Good Morning America reported the results of the infamous Black Friday today with a 16% increase in spending from last year. They stated the reason for this increase in spending not as a result of increased resources, but as a result of frugal fatigue. Meaning, people are sick and tired of being so frugal, and as a result, they go into spending mode.
While this is a great boost for the economy it may not be such a boost in the marriage. It comes as no surprise that money can be an ‘issue’ in marriage. The holidays, and increased spending this time of year, seem to heighten this issue between partners. As a result, here are a few tips to limit the negative effects of finances on your relationship this holiday season.
Sit down with your partner and talk about what is most important to you this holiday season.
Is it the memories you create, a special trip, family time together, or a specific gift? When you create an overall goal it is easier to look at the bigger perspective, and it may help you think a little more clearly when you are faced with decisions at the register. Does this purchase enhance or detract from that overall goal?
Set a specific budget for the holidays.
We all get excited and sometimes a little overzealous with gift giving. It is helpful to have a preset plan for how much you want to spend and then stick to it.
Think about what the purchases you want to make mean to you.
Sometimes financial habits can reflect feelings. Some people buy things in order to feel better. Others may buy gifts to say, “I love you”. If spending is the only way you express your love, it may be time to try some new techniques. It is always a good idea to look at your motivations behind your spending.
Be open and honest with your partner.
It is important to express concern, in a non-manipulative way, if you don’t agree on the importance of a specific purchase. It is also important to express your feelings on the topic of finances in a non-threatening or defensive manner.
Money does not have to come between you and your spouse this holiday season. The more you prepare for the potential financial stressors in your relationship the more you will be able to avoid the common pitfalls. Happy talking and planning!
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