Budgeting Together: Helping Couples Avoid Common Financial Pitfalls

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Financial Management for CouplesWICHITA, Kan. – July 31, 2012 - Money tends to be a touchy subject for many couples. While it may make the world go ‘round, money can also bring your relationship to a screeching halt. Numerous studies have reported that the top reason couples fight is because of money and lack of communication. Catholic Charities of Kansas is dedicated to helping individuals and couples build and maintain healthy relationships and recommends taking proactive steps to achieve good financial health with your partner.
Couples who commit to long-term relationships and marriage will face the big decision of whether or not to combine finances. This may include bank accounts, retirement plans and in many cases, loans and credit card debt. SmartMoney Magazine and Redbook

“Financial issues can test even the strongest couples,” said Debbie Snapp, executive director, Catholic Social Service in the Diocese of Dodge City. “While happiness isn’t necessarily determined by a couple’s income, it can be impacted by how open they are about spending habits, saving abilities and long-term budgeting. The facilitators leading various Catholic Charities relationship education workshops throughout Kansas encourage participants to communicate honestly about money with their partner from the very beginning.”

Regardless of whether or not you share a bank account with your significant other, your spending habits will more than likely still affect your relationship. One organization offering financial education to couples close to home is Kansas Saves, a local branch of America Saves. Kansas Saves provides a wide range of localized information including how to save, what to save for and spending tips on a tight budget. A customized Savers Tracker Tool on kansassaves.org can also help users keep track of their dollars and cents.

There are many other free financial planning resources available online to help couples and individuals establish, monitor and manage personal budgets. One of the most popular is Mint (mint.com), which allows users to connect their bank account to a free profile, then monitors spending, tracks financial goals and offers strategies to increase saving.

If your partner has spending habits that present problems in your relationship, twoofus.org, a national online resource for healthy marriages and relationships, offers some tips for reaching common ground:

  • Encourage a productive atmosphere to have a conversation without interruptions.
  • Outline your concerns with specific examples – is your savings account getting low because of uncontrolled spending? Has your credit limit been maxed because of their purchases? Calmly and coolly explain this to your partner.
  • Listen to the other side. Let your partner explain the decision to spend money and how he or she feels about your frustrations.
  • Develop a plan together to rein in spending habits – get on track with budget monitoring and find out where you can cut spending. For example, if eating out is a big monthly expense, pack a lunch for work or plan a picnic instead of eating at a restaurant.

When two become one – or are on the road to becoming one – the financial discussion is unavoidable. Take a step together and join Kansas Saves. You’ll find expert resources that promote saving money and financial education that will help facilitate a happy relationship.

Catholic Charities of Kansas offers free workshops and services in communities across the state to help individuals and couples strengthen their relationships. Find out more at www.KansasLoveLetters.com.

About Catholic Charities of Kansas and the Love Letters from Kansas campaign:

In October 2011, Catholic Charities of Kansas received a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance to provide free relationship education workshops and services to meet family needs throughout Kansas. This grant expands current Catholic Charities of Kansas Marriage for Keeps workshops and services offered in Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend, Salina, Wichita, Pittsburg, Manhattan, Junction City, Ft. Riley, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. These workshops and services include relationship (Within My Reach) and marital (Within Our Reach) education, assistance with accessing community services, employment and career development and parenting classes. Spanish-speaking workshops are also available. The Love Letters from Kansas public awareness campaign educates Kansans on the value of marriage and relationship stability for communities across the state as well as encourages enrollment in local relationship education workshops offered by Catholic Charities of Kansas. For more information, visit www.KansasLoveLetters.com.

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