10 Ways to stop fighting about money before you even start

Jul 6, 2010 at 4:45 a.m. ET

Whether you are newlywed or just engaged, it's time to take a hold of your finances and get on the same page as your partner. When it comes to money conflicts, things can get ugly. Finances are considered the No. 1 cause of divorce, but don't let money woes bring you down. Check out these 10 ways to stop fighting about money before you even start.

Couple arguing about finances

1Be honest about your spending style

Oftentimes one person in the relationship is a spender, while the other is a scrooge. It's important to be honest about your spending style and have an open discussion about what your core values are in terms of money. At 30, one of you may be thinking about saving for retirement, while the other is wanting a luxury vacation every year.

2Develop a budget... together

With or without the help of a professional, you need to develop a monthly budget and stick to it. Sit down together and map out your expenditures. Try to put money into savings every paycheck and establish an emergency fund for unexpected expenditures. Mint.com is a FREE online money management and budget planner that is easy to use and highly recommended.

3Share the responsiblity

Instead of handing over the checkbook to your spouse, allowing him to handle all the bills and give you an allowance every week, you need to work together. A parent-child dynamic where one person controls the money isn't healthy. The "child" will end up rebelling or resentful.

4Set a limit

You certainly don't have to ask your partner every time you want to buy a cup of coffee. However, there should be a limit on how much you can spend without telling him about it ahead of time. Surprising him with a $5,000 couch when you are trying to pay off credit card debt isn't a good idea. Set a limit. Whether that number is $200 or $2,000 depends on your own financial circumstances.

5Schedule a time to talk about money

Instead of nagging or arguing about money every single day, set a time to talk about it on a weekly basis. During the weekly meeting, you can air any concerns and establish a game plan to conquer any issues.


One of the best ways to stop fighting about money is to automate as many of your bills and payments as possible. There won't be a need to scream about why the water bill didn't get paid, if you both know it's being deducted from your bank account every month on the 15th.

7Get out of debt

Debt is a huge burden. Part of your budget should include a plan on how to get out of debt. If you are in serious debt, find out how a program like Dave Ramsey's debt snowball plan will help you build serious momentum to get out of debt.

8Have some fun

Many couples end up breaking their budget because they don't set aside money for entertainment. They end up spending anyway, creating a shortage in other areas. Be sure to set aside a nominal amount of money for weekly entertainment. After all, just because you are married doesn't mean you shouldn't date each other anymore!

9Focus on the solutions

With money issues, tempers can flare and oftentimes people say things that they regret. Focus on solutions, rather than mistakes and blame. Though it's easy to slip into patterns of fighting and anger when it comes to money, accept the situation and work together on finding a clear plan for a stable financial future.

10Get professional help

If you find at the end of each month, you are going further and further into debt, don't be afraid to find help. Talk to a financial consultant to get a professional, educated perspective on your money situation and develop a course of action. Even if you aren't fighting about money (yet!), a financial advisor can help you develop a realistic spending and saving plan. Don't let money problems become a source of problems in your marriage. With these tips, you can avoid money conflicts and negative patterns before they even start.

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