6 Ways Couples Can Win at Love and Money

Aditi Shekar
September 8th, 2021 | 5 mins
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We won’t front — managing your own finances can be challenging, let alone with your partner in crime. To help you in your journey to winning at love and money together, here are 6 tips for managing your money as a couple:

1. Communicate regularly

Talking about money can be pretty awkward or even scary, both within and outside the context of relationships. So how do you make it easier? Through proactive consistency (exposure therapy, one might even say).

At Zeta, our number one recommendation is money dates.

A money date is like your typical date night, but your discussions revolve around how your money can be used to achieve your goals. It’s the ideal time to go over financial goals, look at monthly cash flow, and prep for any upcoming expenses.

The most crucial aspect of money dates is consistency. We recommend that you have them on a monthly basis, or shorter sessions on a weekly basis if that’s your jam. Having sessions more often will help develop the habits and mindsets you need to make money dates comfortable and productive—and dare we say, even fun?

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway)—communication, honesty and trust along with it, is key to every part of your relationship. Money dates will breed positive results in the financial and non-financial areas of your shared life.

2. Be transparent about your debt

When it comes to debt, it helps to be as transparent as possible with your partner. This is especially true if you’ve merged your finances together because your debt is no longer just your own. If you have shared financial goals — like marriage, kids, or homeownership — then it’s crucial to have an accurate overview of your shared financial situation.

By discussing what debt you’re each bringing into the relationship (including student loans, credit cards, and personal loans), you’ll find yourselves coming together. Talking about debt shouldn’t be something you’re ashamed of. In fact, your partner probably is (or has been) in the same boat.

3. Celebrate together

The topic of money is often associated with feelings of awkwardness, discomfort, confusion, helplessness, and a bunch of other negative emotions. While money situations can be difficult to navigate (seriously, so much of it can feel like an uphill battle!), there will also be moments where you and your partner achieve your goals together—and those are the moments you need to cherish.

You had your first Money Date? Or even your twentieth? That’s a win! End the date with a little celebration?

You hit your home down payment goals? That’s definitely a moment to celebrate.

One of you paid off your student loans? Break out the champagne!

4. Pick a spending number

Irrespective of how you combine your finances, your decisions will impact your partner. The most successful couples sit down and pick a spending number  (or spending limit)— the amount of money they’re comfortable spending up to before they sync up about it. Fun fact, the average spending number for an American couple is $400. But in our research, we’ve heard everything from $20 to $5,000. Once you’ve picked a spending number together, make a commitment to talk about purchases above that number before you make them.

5. Cut back, but don’t miss out

It never hurts to be more budget-conscious when it comes to going on dates together. And just because you’re cutting back on costs doesn’t mean you have to stop doing all the things you both love! Trust us, there are so many ways to keep the dates spicy while saving money.

Ever heard of a half-date? It’s where you cook dinner together and then go out to eat just for dessert rather than spending money on a whole meal! Genius. We actually came up with a bunch of fun budget-friendly date night ideas that you probably haven’t tried before!

6. Use financial tools made for couples

You’ve probably heard of Mint, or any of the alternative budgeting apps out there (YNAB, EveryDollar etc.), to help track and manage your own finances. But, have you ever tried using an app that’s designed specifically for couples? Apps with features made with couples in mind are a whole different ball game when it comes to managing shared expenses successfully.

Try Zeta Money Manager (a budgeting app) or Zeta Joint Cards (a joint bank account with two debit cards and loads of budgeting features and financial automations) to manage your money together as a team. Both options provide a simple view of your shared finances and give you a clear picture of where your money is going. You can also create budgets together, track and manage bills, and a ton more. Not to mention, both are free to use! All wins across the board.

Article updated on September 8th, 2021.

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