There’s no feeling in the world more comforting, more powerful or more compelling than being in love. It’s inspiration when you need a muse, a strong pair of arms when you need a hug, a warm blanket when you need comfort and a kick in the butt when you need motivation. But there’s a universe of difference between love in those halcyon early days when you’re in the process of getting to know one another and everything they do seems magical, and love when you’re in the process of making a life together.
Here’s the thing… Modern living is hard. Moreover, even those privileged enough to be reading this from a laptop, smartphone or other digital device in an air conditioned room that will provide us shelter when we need it, face a daily struggle for happiness, security and fulfilment. Modern living doesn’t seem to want us to be happy. It wants us to be overworked, stressed, depressed,exhausted, skint and on the verge of a nervous breakdown at all times. Through life’s challenges, you can only find solace by standing string with your partner and any children you may share and taking on the responsibility of improving each other’s lives. Life will throw a lot your way to drive you apart and it’s incumbent upon you to pull closer together rather than letting yourselves be torn asunder.
When it comes to the most quotidian problems that we all face yet never seem adequately prepared for, money trouble has to be one of the most egregious.
The struggle is real!
Money trouble wrecks lives, it wrecks marriages and if you’re not careful it can sow the seeds of discord in your family no matter how close you may be to one another. Money troubles are easily shrugged off but they have a nasty habit of clawing away at you. They can cause you to lose sleep making you grouchy, grumpy and irritable when you wake, transforming you into an ogre you don’t want to be. It can cause endless arguments over what’s “yours”, “mine” and “ours”. It can cause friction when kids start asking for Christmas and birthday presents that match those given to their friends by wealthier parents. It can cause as debt trap that prevents you from being able to take time off work and go on holiday. It can push you further into the arms of your job, causing you to spend more and more time away from home to feed a financial vortex that never seems to fill.
If you’re to prevent money trouble from being the ruination of your household harmony, it’s vital that you take steps to control your finances together as a team.
Budget, for the love of all things holy… Budget!
This is going to sound unbelievably corny and insincere… But budgeting can be fun. It can give you and your partner a shared sense of challenge as something you undertake together and a shared sense of reward as you see the fruits of your labour reflected in your bank balance. There are a range of household budgeting templates that work perfectly if you stick to them. Once you’ve worked out your monthly income and outgoings as well as putting the provisions in place for savings, you can establish a goal to work towards, whether it’s escaping your credit card debt, going for a mini break as a family or simply treating yourselves to a slap up meal for two while a babysitter keeps the kids happy.
Compare prices on absolutely everything
Budgeting is about more than planning your monthly income and expenditure and choosing an online savings account with an interest rate that will actually grow your income rather than letting it languish. It’s about finding opportunities to cut down the cost of living wherever you can. And, believe it or not, this can also be fun. Bargain hunting is a fun and rewarding activity that appeals to our hunter / gatherer instinct and helps to create an “us vs the world” dynamic that can help you, your partner and your kids bond as a family.
There’s nothing that you can’t benefit from comparing prices on. You can see that from this shopping comparison site here. Whether it’s your household utilities, your phone broadband and digital TV, your car or home insurance or even your holidays a price comparison can ensure that you get the best deal every time. Shop around, find coupons and come up with competitively inventive ways of cutting down the cost of living and you will find that not only do you save money, you find yourselves coming closer together.
Take time out to do stuff together. It doesn’t have to cost a thing!
Even the busiest of couples understand the value of having a date nightwhere you can spend some quality time together as a couple outside of the context of the shared responsibility of parenthood. It’s a vital part of keeping the spark between you alive. Yet this doesn’t have to be as expensive as dinner in a fancy restaurant and a film at the cinema or a play at the theatre.
There are plenty of ways you can enjoy the time you spend together without spending a single penny. A picnic in the park, a stroll on the beach (if you happen live anywhere near one), a stroll around a gallery or simply finding a nice spot to gaze up at the sky together can help you to appreciate the things that really matter without adding to your monetary woes.
Be open and honest with your kids about the family finances
You might think that you’re insulating your kids from money worries by keeping them in the dark. But the reality is that failing to be open and honest with your children about how money issues affect your household is extremely important in not only maintaining a harmonious household, but in preparing them for a financially responsible adulthood.
This way, the next time your child wants a toy or an item of clothing that’s beyond your budget, they’ll understand that if they say no it’s for a reason other than your dedication to seeing them miserable and deprived.
If you work together as a team, your money troubles can bring you closer together instead of tearing you apart!