Five love and money rules
Content supplied by Barclays
Money can be a bone of contention in any relationship so five couples reveal how they successfully navigate their family finances and offer tips along the way.
Five love and money rules
There's nothing like a family to give your bank balance a spot of instant liposuction - and there's nothing like a slim bank balance to cause rows. A recent survey1 revealed that money is the single subject most likely to split couples, while another2 reported that financial differences cause over 200 rows a year for your average couple. That's a heck of a lot of slammed doors. Here, five couples who have found a way to live in financial harmony share their invaluable advice.
Rule 1: Set a financial goal
From Kerrie and Paul Parton
Kerrie says: "We've got two young children so budgeting has always been important, but now it's absolutely crucial. My brother and his wife live in New Zealand and they're expecting a baby, so we want to go out to see them next spring. It's meant some lengthy discussions at home, as we had to ensure we agreed on what we were aiming for. We've had to alter some of our financial priorities, but we both feel it's important for our children to know their cousin - and of course their uncle."
Paul says: "Prior to the news of the baby, we'd been prioritising things on our house, such as new boiler and bathroom, and planning on getting a new car. We've had to revisit those ideas! But we've always discussed our finances, and Kerrie's great at keeping a close eye on our outgoings. Luckily, I have access to plenty of overtime so we've worked out exactly how much we need to afford the trip and decided all that extra money will go into the 'holiday account', which makes budgeting much easier."
Rule 2: Use a free budget planner
From Leanne and Chris Jenkins
Leanne says: "I work part-time in nursing and Chris works full time fitting kitchens. We're both good at spending, so we have to watch ourselves with money! I've started doing a budget planner and that's really helped us balance our income with our outgoings. With all the figures in front of you, it's easier to work out where to make savings."
Chris says: "We do the budget planning together, so it's a joint responsibility. That helps avoid arguments over what the money's being spent on. And we've got three joint accounts with Barclays - one for monthly bills, one for occasional bills and one as savings. After we've put money into each of those, anything left over we split and put into our individual accounts. That way, we do have a bit of cash that we can spend on ourselves, no questions asked."
Rule 3: Check your accounts regularly
From Sara and Tom Russet
Sara says: "We bank online and check our accounts every week to make sure we're not overdrawn. It only takes a couple of minutes and it helps us live within our means. Tom works full time as a junior research fellow, so he has a regular income and a work pension. I work two days a week while our daughter Nell's in nursery, so I have a bit of money coming in too. Tom pays the Woolwich mortgage and childcare, plus he puts £500 a month into my account. I pay for food, utility bills and baby items. Tom probably ends up with more disposable income than me every month, but that's because I choose to pay some of my money into an ISA, as a substitute for a pension."
Tom says: "We try to never go into debt (except the mortgage), and checking our balance once a week lets us stay in the black, without being a really rigid form of budgeting. It works better for us to spend what we want, but rein it in if we overspend."
Rule 4: Think about consolidating your debts
From Verity and Rob Simmons
Verity says: "Rob and I are both freelance musicians, so we don't have a set income, which makes it harder to plan our finances. But since having our son we've become more money-focused. In the past we both had store cards and a range of credit cards - we used to spread our debt around and take advantage of 0% deals. Now we don't want to risk forgetting that we have a particular card to pay off, so we've consolidated all our debts on one credit card. It's far simpler to have one bill to deal with."
Rob says: "We each pay half the mortgage every month and half the utility bills from a joint account, which has direct debits set up on it. Apart from that, we keep our money in individual accounts and when we need to buy food or clothes, we check and see which of us has enough to cover the payment. Then that person pays. It's a system that's totally based on trust and seems to work!"
Rule 5: Save!
From Leanne and Stuart Curtis-Cobb
Leanne says: "The first thing Stuart and I do every month is pool all our money into a joint account, then put 10% of our earnings into our pensions and savings. We both have our own businesses: Stuart is a plumber and I run a kids' clothing boutique. That means our income fluctuates but I think it's important to save for the future. We've set up savings accounts for our two boys too, to help teach them the value of money."
Stuart says: "At the beginning of April, Leanne draws up a budget for the next year. All our projected spending and income goes into that - and from it she works out what we'll have to spend every month. Through the year she makes adjustments depending on what we have actually spent and earned. If we spend less than we thought we would the excess goes into an emergency 'rainy day' fund to add to our savings pots."
Head to Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:
- Expert information on starting your own business
- Family budgeting and saving tips
- Money-saving videos and inspiring start-up videos
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