We don’t claim to be relationship experts here at RinggitPlus, but we do know our money. And if you argue with your partner a little too much about money then maybe we might know a thing or two to help you address that problem.
Financial disagreements are a major factor for divorce among Malaysians so it’s important to figure out how to handle this topic productively with your partner while avoiding domestic disaster.
Get Comfortable Talking About Money
This tip may be more for those who are still in the ‘getting to know each other’ phase of a relationship, but it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind. For many people, money might be a difficult or taboo topic of conversation on par with religion or politics. However, it’s actually essential that you discuss money with your partner seriously and often.
Doing this early on in the relationship will clue you both in on the kind of financial priorities your partner has and can help identify shared goals and challenges that you both can work on together. You also get to know whether or not they have a good financial plan and how careful they are with their cash. Financial incompatibilities may seem like a non-problem early on in a relationship, but that ship’s course can go wayward if you don’t communicate enough about who spends how much on what.
Learn Each Other’s Spending Style
As we’ve covered before, different people have different spending styles and this heavily affects how they manage their expenses. A simple exercise you can conduct to find out each other’s spending style is to track your receipts every day for a month and review the other person’s list of expenses. You then go through each of your partner’s purchased items and order them by priority, and let them do the same with yours.
Once you do this you will definitely learn that you both have different priorities when it comes to spending. Based on this, you can start understanding and accepting your partner’s (and your own) values when it comes to expenses. This way, you won’t be upset or taken aback when somebody spends what looks like too much on sports equipment or discounted tableware, because you understand each other’s spending quirks.
Be Transparent About Your Missteps
This one might be a lot harder for some of us to do since admitting mistakes is particularly embarrassing especially to someone you admire and who admires you back. But honesty and transparency is important when it comes to finances since there’s always a paper trail. Try your best to be upfront about debts, bad purchases you’re still paying for, or other financial tumbles with each other.
Doing this is part of being more frank with each other about personal problems and making sure that you and your partner can work together to manage them without any shame or judgment.
Regularly Communicate Each Other’s Financial Goals
By now you should know the spending styles and different financial priorities of each other and know how to work around them right? While that’s true, you shouldn’t ignore that as we grow and change, our priorities and values might evolve alongside. With that, so do our financial goals, targets, and fears.
This becomes especially important when approaching big relationship milestones like moving into a new house together, deciding to have children, or getting a new job. These choices and the financial motivations behind them should be a regular household conversation so that all potential challenges or difficulties can be met with together with no uncertainties or unpredictabilities.
Make a Budget Already
We talk about budgets quite often as it really is absolutely essential in getting the most out of your finances. When you’re single and there’s relatively little to manage, you might get away with not drawing out a budget. However, once you start sharing financial responsibilities, that budget becomes significantly imperative to the health of your finances and by extension, your relationship.
There are several ways to go about preparing a monthly budget and you can make a day out of it with your partner. Spend a weekend hashing out who makes how much and where should it go month to month. Make it fun by saving up for a couples expense or holiday so it doesn’t get boring. Trust us when we say, planning things out this way will help immensely in making sure your cash flows smoothly.
Give Each Other Some Wiggle Room, and Be Forgiving
While it’s crucial for both of you to keep an eye on the finances together and manage things carefully, you also shouldn’t be too strict about it. Remember that both you and your partner make mistakes, and that money isn’t the only thing that keeps a relationship secure and fun.
Don’t forget to allow some room for splurges or occasional impulse buys in your budget. And be open to both of you not being able to stick to certain money rules sometimes. Your relationship is worth more than money can buy, so pick and choose your arguments wisely.
Just as any other arguments or road bumps when it comes to relationships, most of it can be worked through with the right amount of honesty, transparency, acceptance, and a willingness to communicate with candor. We hope with these tips, you now have some idea on how to turn that heated discussion about spending to something productive. Good luck to you and yours!