The new year is all about resolutions. It’s a time to look toward the future and choose goals that will be your priorities during the year. When it comes to money, there are a few financial resolutions that couples, in particular, need to follow. Here are some New Year’s resolutions that should be on every couple’s list in 2020.
Be Honest with Each Other About Spending
Arguments about money can be serious. Financial difficulties and not seeing eye-to-eye on things like saving and spending are often cited reasons for divorce. The disagreements introduce strife into the relationship, and it can be hard to reconcile differences.
While struggling financially alone can be stressful, one of the biggest reasons money arguments lead to divorce isn’t purely monetary. Often, keeping secrets about spending or diverging from the agreed-upon plan are core issues.
If you want to set your relationship up for financial success, making being honest about your spending a priority. Don’t hide your actions from your partner or spouse, as that is almost guaranteed to lead to trouble.
Budget and Goal Plan Together
If you want to reach financial success together, make 2020 the year you resolve to handle all budget and goal planning together. When you examine your situation as a couple, you are creating a great opportunity to get on the same page when it comes to money.
List out your debts (both individual and joint) and other expenses. Talk about your financial goals and decide which ones you’ll dedicate yourselves to as a couple. Review your income and create a budget that includes covering your expenses and saving toward those goals.
By making financial planning a joint activity, you are working toward a better future as a team. This can significantly increase your odds of success.
Boost Your Credit Scores
Your credit scores play a big role in your financial life. It impacts your ability to get loans, avoid deposits on utilities, and much more.
Make 2020 the year you don’t just keep an eye on your credit score, but the year you make choices that allow you to improve it. Focus on repaying high-interest credit cards. Build an emergency fund, so you don’t have to turn to credit cards or loans during a crisis. Make your payments on time every month.
Depending on where your credit score sits today, your exact goal may be different. However, consider aiming to go up at least one tier in 2020. For example, if you have a “fair” FICO credit score (usually between 580 and 669, according to Experian), try to get in the “good” range (670 to 739). If you’re already “good,” aim for “very good” (740 to 799).
If you’re married, both you and your spouse’s credit scores impact your financial life. Consider having a joint goal to get your scores moving in the right direction. That way, you’ll be more inclined to make sound financial choices together.
Create Your Own Financial Book Club
Financial know-how can come from one of a few ways. While the school of hard knocks can certainly teach you a lot about money management, that isn’t the ideal way to go.
If you are your spouse or partner are lacking financial knowledge, vow to start your own 2020 financial book club. Each month, choose a reputable book about personal finance or any associated niche that covers one of your joint knowledge gaps. Next, read specific chapters every week. Then, sit down together every weekend and discuss what you’ve learned. This approach is a great way to increase your joint knowledge and discover more about each other’s perspectives.
Are you worried you don’t have time to read? You don’t have to be. Instead of using books, choose podcasts. There are plenty of options available from highly knowledgeable people, and you can listen during your commute, while on a break at work, or whenever it’s convenient. Then, you can get together after you finish a podcast (or set of recordings) and talk about the information.
Embrace Coupons, Rebates, and Comparison Shopping
Spending less is a great way to build space in your budget. While clipping coupons might sound antiquated today, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace the concept. There are apps available that make the process easy. For example, grocery store rewards programs usually include in-app coupons. If you find one for an item you were going to buy, you “clip” it with a simple tap.
Plus, there is a slew of rebate apps and websites around that give you cashback after you shop. Ibotta is a great smartphone-based option for getting cashback. Shopkick gives you access to rebates as well as other ways to earn points that you can turn into cash back or gift cards. Rakuten (formerly Ebates) lets you earn cashback when you shop online.
Doing a bit of comparison shopping also goes a long way. By seeking out the best deal, you can get what you want while spending less. Additionally, you might be score the lower price at any store with a price matching policy, so you don’t have to wait for an item to ship or use a retailer you don’t prefer to get the best deal.
Just make sure that you don’t use the coupons, rebates, or price matches to buy items you wouldn’t otherwise purchase. If you do, then you are increasing your spending, not reducing it. But, by sticking to products you were going to buy anyway, the savings can add up.
Do you know of any financial resolutions for couples that are worth trying? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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