For richer, for poorer – B’s tips for financial harmony at home

Whoever said ‘young hearts run free’ obviously didn’t have a partner with a sports-gear obsession, right? Because the way we spend and save in relationships can mean the difference between a romantic night in and a nasty falling-out. With research from the Money Advice Service stating that the average couple has 39 arguments a year caused by cash, try our tips on how to manage your finances together as a couple and create some real har-money.

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Get to know each other’s spending habits

You probably know most of each other’s habits already. Some may be quite cute and endearing, while others quite frankly drive you right up the wall. Still, for better or worse, when you know each other’s ways you can work together as a proper dream-team. So, when it comes to money, figure out whether each of you is naturally a spender or a saver. If you’re honest, you might already know, but – if not - there are loads of tests online, like this one from allthetests.com.

If you both turn out to be savers, well, that’s some good luck right there. You might be well on top of your money already. If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, you may want to agree to the saver taking more control of the cash. Or, if you’re both spenders, well, it could be time to get tough about setting budgets and limits. Just being honest about it is a step in the right direction.

Share your statements

Sharing’s caring, right? And while you may draw a line at sharing things like a toothbrush or, you know, the last slice of pizza, if you’re going to share bills it makes sense to share your bank statements too. And if you have an account with B, the app can show you where your money goes with just a few taps.

If you can look at your statements together and work out exactly where each of you spends your money every month, you’ll get a clearer view of where you could make some savings. It may be that you can order certain items you both use in bulk, or that you didn’t quite realise how much you collectively spend on going out.

It doesn’t mean you’re spying on each other (although, interestingly in an article from Relate, 45% of people in relationships say they aren’t always honest with their partner about their finances ). You don’t even have to make big changes, but just being aware of where the cash really goes could be the eye-opener you need to do things a bit differently.

"If you’ve agreed things need to change, well, that’s a great start"

Talk when you’re feeling flush

None of us actually looks forward to a frank discussion about money, especially when it means dealing with the cold, hard facts. In fact, in a survey for the relationships charity Relate, 61% of people with children (47% without) said money is the biggest strain on their relationship. So you could make it a bit easier on yourselves by sitting down together straight after payday. When your balance looks healthy, you’ll feel loads more positive (maybe even enthusiastic) about budgeting for the month ahead.

It might not sound quite as appealing as a shopping-centre splurge, but – in the long run – knowing where you stand with your money feel better than yet another pair of shoes (or whatever your weakness is). And when you know how much you have leftover for fun stuff, the more likely you are to plan exactly what you want to do with it, rather than just go bonkers and impulse buy.

Make a plan to do things differently

If you’ve agreed things need to change, well, that’s a great start. The next thing to think about is how best to manage your money from now on. There are a few different options, and it’s worth talking them all through before you decide which way to go.

If you’re both committed to saving and spending smartly together, a joint account could be the answer (and in case you didn’t know, you can apply for one with B). Some people use their joint account for all the spending, while others only use it for shared things like bills and other household things. Just do whatever works for you. If one of you earns a fair bit more than the other, you may agree to contribute different sums to the joint account, so you both have similar amounts left over for socialising and other things you do together.

Or you may prefer to keep your own current accounts and manage things that way. It could be that you each look after different bills – say, one of you pays the council tax while the other pays for the energy and broadband. As long as you agree what’s fair, it can be an easy way to share the responsibility without having to split every bill in half.

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