Marital Mondays: Don’t Let Money Get You Down

School is starting back, which is fun for the kids, but if your child goes to private school it can leave you drowning in a sea of tuition payments. When all the summer fun winds down and you’re on a tighter budget and a tighter schedule, it can cause a serious case of marital drama.

Money for you, money for me, and money for us

I don’t believe in joint accounts. My parents didn’t have them, and they rarely argued about money. Hannibal and I have separate accounts and we have them linked for transfers.

One partner’s debt belongs to the other

If you went to college, you have debt. As a matter of fact, if you’re over 25, you likely have debt of some sort. Playing the blame game can lead to fighting and, moreover, it won’t eliminate the debt. Come up with a plan. Tackle it together.

No financial secrets!

All big purchases should be discussed with your partner before hand. I learned this one the hard way. I had quite a bit of Paypal dough from my design business(which adds even another separate account), so I bought a bike for Mooch (which turned out to be too big, but that’s a different story). When Hannibal found out the bike was $350 plus $50 to have it assembled, he was not happy! I didn’t have any secretive intentions, but he felt left out or like the money should have been spent differently. There haven’t been any large purchases since, but in the future, I will definitely discuss them first.

Choose joy, but plan for the worst.

Every family should have three months of living expenses saved up. Anything could happen! You don’t want an illness, accident or pink slip to catch you off guard. We have a tendency to dip into savings, so I started a money-market account. Get one.

Budget together and discuss the money bi-weekly.

Sit down together and plan out the money. Even if only one of you is the brains of the operation, you both need to know what’s in each account, what came out and why.

It’s frustrating to talk about money. Don’t do it every week, and don’t do it in front of the kids. The last one is a note to self. Mooch knows way too much about our finances, and it’s my fault. I’m a work in progress.

Donate together.

Money is currency, and “Gimme stops the cycle.” What goes around comes around. It’s important give back. I know you’re thinking, “We’re in a recession. I’m broke. I have nothing to give.” If you sacrifice your morning latte for one day, you can donate $3-5 to a kickstarter account of your choice. Most non-profits will tell you that no amount is too small. Find something you both like and give back to it.

Don’t sell your kidney overseas just yet.

I scoured the internet this weekend looking for opportunities to bring in extra dough. Here’s what I found:

Tutor a rich kid
Teach a language
Do internet research for people
Run Errands
Become a life coach
Set up a garden for someone
Fix computers
Bake and sell to local coffee shops
Babysit
Pet Sit
Sell things on Ebay
Make and sell on Etsy

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