Managing your family spending as a couple
(NC) It’s not always easy for couples to agree on how to manage their finances, and it can be even harder in challenging times. If you are concerned about the impact this could have on your relationship, here are some tips that can help.
Make a plan to manage your finances
Start by creating a budget for your household. This will help you identify your total income and the amounts you spend as a couple. During periods of uncertainty like what we are experiencing as a result of COVID-19, your situation may change so you will have to review your budget. Then, agree on your priorities and your joint and individual financial goals.
Figure out how to share your resources and your responsibilities
It’s always important to have a conversation about how you want to share your joint spending: the mortgage or rent, groceries, utility bills, etc. You can opt for a joint account for your income and spending or maintain a joint account for your shared spending and have separate chequing accounts for personal expenditures.
If you choose a joint account, discuss the expenses you want to pay jointly and how often you will make deposits. Then, figure out the amount that each of you will contribute. Do you deposit equal amounts or different amounts depending on your income? What will you do if one of you loses your job or becomes sick? Put all possibilities on the table – you will be better prepared to deal with surprises.
However, before opting for a joint account, it is important to understand the pros and cons. If you opt for separate accounts, agree on each partner’s responsibilities: who pays for what? Try to share the load. This can prevent frustrations and tensions within your relationship.
Whether you choose to pool your financial resources or to manage them individually, talking about money matters can help you avoid problems in the future.
These may be uncertain times for many families, but do not let money cause trouble within your relationship. It’s always a good practice to review your finances.
If your situation changes, this practice is even more important. It is better to have than going into debt or letting frustrations build up, which could be more damaging in the long term.
Find more information at canada.ca/money.