Why budgeting is good for your love life


Recent surveys have revealed that couples are twice as likely to fight about money than any other topic. Twice as likely! With figures like that, it seems that money is a hot topic in Australian households. With divorce statistics also on the rise it might be time that we had a talk about what is causing this friction in the home.

There are a number of reasons why people might fight about money. For as long as human beings have existed we have been driven by a culture that always requires more. More gadgets, more clothes, more jewellery, more, more, more! The dynamics of a relationship don’t mesh well with this ‘more’ need, particularly when one person feels they are getting ‘less’ than the other. I would suspect that the majority of money based fights relate to situations where one person spends money on something the other considers unneeded or in excess of their partner’s entitlement.

Is this a familiar story? You move in with your significant other and set up a joint bank account. You each continue spending money like you always have never discussing the ground rules around this joint bank account. At first, things go fine as you are blissfully in love and don’t mind that your significant other is spending more than you are on personal expenses. Over time though, this starts to rub you the wrong way, you are trying to save money every week, foregoing your daily coffee, your weekly shopping trips but your partner just keeps on spending. Eventually, you snap, you yell at your partner and they yell back. This may die down and agreements are made to spend less but eventually you creep right back into the same position and fight again.

Now I don’t profess to be a relationship counsellor, all I can say about this topic relates to my own personal experiences. If you are going to join money, you are going to need to lay some ground rules, and the best way to lay ground rules is to set up a budget.

That’s right, budgeting is good for your love life.

As you can imagine, my wife and I are pretty serious about our budgeting. We have a spreadsheet where we have forecasted our expenses for the year and put money away for these expenses every week. We also assign to ourselves a certain amount of spending money which we may use for anything we desire. So if one person decides to spend a small fortune on an impulse buy on Ebay (99% of the time this is me), then the other person doesn’t mind and doesn’t feel cheated. I can honestly say that my wife and I have never had one fight about money and I credit this completely to our budget.

Each year my wife and I sit down and review our budget, we look at where we have spent over and where we have spent under the budget and adjust accordingly. We are honest and upfront with our expenses, if you want to spend $20,000 on holidays, then budget for it; you are only accountable to yourself. With this budget, we are able to work together towards our mutual and individual financial goals.

With divorce rates rising I have to ask, would couples stay together longer if they just learned to budget? What about you? Do you have any secret tips that helps your relationship survive the financial flare ups?

This post is from Ben Brett. Check out our details in the About Us page.

Posted in: Ben Brett and Financial Planning

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.