Friday, May 28

Money & Relationships

There has been a lot of talk lately in the "blogosphere" regarding the financial aspects of being a fashion blogger. Just the other day Valerie from Beauty and the Budget wrote a post on money and relationships titled "Does Money Matter in Relationships". The title alone got me thinking about SSBF and myself.

Differing views on money tend to be a source of conflict in most relationships and clearly we reside at different ends of the spectrum. Did I ever tell you guys that he checks our ING sharebuilder account everyday and keeps a running tally of how much we've gained or lost? I can pretty much determine what kind of mood he will be in when I get home just by checking how the stock markets did. True story. In all seriousness though, arguments about money are a leading cause of divorce; A path I would rather not be on (no, we're not married yet, but a break-up would feel like a divorce).

So the question remains how have we made it almost four years with no major conflicts about money and spending?

Open Communication

Before we moved in with each other we pretty much laid our cards on the table. We discussed how much student loan debt we both had and how much credit card debt I had. We also continually discuss plans for paying for expenses when things change that affect out finances, like buying the house. We also made sure to set up a plan for who pays for what.

For example, since SSBF is currently making more money then me he pays $800 towards our mortgage and I pay the balance of $735. He was also kind enough to agree to pay for groceries, cable, and electric. My responsibility is to pay for the phone/internet. Now that I am making more money (then before) and I am close to paying off another of my credit cards I agreed to pick up the grocery tab once, maybe twice a month once the card is paid off.

Bottom line, we talk about all things financial.

Shared Savings

Even though we maintain individual checking accounts for paying bills, SSBF and I opened a joint savings account with ING Direct. By contributing to a savings account it turns my money or his money into our money, money that is meant to better our future together. I think the act of saving together shows the level of commitment you are willing to give to the relationship. Saving together also lets you put your future goals in perspective. As reckless as my spending used to be SSBF knows that I am working to change that through my continued contributions to the savings account.

We Share Control

Control also tends to be a source of conflict itself in relationships. While both of us have pretty strong opinions about how our money should be saved and spent neither of us have full control over the finances. Partly because we have individual checking accounts, but mostly because we respect each others opinions and are willing to compromise. When we opened our investment account it was at my prodding. I had made an initial investment of $500 and had set up an automatic transfer of $100/month after that. SSBF was not comfortable with that amount, so we changed it to $50/month. Done and done. No explosive argument, no silent treatment. He presented his opinion, I listened, and we agreed to a compromise.

We fulfill each others needs

Of course there is plenty of psychology to support why as opposites we can find some harmony. SSBF has the traits that I want, but lack and vice versa. You see, SSBF's ability to save and my willingness to spend complement one another in a funny way. I tend to buy a majority of the clothes for both of us. Without me, I'm pretty sure SSBF would still be walking around in clothes he bought his sophomore year in college because he doesn't know how to treat himself. Without SSBF I'm certain I would be living in a box on the corner if not with my parents stuck in a revolving door of debt because I know all too well how to treat myself.

I think the most important thing though that has kept us relatively conflict free is that SSBF has never made me feel bad about my debt. He's eager for it to go away, but has never held it against me or acted as if he was better then me. He understood it was a sensitive issue , and not something I was particularly proud of.

There really is hope for anyone in a relationship with their financial opposite, just make sure to keep the lines of communication open.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend! Enjoy the beaches, the bbq's, and of course, the sales!


  1. This was a great post. It gave me a lot of ideas to think about! I especially like how you explained that your joint savings account is important because it shows you both are committed to building your future together. It seems like you have a lot of insight into money dynamics in relationships.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth! I think it is so important to understand the dynamics of any relationship in order to understand how to make it succeed. Have a great weekend!

  3. Seriously, I'm so glad you posted this. My BF and I don't even live together yet, but it scares me to think of combining our finances and this helped me realize different ways to approach the situation. A joint savings sounds like a fantastic idea :)

    Ripped Nylon


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