Make an appointment to give your money some love
For most couples, a date means a candlelit meal at a fancy restaurant or a few drinks at the local pub. But more and more people are now booking “financial date nights” to discuss their household finances.
The idea may not sound very romantic, but marriage counselor Ben Leppier and his wife Kerry say they’ve saved around £ 8,000 since they started booking parties regularly to talk about money three years ago. years.
The couple came up with the concept as a fun way to take a closer look at their finances.
Dream team: Kerry and Ben Leppier settle their finances
Ben says many of his earliest memories are of his parents arguing over money. “The money was hidden and there was no discussion or planning. This can lead to fear, embarrassment, and a feeling of inadequacy when the topic is brought up – and people are often defensive when asked about their spending decisions. I knew there had to be a better way to talk about money, which is why we are creating a safe environment to talk about it, ”he explains.
They start by updating their input and output worksheet. This includes their mortgage and utility costs as well as agreed budgets for food, fuel, savings and “fun”.
Ben, 38, goes through all the money carefully and highlights any areas where they may have overspended.
The couple, who live in Aylburton, Gloucestershire, then brought their children – Florence, eight; Eden, six years old; and Willow, three – in bed and sitting on the couch, usually with a drink and a bowl of crisps. To avoid confrontation, they start off by complimenting each other on five or six things they’ve noticed in the past few weeks. Ben says, “It could be anything, like admiring how one of us helped the kids or handled a turbulent situation. It’s deeper than just loving the way someone looks in their jeans.
“We then enter the conversation feeling like good people – so we can talk about money, which can be a sensitive and difficult subject at times.”
The Leppiers, who run marriage counseling company The Marriage People, compare the monthly or weekly expenses with what they budgeted for and discuss any unforeseen expenses.
They then make adjustments for the weeks to come. For example, one month they decided to cut their money ‘for fun’ from £ 120 a month to £ 80 by not buying regular coffee, and added a little extra to their food budget to buy a frother. milk.
Money is often a sensitive topic for couples and is considered one of the main causes of arguments. In fact, one in ten couples say they try to avoid the conversation altogether, according to comparison site MoneySuperMarket.
Money, and what it stands for, is also emotional, says Peter Saddington, Relate advisor.
It’s good to talk: money is often a touchy subject for couples and is considered one of the main causes of arguments
He explains, “People judge you on how you manage your money – that’s why a lot of people keep it a secret. The subject may be ashamed, especially if you are struggling with debt, which causes tremendous anxiety.
More than a third of people in relationships have had an argument with their partner over money, according to Lloyds Bank. And almost a quarter have lied to their partner about finances, usually because they are trying to cover up how much they owe.
Mr Saddington said: “Having planned and open conversations about your finances can really benefit couples and help them feel in control.”
During their five-year marriage, Youssef Darwich, 31, and his wife Tatum, 29, have always been open about their finances. But since they started their financial parties two years ago, they have tripled their savings.
Every month around payday, the couple, who live in northwest London, sit down with a laptop and update their budget spreadsheet together. This lists the monthly balances of their checking and savings accounts.
They look at their combined income and verify that they are spending according to the agreed budget. They typically allocate 60% of their income to essential items such as rent, travel expenses, and food. About 3pc is “guilt-free money”.
The remainder is distributed among other goals, such as saving for a house deposit and for the future of their little one.
The couple then treat themselves to a take-out, prepare a special dinner or reserve a table.
Over dinner, they discuss their future plans. Conversations don’t always go smoothly, such as when Tatum wants to buy furniture that Youssef doesn’t deem necessary.
But they work together and decide which pot the money should come from.
Youssef, who runs an app called Hapi, which helps parents save for their kids, says date nights have made them more disciplined.
He says, “Your life will change, but overall it will put you in a better financial position.
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