Written by: Steven Petter
Are you and your partner starting to or continually arguing about money? Money is one of those subjects that is hard for many in today’s world to approach without a big sigh first, it can be hard to keep afloat when you have a demanding new family and the money you have always had doesn’t seem to stretch as far as it did.
Everybody is feeling the strain of financial difficulties but for parents, keeping your family under a roof with food and all the latest innovations every child wants can be an exhausting balancing act. The crucial key when it comes to financial difficulties is that you are in it together, both parents share the burden of keeping the money flowing and the challenge should be met as a team with solidarity and determination.
Money is a relationship breaker
Every relationship will have it’s ups and downs but arguing about money can break down a relationship quicker than anything else, so when you find yourself sitting down and going through your incomings and outgoings, try to understand each others points of view.
What are the essentials?
When it comes to family finance, the hardest part can be deciding what you absolutely need and what you can live without and it can often lead to disagreements over what each person views as necessary. For example, when it was just the two of you, you probably had hobbies and clubs and liked to do things together, maybe a drink at the weekend or cinema on a wednesday but ever since your little bundle of joy arrived finding the money for babysitters, or even the cost of a cinema ticket can be a struggle.
Arguments come when you can’t decide which elements of your old life are expendable in order to keep your bank balance the right side of zero and which elements are needed to keep your life as ‘normal’ as possible. When dad wants to go to the pub every Saturday and mum wants to go to the cinema on Wednesday, on top of the worries that naturally come with parenthood, these stresses and strains¬† can lead to arguments about what is most important.
Difference of opinions
Other disagreements can come when you start buying stuff for your child, one of you wants him to have all the best named gear while the other thinks they can do just as well with the cheap supermarket equivalent. Social pressures and personal experience can be overriding factors in your view of is important and often if you are in a relationship with someone who comes from a different social background then you, they can often find it hard to see your point of view, add to that your little monster who wants to look just like his best mate at school and you have a recipe for disaster.
Be honest about expenditure
The most important things is to have a clear understanding of your income and your unavoidable outgoings, a spreadsheet on your computer can be useful, simply input your wages and any other support yo may get such as child care, then a column for each outgoing, such a rent, tax, phone etc. so you have a clear figure in front of you. The beauty of using a spreadsheet to control your money is that you can add something in to see how it affects your total before you commit and see in real time how it will affect you.
Get spreadsheet savvy
There are lots of websites with spreadsheet tutorials, just do a Google or YouTube search and see which one suits you, one of the best I found was www.spreadsheets.about.com. Once you have a hold on just how much disposable income you have, now is the time to start talking about what expenditures you may need to cut down on but still maintaining a good quality of life, for example maybe going to the pub once every two weeks, or seeing a film once a month. It also pays to consider other options, could you get cheaper tickets somewhere else, do you have to drink the most expensive lager?
Get a grip
Unfortunately not everyone can agree so easily, although getting someone to watch the kids while you sort out your money will pay dividends, and disagreements will happen when it comes to giving up little pleasures, after all a ¬£500 fishing rod makes all the difference right? No. The long and the short of it is that you two decided to start a family and that will mean tightening the belt if you want to give your child the very best start in life, so find a way of getting to grips with how you view your finances and you will find that you can spoil yourself more often than you thought possible.
If you want some more advice then head over to www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for some simple tips on how to save money.