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How to Talk to Your Spouse About Money

Building wealth is a lot like building a strong marriage. Both require determination, passion and the ability to communicate effectively.

Determination

Marriage is not a spectator sport. Neither is building wealth. You must be determined to be in the game and make certain you’re not taking your current status for granted. Don’t take your eye off of the prize.

Action: This week, make financial and marital commitments to each other about areas where you both want to improve. Write them down and check on your progress throughout the year to ensure you’re improving. With the right attitude of partnership, the two of you will have a lot of fun planning together.

Passion

Having goals, dreams and desires are what fuels our everyday decisions. Keep that end goal in mind when you are going through your daily routine. Ensure the decisions you are making today are in support of the long-term goals for your marriage and your wealth. That passion for the ideal relationship and for financial freedom will drive you to success together.

Action: Set financial and relationship goals for the new year with your spouse. Is this the year that you’re going to finally eliminate those student loans? Can you afford that romantic getaway this summer? Plan together and get motivated to make your dreams become a reality.

Communication

As they say, communication is a two-way street. What drives you, might not drive your spouse. Take time to share your goals and desires with your partner and ask them to do the same with you. Even if your goals are different, through strong communication you will find a way to work together.

Action: Go on a monthly “Money Date”. This is time for you and your spouse to discuss your finances, your dreams and to have some fun.

How Couples Can Achieve Financial Goals

Since finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, this is an area where couples should want to get on the same page with each other. Many couples have said that money is the only thing they fight about. Sometimes all a couple need is to get the conversation about money started so they can express their goals and values to each other. This, in turn, allows them to work together toward achieving those goals in a way that aligns with the values they share. Once a couple agrees on their top financial priorities, it is much easier to put a plan in motion that allows them to make progress toward those priorities.

Below are four things you can do today to achieve financial goals faster with your spouse, so you can become a debt-eliminating, money-saving team!

Agree on Goals. The first step is to agree on your top one or two goals as a couple. Do you want to pay off your credit cards? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to build up your savings? Whatever your top goals are, it is critical that you agree on them as a couple.

Create a Plan. The next step is to create a plan on how to achieve your goals. A good place to start is to create a spending plan (budget) that maps out how you will spend, save, and pay down debt. Creating a spending plan that balances what you want today with what you want to achieve in the future will involve trade-offs, and you both must agree to commit to your plan to be successful.

Review Your Plan. The third step is to review your plan monthly, so you can adjust quickly when things don’t go according to plan. Reviewing your plan every month (or more frequently) is critical because it keeps your spending and goals top of mind.

Focus on the Positive. Each party should do his or her best to make this a positive experience. Realize that you are a team working toward the same goals (once you agree on them!) Try not to place blame or focus on the negative. You can use money to strengthen your relationship by accomplishing goals together!

It’s a beautiful thing when couples are pulling in the same direction with their financial goals.

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Share Financial Information with Your Spouse Now to Avoid Problems Later

By: CFPB

It’s common for couples to share their financial lives but not the responsibility for managing household finances. It might be time-consuming for both of you to review your bills, as well as spending and savings plans each month. But if responsibilities unexpectedly shift due to a sudden illness or loss of a spouse, getting up to speed quickly could be challenging for the person least familiar with handling the family finances. Without the help of the person who has always handled the money, the one left in charge will face major headaches.

Grab your partner now and get started sharing your family financial picture to better prepare for the future.

Are you and your spouse equally ready to manage your household finances? Take our quiz to find out!

We have six questions you and your spouse can answer together. The questions will help you figure out how prepared each of you is to handle family finances.

  1. Do you know your family’s bank, credit union, and other account numbers and how to access those accounts? Include any safe deposit box, retirement accounts, pensions, etc.
  2. Do you know about all property and investments your family owns? Do you know whether you and your spouse are co or joint account holders, and the names of beneficiaries?
  3. Do you know what money is coming into your household? Including where it’s deposited? For example, where paychecks are deposited?
  4. Do you know what payments your household is making? Think about:
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Auto loan payments
  • Utility bills
  • Credit cards
  • Student loan payments
  • Cell phone
  • Property taxes
  • Insurance
  • And more!
  1. Do you know when bills are due and how they are typically paid? Are they paid online, by automatic debits, by mail, etc.?
  2. Do you and your spouse have a will, powers of attorney, and similar legal documents? Do you know where they are? Are they current?

Once you’re aware of the gaps in your or your spouse’s knowledge, you can work together to get on the same page.

Get started in a few steps
  • Schedule time for you and your spouse to go over your financial picture. Start by taking an inventory of your family finances: income, expenses, debt, and investments, if any. It’s good to get in the habit of sharing this every so often as your financial picture changes or so it stays fresh in your mind.
  • Maintain a list of account information and store it in a secure location. Make sure you both have access to online accounts. Create a list that includes account numbers, usernames, security questions, and passwords. There are many options available for securely saving the list digitally or printing it and storing it in a locked fireproof box. Remember to tell your spouse how to access the file and update it when necessary.
  • Have a plan. Make sure to plan for what will happen and who will manage your finances if one or both of you become ill or die unexpectedly. Consider creating a durable power of attorney so you will have someone in place to pay your bills or make financial decisions if you can no longer do it on your own.

