Our finances are of the utmost importance to God, so we must include Him in every money decision. Have a discussion with your spouse about where you stand on the Biblical view of money. Pray and discuss your financial goals with your babe and get on the same page as much as you can. Nothing starts arguments faster than when you’re pulling in opposite directions.
2. Develop a budget… together
With or without the help of a professional, you need to develop a monthly budget and stick to it. Sit down together and map out your expenditures. Try to put money into savings every paycheck and establish an emergency fund for unexpected expenditures. Mint.com is a FREE online money management and budget planner that is easy to use and highly recommended.
3. Share the responsibility
Instead of handing over the checkbook to your spouse, allowing him or her to handle all the bills and give you an allowance every week, you need to work together. A parent-child dynamic where one person controls the money isn’t healthy. The “child” will end up rebelling or resentful.
4. Switch sides
The problem with having the same argument over and over again is that you each become more and more entrenched in your positions – like a marital version of Hardball. Learning empathetic communication techniques, where each person listens to the other and plays back exactly what they said from the speaker’s perspective, will help take the tension out of arguing about finances.
5. Set limits
You certainly don’t have to ask your partner every time you want to buy a cup of coffee. However, there should be a limit on how much you can spend without telling him about it ahead of time. Surprising him with a $5,000 couch when you are trying to pay off credit card debt isn’t a good idea. Set a limit. Whether that number is $20 or $2,000 depends on your own financial circumstances.
6. Schedule a time to talk about money
Instead of nagging or arguing about money every single day, set a time to talk about it on a weekly basis. During the weekly meeting, you can air any concerns and establish a game plan to conquer any issues.
One of the best ways to stop fighting about money is to automate as many of your bills and payments as possible. There won’t be a need to scream about why the water bill didn’t get paid, if you both know it’s being deducted from your bank account every month on the 15th.
8. Get out of debt
Debt is a huge burden. Part of your budget should include a plan on how to get out of debt. If you are in serious debt, find out how a program like snowballing debt will help you build serious momentum to get out of debt.
9. Have some fun
Many couples end up breaking their budget because they don’t set aside money for entertainment. They end up spending anyway, creating a shortage in other areas. Be sure to set aside a nominal amount of money for weekly entertainment. After all, just because you are married doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date each other anymore!
10. Focus on the solutions
With money issues, tempers can flare and oftentimes people say things that they regret. Focus on solutions, rather than mistakes and blame. Though it’s easy to slip into patterns of fighting and anger when it comes to money, accept the situation and work together on finding a clear plan for a stable financial future.
11. Get professional help
If you find at the end of each month, you are going further and further into debt, don’t be afraid to find help. Talk to a financial consultant to get a professional, educated perspective on your money situation and develop a course of action. Even if you aren’t fighting about money (yet!), a Christian financial advisor can help you develop a realistic spending and saving plan. Don’t let money problems become a source of problems in your marriage.