3 Tips for Solving Money and Family Budget Arguments
Just as it’s normal to love your family, it’s normal to argue with them about money. An APA survey reported that 31% of couples said money was a big source of conflict in their relationship. Especially during tough times like the COVID-19 pandemic, the stress of making ends meet can cause friction between you and your loved ones.
Balancing a family budget while keeping everyone happy is tough, but don’t give up. Family budgets work best when everyone has a voice and understands the reasoning behind the spending plan. That’s what a budget really is: a plan for how you’ll use your money to make yourselves happy. Here are 3 tips to help you solve and avoid family budget arguments:
1. Gradually Ease Into a Family Budget
Getting your family to follow a budget is a marathon, not a race. Someone new to marathons would probably start with walking and gradually work towards jogging. Taking the time they need lets them eventually run 10K and maybe even enjoy it. But if you try to force your family to suddenly start running a marathon from Day 1, then they might sprint, but it will probably be to get away from you.
After you’ve figured out your family budget and a strategy to meet it, give them and yourself some patience as you all adjust your spending habits. A little forgiveness for small mistakes will go a long way for future success and family harmony. What’s most important is that you all agree on the plan and follow it as best as you can.
2. Work With Your Partner, Not Against Them
Working with your spouse instead of against them will make your life easier in a lot of ways, but especially when it comes to solving financial problems. Couples argue about money for a lot of reasons and this can put a big strain on marriages. Maybe you grew up in different environments, have different views on financial problems, or even just communicate in different ways.
Sit down with your partner and figure this all out. Treat the meeting as quality time together where there can be no distractions and agree to be honest without getting confrontational. Above all, avoid the blame game – it doesn’t solve anything and will just hurt your relationship. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What does money mean to each of you?
- What are your financial goals (short, medium and long term)?
- How does each of you see managing your money going forward?
When you understand each other’s perspectives, make a budget you can agree on. Revisit your expenses over the past 2 months to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything; also keep in mind seasonal expenses such as insurance and car maintenance, and set aside funds for these in a separate savings account.
Figuring out a budget together probably means you’ll both have to make compromises somewhere, and that’s okay. Once you get onto the same page, you’ll find that working as a team rather than fighting is a lot better for your family budget, not to mention your sanity.
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3. Involve Your Children in Family Budget Planning
Even if your children don’t get a vote in your family budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t give them a voice. As part of your family, they too deserve to know what’s going on, and knowing will help them understand your financial choices. This will of course depend on their age, but if they’re old enough to spend money, then they should be old enough to talk about it.
Do try as much as possible to involve them in your planning. If they feel that they also had a part in the decision process, then they’ll be much more likely to follow and be happy with the family budget. Most importantly, getting them to think about finances now will help them successfully manage their finances when they grow up.
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What to Do When You Can’t Solve Arguments About Your Family Budget
We all love our families, but when it comes to tough subjects like family budgets and money, that love can make it hard for us to listen to each other. If you’re in this situation, then one of our credit counsellors can be a 3rd party that helps you find common ground through concrete advice about your budget and other financial concerns. Reach out to us toll-free at 1-888-527-8999, send us an email, or chat anonymously to get started. Our appointments are free, confidential, and non-judgemental. We’re here for you.