According to financial educator Gustavo Cerbasi, author of the book ‘The Secrets of Smart Couples', lack of money is the second biggest reason for separation in the world. But be aware that expenses don't have to be such a problem. To avoid conflicts, it is enough that the two plan and understand how to manage the a couple's expenses.
When two people live together, they start to share everything, including the bills. Therefore, it is essential to organize and talk about money with transparency and commitment. Only then will it be possible to learn to have financial control and escape problems in the future.
With that in mind, we have listed in this post some basic tips on how to manage a couple's expenses. Interested? Check it out below!
What are the financial challenges of a couple's monthly bills?
When starting a life together, it is normal to have doubts about how to manage a couple's monthly expenses. Many people take time to realize that the decision to start a family also involves a lot of talk about money, a subject that few are used to talking about openly.
After all, how to divide the accounts? What is the income of each one? How much should each one contribute? There are many variables that must be considered when planning a couple's expenses, and it is impossible for a person to solve everything alone.
There must always be consensus so that responsibilities are well defined and everything flows as smoothly as possible. Speaking the same language when it comes to money is the key to ensuring the financial health of a couple's spending.
How to manage a couple's spending
Just as when you are single, managing a couple's expenses also involves a lot of planning and discipline.
The difference is that now you are no longer alone: there is more than one income involved and accounts to be divided, in addition to the need to reconcile different ways of dealing with money.
However, if you are both committed and honest with each other, this is a simple challenge to overcome.
Below are some valuable tips on how to manage a couple's spending to make their financial life easier.
1. Set up a monthly budget
Putting all income and expenses on paper is the number one rule of any financial planning and a couple's spending is no different. Do not leave out even the values considered small. Believe me, they change a lot at the end of the month.
To organize the budget, set up an expense spreadsheet and separate expenses by categories, such as food, monthly bills, financing (if any), education, transportation, leisure and investments. If you prefer, you can replace the spreadsheet with a financial management app that facilitates organization.
Although some values vary as the water and electricity bills, taking an average of the last few months, it is already possible to have a basis of the total amount of expenses of the house.
With that done, it's time to add up the couple's total income, set the expenses for each category, and split the bill payments. Thus, it is easier to have a clear view on how much goes out, how much is left and what expenses can be cut to generate more savings.
If, when setting up the budget, the couple notices that the monthly income is below the standard of living, some adjustments will have to be made. Prioritize needs such as debts and basic bills, and try to reduce unnecessary expenses, such as going to restaurants. And remember: all of this must be resolved between the couple and not by one person, in order to avoid friction.
2. Divide expenses proportionally
A couple's spending split needs to be proportional to each other's wages. Most of the time, the partners do not earn the same amount, so it is not fair that both need to contribute with the same amount.
Think of a couple in which one earns R $ 4 thousand net and the other, R $ 2 thousand. At their home, fixed expenses are around R $ 2,100 per month.
If the amount is divided equally, each one must contribute R $ 1,050, right? Only for the person who earns R $ 2 thousand, this represents more than 50% of the income. On the other hand, for those who receive R $ 4 thousand, the contribution is about 25% of the salary.
So that no one feels harmed or inferior, the solution is to divide spending not by absolute value, but by percentage. In the case of this couple, the ideal is that each one contributes 35% of what they earn.
Thus, the person with a salary of R $ 2 thousand will spend R $ 700 and those who earn R $ 4 thousand must contribute R $ 1,400, totaling R $ 2,100.
3. Do not open a joint account
Although it is quite common, the joint account is not the solution to manage a couple's expenses.
When it comes to money, it is necessary to preserve the individuality of each one, even though both have responsibility for supermarket purchases, household bills and other expenses.
It is part of a healthy relationship to trust that the other person will do their part in the household budget, without having to put all the income in a shared account.
That way, when you want to buy something for yourself, you will not depend on the approval of the other to do so. After all, you have already fulfilled your obligations and have the right to use your money as you see fit, as long as it is within your means.
