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Trying to pay down debt, but having a hard time talking about money? these tips helped us to get on the same page and win with our money goals!

One of the biggest reasons marriages break down is money problems. Remember your marriage is much more important than money.

You can improve your marriage and finances if you can have productive financial chats. They don't have to be long or complicated.

Finding Your Path with Money Dates

Due to our nature, we both wanted to be on top of our finances so our challenge was developing a system that works for both of us and our style of processing information.

We're always open to tweaking it as we talk about things.

I think there's no perfect system, but there's definitely a foundation to build from that can help you adapt.

We've found money dates to be a wonderful way to talk about finances in a relaxed setting and spend some meaningful time together discussing our goals.

What are Money Dates?

I go into money dates and how you can get started with them in my book, but the gist is that money dates are about making sure your money is going towards what’s important to the two of you.

They’re check-ins that allow you two to take a bit of time to see what’s working and what’s not.

To keep tabs on our money, we use a combo of a shared spreadsheet and an app.

This mix of high and low tech fits our personalities. There are some great options out there for managing your money.

Using a tool like Personal CapitalTiller, or Mint makes things a breeze.

Check them out and see which one resonates with you.

Trying to pay down debt, but having a hard time talking about money? these tips helped us to get on the same page and win with our money goals! #marriage #money #debtfree

Handling Money Productively as a Couple

Here are some tips to keep your financial discussions productive. Hopefully you find it as handy as we have working through this:

  • Pick the right time to have the talk. Having a financial conversation right after both of you get home is not the best time. Please also avoid conversations during each other's personal time, like favorite shows.
  • Introduce your concern with politeness and respect. Money can be a delicate subject, as we each have our own way of approaching it. Habits have probably formed for many years, so don't expect a change overnight.
  • If your spouse brings up a concern, let them open up. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own concerns that we forget we're having a family discussion, not just a money discussion. Something that is helpful is paraphrasing what your spouse has said to make sure you understand what they are getting at.
  • Try framing it as a ‘we’ issue. It is easier to handle a situation when you’re both on the same page. For example, if the budget isn't being followed, ask your spouse if they have any ideas on how to fix this. Finger pointing can be counter productive.
  • Write down your priorities after you’ve made an agreement. This isn’t to be used to point out mistakes that will eventually be made. This is a written reminder of  joint goals you both came up with and want to achieve.
  • Celebrate the victories. When you achieved a goal, no matter how small, celebrate. It can be easy to nitpick on failing, but taking the time to acknowledge an achievement is important.

Open and Honest Communication

I think it does boil down to working on keeping the discussions open and as positive as possible.

Without that, you can start withholding valuable information from one another and start distancing yourselves.

Use money as a way to bring you two closer, achieve dreams (like see the world or buy a home), and protect yourselves ( have an emergency fund and  have wills ready).

Divvy up financial responsibilities. Whoever is stronger in this area should handle it, but the other should be kept in the loop and understand how it works.

I organize the joint accounts, but I let my husband know if something different is going on. He also checks the account from time to time.

Some people mistakenly believe that if they brush over the topic, then they’ll avoid money arguments.

That’s simply not true.

It’s the lack of meaningful communication between spouses about finances that cause arguments.

Finding a system that works for both of you will make you much happier (and wealthier).

Thoughts on Couples and Finances

I'd love to get your take on this – how do you handle the money discussions at home?

How did the two of you come up with a system that works? How long have you used it?

This article was originally published in September 2009. It has been updated January 2019.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..