If you’ve decided to file for divorce based on finances, believe us, you’re not alone. Most divorces in the U.S. occur over financial differences, and if you don’t want your marriage to end in divorce papers, then it’s important to identify what the major marriage money mistakes are so you can right the ship. Here’s what you should avoid.
1. Making major purchases, or engaging in major spending, without telling your spouse.
The economy has been anywhere from disastrous to slow for the last six years. Even during the recovery, most Americans have less take home pay than they did during the Great Recession. Additional spending that burdens the family can cause stress in a number of ways — increased work hours, decreased quality of life, etc. If you’ve made a major purchase or a series of small purchases that add up without telling your spouse and going against the family budget, then you need to stop at once.
2. Not making a budget.
A family without a budget is asking for trouble, especially if yours falls into the lower- to upper-middle class ranges. It’s too easy to blow $5 here and $5 there until you’ve spent $30 a day on snacks, eating out, and other purchases that do nothing to build family stability. You should sit down together and actively create a budget you can both live with.
3. Refusing to hold each other accountable.
A budget does little good if you forget about it two weeks later. We suggest incorporating online tools like Mint to remind yourself of upcoming bills, frequently check your bank account totals, and have some way that you can both check in on all your accounts to see that you’re sticking to the plan.
4. Failing to put back money with each paycheck.
The act of saving — even if you’re just saving $10 a paycheck — is important to the overall financial stability of a marriage. If you can get money taken out in pre-tax dollars, do so. That way, you’ll never realize it’s gone and you won’t be tempted to spend it on something useless.
If you don’t want your marriage to end in divorce forms, then you would be doing yourself a favor to set standards for your finances and work as a team to uphold them. Also, avoid the above mistakes!