IMPROVE YOUR MARRIAGE - Don't Overlook The Obvious

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Creating budgets
And sticking to them
Will eliminate
Many arguments
And relieve great stress.

Behonest! In every marriage, someone is more of a spender while the other person is more of a saver/ 'wise shopper'.

Sometimes, this is very obvious. The man blows a lot of money on his golf clubs, or car, or... The woman might buy the equivalent of a shoe store's inventory... Whatever the case, someone is a consummate buyer. - Perhaps the overspending comes from eating out every day for lunch, rather than brown bagging it. Or utilizing one of the those super-convenient restaurant take-out windows. - It truly doesn't matter. It boils down to excessive spending.

I remember years ago when working with unemployed and underemployed individuals, a gentleman came over to me desirous of collecting 'partial unemployment', seeing as how his boss cut his hours down to 30 hours per week. Despite the cut, he was still grossing over $35,000 per year. (And, this was almost 20 years ago, when that was pretty good money!) Anyway, when I explained that he had earned too much for the assistance program, he became very agitated, wondering how he and his wife could ever get by on so little money. - By asking some logical questions, I learned that his wife earned in the $30,000 range and that they had no children or mortgage. (Although they did have rent to pay, monthly.) They both had expensive cars (with equally 'luxurious' monthly payments), ate lunch an dinner out, most days. And, entertained. - Well, silly me suggested that they either change their lifestyle by brown bagging lunch, cooking dinners home, trading in at least one car for a more modest one... Perhaps he could get a part-time job, at least temporarily... You get the idea. - Well, you might have thought that I had asked him to earn money through some illegal means or to eat rice and beans, daily! 'What right did I have to suggest such outrageous solutions to him!' - Needless to say, he eventually left, unhappy and angry.
I recount this tale, because most of us either live beyond our means or at the edge of those limits. And, invariably, one of the marriage partners is guilty of spending the most on non-necessities. And, this certainly will lead at some point to arguments, general stress, passive-aggressive behavior, or... - And, it is said by many professionals that finance are the primary reason behind couples divorcing. Imagine, even more so than for sexual reasons!

So, one of the best ways to fend off this 'Marriage-Buster' is to establish a budget, complete with a set amount that can go toward the frivolous/ 'excessives'. - But, be certain that each one of you 'buys in' (pardon the play on words) to it. Now, that does not mean that you each will walk away from the kitchen table, thrilled with the budget. In fact, if that happens, you probably need to re-work it. But, somewhere, there lies a trues 'middle ground', unless your spouse is an absolute spoiled brat, in grown-up clothing!

And, these budgets will be like living things. They will have to be reviewed, at least every 3 months, because things change: taxes go up, there's a major car or appliance repair bill, an opportunity to go away somewhere real inexpensively, or there's a great going-out-of-business sale where you can grab sports gear at mega-cheap prices.

And, you might find, when doing the budget that you folks are really stretched way too thin. And, the spouse who doesn't pay the bills and thought you were flush with cash, each month, might get a reality check. And, then decide that maybe you need to move to a smaller place, or stop the gym membership and buy your own equipment, or...

Don't get caught in that trap of creating a super budget and then not following it because you find that every week there is an excuse to eat out more often than you should or there are super store savings every other weekend, which you cannot resist, or one or both of you simply decide that you don't have the self-control (which would be a lie for virtually anyone).

The point is that this process, while not as simple to achieve as some might think or hope, can make a huge difference in the quality of your relationship, day-to-day. And, isn't that something that money truly cannot buy?

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