Three simple ways to stop fighting about money

Arguments about money are the leading cause of divorce. How would you like simple, proven methods to cut down on your money arguments?

I hate budgets

My wife Katie and I are on monthly budget #120 of our marriage. That’s one a month for ten years if you’re bad at math.

I hate budgeting as much as anyone, but I do it anyway. Just like I’d rather not have to exercise, eat healthily, or mow my lawn. But I do them all because the alternatives are worse.

When it comes to my budget, I’ve revised it over the years to have as few spending categories as possible. It makes updating the budget go a lot faster. There is one spending category in particular that cuts out the marriage headaches.

1. Personal shopping

Each month my wife and I each get a personal allowance. It’s money to spend on whatever we want. The kicker is the personal allowance is large because it rolls up a bunch of other spending categories into one:

  • clothing
  • hair cuts
  • nails (for women)
  • hobbies
  • books and magazines
  • makeup/personal care
  • going out with friends

That’s seven spending categories I don’t need to track each month. It’s a big time saver.

More importantly – it’s a big argument saver. If Katie wants a new $15 purse or a new $50 purse and the funds are in her personal shopping budget – have at it.  Buy five purses.  I don’t care what she buys if she stays within her allowance.

Same for what I buy (electronics). If it’s within the spending plan, there’s nothing to complain about.

2. Equal = happiness

Our personal shopping allowances are equal and always have been.

I don’t care if you’re a one-income family, you each need to have equal spending amounts.

Why?

Simple:

Happy wife, happy life.

3. Ask for outside help

In one of the first meetings my wife Katie and I had with our financial advisors, Katie brought up how she would like to decorate our townhouse. However, I was being a penny pincher and didn’t want to spend any money on decorating.

Do we really need pictures on the walls?

The advisors suggested ‘Hey Scott, you can give Katie some money to decorate, you can afford it.’

Ok. People smarter than me said it wouldn’t torpedo my finances; problem solved.

If you’re having money arguments, ask a neutral party for some advice based on your specific financial situation and needs.

A neutral party is not your partner’s sister/brother/mom/dad/best friend. Get some outside help from someone in a Facebook group who doesn’t have any skin in the game. Heck, shoot me an email and I’ll give it to you straight up.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus

As men, we can’t see the need for frequent trips to the nail salon or more shoes and purses. Women can’t understand how much we like gizmos and gadgets.

That’s ok.  It’s what makes for interesting relationships.

But wouldn’t it be great if we can enjoy each other’s purchases without pointing fingers or looking at each other with stink eye? Try carving up your spending plan to accommodate Personal Shopping and see the positive impact it has on your relationship.

Question: Got any tips on reducing arguments about money?  Please share your comments on Facebook or Twitter.

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