Are we on the same page?

Most couples take a “divide and conquer” approach to household tasks and chores. One partner might handle weekly shopping, the other might handle the rubbish collections and recycling. One partner might handle laundry and cleaning, the other might handle gardening and household maintenance. One partner might drive the kids to school, the other might handle the after school pick up and the extracurricular activities.

But household spending and budgeting is one of those responsibilities that’s best tackled together. Money issues are one of the biggest sources of relationship tension, and a leading factor in break ups. Here are five ways that you and your partner can make sure you agree on your household spending, avoid surprises, and maximise what your money provides for.

Have an open and honest discussion.

Many couples assume their attitudes about money are aligned. Then one day, the roof needs an emergency repair that taps a savings account, or someone walks in the door with an unexpected splurge purchase (or worse yet, hides it!).

Stressful situations are not the ideal time for a couple to discover significant differences in spending habits. Sit down with your spouse and have a thorough review of your finances, and your monthly budget. Find compromises that will allow you to save for the future while still enjoying your present.

Understand the total household cash flow.

Quite often, the monthly bill payments are handled by one partner. This can lead to misunderstandings, and arguments about where the money goes every month if both are not involved.

Both partners should understand how much the household spends every month, and how your bills get paid. If you’re the one who’s usually in charge of bills, take an hour to walk your partner through your process. Make sure you are both aware of what date bills are paid, the amount and how the transaction is made. This won’t just help both to understand the monthly cash flow, it will ensure that both can handle household finances in the event of an emergency.

Be transparent about all assets and liabilities.

New couples might still have banking or credit accounts that are only in the original account holder’s name. The other partner might not find out about these accounts until a credit card is maxed out, or an account is overdrawn. If one of those accounts carries a large liability, get out in front of the problem and talk about how to start paying the debt off.

Again, the less stressful your reason for talking to your spouse, the more positive the outcome will be. Financial secrets tend to come out at the worst times, compounding stress, hurt feelings, and making strain on your budget.

Agree on a budget.

If one partner is responsible for budgeting and bill paying, that person often becomes the one who has to say “No.”. No eating out this week. No weekend trip to the seaside. No new mobile phones or gadgets. No new clothes. No fun!

Nobody likes being in that position, especially if you’re saying “No” to your children. Eventually, you or your partner will resent being the one who has to say “No.” You should both understand the household’s monthly cash flow and agree on how your money is – and isn’t – spent.

Talk to us

Here at Hartcliff we encourage you to come and talk with us to start the process of clarifying your monthly budgeting picture, to ensure you are getting the most out of what you have, to give you the best life possible now and in the future. Call Andy on 01226 446135 or email at


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