We’ve all been there. Whether it was a change of jobs, a new baby or an unexpected expense, at one point in your relationship, money has been an issue. And let’s face it, no matter how happy you are, sometimes finances get in the way and can put a real damper on your love life (rent season ring a bell?). Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher, found that the number one culprit in couples getting divorced is money. No matter the amount, money has seemed to symbolize other underlying stresses that can tear a relationship apart. It may be power, underachievement, fear of instability or lack of motivation. With that said, here are six things you can work on for 2014 to help you and your partner relieve yourself and relationship of financial stress.
1. Is your mail looking a little full?
Maybe it’s time you reconsider your monthly subscriptions. Chances are, you get a monthly gift in your mailbox from a major fashion or lifestyle publication. If you’re not reading the magazine from cover to cover (and really, who does nowadays?), consider canceling your subscription and read the magazine’s site, blog and newsletter instead. You’re still getting great content and the best part of it is that it’s FREE. Also, it’s better for the environment.
2. Set aside a weekly food shopping allowance
Nothing’s worse than throwing away food. Avoid spoiling your groceries by buying only what you need for that week and maybe the next. It’s also good to set a budget for your groceries. That way you can see how far you can stretch your money, what it’s worth and where you can save and splurge.
3. Scour the internet for free and cheap date options
They might be a little hard to find at the moment because of the season but there are some great and inexpensive date options that you can do. Hit up a free museum, go on a picnic, go for a morning run together, take your kids or dogs to the park… there’s lots of other way to have fun without spending a lot of money. You never know, you might discover a creative side in you that you didn’t think was there.
4. Aim to be debt free
Yes, it’s much easier said than done and everyone’s case is different. But by working on getting your debt smaller and smaller, your credit score will get better, you’ll lower your interest rates and you’re freeing yourself of financial chains. Start small by trying to pay for things using cash or debit and only use your card when you really need it. Then move on to paying off a smaller credit card. Consolidate little by little until you can eliminate more.
5. Spread out your due dates to different pay periods
Bills that come in all at once hit the hardest. Maybe that fifty dollar electric bill isn’t so bad on its own, but try adding that to four other bills and it becomes a problem. Have some of your bills payable at the middle and end of every month so you have ample time to recuperate your finances before bills come again.
6. Motivate Each Other
Nothing’s going to happen if you both want to be debbie downers all the time. Sure it’s okay that we let out our frustrations but keep in mind that whatever problems you might have, your partner has some too. Instead of incessant nagging, inspire one another. Don’t you miss the days when you can say that they make you want to be the version of yourself? That you want to be a better person because of this special someone? It’s still there – you just need to find it.