Finance issues are tough. You don’t know how to make ends meet, and the bills keep piling up. It seems like a never-ending cycle of struggle. Most people, unfortunately, are making the situation even more complex when they allow the entire family to suffer because of financial issues.
I’m not talking about explaining to your kid that you cannot buy a new toy for them. I’m talking about the constant negativity and disagreements about money.
Let me share something really personal. I come from a low-income family. There was lots of love, but tons of negativity because of money issues. I’ll never forget the day when my dad yelled at my mom for buying a cake. She went over budget. I still get a lump in my throat when I eat cake sometimes.
When you allow your kids to feel the struggle and be a part of it, they will suffer the consequences for a lifetime. No parent wants that, but sometimes we’re so consumed with troubles that we stop thinking about what’s right or wrong.
Is there a way to keep the connections within your family above financial issues? Sure there is!
Here are 5 suggestions to avoid financial differences in the family
1. Be a team
When only one person in the family is in charge of the finances, the whole system may seem authoritative. Working as a team is a great way to avoid miscommunication. If both parents work, they can open joint accounts to pay for household expenses and handle investments. This makes the transactions easier to manage, and it makes the family feel like a team working towards a common goal.
You may still maintain your separate accounts, so you’ll get some financial autonomy and avoid arguments about buying something that wasn’t planned.
2. Understand each other’s needs
One of the partners often pushes the other one to be frugal. When you want to spend on something that makes you feel good (such as new shoes, for example), your partner will make you feel guilty about it. Then, you’ll start arguing about their smoking or car expenses, just to drop the ball back.
You have to come down to a mutual understanding. Everyone has needs, and sometimes we need to meet those needs even when the family struggles financially. One pair of shoes per season should be fine if that doesn’t affect the family’s potential to cover the necessary expenses.
If you think that some expense is really unnecessary, try to explain it in a calm tone. It’s not that you don’t want your partner to buy something; it’s about what’s better for the entire family.
3. Attend a financial workshop
Yes; really! If you and your partner cannot manage the finances properly and you notice that your kids are being dragged in the middle of this struggle, it’s time to get some education.
The disagreements may arise from different financial goals. For example, a budget savvy person will buy the most affordable TV available, and a long-term oriented person will opt for more expensive alternatives, thinking they get more value that way.
A financial workshop will teach you about budgeting, so you’ll both learn how to identify priorities and spend an adequate amount of money on them.
4. Settle the priorities
Did you marry your financial opposite? If you’re a saver and you want every extra dollar on the savings account, you feel a bit troubled when your partner wants to spend money on a family weekend away from home. You know that this would do good things for the connections within the family, but you’re worried because it won’t keep the roof from leaking.
There has to be a balance. If there are serious expenses that you have to cover, the weekend away will have to wait. If you can realistically afford it, your partner will have to understand the value of spending money on fun.
5. Keep the arguments away from your kids
If you really have to discuss a certain expense, don’t do it in front of the kids. It’s not that you’re trying to create the image of an ideal world that doesn’t exist. It’s just because you’re trying to protect them from these mundane issues as much as possible. If they realize that you’re arguing because of money, the image they create in their minds will be much more troublesome than the real situation you’re facing.
Try to preserve the harmony in your family as much as possible. If you notice that money issues are disturbing it, the least you could do is work on bringing that harmony back. Money comes and goes, but the scars from family struggles may be active for a very long time.