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Love and Money: How to Balance a Household Budget in a Relationship

Kim Griffiths -- Money problems in a marriage, or in any relationship, are not uncommon. In fact, love and money are often a point of significant contention. Here are some ways to help you strike a balanced household budget in your relationship.

Love and money sometimes result in money problems in a marriage. As a team, work together to lower your bills and balance your household budget.

Money problems in a marriage or in any relationship are not uncommon. In fact, love and money are often a point of significant contention. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. I once believed that if two people were in love, all the money would go into one account and both individuals would use it responsible. As much as I wish this created harmony, it seems the opposite is true.

If you and your partner have developed a system that works for you, then I support your decision to continue your current arrangement. If, on the other hand, money is a constant arguing point, it's time to resolve the issues before they have an adverse affect on the relationship. Spending time together each week to figure out how to lower your bills may help you strike a balanced household budget in your relationship.

If you are only dating someone at this point and aren't married to them, take the advice to scrutinize your partner's values on money. If you're a spender and he's a saver, arguments will inevitably occur.

There is no reason why you can't overcome money issues, but it helps if you choose your partner wisely from the start. If the person throws money away on gambling, or drugs, or any other extra-curricular activity that goes against your values, save yourself heartache and move on. You must take care of yourself by making good decisions, and this includes financial choices.

Assuming that both of you are committed to making a relationship work, together you should choose a financial path that is mutually agreeable. At the minimum, sit down once a quarter to discuss your finances and determine your long-term goals. However, this doesn't take the place of day-to-day money management. Hopefully, you and your partner are able to find a scenario that will work for you from the examples below:

Scenario I: You and your partner make about the same amount of money.

In this case, split the bills equally. Break down your salaries by percentages based on your particular needs. Allocate the appropriate percentage required to meet you bill payments. It is important to allow for some sort of personal money, which provides both of your to spend your money the way you choose on an individual basis.

The most common problem I notice is that couples tend to budget monthly even though they have different pay schedules. For example, perhaps you are paid once a month and your partner is paid every other week. Instead of budgeting monthly, consider trying to budget weekly. If your total net income is $3,000, determine how much money you need to set aside each week instead of each month. You may find that the problem of having more month than money is resolved by budgeting weekly.

By understanding how your paycheck and your partner's paycheck will be distributed, much of the day-to-day distress regarding who's responsible for what should be alleviated.

Scenario II: One partner makes substantially more money than the other.

It is important in this type of relationship to be careful not to consider yourself any more or less important to the relationship based on your income. Money is certainly a very important part of life, but it should never be used as a control or power mechanism unless you want to see your relationship self-destruct. Mutual respect, regardless of the topic, is the cornerstone of any successful relationship.

Just remember, in order for both partners to feel that they are contributing their fair share, the percentages should be similar. If the primary income-earner makes a lot more than the secondary, then strike a balance between the two. Clearly, 50% of the primary earner's salary goes much further than 50% of the secondary earner's salary. You may find that a 50/50 split will cover the bills and have you remain on equal footing.

Scenario III: One partner earns all the income.

As in scenario two, be sure that the dynamic of mutual respect remains sacred in your relationship. I feel that the sole income-earner should provide a spending allowance for personal spending to the non-earning partner. No questions should be asked about how he/she spends this personal money.

As you know, it takes effort every pay period to decide how you will choose to spend your money. It takes a conscious decision on both of your parts to ensure that every dollar you earn works to its full capacity. To be successful in managing your money it will also require some resourceful action. To be an expert at any skill requires practice and perseverance.

One Paycheck at a Time Inc. is the leading source for sensible debt reduction solutions. Its products include the One Paycheck at a Time paperback (ISBN: 1591133327), as well as an ebook format, and the eTools program. The author of the book and president of the company, Kimberly A. Griffiths, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself and has made it her personal goal to share her experience to help others. More information can be found about the company and its products at www.1PaycheckataTime.com.

© 2007 Kimberly A. Griffiths

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