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9 Money Habits Happy Couples Have

9 Money Habits Happy Couples Have

It has become general knowledge that half the marriages in North American end in divorce. It makes us all wonder what it takes to have a happy long-term relationship.

There is good news. According to Kansas State University researcher, Sonya Britt, arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce. How is that good news? Well, if you master your personal finances and get on the same page with your partner about your shared finances, then you’ll have overcome the number one obstacle in relationships.

What do happy couples do differently? Here are the nine smart money habits they share:

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1. They talk about money

For many couples, it’s easier to talk about sex than to talk about money. Based on their upbringing, money can be a sensitive topic because it can trigger feelings of inadequacy or shame centered around not having a financial plan, around spending too much or around not earning or saving enough. Happy couples set aside time to talk about money and set goals around each partner’s and the shared money.

2. They understand each other’s money type

Are they hoarders when it comes to money? Are they big spenders? Are they come-what-may hippies? Or are they avid spreadsheet crunchers? According to author Jordan Goodman, in the book Master Your Money Type, there are six psychological money types. Happy couples understand their own money type and their partner’s. They don’t try to change the other person. They only strive to find a middle ground.

3. They have a joint bank account

Happy couples share a joint bank account that covers common basic necessities, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, toiletries, etc. They both automate their monthly contributions to this join bank account, in proportion to their income. They even align what to do if or when one of them isn’t earning an income.

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4. They have separate bank accounts

In addition to a joint bank account, they each have their own separate bank accounts and credit cards. Happy couples know the value of independence, freedom of choice, mutual trust and personal respect. They don’t stalk each other’s every move and purchase. Separate bank accounts also leaves room for personal growth, personal responsibility and surprise birthday gifts!

5. They understand each other’s love languages

What does love have to do with money? According to Dr Gary Chapman, in his New York Times bestselling The Five Languages of Love, people express love through quality time, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, or gifts. For example, if one partner spends a lot of money buying gifts to show affection while another just wants to talk long walks together, then the first can be perceived as a frivolous spender and the second as a cheap-ass. Understanding each other’s love language helps happy couples understand their partner’s internal motivator for spending, saving, and investing money.

6. They have a security blanket

Nothing stresses a relationship more than financial insecurity. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, security – including financial security – is more important than love and belonging. Happy couples budget, follow their budget and create a financial security blanket that keeps them feeling secure, optimistic, and carefree. It doesn’t mean they deprive themselves of fun or material goods, it simply means they don’t spend money that they don’t have.

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7. They know that money is a means, not an end

Happy couples understand that money is a means, a way to exchange goods and services. They know that ultimately, money won’t give them fulfillment and purpose. They use money to acquire assets, to travel and experience the world, and to support continued learning and healthy lifestyle. Happy couples aren’t materialistic. They don’t feel the need to keep up with the Jones.

8. They set aside fun money

All wealth mastery gurus point to delayed gratification as a key to long-term wealth. Yet, happy couples set aside fun money, an amount of disposable income that requires no thought or consideration before spending. Tapping into the fun money barrel prevents needless arguments and stress on the relationship.

9. They have balance

They are frugal, but don’t hoard money. They are generous, but not reckless with money. They appreciate spreadsheets, but don’t let numbers rule their lives. They gracefully walk the fine line between work and play and the fine line between saving, spending, and investing.

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So, what will it be? Open and curious conversations around money or avoid money issues until they implode? Happy couples treat money as a means to an end, not a character flaw or personality trait. They approach it with a smile and look for alignment of their common goals, rather than agreement of their personal preferences.

What habits will you implement to keep your relationship happy and prosperous?

Featured photo credit: http://compfight.com via farm3.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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