I’ve been married for just over 4 years, and during that time I’ve learnt a few key lessons about marriage & finances. With any marriage there is some compromise with everyday things like schedules, chores and working together to get things done. Those are all things that anyone would come to expect when they get married and are fairly straight forward.
Finances are no different, and I’ve learnt that compromise is key when it comes to money. We both had different attitudes and experiences with our money before getting married, and when we got married we had to find a middle ground.
Here are a few money lessons I’ve learnt from being married for 4 years.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
As you could probably guess I tend to be pretty careful with my money when it comes to everyday small expenses. I’m fully aware of the “latte effect” and how small purchases made everyday can end up being a huge expense in the long run.
My wife believes that some expenses are so small they aren’t even worth worrying about.
A good example is dining out. After a long work week I tend to prefer a home cooked meal while she would prefer take out. It’s faster, cheaper and easier – which is always tempting when we’re both tired from working all week.
I’ve learnt that any monthly budget should leave room for these small things, and it’s just not worth it to stress about the small things. A takeout meal one day and a coffee the next – is it perfect? No. But is it worth arguing over? Definitely not.
We do have some small expenses like the odd takeout meal, expensive Starbucks drinks and a gym membership that aren’t the best use of our money, but they’re so small it’s just not worth worrying about. I’ve learnt to let it go and just enjoy whatever it is we’re doing and it’s made things much easier.
Compromise is Key
I’m far from a relationship expert but I think most would agree that compromise is key when it comes to a relationship, especially when it comes to money.
I’m a full-fledged saver while my wife is more of a spender. I’d venture to guess lots of relationships are like that. When we first got married we needed to find a compromise on some important money issues:
- how much to save each month. I’d rather save than spend, and she’s more inclined to spend. We needed to find a balance between the two to make it work
- where to spend the money. We both have common goals and interests so it helps that we both want to spend money on the same things – the compromise is how much of it to spend and how much to save. We both love to travel so it was easy to agree that we would set aside some money each month for traveling
- retirement planning. When we first sat down to make a monthly budget, we had a long term view in mind on being able to retire early. I would like to retire earlier than her, so we needed to find a way to make that work using our monthly budget
Like any other aspect of a relationship, I think communicating about money is necessary for both people to be happy.
A good example of this was last week when I put more money into my TFSA account. We use a joint bank account and she noticed there was $5,000 missing that I had transferred out (and somehow forgot to tell her about) – oops! It would have been better if I let her know beforehand rather than just transferring the money out, but now I know for next time.
Conclusion: marriage has taught me not to sweat the small stuff like the odd expensive coffee purchase, even if it’s not ideal for our finances. There is a perfect scenario and then there’s reality, and I’m content with the current financial reality as it is.
What money lessons has your relationship taught you?