Money is a common cause of conflict among many couples and unrealistic expectations around the festive season and how you might use limited finances can exacerbate this. Rising food and energy costs stemming from the Cost of Living Crisis may also be a risk factor for further fights and arguments if not considered properly.
Financial insecurity can overwhelm other aspects of the relationship, and some couples may feel like their money concerns are never-ending and they are never going to have enough. However, much of the time, money in itself isn’t the root of the problem, and therefore having more of it may not necessarily reduce conflict with your partner where finances are a theme.
The problem instead is when individuals have different financial values and behaviours than their partners. It’s not about how much or how little money there is, but instead your approaches to how you use what there is.
If you and your partner are on the same page with your financial values and behaviours, and your expectations around what you might invest into your Christmas experience, then no matter how low your account balance gets, it likely won’t lead to a fight between you. Instead, when things get difficult, you may be more likely to support one another and work together to get back on track.
To encourage mutual understanding of each other, it is important to discuss how you were raised around money and what your money personality is. Are you the type of person who sees a ‘bargain’ and will buy another Christmas Present that your child doesn’t really want or need because it was cheap, or do you like to ensure you have at least a few quid left at the end of the month for anything that might arise.
It doesn’t really matter how your parent’s interaction with money played a part of your money relationship; it is just important that your partner understands where you are coming from so they can be more understanding and compassionate about how you make financial decisions.
Don’t judge or attack each other’s styles – accept and learn how to work with what you both bring to the relationship in order to attain money harmony. It is also important that you share the financial load of the relationship. The unbalanced couple where one knows everything and the other is in the dark can be challenging. If this is the case, then get the balance back in the relationship by getting one partner slowly involved and getting the other partner to relinquish some control over the festive finances.
Our Conversation Prompt Cards can help you Communicate Effectively To Relieve the Pressure.
One of the key things to managing money without fighting is to be on the same page with your budget and other financial and festive goals. That means you’ll need a way to have accountability, both to your budget and to each other. One way to do that is to sit down together in November and discuss and plan your budget for December. If you are feeling emotionally activated, then take a break, and breathe deeply until you feel regulated again. No matter if your primary financial goal is just to get through it without debt, or to provide a magical experience for all the family, stick to a realistic budget no matter what.
If either one of you is having a hard time sticking to your budget, then it may be time to sit down and figure out why the budget isn’t working for you and begin to develop a plan to stick to the budget this Christmas. There will probably be times when the two of you are at odds regarding how much you would like to budget towards gifts, socializing and meals, due to differing viewpoints on how to do things financially.
It is important to listen effectively to each other, checking understanding and summarising what they have communicated to you. Accept influence from your partner, so for example if they have ideas on how to reduce the costs surrounding Christmas & New Years, then hear them out and decide which you will give a go. If it doesn’t work out, you can try it your way the next year. Remember teamwork makes the dream work! Over time you will notice how much more easily you and your spouse can discuss all things related to money.
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