Debt can seriously damage a marriage, more so than most couples realize. The stress of this financial burden weighs heavily on the household, turning small disagreements into major arguments. If you can keep debt to a minimum, you and your spouse can enjoy a better quality of life. Check out these debt prevention tips for married couples, courtesy of Perspectives Counseling Centers in Michigan.
Say No to Small Purchases
Debt doesn’t always come from big purchases. It’s the small transactions that add up in the end. That impulse buy at the checkout line or that extra cup of restaurant coffee can become a much bigger issue when compiled with other purchases. Make an effort to turn down impulse buys. The split-second satisfaction you get from them usually isn’t worth the money you lose. Save that money for something more significant, like an improvement on your house or a nice dinner as a couple. You will get much more satisfaction from that in the end.
Stop Revenge Spending
This is a common scenario in marriage counseling. “He went out and bought this, so I bought myself that.” Spouses often use the money to get revenge on one another. They compete to outspend each other, but that only hurts the family in the long run. If one of you has a shopping addiction, talk about it. If you both have spending problems, talk about that as well. If you’re in marriage counseling, you can talk to your counselor about these issues. He or she will help you create a plan that minimizes stress in the household.
Save instead of Borrowing
Instead of buying a new piece of furniture on credit, save money each month for the purchase. Once you have enough money saved, watch for a sale and make your purchase. When you borrow money, you pay more for a product because of interest. Even if you get an interest-free loan, you train your brain to borrow instead of saving. This could lead to costly spending habits in the future. Practice patience, and you will be able to make your purchase in no time.
Have Honest Conversations about Household Finances
You’re married, which means you should be able to trust your spouse with your financial information. Be transparent about each of your income and the household bills. In a recent study, 54% of married couples who said their relationship was ‘great’ talked about their finances on a daily or weekly basis. By comparison, only 29% of respondents in ‘okay’ or ‘in crisis’ had frequent money talks.
Ideally, you should start talking about money before marriage. This creates a healthy flow of communication for the future. If you are already married though, it’s never too late to start. Sit down with your spouse and have a serious talk about income, bills, budgeting, and long-term financial goals. When you get on the same page about household spending, it is much easier to avoid debt as a married couple.
For additional assistance managing money and stress in a marriage, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers. Our marriage counselors in Michigan can help you overcome conflicts in your relationship and strengthen your marital bond.