4 Steps My Husband and I Take to Avoid Money Fights

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on June 2, 2021

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A man and woman sitting at a table on their tree-covered backyard deck and enjoying breakfast and coffee.

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Money can be a huge source of marital strife -- but it doesn't have to be.

My husband and I aren't perfect, and we don't always see eye to eye on everything. And as tired, overworked parents, we do bicker from time to time. But one thing that's rarely an issue for us is money, and it's not because we have the same views on it. Quite the contrary -- my husband generally has an easier time spending than I do. But at the end of the day, we don't argue about money because we do these things instead.

1. We set up our budget together

Though my husband and I live below our means and save money regularly, we also believe in following a budget. That way, we can see what we're spending in different categories and find ways to cut back if we think we're going overboard. Our household budget is something we initially set up together after spending time combing through our bank and credit card statements. And it's something we review frequently and update jointly to make sure we're on the same page about what we're spending.

2. We discuss major purchases

My husband and I make small purchases all the time without consulting one another. But when it comes to larger purchases, we never close the deal until we've had a chance to talk. We both recognize that a larger purchase can throw our budget off course -- and that adjustments or sacrifices may be needed to make up for it. So it's important to us to ensure that the other person is on board.

3. We set goals jointly

My husband and I have a list of financial goals we're hoping to achieve. These include building a nice nest egg for retirement, saving for our kids' education, and, once the housing market cools off, buying a second home. We also agree on the order of priority with regard to our goals. For the past number of years, for example, we've first set money aside for retirement, then padded our kids' college fund, and only then have we taken our extra money and put it into an account earmarked for a second-home purchase.

4. We each get our own fun money

The idea of a pair of grown people getting an allowance may seem silly, but for us, it helps keep conflict out of the picture. As part of our budget, there's money allocated so that my husband and I each get a small sum we can spend each month on ourselves or something we choose, no questions asked. If my husband wants a new gadget, he can bank a few months of his fun money and buy it. If I want to splurge on a new kitchen appliance or even a delivery of fancy chocolates (which I've been known to do), that's my call. Having our own spending money takes guilt out of the equation as well as any potential resentment.

Fighting about money is something a lot of couples do, and to be clear, every so often, my husband and I disagree on something financial. But for the most part, we really don't argue over money, and I attribute that to the decisions above.

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