Couples and finances: can there ever be any peace?

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Saving money is hard. Maybe I should revise that – attempting to save money is hard. I’ve been pretty good about it, if I do say so myself. I lived by myself for about five years and took care of all my bills and generally managed to have enough money for the stuff I needed or wanted.

Enter my boyfriend – Awesome, whom I love very much. He is not so great at saving money. Maybe I should revise that – he is absolutely terrible at saving money. This is endearing to me because he so desperately wants to be good at saving money. The other day he emailed me a link to an article detailing a plan where you save one dollar per week of the year ($1 for week one, $2 for week two, and so on) and enthusiastically wrote “We should do this!” in the body of the email.

Unfortunately, while he would love to tell people we are super savers, in reality he just wants to light $20 bills on fire and clap his hands while they burn into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, I’m hovering in a corner somewhere pulling strands of my hair out one-by-one while I nag at him for the 90th time that we need to save money.

The last company I worked for offered a discounted course of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Not only was this extremely helpful to me in terms of getting out of debt and saving money (I highly recommend it), but it also taught me that in every relationship there is usually a “Nerd/Saver” and a “Free Spirit”. The titles are self-explanatory and if you read the first few paragraphs of this blog then you probably know which one I am and which one Awesome is.

In an attempt to get our finances under control I bought several books about couples and money. While mostly well-written, these books did not really help – the ideas either didn’t apply or were so weird or complicated that I didn’t feel like implementing them. Finally, after a particularly cash-strapped period of time, Awesome pleaded to me one night, “Please can I just give you my paychecks?” I agreed but only if he would try to understand how our finances work just in case we came upon some weird situation in which I wasn’t able to do it.

So now, he gives me his paychecks, I pay our bills (with both of our paychecks, thank you), and we basically share a debit card. Before either of us purchase anything we check with the other first, and we are on our way to saving some money for various things. We feel like we are finally on our way to financial peace. And I no longer smell burnt $20 bills in my nightmares.