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  • Money Doesn't Buy You Happiness, But Proper Money-Handling Does

    Every couple desires to make their marriage last for a lifetime. Until disagreements arise and test their relationship, couples live in a perfect world. However, no matter how sweet and loving they are and no matter how perfectly their marriages seem, because of issues they have to deal with everyday, feuds may happen. Worst, discontentment, unhappiness and broken marriage, too, especially when disagreements are blown out of proportion.

    One of the common reasons of disagreement between husband and wife is money-handling. Most couple fight over money spending and budgeting especially when one is insistent in spending while the other one is reserved. Although money is never the be-all and end-all, most couples break apart because of the trouble money-handling brings. When one is an impulsive buyer and the other is a wise spender, when one is concerned about saving and the other can't help but spend, what could possibly happen? Money is the most basic commodity we use to get by everyday, thus, proper handling (most especially of couples with meager amount of salary and have children) is a must.

    Here are five fantastic tips from Ruth Soukup of P&G Everyday that could help bridge the gaps in money-handling between couples:

    1. Recognize You Are Different
    Chances are you did not marry someone exactly like you. (If you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article!) In many relationships, there are two very different approaches to money: The first step in opening up a conversation about money is realizing — and accepting — your spouse simply doesn’t see the world in the same way. What makes sense to you doesn’t necessarily make sense to him, and vice versa. This doesn’t make it wrong or stupid or even irrational, it just means you have to find a way to work around your differences.

    2. Set Common Goals
    The best way to overcome differences in your approach to money is to set goals that you can both agree on. This might take some compromise, since his goal of an 80-inch flat screen might not fall in line with your goal of a week at the spa. Focus on the essentials — getting out of debt, saving up an emergency fund, planning for college and retirement — then set real goals for the big things before getting swept away in a sea of wants.

    3. Stick to a Cash Budget
    Once you’ve agreed on a few long-term goals, it is time to buckle down and get to work. Sit down together over a cup of coffee and work through your budget. Account for the important things first — fixed expenses and savings — then dole out cold, hard cash to use for the remaining discretionary expenses.

    Using real cash is key for a couple reasons. First, it is much harder to spend cash than to use a credit card. Overspending often comes from an emotional place: Using cash hurts more, which helps curb that emotion. Second, sticking to cash will force both of you to stay within your budget. When the cash is gone, it’s gone. There are no surprises — and no big fight — the following month when the credit card statement arrives!

    4. Give Each Other a Little Leeway
    When it comes to money, it is important that neither spouse feel controlled by the other. Thus, within your cash budget there should be a little wiggle room for both of you. Set aside a certain amount of “His” and “Hers” money each month that you can each spend freely on whatever you want without fear of judgment.

    5. Get Help
    If all else fails, it might be time to seek help from an expert. Consider seeing a financial advisor together, taking a financial management class or even reading a home finance or budgeting book together. A neutral third party can look at the situation without attaching blame or emotion and can hopefully help you both to do the same.

    Marital disagreements/issues should be handled properly. Financial matters must be given proper attention by sitting and talking with each other. Always remember, understanding is one of the key factors to maintain peace at home and to make the marriage last. Money does not buy us happiness, but proper money-handling does(give).

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