Need vs. want
We all already know that opposites attract -- don't think for a second that money is an exception! Spenders marry savers and savers marry spenders. Many money fights involve differing opinions about needs versus wants. Can you tell the difference? Try to remember that even when something seems important to one of you, it may not to the other -- keep your different angles in mind because it'll help you see eye to eye.
Save your pennies
Why do money fights happen? As you may realize, money fights are more likely to happen when budgets feel tight -- and that's happening now more than ever. When you live on a budget -- and most of us do -- even small expenses are creating stress which gives couples more to fight about. If you're the spender in the relationship, keep in mind that the threshold may have shifted for your mate.
Have you ever lied about money in order to avoid an argument? You aren't alone. Some of us hide purchases, others keep bonuses a secret (not cool!) and others are withdrawing funds from joint bank accounts without their partner's knowledge. None of these are the way to go. Instead commit to open communication even if it does create occasional conflict.
Hold regular budget talks
Try to set aside a time each week, month or quarter to talk about finances. Not just at tax return time, either. If it's in the books, you won't be resorting to money talks when one of you has reached a boiling point. And make sure you're scheduling your meeting at a reasonable hour -- couples should avoid talking about money after midnight when tempers have a better shot at getting short.
Establish some house rules
Chances are you and your partner are very different when it comes to money -- we've established that! That's an even greater reason to set some ground rules. Maybe this would include consulting each other whenever you spend more than $50, holding budget reviews every month and creating a dream fund for that trip you both want to take or that boat you want to buy. Guidelines can help give both of you parameters to live by that are within your mutual comfort zones.
Set common goals
What would you and your spouse do with $10,000? What would life look like with no credit card debt? Take some time to dream, come up with common goals and listen to each other's fantasies. (No, not THOSE kind.) Remember, you are on the same team -- that should mean shared goals!
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