Determining your saving and spending habits can help you anticipate and avoid financial problems

Bill grew up in a household where there was little extra money to go around. If he needed to buy something, he searched the newspapers for coupons or phoned three different stores to check out the best price. Saving a few dollars made him feel that he was being responsible.

Anne grew up in a family where people simply purchased what they wanted, whenever they wanted it. To look through a newspaper for a $2.00 coupon or shop around comparing prices was too much work.

These two different outlooks can provide some challenging dynamics in a relationship. For some people, money provides a sense of security; for others, a sense of freedom. Early on, couples need to figure out where each person stands with respect to money. A first step is determining if you are a saver or a spender:

You never have enough money in the bank.
You don't order drinks in a restaurant--water is free.
You keep your eye on the time when making long-distance phone calls.
Meeting the family budget is very important.
You travel at inconvenient times to avoid spending higher airfare.
You read books from the library rather than buying them.
You try to buy everything on sale.
You spend a lot of time planning for the future.


You buy what you need without looking at the price.
A big bank balance is useless if you can't spend it.
Your convenience is more important than the cost of an airline ticket.
When eating out, you order whatever you want on the menu.
You'd rather go over the family budget occasionally rather than be constantly thinking about money.
You talk on the phone long-distance without worrying about the time.
You don't wait for an item to go on sale.
You want to enjoy life here and now.

Which of the following scenarios best describes your marriage?

One Saver and One Spender
This typically leads to many disagreements about money. While the spender buys what he or she wants, the saver often feels jealous and resentful, and won't indulge in the same luxury. The spender might secretly feel secure, even while resenting the spouse for being too controlling. Read the following list to find out what can be expected in a saver and spender household:

Two Spenders
This can cause big strains in a relationship. With no money in the bank and huge credit card bills mounting, both partners tend to blame each other for their financial problems. Though it is hard to break spending habits, they must learn to plan for the future.

Two Savers
There is a lot of money in the bank and no substantial debt, but his couple finds it difficult to spend any money enjoying themselves. They pour a lot of energy into thinking about the future but don't focus enough on the present.

Financial Planning

Regardless of which category you may fall into, both you and your spouse should be involved in your financial planning. The "This is yours, this is mine" mentality can be devastating to a marriage. Although it's valuable for each person to have some of his or her own money, the basic thinking must be "This is ours." This can be difficult where income levels are significantly different. The person making less might feel less valuable and give up an equal voice in financial decisions. He or she might be taking time off to raise the children, start a new business or run the household. Though not financial, that partner's contribution is equally critical to the family's happiness. Making financial decisions together is the healthiest approach.

Money can be an emotional issue. Developing realistic expectations about your finances can prevent conflicts. Determining your saving and spending habits can help you anticipate future financial problems. If you feel you don't know enough about money, take a class or read a book on personal finances.

The Bible contains more than 2,000 verses dealing with money and its management. Most couples will attest that many of their conflicts and disagreements revolve around their finances. Those who expect the finances to take care of themselves will want to heed the advice of others who have struggled with the same problems. Making financial decisions together is the best approach and will pay untold dividends as you strive for a healthy marriage.

Tips to Remember
Money can be an emotional issue. Develop realistic expectations about your finances to prevent conflicts.
Determining your savings and spending habits to help anticipate and avoid financial problems.
Make financial decisions together. If you feel you don't know enough about money, take a class or read a book on personal finances.


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