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Relationships and Money


Relationships and Money

Dave and I are coming up on three years of marriage this May. I know you could argue that we don’t have as much credibility compared to those who have been married for 5, 10, or 20+ years, but we have yet to have an argument about money. I’d say that speaks a lot considering such a high percentage of divorces these days have to do with money. Between our premarital counseling, Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, and reading financial blogs like this lovely one run by Derek, a lot of knowledge has been gained. However, this knowledge was blended with a lot of application to yield the result I call wisdom. I’ll share three tips that have worked well for us; they may not work for you but either way I encourage you to develop a strategy that will help you and your spouse/fiancé to have healthy communication on the topic of finances.

Discuss goals & desires

How often do you want to take a vacation? Where/how much do you want to give? Do you want to pay for all or some of your kids’ college? How much would you be comfortable retiring on? What kind of house/neighborhood do you want to live in? Asking questions can help identify where your goals & desires align or differ so you can move forward together and not have to “deal with it later.”

Dave and I both wanted to pay off my student loans ASAP. That meant we were both willing to continue living like broke college students until the last payment was made. Being on the same page helped us to buckle down and knock out $30k in 9 months. We also knew we were both extreme savers and not spenders so we established a monthly “fun budget” so we wouldn’t end up bitter and unhappy penny pinchers when we finally reached the finish line of debt payment. Another desire we both shared was that we wanted to give generously. This meant that we’d have to be patient with saving and learn to live simply yet richly at the same time.

Develop a budget

Once goals and desires are discussed, your results will greatly affect what your monthly/quarterly/whatever budget looks like. We set up a budget tailored it to our own situation. I think this is the biggest key to our “success” from a financial aspect of marriage. For example, I do all the grocery shopping but Dave never has to worry that I’ll overspend because we’ve set a spending limit and I’m mindful not to go over it.

Plan Ahead

We set aside monthly amounts toward vacation, car repairs, annual orders of contact lenses, etc. so that when the time comes to make these purchases we’re not scrambling to figure out how to pay for these items. We occasionally make spontaneous purchases (like clothing) but they are often done together. With bigger purchases like home ownership we discussed our price limit, what we wanted in a home, and then started looking at homes.

What are your best financial tips & lessons learned from marriage?

This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Great insight to a difficult and ubiquitous issue, Jessica. Great post.

    • Thanks, Tony. A lot of fights/disagreements can be avoided by asking questions and maintaining good communication about finances.

  2. Great tips! Talk about money, and if there is a disagreement, figure out a solution. We are very open with money and I do believe that has helped us a lot.

  3. Good tips. I would add transparency as well. Although this seems obvious, I have heard stories of spouses have separate bank accounts or credit cards and they buy things without the other knowing. My spouse and I have a habit of running pretty much every purchase by each other (certainly anything over $100) so there are never any surprises.

    • Great point. I find it hard to believe that a couple can be on the same page with finances when there are two separate accounts (especially if one spouse doesn’t know about the account!)

  4. Nice tips! Being open to each other about our goals and desires greatly helps our relationship. I think what most couple should learn is to be honest with each other when it comes to money matters. Discussing each other’s strength and weaknesses when it comes to money will make the relationship stronger and the finances better because you can really work out the right budget and solutions.

    • Discussing strengths and weaknesses probably would line up with admitting if you’re a spender or a saver too. Two spenders, two savers, or one of each definitely changes things.

  5. Excellent tips–Your story is a true testament to how it IS possible to not fight about money as long as you communicate and agree to meet in the middle from time to time!

    • Thanks, Jen! I’m sure buying a new home will bring many challenges and test our communication skills!

  6. Great tips! I think communication is the key. Always be talking about your goals and even the things your struggle with personally with money. Let your significant other know what is going on in your head.

    • Thanks Nick. It’s wise not to assume since, altough I’d like to believe otherwise, my husband cannot read my thoughts 😉

  7. My wife and I haven’t had an argument over money either and I can tell you with 100% certainty it such a blessing because I know how often couples fight over money and it’s not pretty. A buddy of mine literally had to reduce the spending limit on a credit card he had given his wife. That’s no way to live!

    These are great tips. While I do not agree 100% of what Dave Ramsey preaches I would agree that his book total money make over is a great starting point for couples.

    • It is a blessing to not have arguments over money. I agree with you; Ramsey’s methods can’t be standardized to every person but he sure lays a good foundation to start with.

  8. Great information and point of view Jessica.
    One thought though, is that the “About me” link above, points to Derek’s “About” page (not sure if that’s how you intended or not), but there you have it.

    • Thanks, Chris. I think the “about me” got auto-linked because I didn’t do that myself. The last link isn’t working either because it’s showing Derek’s link stuck next to mine. I’ll try to fix that, thanks for the heads up!

    • Fixed! Thanks for the heads up on that Chris. Probably my bad….oops.

  9. Splendid Tips! Thanks for share three tips that’s really helpful for us. I am agree that’s really important to talk about financial status with partner. My best financial tip is arranged regular money management meets to discuss our financial situation, dreams, and goals and one important point, don’t ignore your partner’s need that’s always helpful for futures.

  10. I have been married for more than five years already and I am so glad to say that in that span of years we never really had a big issue in terms of money. There are times when our decisions do not meet when it comes to our finances, but we try to settle things right away.

    • That’s a pretty great accomplishment! I hope my husband and I continue to be intentional with our marriage and stay on the same page financially.

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