In many relationships, each person takes on specific roles. One person may be in charge of cooking the meals, and another takes care of the trash. While separate roles work for some things, they don’t always work when it comes to money. It is especially true when one handles the bills, and the other is not involved at all. How do you talk to your partner about being fair about money if they know nothing about your finances?
Honestly, there is never a good reason or excuse for only one person in a relationship to take care of all of the finances. However, it is often a hot issue. One partner feels that he or she is much better with money and makes sure that bills get paid. The other tends to be more spendthrift.
When only one person is covering the expenses, it can quickly lead to resentment. Not only that, but it can lead to additional rifts in the relationship. The only way to fix it is to address it head-on. But, how in the world do you talk about being fair with money?
HOW TO BE FAIR WITH MONEY
To start, sit down with your partner and review your budget. Go through all expenses, line-by-line. Doing so gives both of you a better understanding of where you spend money each month. You both also see where you may be spending a bit more than you may like.
When reviewing your budget, both of you need to make sure you agree with the amounts allocated to each expense. For instance, when it comes to dining out, one of you may want to spend more and the other less. You will need to work together to come up with a compromise where you agree to the amount you will spend. Then, it is even more critical you both stick with this. A cash budget is a simple way to ensure neither you ever spend more than budgeted.
If you use a joint account for your relationship, all income should funnel through it. This way, you both are helping cover all expenditures – equally. To ensure both of you get to spend some of your paychecks as you would like, add lines to your budget for these expenses. You can call it “Partner Free Money,” or whatever you wish.
For example, my husband and I both get a weekly “allowance” that we can do with what we like. We both can spend it as we see fit, without worrying that we are either spending too much or buying things with which our partner may disagree.
But, honestly, we both save it from week to week. Then, we have a more considerable sum to buy a big ticket item without having to dip into savings; or without having to check with one another to make sure it is OK to spend so much money.
There are some relationships where a joint account is not feasible. It might be due to past financial issues or could be that it works best in this relationship. If this is what you do, know that this is perfectly fine. One size does not fit all when it comes to budgets.
If you do happen to each have separate accounts, you need to ensure you are both being fair in paying your share of the bills. The smart way to do this is to divide the monthly expenses proportionately on your income.
For example, if your spouse makes $3,000 a month and you make $2,000 a month, that is a total of $5,000. If your monthly expenses are $4,000, then your spouse will cover 60%, and you will cover 40%. That way, you both contribute the same percentage of your income to the operation of your household.
When it comes to paying your bills, you can split them up, so you each pay your fair share. One of you may cover the mortgage, and the other pays for all the utilities. It might also work better for one person to pay for everything and their partner to write them a check to cover their percentage of the bills.
The great thing about being fair and frugal is that you can find the way that works for you. This happens only when the two of you are willing to discuss these issues together. Whatever your situation, it is important that you sit down together to figure it out. Just remember to be patient and fair when it comes to talking finances. It is key to a having a good relationship.