Studies have shown that money is the number one reason couples fight, and my partner and I are no exception. I’m a natural saver while my other half is a bit of a spender. This caused quite a few disagreements when it came time to combine our finances.
But after a lot of communication and compromise, we’ve come up with a financial plan we’re both happy with. Here’s how we stopped the money fights and came to an agreement about our budget.
We Compromised On Discretionary Spending
My partner and I don’t have a hard time agreeing to a budget for necessities like groceries and cleaning supplies. But when it comes to discretionary spending, we tend to butt heads.
My partner has costly hobbies like woodworking and was spending a lot of money on supplies when we met. As a person who prefers free or cheap pastimes like walking and watching Netflix, I didn’t understand why my partner needed to spend so much on entertainment.
As you can imagine, this caused quite a few disagreements and was one of the main sources of conflict in our relationship. I resented my partner for the “unnecessary” hobby spending because it felt like it was impeding our financial progress. I couldn’t help but imagine how much our investment accounts would grow if we could cut back on entertainment.
We Set a Hobby Budget
Over time, I realized that my partner and I need different things to be happy. I’m content sitting on the couch and reading a free book from the library. But my other half needs to make things like handmade pens to feel happy and accomplished. These personality differences are part of what makes our relationship great, so I had to accept that my partner is more of a spender and account for it in our budget.
Instead of letting my partner decide what to spend on hobbies alone, we set a $250 monthly budget together, which is a figure we’re both comfortable with. If my partner wants to go over that amount, all the purchases have to be run by me first. This makes me feel like I’m part of the spending decisions instead of just going along with them.
We Focus On Shared Goals
Although we disagree about some of the line items in our monthly budget, my partner and I have a vision for what we want our financial future to look like. We would both like to have enough money to travel across America in retirement. We also agree that staying debt-free is important, so we purchased our first shared vehicle in cash.
Instead of focusing on the areas of our finances we don’t agree on, we try to keep our eyes on the bigger picture goals we have in common. This helps create harmony in our relationship and puts our disagreements in perspective. Although they feel important in the moment, in the grand scheme of things, they’re small potatoes.
By compromising and finding common financial ground, my partner and I were able to stop fighting about money and start talking about it calmly.