Are you and your partner on the same page about credit?

Divide it up into a budget

I was raised in an house when money was saved. If we wanted something, we had to earn the money for it. We saved up for school clothes, dates, gas in the car, and pretty much anything else we wanted. The expectation was in place that if we went to school after high school we were supposed to pay for that as well. With that motivation, it was easy for me to work hard and save most of what I made. Even though I started with small amounts I was able to save up quite a bit of money and was able to pay my way through college. Often it meant sacrificing something I wanted in the moment, like clothes and shoes, for something I needed later – an education. My parents were very good at teaching us to be savers and financially self-reliant, and my siblings have all started to follow suit. We never got into the habit of spending a lot of money, or buying things we didn’t really need.

During the first part of our marriage, I felt like my husband had no real concept of money. I was pretty sure he had never even heard of the word or the concept of a budget. If we went grocery shopping, he wanted to get all the food he could and he would go straight for the expensive stuff as well. We got quite a few gift cards at our reception, and had completely different points of view on how they should be used. he had a “well, we have them and there’s some stuff we probably need so we should go find it” mentality, while I wanted to wait for an actual need to arise before we threw one of them in our wallets and went out looking for something specific. I actually ended up hiding a couple of the cards so that we wouldn’t use them and had them for when we needed them later.

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For a few months, I was at a loss. we had completely opposite points of view about our finances, and stunningly different relationships with the money that we earned. I wasn’t really sure what to do, but I knew something had to be done after we ended up purchasing a laptop we didn’t have the money for. We put it on a credit card, but didn’t have enough money in any of our accounts to cover it. It took three months to pay it off, but that was the beginning of the problems. We applied for more credit cards but a free credit report showed that we were pretty much at our borrowing limit. Things got so tight that we advanced ourselves money off of our credit card, which was a whole new position for me. I had always been in control, had my money working for me, instead of the other way around.

I didn’t agree with a lot of the things we were doing with our money, but I didn’t want to bring money up, because I knew we would just disagree about it and the discussion would cause friction in our young marriage. That was the last thing I wanted.

I had a glimmer of hope one evening when I was working on our budget and showed it to my husband. He looked at it and saw that he had taken about $50 out of our checking account and put them on his school card, which he used to lunch at the vending machines on campus. A little light went on when he saw how much his lunch was costing us in $5 increments. I think it was then that he started to realize that the little things can add up in a hurry and do some major damage to our finances if we weren’t paying attention. I began to hope that this would be the beginning of the change…

So if you and your partner arent on the same page financially, sit down and talk about it openly and try to understand where each is coming from. Break it down simply and show benefits from doing it your way and you will both be stronger when it comes to your money.

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