Who says relationships are easy? As long as money comes into the equation and it always does, the relationship levels up to ‘Difficult’ most of the time…unless of course there is a money tree growing in the garden. Life is funny that way, balancing out by ensuring that a saver usually marries a spender. Do not lose hope on love because here are 10 ways to survive being married to a spender without going broke or walking away!
1. Nothing Personal
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First things first, the way your spouse acts is not deliberately to frustrate you. Keep repeating it as a mantra in your head so that you remember that you love and married this person because of all the good qualities you just can’t seem to remember at this moment.
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Know the budget and spending plan inside out. Have it ready on hand so that both parties know what is going on at all times. Hold a weekly or fortnightly family meeting to discuss and review the budget. Sometimes things work out more or less expensive than expected so adjust as needed. Be as flexible with moving amounts up and down as long as you stick to the spending total.
3. Talk It Out
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Don’t be shy…be honest about any debt you have. This is best done before the big wedding day. But it is okay, sometimes we forget. Tackle debt head on and talk out what the plan is for the next few years. Make sure your financial plans align up with what you want for the future. If you thinking of babies, then talk savings but if you thinking of investments, talk details.
4. Separate Bank Accounts
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No I am not talking about having separate financial lives. I am talking about having a specific spending account where a set amount goes there to be used each month when the pay goes it. The savings account should not be easily accessible.
5. Can’t Change Them
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Love is not about changing the other person but loving them unconditionally regardless. So take the time to make the spender understand the reasons for the budget and the consequences of overspending. Link it to your shared goal at the end of all these so called ‘hard work’.
6. Splurge Occasionally
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While sticking to a budget might not be fun, make sure to always take into account a splurge percentage. Add an extra few hundred ringgit every month or quarter where you have that leftover money in the spending account you can use for anything you want. A good tip is to make saving fun by trying to get as much value out of the ‘extra leftover’ amount. The spender will then see how amazing making the effort to be a saver can be.
7. Bite Your Tongue
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Do not nag. I repeat…’Do Not Nag’. Saving is meant to be a good positive thing. Associating saving or sticking to a budget as a struggle or additional stress will just lower the success rate. Remember that mistakes will happen once in a while so let it go and breathe. Love conquers all…maybe?
Also, just memorise the lyrics to ‘Let It Go’ by Frozen so that you can sing it every time the spender angers you. If you are still angry by the end of the song, maybe it is time for think hard about why it frustrates you so much. Is there an underlying issue?
8. Stay In Charge
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Keep the saver in charge of the money. Spilt the responsibility of paying bills but savers take charge of managing the finances. The savers knows best on how to keep the family on track towards the goals.
9. Keep Score
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Being forgiving about mistakes is definitely good, but keep score to make sure it doesn’t happen too often. This shows that the spender is just taking the family financial goals for-granted. Have a serious talk to make sure you are both on the same wavelength before it is too late. But show the love too! Don’t be grumpy face.
10. Secretly Stalk
Secretly track the spending through online statements of the bank accounts. Knowing where the money is going will keep the saver happy and assured while allowing some breathing space for the spender.
The scary fact is that when one person in the marriage is the big spender, according to one study, divorce can be 45% more likely. Don’t be a sad statistic by not being afraid to talk about it and do all these proactive steps. But most importantly…just breathe and remember you savers do love the spender!