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3 Big Money Mistakes that Couples Make

Updated on May 25, 2011

Moving in together, whether newlyweds or not, is the happiest and the most stressful time for both members in the relationship. Add financial issues to the equation and you have a disaster waiting to happen. There are three common mistakes that couples make when handling their finances that, if handled differently, could save the couple a lot of heartache. These three mistakes include combining accounts too early, having only one person handling the finances, and not having a budget.


Combining accounts and finances when a couple move in together or get married seems like the romantic thing to do. However, combining finances too early can cause a relationship to quickly move south. When couples first move in together emotions run high. Both people are trying to adjust to the new arrangements and the lifestyle of the opposite person. Having to deal with money problems on top of already thin ice can be a disaster in the making. Couples should instead take baby steps and slowly make the transition to completely combining accounts. These baby steps could include having a single account for savings, while having separate accounts for spending money. This eliminates rifts between the couple because one person is spending too much.


The most common mistake that couples make with their finances is that only one person in the relationship handles the money. Of course this is prevalent more for couples who have combined accounts versus those who handle their own finances individually. Some couples have one person who deals with the financial side of the relationship and this works great for them. However, for others, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Both members in the relationship should be aware of exactly where the money is going and how much is going there. Couples can achieve this by setting some time aside each month to sit down and look at their finances together. From there, it can be decided where the money is going and how much is being spent monthly.


Here is one that you have heard a thousand times. Budget, budget, and budget! Although it begins to sound like a broken record, keep in mind that it can save a lot of time and problems in a relationship. This is also a great way to have both members in the relationship come together to see where the finances are going. To make a simple budget sheet, take a few minutes to list all of your expenses. For time management purposes you can print a premade budget online. Next, go on to fill out how much you plan to spend on that expense in a month. For an example, you may have car insurance that has to be paid every month, write on your budget sheet how much your insurance costs every month. Another example that may be harder to fill out is groceries. Although the amount of groceries you may buy a month will stay relatively steady, always plan for a situation that may come up in which you have to buy more than normal, such as a Thanksgiving or Christmas family meal. Simply average how much you plan to spend on groceries a month, and add an emergency amount of $50 to $100 to the estimate.


Dealing with finances as a couple is a huge step. It is a stepping stone in a couple’s life together and can truly make or break a relationship. Finding a system that works best for both you and your partner is the hardest part of dealing with finances as a couple. Keep these common mistakes in mind when developing a financial system to avoid problems and you’ll be well on your way to a happy and healthy relationship.


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