Personal finance doesn’t usually come off as romantic but when you’re in a serious relationship, talking about your future together can bring up some important questions about money. Taking that next step in your relationship means building trust with each other and making responsible decisions together. Since money is so personal, being able to openly talk about it with your partner means you’re in a great spot.
Whether you’re deciding to move in together or discussing marriage as a possibility, having a ‘money talk’ together can set your relationship up for great communication and future goals. It’s not the easiest discussion to have, especially if you have some spending habits you aren’t proud of or if there are things you disagree on. However, talking about money and setting boundaries is one way to prevent money issues from troubling your relationship.
These budgeting tips come with free printable budget templates (created by Self Lender) to help guide financial habits in your relationship. Grow closer as a couple and take it to the next level by getting really personal and planning out your future together.
1. Have a ‘Money Talk’ Together
Make it a date night and set some time to get serious as you get to know where your partner stands with budgeting and how they view money in their lives. Ask each other questions like the ones below to get your conversation started. These questions are meant to give you a better understanding of the role finances will play in your relationship and future. You don’t necessarily have to be on the same page for each stance, but knowing your partner’s view will help you work together.
- What’s more important: liking your job or making a lot of money?
- Do you want kids someday?
- When would you like to buy a house (or not)?
- What’s the next big purchase you want to make?
2. Decide If You Should Combine Finances
This can sometimes be a source of friction in relationships so determining early on will help avoid future conflict. This situation is different for everyone, so talk through all the potential pros and cons of combining or sharing finances. This could mean sharing a bank account or having access to each other’s income and savings. If you’re moving in together, you should also talk about who will be responsible for paying all of the expenses and whether that split will be 50/50.
3. Set Some Financial Goals Together
Discuss your goals together and then write them down to make it official. These could be anything related to your lifestyle or budget. Are you saving up for a vacation? Do you want to reach a certain amount of savings? Are you working toward a promotion? Maybe you want to buy a bigger TV? Small or big, talk through it with your partner and plan out some of your next steps. Have a monthly check-in to take a look at your progress and work together to reach those goals.
4. Budget Together
Even if you have separate personal budgets, taking time to sit down together and hold each other accountable establishes trust and responsibility. You are both in this relationship together and your personal decisions ultimately affect each other (most of the time). If you split expenses, budgeting together is more than necessary. Make sure you’re both on the same page about the next rent payment and whether or not you should take that next weekend vacay or swap it for a night in.
5. Stick to Your Budget
Budgets aren’t always bulletproof. There will be mistakes and unexpected expenses that come along. Roll with the punches and support each other in good times and bad. Even just making an effort will pay off in your relationship. Work with each other and learn what helps and what doesn’t. Using a calendar to help track expenses and income is a great way to visualize your upcoming money dates.
Budgeting isn’t easy and adding two people into the equation can make things a little more complicated. But with open communication and some planning, couples can build a strong foundation for the rest of their relationship.