to decide when to spend, save and even donate their money to a good cause.
You are definitely at an advantage if you were taught at a young age how to manage your finances and make good decisions regarding your money.
SPENDER VERSUS SAVER
Most people usually fall into two categories when it comes to money – a spender or a saver. The spenders usually get their paychecks in and then spend it on whatever they want. And before they know it, it's gone! The savers don't want to spend any extra money that they have because they're saving it for a certain purpose.
Oh the conflict! Most likely, the spender is constantly getting upset with the saver because they feel that the saver is holding them back from being able to buy or do fun things. The saver, on the other hand, is frustrated with the spender because they have a goal in mind for that hard-earned money – a trip to Hawaii or a down-payment on a house.
DIFFERENT LONG-TERM GOALS
Another reason couples fight about money is due to them having differing long-term goals for their money. These couples may both be on the same page when it comes to saving their money. However, they're on total opposite pages when it comes to how they want to spend that money in the future. They know that they have a goal, they just don't know how to get on the same page.
WHO IS “IN CHARGE” OF THE MONEY
When two A-type personalities get together, they usually fight over who is in charge of things. They may not do it on purpose. They may not even do it knowingly, but it still happens! Usually one of those big points of contention is about the finances. Each person thinks that THEY should be in charge of all of the money.
WHO “EARNS” THE MONEY
There is usually a main “breadwinner” in a relationship. Often times, the person who is making the most money feels like they should be the one to say where that money should go. This can happen when both spouses have jobs, but it's definitely predominant in single-income households.
Not having a budget is another reason that couples fight, although you may not realize that that's the reason. If you're not tracking your money, you will have months, or even years, where you have no clue where the money is going and it feels like you're living paycheck to paycheck.
Or maybe you have a bills due, or a trip to pay for and you don't know where the money is going to come from. You might catch yourself blaming your spouse or being blamed by your spouse for spending all of the money and not having any left over.
You can really break the bank with your holiday spending if you're not careful. Isn't that frustrating? But if you and your spouse are at opposite ends of the gift-giving spectrum, then this can be another reason that couples fight. One of you may want to give all of the gifts to all of the people, no matter the cost. The other may want to only give to certain people, with minimal cost possible.
Debt, we've all been there in one form or fashion! This is one of the biggest reasons that couples fight over money. Debt can come in many forms: mortgage, student loans, car payment, and credit cards, just to name a few.
Some debt is necessary and is good for your credit. But the pressing debt that you just can't seem to get out from under is what can lead to couples fighting about money.
HOW COUPLES CAN STOP FIGHTING ABOUT MONEY
Now that you know the reasons why couples fight about money, let's talk about how we can avoid, or at least cut back on, the number of fights we have about money! Check out what you can do to get you and your spouse on the same page and totally united when it comes to managing your finances.
- Consistent Communication
- Set a Budget and Expectations
- Divide and Conquer
- Tackle your Debt
The FIRST and foremost way to stop fighting about money is to TALK about it consistently! Be proactive and set aside time weekly or monthly to discuss your finances. We strongly suggest a regular finance date night, or “money date.” You'll definitely want to check out the details on how to make these regular meetings successful, but here's the basics of it.
Have a regular “date night” that is focused on discussing all things money. Doing it over dinner at a restaurant is best. No kids allowed! This keeps you on the same page about your money and goals, and lets you have fun while doing it.
As with all other things in a marriage, compromise is key. Both people can't say “it's my way or the highway” or else nothing will ever get figured out! You need to sit down and discuss your priorities. What is most important for the family? Is there a way that you can both get what you want? Maybe by cutting back in other areas of your budget, you would both be able achieve your goals. Be open-minded of your spouse and their needs as you talk about money
SET A BUDGET AND EXPECTATIONS
The biggest tip to stop fighting about money is to come up with a budget! When you use the simple budgeting method, you'll both be able to work towards your goals, whatever they may be.
SPENDERS AND SAVERS
Budget allowing, each person gets a little fun money, or an “other” budget. This allows the spender to spend it on whatever they want. But once it's gone, it's gone! And it allows the saver to put any money that they have leftover into savings. This lets each person feel like they're in control of “their” money, while still giving the shared money a purpose and a place to go.
FIGURE OUT YOUR GIFT BUDGET
Regardless of where you fall on the gift-giving spectrum, a great tip is to make a budget for your holiday spending. Sit down together and figure out how much money you would be able to set aside for the holidays each year. And not just Christmas – ALL of the holidays that you would want to give gifts for. You could also work birthdays into this category as well, or have a separate “birthday budget.”
You could go about doing this a few different ways. Count up the number of people that you would want to give gifts to. Once you know the total amount of people, divide the total amount of money by the amount of people to figure out how much you can spend on each person.
You could also make a list of the more important people in your life, such as parents, siblings, close family members, and best friends. You may want to be able to give these people bigger gifts than your neighbors. Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you stay within in your budget. There is a 3-part series with more details on how much to spend on Christmas, so make sure that you check it out!
Having this talk with your spouse really helps you to get on the same page. The key to this budget is to start saving for it early! You can't have this talk in November and then expect for the money to magically appear when you start buying Christmas presents. Read all about the 7 bank accounts that your family should have and start putting money in them now!
DIVIDE AND CONQUER YOUR MONEY
The best solution for determining who is “in charge” of the money – divide up your spending responsibilities! This allows each of you be in charge of certain aspects of your budget without fighting over control of them.
While you may not necessarily be the breadwinner of the family, you should still be in charge of the money that you're spending. If you're the one who takes the kids everywhere, then you're in charge of any of the kid-related finances! Or if you're the one who takes care of paying all of the utilities and bills, then you're in charge of keeping up with that money. It's so much easier when both spouses are over some of the responsibilities instead of being in charge of it all.
TACKLE YOUR DEBT
Debt is stressful. And pressing debt can really make you feel insecure in your life and marriage. It is best to get out of debt as quickly as possible.
If you have a small amount of debt, start off by doing three things. Track your money using this envelope budgeting method. It really is so simple and gives your money a purpose! Set up 7 bank accounts so that your money has a place to go. And do a spending freeze to see how much money you can save. If you go a week without buying ANYTHING that isn't absolutely necessary, you could start off by saving at least $100!
BUDGET BOOT CAMP
If you have a large amount of debt, start with these three things! But sometimes those just aren't enough to help you get out of debt. You may need to start cutting back! The BIGGEST tip that we can give you is to sign up for Budget Boot Camp! This program has been able to help so many people get out of debt and start thinking about money in a brand new light!
It's a super fun and easy online program that makes money easy to understand. All you need is a screen and you're set! And don't forget, if you don't save AT LEAST what you paid for the program, we'll refund every dime. You've got nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG at checkout to get an extra 10% off.
Alright, well there you have it! The top reasons that couples fight about money and the ways to get on the same page about it. Are there any tips that you would add on for how you and your spouse manage your finances? We would love to hear them in the comments!
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