Fighting About Money?

August 21st, 2012

I cannot tell you how many times my wife and I were given that advice before we got married. In one form or another we were told, “Don’t ever fight or argue about money; it’s not worth it.” At the time we were so in love that we were impervious to potential fights or arguments, so we took the advice with a grain of salt.

Well seven months later all I can say is…wow, that was probably the best advice we ever received! My wife and I were confronted with a slew of money challenges from the beginning. She had no idea she was marrying an ultra-frugal, penny-pinching man and I had no idea I was marrying a woman who loved to buy decorations that cost anywhere from $45 for a pillow (that I can’t even use!) to $120 for curtains.

Holy smokes! Who spends money on potpourri for the bathroom? Apparently everyone. To make matters worse, we got married around the holidays and had to buy everyone gifts. I needed to put a stop to our spending because if I didn’t we were going to be moving to the poor house.

But how do I tell this beautiful, blushing bride she can’t buy all of this stuff without it turning into a fight? Well, I stared reading some ideas on this website: http://utahmarriage.usu.edu/?p=485 (cheap plug I know, but it’s true), and I saw Megan’s advice to “communicate communicate communicate!” That seemed like a splendid idea! I would talk to my wife before I let it get too far.

One night at dinner I asked my wife what she thought about our finances, and to my surprise she communicated her desire to budget as a family. I was floored and speechless. My beautiful bride was thinking the same as me; how great was that? She told me she wasn’t sure what bills we had but she made a preliminary budget based on what she knew. We continued to talk about our finances and we came to agree on a sensible budget that included room to buy decorations (which I still contest, but hey, if they’re in the budget then I can’t be too angry).

Along with creating a budget we decided to combine our checking accounts and even started using envelopes for a special savings account. Advice on using envelopes for your budget can be found at this website: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/moneymanagement/ht/Envelope_System.htm.

My wife and I were able to effectively heed our wedding advice and have a productive conversation, not a fight, about finances.

What was the best wedding advice you got?

~Tim