If you’re a saver and your partner is a spender, you’ve probably had a few arguments about money. It may surprise you to know that money issues are one of the most common reasons couples split up. Everything from spending habits to financial goals can cause conflict if you’re not on the same page.
But talking about it can be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, talking about it openly and honestly is the only way to align your goals and reduce your arguments.
Before deciding to talk to your partner about their spending, there are a few things to consider:
Their money personality may be different from yours and understanding how they think will help you communicate better. Your money habits may be different due to your upbringing, how your parents spent money and how they taught you to spend or save. Recognize that your partner may have triggers that cause them to spend more at certain times than others. Things like stress, anxiety, and depression can trigger spending in an effort to feel better.
Regardless of the reason, understand that just like your other personality traits, your money personalities are different too and you need to accept your partner for who they are.
Go into the discussion with an open mind and a willingness to find a compromise that works for both of you. If only one of you is making a sacrifice, resentment will start to build. Discuss what your goals are as a couple so that you can plan together how to reach them. If you’re both committed to the goals, getting on board with the same spending and saving habits will be easier. When you’re ready to open the discussion, here are a few ways to make it easier:
Discussing money issues can be emotional, so be gentle and avoid blame. Pointing the finger at your partner for their bad spending habits will only make them defensive and cause a heated argument.
Timing is everything. Trying to talk to your partner about their spending when they’re feeling down or upset about something else will make them close off from you. Choose a time and place that you’re both feeling good, relaxed, and open to discussion. Keep the conversation light and on point. Don’t ambush your partner at the end of a long day by saying “we need to talk.” That will cause them to lose interest for sure.
Don’t lecture. Instead, have an honest conversation back and forth about the problem at-hand and how to resolve it. Laying blame at your partner’s feet will make them defensive, and they’ll stop talking. Make them feel heard and work together to find a compromise that makes both of you happy.
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Schedule regular discussions about your money situation, including debts, savings, and goals to help you stay on the same page. Routinely planning a nonconfrontational money discussion will help reduce the stress around talking about it, reducing your arguments.
If you feel like you still can’t communicate and compromise, work with a neutral third-party to help you understand each other’s emotions about the situation and find a solution that you can both be happy with.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the topic. Talking to your partner about their spending habits may be difficult and uncomfortable, but not talking will only build resentment and anger. Work together and find a solution to help you both reach your financial goals together.