The 5 Commandments for Money and Marriage

by Jacqueline Curtis on February 6, 2013

Money MarriageThe idea that money puts a wrench in your plans for marital bliss isn’t exactly a groundbreaking one. Money woes, stress and arguments can taint even the happiest of marriages, especially if you and your spouse aren’t on the same financial page. To combat some of the battles you fight over your bank balance, it’s important to follow some seriously simple money commandments — as a team. While they won’t stop all money-related fights in your home, they can help you see eye-to-eye so you aren’t totally tearing your hair out.

Thou Shalt  Create a Budget

I don’t care if you’re a multimillionaire or a middle class family, creating a budget is just smart. By sitting down, seeing what’s coming in and planning for everything going out of your bank account, you’re controlling your money — not the other way around. It also serves as an eye-opener, especially if one of you spends more than the other (ahem, guilty as charged). Going sans budget means you’re flying blind and more likely to get into a fight when the well runs dry and the blame game starts.

Thou Shalt Check in Regularly

Okay, I definitely get it: sometimes your bank balance makes you want to hide your head in the sand. But all that hiding isn’t going to help your marriage. If you really are committed to working as a team, you’ll need to check in regularly on money matters. It doesn’t have to be a big deal — once a month, pour a couple of glasses of wine, sit at the computer or table together and check in to make sure you’re on track with your budget. Hey, it might be that you have an extra bit of play money one month or are hoping to contribute more to your savings another month. Play nice and make it a regular habit and you don’t have to hide from money discussions.

Thou Shalt Tell the Truth

“Um, these shoes? I’ve had them forever!” Ever catch yourself in a little white money lie? While it might reduce stress in the moment, lying about purchases, your bank balance or anything else money-related lands you in hot water every time. Whether it means being found out later or a decimated budget, the truth will come out and you will get into a fight over it. Honesty’s the best policy or risk the wrath of yet another money-related yelling match.

Thou Shalt Think Ahead

Let’s face it: living paycheck to paycheck sucks. So as soon as you have a little wiggle room, it’s time to think ahead to a time when you won’t be able to rely on your paycheck: retirement. Thinking about money for the month is awesome, but thinking about the long-term picture means you’re both on the same page for the future. I love having a separate retirement account and regular, scheduled withdrawals from my main bank account. Out of sight, out of mind and it’s a non-issue in my marriage.

Thou Shalt Do What Works for You

After a couple of years of marriage, my husband and I finally came to the realization that something wasn’t working when it came to sharing our money. We decided to maintain separate bank accounts instead of a joint and we’ve been happily split — bank account-wise — ever since. Some of my friends can’t fathom the idea of separate bank account, but so what? It takes trial and error but over time, you’ll get into a groove that works for you, your  spouse and your money, no matter if it’s conventional or not.

So, did I get them all? Do you have a commandment to add to the list?

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Jacqueline Curtis

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  • Good post! I think whenever I do get married one day these things will be incredibly important to me!

  • These are all great tips!

  • I think the main one is that you should do what works for you. That will make it so much easier.

  • Greg

    The first one I think is misleading. It infers multi-millionaires do not have budgets. I bet there are more multi-millionaires with budgets than multi-millionaires without. Read the millionaire next door, millionaire mind, etc, if you want to understand their spending/saving/investing/working habits.

  • Great advice! Open communication is key. It puts you on the same page and equal partners. Plus, I’d rather show-off my new shoes than lie to my husband. 😀

  • These all sound like good rules to use whenever using combined finances, whether married or not. I’m definitely glad we have a budget that we both agree to because that makes live much easier.

  • Sounds good to me and we make sure that we work together as a team with everything to do with our financial health.

  • These are great, I am sending them over to my fiance now. I see us having separate checking but joint savings accounts. It works for us and keeps me sane!

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  • Nice advice! Doing what is right for you is best. I don’t see me and my partner sharing finances.Goals and communication, yes, but no need to combine accounts.

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  • I think an important one is to forgive mistakes and move on. That way, she might not spend money on shoes cheering herself up, lol…. But seriously, we all make mistakes, and sometimes they’re not reversible, so you have to just let it go and move on.

  • Lakita

    Hi Jacqueline, These are very motivating commandments. We need to have a budget, plan ahead and do what works for us. If we do not do these, we will not be successful.

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