This is the money 101 guide that married couples shouldn’t ignore.

By Hayley Hemmings
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Tied the knot? To keep on enjoying wedded bliss, you might want to get your finances in order sooner rather than later.

Over a quarter of UK adults said that “money worries” were the cause of strain in their relationships, according to new research by Relate, Marriage Care and Relationships Scotland.

As you can imagine, many couples fight about money for all sorts of reasons such as overspending, money secrets or simply just not having the same financial goals as each other.

If you don’t want money issues to play havoc with your marriage, consider these 6 straightforward money tips for couples below:

1. Get a joint account for bills (or merge your cash completely)

Keeping separate bank accounts when you’re married can lead to trouble in paradise, especially if one of you is a spender whilst the other is a saver.

And when you’re both footing the household bills, it’s harder to keep track of payments if you don’t have at least a joint account for bills.

Merging your money completely is a big decision admittedly. Some couples see this option as giving up their independence, but it doesn’t have to be the case. If you combine your money into one bank account, you can both work towards your financial goals much more easily. Check out these pros and cons of going Dutch!

This handy article explores what it means to manage your money jointly or separately. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you both agree a certain amount of fun money to spend as you like!

2. Become budget buddies

Budgeting: ok, it’s not the most thrilling thing for married couples to do, but it’s a crucial undertaking in any case. Track your spending in a spreadsheet or budgeting app (even a piece of paper will do).

Start by logging your incomes and then detract your bills, regular and miscellaneous spending to see what you’re left with at the end of the month. You might identify some areas that you can cut back on if you’re spending too much.

Check out these great tips on how to start budgeting with the hubs or wife.

3. Be clear on financial priorities

If you want to start saving to start a family, whilst your other half wants to buy a brand new car, then you’re going to have to deal with some tricky financial conversations somewhere along the line.

Set your financial priorities early on and make sure you’re both clear on what you want to achieve during married life. If you still want different things, then split your savings and put money aside for both!

4. Start saving!

Speaking of saving: it’s worth putting aside at least 10% of your combined income every month - more if possible. It’s important to have an emergency fund in place to start with in case the car breaks down or one of you loses your job (it absolutely can happen).

A good emergency fund will have the equivalent of three to six months’ wages in to cover bills whilst you get back on your feet.

When your emergency fund is safely topped up, start overpaying debt, or put your savings into a retirement account every month.

Not sure how to get started saving? Start here.

5. Eliminate your debt and then live debt free

Having debt hanging around like a bad smell isn’t going to do your marriage any favours. Debt can put considerable strain on your relationship as it will get in the way of you working towards your financial goals. If you have lots of debt, you might end up struggling to make ends meet – and that’s not a good situation to be in.

Even if one of you has more debt baggage than the other, it’s a good idea to work together to get rid of debt completely.

It might not seem fair on you if you’re sensible about debt whilst your other half can barely scrape together the minimum repayments.... but know this: if you don’t work together to clear your debt, trying to achieve your mutual financial goals will probably be more of a slog and take longer than necessary.

Be sure that both of you know the score if you decide to tackle your debt together – no more debt! Cut up those cards, save even harder, earn some extra cash – do what it takes to be rid of debt as quickly as you can.

6. Being secretive about money is a recipe for disaster

Telling little white lies about what you’re spending money on (or worse, getting in debt over) is going to cause conflict and arguments between the two of you at some point.

It’s not easy to talk about money, but there are some good benefits to be had by doing so. You can:

- Learn from each other’s past mistakes and each improve your financial knowledge.

- Support each other through financially tough times going forwards.

- Develop a more trusting relationship with each other, making you feel happier overall.

Read more about why it’s good to talk more openly about money matters here.

The average couple has 39 arguments a year about money, according to The Money Advice Service. Avoid money fallouts by being upfront and open with each other about your cash.

Top Takeaway

A happy marriage is based on trust! Being honest about money matters from the start will stand your marriage in good stead now and in the future.

Later on in life, you might experience tough times financially such as one of you being out of work for a while, but by making sure you’re covered through budgeting, savings (and no secrets), you should be able to ride out even the bumpiest of roads.

So that your marriage continues swimmingly, make sure to:

- Talk to your other half regularly about money matters.

- Understand where your money is going – consider getting a joint account for bills and start tracking your spending.

- Get rid of any debt baggage asap and start saving, so that you can both work towards your financial goals together.

 

Can you think of any other important money tips to add?

Author Bio: Hayley Hemmings is a freelance writer and blogger from Yorkshire. She’s passionate about money matters, frugal living and loves anything handmade. When Hayley’s not writing, she’s most likely to be found enjoying snuggles with her little girl or walking her border collie through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.  

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