Tips To Help Couples With Their Finances

by Pam on July 22, 2010

The Smart Cookies’ Guide To Couples And Money: Earn More, Argue Less, Achieve The Life You Want Together

I recently borrowed the book titled The Smart Cookies’ Guide to Couples and Money from the library and I found it really helpful and interesting.  The authors provide a lot of insight on the struggles couples face when it comes to discussing money.  The book is full of practical ideas on how to get your finances in order through cooperation and effective communication.

A key point emphasized throughout the book is that people don’t have to live like paupers in order to save enough money to achieve their bigger goals.  It’s all about attitude.  To quote the authors:  The idea here is to start putting more of your money towards those bigger goals rather than spending it all on the smaller stuff.” And “It’s just a matter of prioritizing how you spend your money.  It’s not about being cheap; it’s about being in control of your spending. You and your spouse need to define what your bigger goals are and then work towards getting your finances in line in order to save enough to attain them.  This may mean making small sacrifices today, but it doesn’t mean your entire lifestyle has to change dramatically.  Besides, sharing common goals is a great way for you and your spouse to connect and work together.

The authors also introduce their readers to the idea of “The Rather Factor”.   Many of us spend our money on things that we don’t really care that much about, and then after we buy them, we think we would rather have done something else with that money.  The goal is to take more time to stop and think before spending our money so that we can eliminate this behavior.   The following quotes illustrate this sentiment:

“One big reason many of us get into trouble is that we spend mindlessly.  We often don’t stop to think about whether we’re getting actual enjoyment out of the purchases we make….”

So much of what we spend money on actually gives us very little return for our investment.  And the items that mean the most to us are often not the most expensive ones.”

This is so true.  Most of my most treasured possessions are priceless.  If I were to try to sell them on eBay, no one would want them.  I also often notice that I don’t get a lot of satisfaction out of many of the purchases I make, especially when I buy something I don’t really need and may never even use.

Another interesting insight in the book is the idea that when we spend our money we are actually seeking intangible benefits, and that women are twice as likely to shop impulsively.  This doesn’t surprise me.  Shopping can be a form of therapy and sometimes I just buy stuff in an attempt to cheer myself up.

This book is full of interesting tidbits of information.  I enjoyed taking the quiz that determines what style of spender you are.  As it turns out, I am a “Sale! Spender”.  No surprise there.  This is why I avoid dollar stores whenever possible as well as why I try to drag my husband along when I shop as he is always able to stop me from buying things I really don’t need even though they might be a really good deal!

Other topics covered in this book include the pros and cons of having separate and joint accounts, the costs of starting a family, as well as the different types of investments and investment vehicles available to Canadians.  If you want to learn tips on how to better connect with your spouse on a financial level, and if you are seeking advice on basic financial principles, I would highly recommend that you read this book.  It is easy to read and presents the topics in an interesting way, providing examples throughout of the authors’ own experiences to make it more real and meaningful.

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