The unthinkable can happen at any time, don’t leave your loved ones in the dark about your family finances and unable to access financial information and accounts. It’s worth taking time now to make sure you both will be equally prepared for the future.

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13 Money-Saving Hacks

By: Chuck Bentley, Crown Financial Ministries

Saving is biblical; God wants us to be savers! He wants us to have the resources we need to take care of our families and others. He also wants us to be in a position to serve Him so that He will be made known and honored. Saving does not represent a lack of faith, but it does reflect the heart of a faithful steward.

But finding extra margin in our finances to save can be challenging! Especially if you are trying to pay off debt, are living paycheck to paycheck, or have recently gone through a major life change. These 13 money-saving hacks will help you save money you may not have known was there before.

1. Act Like You Receive 24 Paychecks a Year Instead of 26

If you are paid biweekly, you actually receive 26 paychecks a year instead of 24. Instead of budgeting based on those 26 paychecks, budget based off getting paid twice a month – 24 times – instead. Then you’ll be able to save your extra two paychecks!  

2. Compete With Yourself

Sometimes you can be your best source of motivation! Challenge yourself (or your spouse or a friend) to spend $3 less per meal every time you go out to eat. Try instituting a leftover night once a week, having “no spend” days, or competing to see who can spend the least amount of money per week.

3. Set Up Automatic Transfer

This is one of the best savings hacks out there. Automating a certain amount to go straight from your paycheck to your savings account will help you reach your goals quickly. The old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” is the driving principle behind this. If you can’t see the money to spend in the first place, then you won’t be tempted to spend it!

4. Adjust Your Tax Withholdings

Did you get a refund check this year? While it may feel like you get a bonus from the government every spring, they’re actually just returning your own money to you. They borrowed it interest-free for the last year and then you have to ask for it back! Instead, adjust your withholdings so you have that extra money in your account every month. However, you will need to plan in case you owe the government money come Tax Day!

5. Always Check For Coupons and Rebates

Apps and browser extensions make it easy to shop with coupons and earn money back from rebates. Download apps like RetailMeNot, and Ibotta. Install extensions like Honey so you never miss a deal when online shopping.

Take an extra five minutes in the store to scan all your items and check for coupons or rebates. Even better, check for coupons and apps before shopping so you can buy based on what the best deal is. It may be small savings, but they accumulate over time!  

6. Plan Ahead and Never Go Shopping Without a List

A lack of planning is a major spending trap. Before you go shopping anywhere – the grocery store, Walmart, the mall – make a list. Then stick to it! This is where that competitive spirit can come in handy – see how quickly you can get everything on the list and try to come in under budget. You should know about how much you’ll spend before you walk in the store. New technology and services like grocery pick up services have made this savings strategy convenient for a small fee. Look into your local options and consider if they could help you save!

7. Ask For Discounts

It may be uncomfortable if you’re not a natural bargainer, but it’s always worth it to ask for a discount. Try this especially with your cable and internet provider once a year. Ask about loyalty discounts, sales, or other offers they have going on.

8. Find a Buddy

There is strength in numbers, especially when it comes to saving! A group of my friends always shares when they find good sales, and will sometimes pick up items for one another to take advantage of the sale. Look online, in circulars, and ask around for the best prices.

9. Do Your Research

Before you purchase a big item, spend time researching to see if you can find a better deal. If you find a better price non-locally, ask for a price match. A few minutes online can save you lots!

10. Start Christmas Shopping Early

One of the Crown staff members has most of her Christmas shopping done by September. She finds and purchases gifts for members of her family throughout the year when she finds a good sale. By doing so, she avoids the stress and markups of the Christmas season and can actually relax and enjoy the holidays!

11. Set Goals

Goals will motivate you to keep saving. Proverbs 29:18 says, Where there is no vision, the people perish. If you don’t have a vision for your savings, you won’t make any progress. Decide on a realistic amount of money to have saved by a certain date and then align your budget to reach that goal. Every time you reach a goal, celebrate, make another, and keep going. You should always have short-term and long-term goals!

12. Save Every $5

We are big advocates of an all- (or mostly-) cash budget. If you use cash for all of or some of your budgeting categories, commit to saving every $5 bill you touch. Proverbs 21:5 says, Steady plodding brings prosperity. Start plodding!

13. Drink Only Water

This may sound impossible to some, but switching to only water can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. A latte out costs around $5. A soft drink or tea at a restaurant costs around $2. If you have one coffee and one tea or soda out every day, by switching to water, you’ll save around $2,550 a year. And it’s significantly better for your health!

Hopefully, these 13 things give you some ideas to get started on your savings goals! We recommend you start by saving $1,000 in an emergency fund. You can find 13 more tips on how to do that here. Once you have $1,000 in an emergency savings account, work your way up to 12 months’ of living expenses.

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