3 Easy Steps to Not Argue Over Money

If you've been married longer than a minute, I bet you've had a "conversation" about money (as a couples therapist…err…financial planner…I've witnessed many of these first-hand).

And the discussion always pivots around one spouse's disapproval of the other spouse's spending.

Wouldn't it be great if you could never have one of those "discussions" again? One solution is to become filthy, ridiculously rich. A more practical solution is these 3 steps:

1. Save first.

a. Calculate how much you need to save each month for college, retirement, a down payment, etc. (this is best left to a professional, so talk to your financial planner. If you don't have one, check us out).

b. Open the appropriate accounts and set up automatic savings.

2. Estimate family expenses.

a. Add up the costs for your mortgage, groceries, utilities, nannies, kids' activities, date nights, etc.

b. Open a joint checking for all the shared stuff.

c. Set up direct deposits to cover the expenses proportionate to your income.

3. Spend what's left!

a. Open individual checking accounts and direct deposit whatever's left.

Anxiety is at the heart of every "conversation" about money. You don't really care that he buys $15 salads for lunch or that she spends an arm and a leg on camera equipment. You care that your spouse is spending money on - according to you - frivolous things at the expense of saving for long-term goals and family expenses.

But if you save first and budget family expenses second, the important stuff is covered. Then you can join as many wine clubs as you want without hearing a word about it.

Pro tip: This also sets you up for romance. Nothing says "I love you" like paying for gifts, date nights, special vacations out of "your" stash.