>> Do you want to know more about the financial life of two? Check out this other blog post: Financial infidelity: understand how it can affect the relationship <
4. Set goals together
Joint goals not essential for managing a couple's spending. With common goals, both will be more motivated to save on a daily basis. In addition, complicity is crucial in a relationship and dreaming together is a great way to reinforce that feeling.
Think about what you want to achieve. Buy a house? Make an unforgettable trip? Renovate the apartment? Have a child?
There are many goals that can be shared by a couple and they vary from relationship to relationship. Surely you and your partner have something you want very much. Focus on it and move on!
Once the objective is defined, think about all the details necessary to reach it, such as deadline, total amount and variables involved.
The arrival of the first child, for example, involves hiring a more robust health plan, a larger car, the renovation of the room and the purchase of the layette, among countless other costs that must be analyzed.
Once the couple knows the amount needed, it is time to get organized to start collecting money. As with everyday expenses, the savings must also be proportional to each person's salary.
In addition, it is also important to maintain regularity when saving money, without skipping a month or making exceptions. Otherwise, it will be practically impossible to reach the goal in the desired time.
5. Create an emergency reserve
Unforeseen events can happen at any time and you need to be prepared to deal with them. You never know when you will be fired, you will need to fix something at home or buy medicine to treat an illness.
Have you ever thought about having to resort to overdraft whenever something like this happens? You will end up working only to pay interest, with nothing left for you to save, invest or spend on your leisure.
So it is essential to build an emergency reserve equivalent to six months of spending for a couple. This amount is sufficient to cover extra expenses and long periods of unemployment, while the two reorganize their finances.
The amount should be placed in a highly liquid investment, such as Tesouro Direto Selic and some other fixed income investments. After all, you may have to withdraw this reserve at any time.
6. Prioritize paying off debts
Debts are a thorny issue that is often the cause of many disagreements between couples. This is because many people, out of shame or fear, end up hiding from their partner when they contract some debt, aggravating the problem when it is discovered.
Another common situation is the indebtedness of newlyweds who need to pay installments for the party, renovation of the property, honeymoon trip and other typical expenses of this very important moment.
This makes the beginning of life for two more financially tight, which requires a lot of awareness to control a couple's spending and go through this period without suffocation.
As long as the couple has debts, they should be a priority in the budget. The installments must be included among the basic obligations. As well as rent, supermarket, monthly bills and other essential expenses for day to day. This attitude is indispensable in order not to lose control and stay in the red.
7. Invest the savings
Investing savings is an extremely important task when managing a couple's basic expenses, as it speeds up the construction of assets and the achievement of goals.
The main tip about this is: forget about saving. Despite being popular with UK citizens, this application yields below inflation, which means that your money will be losing purchasing power over time.
If the couple is new to the subject and wants to make safe investments, fixed income investments are the best option. Tesouro Direto, CDB, LCI and LCA are some examples of financial products that yield more than savings and do not put equity at risk.
Subsequently, when both are more knowledgeable about the financial market, putting a portion of the money into variable income can bring even better returns.
Just as bank accounts are separate, each must invest their money individually. However, there must be a lot of transparency and dialogue about what is being done with the savings, not least because they are part of a long-term project for the couple.
As we saw throughout the post, managing a couple's expenses is not complicated when they both strive and dedicate themselves. Remember: talking about money shouldn't be taboo. On the contrary, it is the best way for the two to be on the same page in relation to the organization of the home finances.
Reduce stress at work and save money
A couple's expenses must be well managed with a lot of transparency and honesty. If you can put the above tips into practice, monthly expenses will have good financial control.
But have you ever imagined combining these tips with the benefits of the company where you work?
Get to know the HR Consultant UKy tool and learn how the system that implements payment on demand works, that is, employees of a company can anticipate part of their salaries when they need it.
This tool is changing the way employees deal with their wages and generating more job satisfaction and motivation.
HR Consultant UKy can be one of the most valued benefits for those who work at your company. Talk to an expert and find out more!