Why You Should Talk About Money!
I got a random text from a friend today that said “OMG I am in SmartyPig heaven!”
You all know about my love of SmartyPig. But, I don’t just talk about it on this blog. It seems to come up a lot in real life. I’ll tell people about our newest home project and get a response like, “Oh, I wish I just had money lying around to hire a landscaper.”
I do not just have “money lying around.” If I did, I’d be on a beach somewhere having a waiter bring me nachos and pina coladas. Ahem.
No, what I did was save specifically for the goal of hiring a landscaper since I am, say it with me now, lazy as fuck.
So, when I get those snarky or uninformed comments from my friends about “nice to be you” I immediately tell them about SmartyPig and how they, too, can save for their own landscaper.
But that’s not the point of this post! I’ve already talked about SmartyPig and how I use it.
The point of this post is that the text from my friend lead to some deeper conversations about our overarching financial goals, about how we talk money with our spouses, and about all the things we’d like to do (and will do) when money becomes less of an object for us.
There were a couple of good points that came out of that conversation that I thought would be good fodder for the blog.
It’s okay to dream big.
One of the things he said to me when we were talking about vacation planning was, “Yeah. We have a LOT of goals and reaching them all would take a lot of money. But I think we could do it.”
And he’s right! I use SmartyPig to set up a vacation goal every year.
And yes, it can definitely seem daunting when you want to take a really amazing vacation and you realize that it could set you back a couple thousand clams, easy. But when you plan long term and you break down your goals into smaller, bite sized chunks, it’s much easier to really visualize yourself on that beach instead of just vaguely thinking “some day.”
So shoot for the moon! Set a savings goal you that you think you’ll never reach. Just give yourself a realistic timeline to achieve it!
Communication is key – especially when it comes to money
Money can stress so many people out. It’s such an emotionally charged issue that people seem to put it in the same bin as politics and religion – only bring it up if you want to COMPLETELY DESTROY your friendship with someone.
But I’m here to tell you it does not have to be this way.
If you’re in a partnership with someone in such a way that you have all of your money and assets intertwined, then why WOULDN’T you want to talk with them about money? About your shared goals and dreams? That seems like the bare minimum of stuff you should talk about, right?
And yet… I know so many people who hide money from their spouses or hide their spending or lie about how much they bring home each week.
You’re destroying any trust you have in your relationship, you’re destroying any faith your partner might have in you, and you’re destroying all of the things you might want to build with one another in the future.
That’s just sad.
It was nice to talk to my friend and hear all about how he and his wife make money a conversation in their daily lives. My husband and I try to do that as well. He mostly lets me manage things but when he has a goal he wants to save for he talks to me about it and we break it down together. I love that.
Set Rules for Yourself
Look, no one is going to know if you set a rule for yourself and then immediately go out and break it.
Except, you. You’ll know. And it will eat at you forever and ever –
Ahem. Sorry. Got off track there.
Set reasonable rules for yourself and your partner when it comes to money management. My husband and I have a rule where we clear any purchase over $100 with each other (except for groceries). Just a quick, “Heads up, I’m buying new running shoes” and neither of us is surprised when there is a little less money in the bank that week.
My friend told me that since he and his wife are in super saver mode they clear all purchases over $20 with each other.
And that works for them.
So find the rule that works for you. Maybe your rule is hard and fast, “I don’t spend money on fast food.” Maybe it’s a little looser, “I can only shop online once a week.” But there is something out there that will help you pocket just a little more money each week and that won’t put too much strain on the way you already operate.
That’s the sweet spot. You just have to find it.
I left the conversation with my friend feeling happy. Happy that I was able to help him on his journey to get his finances in order. Happy that he felt comfortable chatting about finances with me. And happy that another couple I knew was being open and communicative when it came to money.
It would be really great if money could stop being such a taboo conversation topic.
Do you talk about money with your spouse? Sound off in the comments!