“All I really want is money in my pocket”, not sure if you remember the Wiley ft. Daniel Merriwether song from way back in 2008 but this January I have found myself singing it a lot. Not just because it’s a banger of a tune but also because it’s true, all I really want right now is money in my fucking pocket. I went hard at Christmas and fell into the short-termism trap of enjoying myself too much and buying people too many gifts, combining this with the fact that my boyfriend is self-employed and has a dry few weeks, it has left us pretty broke.
As a couple, we like to spend. Actually, that is an understatement – we like to splurge. We can come up with budgets until we are blue in the face but if we decide we need a cleaner or a personal trainer then it’s game over. We convince ourselves it’s a necessity when really saving for that all-important mortgage is. Yet, we will still take money out of our savings to go for drinks (face-palms).
Money can cause a lot of friction in a relationship, in fact, a report by Relate found that it is actually the top strain on relationships, with over a quarter of respondents saying that money worries cause the most problems in their relationship.
I think in every relationship, one person is better with cash than the other and that leads to a whole host of problems. I can reign in my shopping habits by just avoiding shops yet the minute Clint has money in his pocket, it’s like he has to instantly spend it, whether that’s on me, his business, or the pub. There is no future thinking, there is no putting money aside for when things are a bit tough and we’ve learnt/are still learning the hard way that is an unnecessary strain on your relationship and your general well-being.
I can’t offer too much guidance right now as it’s something I am still trying to figure out myself but I believe that when you’re in a serious relationship you have to be open with your finances and share as much as you can. We treat money pretty equally and there’s no this-is-mine and that-is-yours. For example, when we first moved into Clint’s Mum’s, he had no money so I bought all the furniture and then a few months later, he paid for us to go to New York (I clearly got the better deal!).
It’s not just so that you both keep your heads above water but if you are better with money than your partner, then maybe you can help them organise their finances or get out of debt. At the very least, being open with your finances should mean there won’t be any nasty surprises, I’d rather know that we are expecting bailiffs than them just turn up out of the blue one day. I would encourage being open and honest in every part of a relationship, so why does that become different when it comes down to money?
I get that relationships work in different ways but I find it hard to see how people can build a future together and own things together without being open with money. Being in debt can be scary and having to face that alone is dreadful. Yes, you might not want to face the wrath of your partner after your spent rent money on a new skirt but whether you need to get out of debt, have uncontrollable spending habits or just find it difficult to save, you should be able to help each other and eventually get where you want to be financially.