Love and money, it’s a touchy subject, but definitely one that deserves a conversation when trying to build a life with someone. Don’t get me wrong, I know money can’t buy you love or happiness, but it’s definitely a necessity in this day and age.
Personally, I’m a saver. I grew up in a household where we didn’t have much, but we found ways to save through sales and by taking care of everything we had. My boyfriend on the other hand, is a spender. Not a spender in the sense that he’s always buying new clothes, shoes, etc. per say, but he has never been one to save for a rainy day. He generally functions paycheck to paycheck and is ok with it. 😯 GULP… That’s exactly how I felt once I realized the extent of our financial differences.
But building a life together is all about compromise and coming to a common understanding of how we’re going to deal with everything together. Finances are a big part of that. And since we generally don’t grow up with our partners in the same home, it’s common to see those differences play a role in helping mold everything about us, including our spending habits. So when my partner and I decided we wanted to make a go at building a life together, we set out to find common ground on our finances. Unfortunately my EGO got in the way a lot in the beginning. Then I realized that when it came to money, I needed to tread lightly and let go of my expectations of what wise spending looked like.
To help, we decided to bring in a third party that he trusted enough to discuss his financial situation with. While it was like pulling teeth for me when I tried to get him to understand my version of budgeting and saving, the third party managed to get him right on track without much push back. That’s probably because I was too invested in my way being the right way. Once I let that go, talking about budgeting and savings was no longer taboo.
The other thing that has helped is setting savings goals. Instead of having him save just because it’s financial sound and responsible to do so (the only motivation I need), we’ve set up savings goals, which work way better for him. His budget is now broken up into bills, spending money (his money to buy anything he wants, which I don’t get to judge) and three savings goals of his choosing. His first savings goal is geared toward raising enough money for a down payment on a new car. His second goal is geared toward vacations and weekend getaways. His last goal is to establish an emergency cash fund. At the end of the month we track our progress and celebrate it.
While discussing our finances is definitely on the table now, it’s not something he wants to discuss on a daily basis, like my EGO fueled fear would like him to. So we decided to compromise. He now takes it upon himself to bring up his finances around payday, keeping me from springing the money talk on him when he’s not in the mind space to do it. I in turn have let go of my expectations and perspectives around our finances and am more open to new ways in which we can each contribute toward our future. As a result, we’re in a much better place.
How do you balance love and money in your relationship?