You bought what?! How do my partner and I communicate about each other’s purchases (without any hurt feelings)?
Maybe your partner’s seemingly endless stream of Amazon packages frustrates you. Or, you’re the one in the relationship who spends weeks researching home appliances when your other half would just as soon grab the item at full price the next time you hit the store.
Finding a way to talk about what the other one is buying, especially when you share a budget, requires more than ground rules. Both parties will need the patience required to follow through with financial goals to truly see that altered habits make a difference.
To begin, set up a “date” with your partner or spouse. You will need to make time to have the discussion as trying to do it over dinner or while trying to get the kids ready for bed just won’t work well. You need to make the time in order to ensure that your discussion works.
Then, sit down and have a discussion about what is happening. Remember that you need to speak with your partner and not at them, or that will lead no where (but a possible argument, which helps no one).
For instance, let’s say your partner is notorious for fast-food lunches or daily coffee runs. Sit down together and have a discussion about setting a higher-dollar goal. It might be an update to your home or even a vacation. Determine what it will cost to make that goal a reality. Once you know that value, divide the price tag by the cost of every burger or latte. Once you see the numbers, it might help you change your way of thinking and the way that your partner spends money.
Introducing challenges, such as saving for a larger goal, can be a fun and competitive way to reach a goal, especially if the entire family participates. Our family wants to go to Disney, so they keep that in mind and realize that the $50 we’d spend going out to dinner would be a nice chunk of money to put towards us all reaching our goal.
There is also the other side of the spending discussion. If your partner could make a penny scream, you may be better off discussing the lack of spending rather than showing the savings. Discussing the meaning behind the fear of spending or what motivates the savings could be enlightening for both of you. Remember that life is about living and enjoying — but of course — still keeping your budget in check.