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Getting married is typically a very exciting moment, as is the process leading up to it.

There’s the dress, the food, the band, and of course, your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. What happens when the wedding bells stop ringing? When the bills start coming in, and the two of you disagree about how to handle your finances?

I don’t mean to be a downer because there really is something magical about the months before and after a wedding. However, it’s important to be realistic. Many couples argue about money, and these arguments often stem from small, day-to-day financial disagreements.

Small money fights can affect your relationship over the long term, to the point where it gets to be too much. After all, many couples argue about money, and many of these arguments stem from small, day-to-day financial disagreements.

I’ve talked to many married couples over the past few years in my research. I also know from my own firsthand experience that even some of the toughest money fights can be resolved.

So, with that said, below is a list of what I wish I would have known about money before I got married. Hopefully they can help your relationship thrive and last for decades to come.

There’s No Need to Micromanage Money

Early in my marriage, when my husband and I first combined our finances, I used to micromanage everything about our money. If my husband spent $5 on a Starbucks drink, you bet he heard about it. Once, he forgot to pay a bill, and because of that, I’ve paid every bill over the course of our seven-year marriage.

It took me years to realize that while I thought I was helping us save money by micromanaging, I was actually hurting my relationship. Questioning every purchase he made suffocated him and made him scared to buy anything.

As I’m sure you can imagine, our early years of marriage and having our first joint bank account definitely came with a learning curve. Luckily, we learned how to solve our differences over spending styles, which brings me to my next point.

An Allowance Solves Most Money Fights

It’s important to remember that although a marriage creates a union between two people, those two people are still individuals. We all have different money priorities, different things we like to splurge on, and different life experiences that affect what and how we buy things.

That’s why an allowance can help improve relationship strains over money. My husband and I each get around $100 every month to spend on whatever we like. If he wants to buy expensive hair products, he can do that without me questioning it. If I want to get a $30 manicure, I can do so without fear of getting the side eye.

Allowing each person to have their own spending money, whether it’s $20 or $200, infuses a sense of independence in a relationship and helps a couple to focus on their joint goals without worrying about their individual spending.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Saving

When you’re young and your marriage is new, it’s easy to spend more than you save. However, even if you have a small income, it’s important to start saving early.

Early in my marriage, I regret eating out so much and not tracking my spending more closely. I always tell young couples that it’s never too early to start saving toward a joint goal, whether you want to buy a house someday or retire early.

How You’re Raised Matters When It Comes to Money

It’s interesting to me how much of our childhood experiences affect every aspect of our adult lives so many years later. Money lessons are no different. My husband’s parents were extremely frugal. Many of his clothes and shoes came from thrift stores, so he relished the opportunity to make his own money and buy new clothes once he got older.

I, on the other hand, grew up with parents who enjoyed spending their solid incomes. So, to me, going to a thrift store was like a fun scavenger hunt. It was about the thrill of the chase; it wasn’t about being there because I had to buy my clothes there.

So, to this day, I love getting a good deal and scouring sales. My husband just wants to walk into a store and buys what he wants, whether it’s full price.

As evidenced by the examples above, childhood experiences like these shape how my husband and I view money and handle spending as adults. It affects the types of products we buy, how often we save, and even the way we shop.

Most of the time, spending money is psychological. There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in exchanging dollar bills. I wish I would have known this early on. It took me years to understand why our money philosophies are different and how to compromise so we could plan our future financial goals together.

It’s More Fun to Spend Money When You Have It

The average credit card debt in America is around $16,000. (This figure does not include households who pay their credit card balances in full each month.) It’s increasingly common for young couples and families to use credit cards as a crutch when their income can’t keep up with their spending habits.

I’ve learned over time, through climbing out of credit card debt myself, that it really is more fun to spend money you actually have. It feels empowering to save up for a big purchase over time. When you actually have the money in your bank account to go on a trip or buy a computer, you get to enjoy it more. You don’t have to experience that feeling in your stomach when you know you shouldn’t buy something but do it anyway.

Saving money before buying something with your spouse is even more rewarding. When you work toward your financial goals jointly, it brings you closer together over time.

I’ve learned quite a bit about managing money within a marriage in the last seven years since saying “I Do.” My husband and I made our share of money mistakes, but these days, we handle our joint money peacefully and enjoy working together toward our common financial goals. Hopefully, some of the tips above can help you to do the same in your relationship.

What do you wish you would have known about money before you got married? Let us know in the comments below!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Allowances work. I wish we had taken Dave Ramsey’s financial peace class when I was 25 instead of 45. I think our lives would have been much different.

  2. I agree with all tips mentioned above. We have been married 10 yrs, but we never had an official allowance. We just eyeball our individual spending at the end of the month when we pay bills. We don’t micromanage our money, but an allowance will give us a specific target amount. We will start one now. My husband has been fighting with me to save money, I just need to start! Thanks for the article and the tips. I definitely recommend Dave Ramsey financial course as well.

  3. Judy,
    It sounds like you are really hurt by this man. I know it’s hard to be alone but you need to do what’s good for you. I hope you have brighter days in the future. Life’s to short not to be happy everyday.

  4. I agree with everything that was said here. I have been married now for 18 years. Now in our 40’s close to 50 we get it. We had to learn it the hard way but now we really understand what it means to manage our income. Also I recommend everyone taking the time to do the Dave Ramsey class for couples.

  5. I have been married almost 48yrs. From the beginning we had very little and we had a joint account. I wish that we had separate accounts. Add up the bills and split it in half. Today I am thinking about a divorce fr my cheating lying spouse. He retired without telling me in 2011, said he was going to do business with a friend, in fact he went with a woman for 25 days and has left home 20 times without telling me. That woman’s son is now missing, so he picked up with another one ,who was a family friend. She calls me a lunatic said I need to see a psychiatrist. Sent me a nasty text confirm in the affair and his excuse is that I pushed her buttons, reason why she sent the text. If what she wrote wasn’t true, she wouldn’t be so confident to send me such vulgar statements confessing her love fir him. For crying out loud, he is 71 abs a half years old. I laugh at him and her. So he is booking flights and just expect the bills to be paid. Thanks for reading. This is a short version of what I am experiencing at the moment. Thank you

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