If you missed part 1 of this 2-part series on couples who are stressed because they fight about money, go here to see it: http://evelynbrooks.com/?p=950.
As promised yesterday, here are quick tips on how to cope with fights about money, money, money…
- Call a truce. Agree to sit down and discuss your household finances without blaming or yelling. And stick to the truce. If necessary, take breaks to calm down and cool off. No name-calling allowed.
- Keep track of your total spending for a month. An easy aid to doing this is to use your debit card instead of cash if you’re in the habit of buying things with cash. Your bank will give you an itemized statement that will help you see where your hard-earned money is going. Categorize your expenses, either by hand with paper and pencil and a calculator, or use a software program or spreadsheet. Try to keep it simple, and use broad categories such as Auto expense, Groceries, Utilities, Rent or Mortgage, Insurance, Taxes, etc. You can get into more detail as you get more into it, but for now a general overview will be more useful to not get sidetracked discussing every little expense. Be sure to separate the fixed expenses such as rent from the ones where you have more control such as clothing and dining out expenditures.
- Once you know what your expenses are, set up a basic budget. Often people end up fighting about money because both parties feel they should be able to spend when they want to, but it’s time to take a look at a more responsible way to manage your finances.
- Be sure to allot spending money for each of you, for incidentals, work lunches, impulse buying, etc. The amounts will depend on how much discretionary money you have left from your income after you pay the major bills.
- Keep calm during these discussions.
- Make a pact to stop doing “retaliation spending” — instead, agree that you will discuss major purchases from now on, instead of going off shopping and getting in over your head with debt.
For more help with how to handle arguments, check out my new 2-part product called “Stop Arguing… Start Listening” — it’s a PDF report and an Audio MP3 that will give you a crash course to stop arguing all the time. Go to http://stoparguing101.com
your happiness guru,