I tend to be a spender. 

I see money as a way to increase satisfaction, joy, and contentment. When spent on the right things, spending money contributes to my overall happiness and well-being. I enjoy being able to spend money on what I please, no questions asked. 

DJ tends to be more of a saver.

He enjoys putting money away, protecting it, and growing it. To him, saving money gives him a sense of accomplishment and stability. He appreciates handling money wisely with discretion and restraint. 

As you can imagine, this fundamental difference in how we view money could lay grounds for a tumultuous relationship. 

However, after countless hours of communication and compromise, we have come to agree on our finances and view each other’s differences as complementary.

Keep Reading For 5 Tips On How We Always Make It Work…

 

1. Understand What Money Represents

 

Money is so much more than just something of value. Money represents a lot of different things. 

Money can represent power, security, luxury, independence, status, freedom, influence and more. 

It represents different things to each person. 

One of the greatest ways DJ and I have come to a place of financial understanding is getting to know what money represents to each of us. 

Money represents security to me. 

I am at peace when I know we have enough money in the bank. I feel safe and secure knowing that even if something happens, we will make it through because we have set ourselves up wisely financially. 

Money represents freedom and independence to DJ. 

He sees it as a way to achieve his dreams. Ultimately, financial freedom means giving him the power to choose how he spends his time and resources.

What money represents may have a big impact on why one person is a spender and the other is a saver.

For example, a person who is a spender may value luxury and status, while a saver may value power and independence. (Obviously this is not the case with everyone, but how you value money can certainly impact your financial decisions) 

Take time to reflect what money means to you.

Discuss this with your partner, which brings me to my next point…

 

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! 

 

I know, I know…. It’s cliché.. But it’s the truth. 

DJ and I have spent countless hours talking about our finances because it’s something that we’ve both fallen in love with.  

However, that may not be you or your partner. And that’s okay. 

The point is, spend time communicating about your relationship and include your finances as well. 

Bank accounts don’t lie. 

There’s no use trying to cover up how much was spent or saved. You can clearly see how much is in your account or on your credit card statement. 

Spend time communicating about why your partner tends to be more of a spender or a saver.

The more you understand, learn, and appreciate about each other, the deeper your intimacy will become. 

 

3. Set Up Personal Discretionary Spending Accounts 

 

One of the best pieces of advice DJ and I received during our premarital counseling was to create Personal Discretionary Spending Accounts. 

This one thing alone has saved DJ and I countless arguments. I can’t even begin to tell you how much having personal spending accounts has impacted our marriage in a positive way. 

This tip works best for couples who have decided to combine their finances into one joint account. 

Let me tell you I love shopping.

I can spend hours at my local mall or Marshalls. There’s something about it that always makes me happy! 

But to tell you the truth, if I shopped as much as I liked and spent the type of money I usually spend without having my own personal spending account, I’d probably be single right now. 

So how does the Personal Discretionary Spending Account work? It takes a little bit of time to set up, but I promise you it’s worth it. 

 Here’s the basic premise –  Each month, take 5% out of each person’s paycheck and place it into a personal account for each partner. That 5% is designed to be spent (or saved!) by that individual person however they please. 

The 5% is completely separate from any normal, monthly expenses in your budget including food, rent, utilities, gas, insurance, etc. 

Now, you don’t have to choose 5% of your paycheck. It could be 2% or even 10%. That’s a decision you’ll make with your partner. 

Regardless, the money should be deposited directly into a personal account that you have access to at all times. Here at DuoDollars, we recommend setting up an account with no minimums or fees so that your hard earned money stays that way! 

It’s completely up to you to decide how you’d like to spend that money and your partner has absolutely no say in how you spend it! 

This tip does take a bit of ground work to set up, but I promise you IT’S WORTH IT. 

 

4. Decide On A Maximum Amount Of Money That Can Be Spent From Your Joint Account – No Questions Asked 

 

Another great tip DJ and I received during our Premarital counseling was to mutually decide on a maximum amount of money that can be spent from your joint account without your partner’s consent. 

In other words – what is the maximum amount of money you can spend without  A) having to consult your spouse first and B) not being questioned by your spouse afterwards?

For example, this amount can be as little as $25 or as large as $2,500. It truly depends on each couple and their personal financial situation. 

As for DJ and I, our current limit is $50. This means I can go out and spend up to $50 happily from our joint account without having to worry about him being upset or asking why I spent that money. As we pay off our debts and secure ourselves financially, I’m sure that amount will go up over time. 

Obviously, common sense means I won’t be going out and spending $50 unnecessarily every other day, completely trashing our budget. However, every once and a while is perfectly fine since it is our agreed upon amount! 

 

5. Spend Time Learning About Personal Finance 

 

Congratulations! You’ve already accomplished this tip by reading this blog. 

Learning about personal finance is so important because the more educated you are, the wiser decisions you will make. 

  • When you truly begin to understand how much that credit card balance will cost you in interest years down the road, you’ll be more motivated to pay it off early. 
  • When you realize how much you will need to save each month to retire comfortably, you’ll be inspired to save more. 
  • When you learn there’s a millionaire next door, you’ll realize you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ as much. (Plus, the Jones’ are probably broke as sh*t)

 The more you learn, the more you’ll be empowered to take control of your money, instead of letting your money control you. 

Spending time learning about personal finance is one of the greatest ways DJ and I have come to be on the same page on our finances. 

Even though we each have inherent differences regarding the way we spend, save, and value money, we have come to have a deep understanding of each other’s financial goals, dreams, and aspirations. 

This only happened after we each spent significant time learning about personal finance and its relevance to our lives. It was so empowering to pay off $20,000 of credit card debt in 6 months and take ourselves off the brink of financial collapse. 

Here are a few of our favorite resources: 

Our Favorite Personal Finance Books 

  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • Set For Life
  • Financial Freedom

Our Favorite Finance Blogs & Websites 

  • Mr. Money Mustache 
  • Making Sense of Cents 
  • Bigger Pockets 
  • The Balance 
  • Fitnancials 

Our Favorite Finance Podcasts 

  • Afford Anything
  • ChooseFI 
  • BiggerPockets Money Podcast

 

And that’s it, folks! 

In conclusion, the 5 tips are the following: 

  1. Understand What Money Represents
  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! 
  3. Set Up Personal Discretionary Spending Accounts
  4. Decide On A Maximum Amount Of Money That Can Be Spent From Your Joint Account – No Questions Asked
  5. Spend Time Learning About Personal Finance

We hope you’ll be able to put these 5 tips to use immediately and that they will deepen and strengthen your relationship!