Imbalanced spending can cause tension in a relationship, especially if one partner makes less but spends more. There’s a sweet spot for every couple, read below for some tips to help find yours.
Let’s Talk About: Imbalanced Spending
This term can refer to a lot of different scenarios. Maybe one partner feels they spend way more on dates, they pay more bills, or they spend less on “fun” things.
When someone feels like their partner is spending more on frivolous things, or not enough on important things, it can make them bitter in the long run.
It’s All Relative
If it bothers you that your partner spends more than you, think about their expenses. Maybe they have student loans or they pay the mortgage. Their credit card bill might be high because they take care of all the household matters. Don’t freak out if it looks like your significant other is spending way more than you, even if they make less.
We spoke to Stay-At-Home Mum Susan Tay who mentioned that even though she doesn’t bring in any income, she regularly spends more than her husband.
“It used to bother my husband that I spend so much, but once I explained that I’m buying groceries, paying bills, and taking care of the kids, he understood,” she said.
“I think he thought I was blowing all of his money shopping, but that wasn’t the case.”
Moral of the story: Talk it out before jumping to conclusions about spending.
What Works For You?
A lot of this boils down to how you and your partner have decided to structure your budget.
- Is it a joint or separate account?
- Do you split expenses 50/50 or is it based on income?
- How much have you each agreed to save?
Once you’ve had these conversations, it’s a lot easier to manage imbalanced spending.
Meanwhile, Kevin Lee, who works at a publishing firm shared with us that he and his wife found what worked for them was to base it on income.
“I make more, so it just makes sense for me to take on a bulk of the expenses,” he said.
“We do share a bank account but we’ve found it best if we trust each other and don’t micromanage our spending.”
Moral of the story: Find a balance that works for you so that you can trust each other to manage money correctly.
Don’t Get Pushed Around
When you find the balance that works for your relationship, make sure that you’re getting a fair deal. For example, just because you’ve agreed that one person should take on more financial responsibility doesn’t mean that they should have more of a say in major decisions. While it’s important to compromise in any relationship, you shouldn’t come to any agreement until you’re both happy with the terms.
Sarah Ong, who teaches kindergarten, said that disagreements over spending were the beginning of the end for her last relationship.
“My ex-boyfriend would try and control how much money I spent and what I bought, even though it was my money,” she said.
“We could never agree on what constituted an important purchase.”
Moral of the story: Don’t settle on a spending balance until you’re both satisfied.