How to manage money as a couple

One of the main adding factors to divorce in South Africa is economic distress. Often, couples are put under a lot of pressure having to handle the stress of debt. In other people, disagreements ensue over how available funds ought to be spent. These are not the only reasons for the skyrocketing divorce rate but plays a significant role.

Many divorces could be avoided with one easy strategy: Open the lines of communication. By discussing the household finances, you can make sure that both sides are in agreement. Communication minimises misunderstandings and frustrations, along with the misspending of funds.

There are a couple of ways couples can steer clear of arguments about money:

Discuss personal money values

You and your spouse won’t always see eye-to-eye about spending money. One partner might consider buying Lotto tickets a frivolous expenditure, as the other sees no problem with it. One person might deem 5-star accommodation during holiday essential, while their partner thinks it’s a total waste of money.

Discuss these money values freely and honestly, then compromise. With regards to holidays, you might agree on luxury accommodation but only annually or for special occasions. It will ensure that both partners are happy with the agreement.

Agree with financial targets together

All couples have dreams and aspirations for his or her existence together. Most generally individuals dream of purchasing a house, retiring quickly and having families. It may be different for everyone, but it’s vital that you sit together and agree on something that will make you both happy.

Choose how to pay the bills

There are a couple of ways to approach this. If incomes are equal or near equal, each partner can contribute the same amount every month. If not, you can each be responsible for individual bills according to your salary. Another alternative is to divide bills, so one partner can pay water and electricity, while the other takes care of the groceries. Whichever way you choose to handle this, ensure that it’s fair and that neither partner feels ripped off.

Draft a budget together

Each partner has to feel in charge of the finances, so prepare a budget together. With some of the most significant money discussions behind you, it ought to be simpler to determine how you can spend funds once all of the bills are taken care off. It could be beneficial to split what’s left, and each partner can spend their portion the way they see fit.

Plan for personal spending

The primary focus should be on the interests of the couple, and not on each person. This can be problematic as each one has their own interests and hobbies. Prepare for this by factoring personal spending into the budget. The easiest option would be for every partner to obtain an agreed upon amount every month, no questions asked. If considered necessary, a rule can be made that any purchases above a specific amount should be discussed beforehand. This provides each partner equal power, in addition to financial freedom.