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Money and Relationship: Steps to work as a team
By Jennine E. Estes   View more articles by this author
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January 05

Money, money, money…the never-ending resource of tension, headaches, and stress for many couples, especially during a recession.  Money is no simple topic, and managing the funds can be far from fun.  The unexpected bills, the continuous reminders of not having enough money, or the never-ending battle of debt can trigger stress and create distance in a couple’s bond.  Occasionally, one person in the relationship surrenders to the stress and takes on the burden alone to prevent conflict.  But managing the money alone can create feelings of resentment, distance, and a “team-less” bond.  If it takes “two to tango,” then it also takes two to get out of financial stress.

 

Good news…money doesn’t have to create distance or a battle in your relationship.  It simply takes a few steps to produce “team work.”  Here are a few steps to help you create a “team” approach and mutual ownership of the burden:

 

  1. Create a System: As a team, create a system and get organized for the incoming bills, the paid bills, and the budget. There are various programs, such as Microsoft Excel, that provide free documents for creating and maintaining a budget. Download a free spreadsheet to help you two manage the debts and reoccurring bills.  The more you and your partner have a system, the less anxiety and stress you will have when facing the bills.
  2. Involve your Partner: Often times, one person takes on the job of paying the bills and managing the money.  The weight on your shoulders alone can get heavy and become a source of tension.  Since it takes “two to tango,” then perhaps it should also take two to carry the load.  Create bi-weekly and monthly meetings to review the debts, the savings, and the up-coming bills.  Not only will this create a stronger sense of “team,” but it can also get your partner more aware of the expenses.
  3. Plan Date Night Dinners: Plan a bi-monthly date night for your “bill paying” day.  Take this time to go over your expenses and pay the bills while enjoying one another.  Have a date night at home (set the mood, light candles, cook your favorite meal) and complete the bills. Take away the stress by adding positive energy with your date night at home.  Bring in romance and intimacy to reward your hard work…I dare you!
  4. Hold Back on the Expenses:  As a team, find ways that you two can cut corners with expenses. Try to either decrease or eliminate eating out, buying lunch, or enjoying a latte.  You just might be surprised about how much money you can save and it can quickly help you two to feel in more control of your expenses.  Play a game with it and see how much money you can save.
  5. Identify your Goals: If you two haven’t written down your financial goals, now is the time to start.  Make realistic short-term and long-term financial goals.  Seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” helps couples achieve their goals.  Take a few hours to write up your goals, plans, and vision for your future as a team.
  6. Communicate: Money talk is the “Uh Oh” and dreaded conversation.  And yes, this is one of the most important topics for couples to have in a relationship.  Take the plunge and get it done sooner rather than later. Talk about your “plan of attack,” your fears, and your concerns.  Communication is key for a strong relationship and is a necessity for the “team” approach and being on the same page.

 

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Comment by skc557
26 Dec 2015 12:32 PM
Excellent inputs.Thanks.
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