Ah, Valentine’s day! The day when the price for a dozen roses multiplies by 10, and the entire world claims to love romance. This is the time of the year where we throw caution to the wind and spend way more than we should in the name of romance. Unfortunately, debt can often negatively affect even the most sincere and stable of relationships, especially if it has been hidden from their spouse. Many couples fight over debt, and it can be a cause for much frustration, stress, and sleepless nights.
However, even if you’re currently in debt, there are still a number of things you can do to prevent it from becoming a problem in your relationship. If you’re interested in ways to stave off the negative effects of debt encroaching on your relationship, read on. Here are 4 ways you can stop debt from ruining your relationship, and help keep everyone happy.
1. Be honest.
If you have debt and are in a serious relationship, it’s time you fess up. Be honest and forthcoming about how much debt you have and what your spending habits are. It’s far worse to hide your debt from your significant other than to simply reveal the truth. Your partner will resent you for it, and distrust you if you don’t immediately reveal the state of your financial affairs transparently and as soon as it happens. Being open and honest, right from the very start, will foster a greater degree of trust and sincerity in your relationship, and this will help strengthen your relationship in the long run.
2. Do not place blame.
One of the worst things you can do when in debt is blame your spouse for the “mistakes” they have made. Blaming after the fact is simply pointless, and will lead to more harm than good. Sure, you can express your general disappointment and concern in what has happened. But anything more than a quick admonishment is counter-productive and will just lead to more fights and feelings of animosity. Instead, use your debt as a way to come together to overcome the obstacle. If you’re committed to a long-term relationship, then the fact is that you’ll need to face many obstacles in your future together. Working together now to overcome your obstacles will put you in good stead for any future difficulties you may have to face.
One thing that many people forget is that money doesn’t make us wealthy; knowledge does. If you’re on minimum wage or a low-paying salary and are struggling to make ends meet, or finding it a challenge to afford any of life’s little luxuries, you might need to think about how you can be smarter with your money. Although many experts will keep repeating obvious things like ‘spend less money’, sometimes, you literally can’t spend less money to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, so what is the answer? I’ve got some advice that could potentially save your finances and improve your quality of life.
It might seem counter intuitive because running shoes are necessarily expensive, but switching out your monthly gym membership for a one-time payment for running shoes and a pair of shorts will make you far better off in the long run. There aren’t just financial benefits to swapping your indoor exercise routine for an indoor one. Running outside, for example, burns more calories per mile than running on a treadmill does.
Similarly, you’ll also get more exercise into any given time because you won’t need to ‘get to the gym’ before you begin your exercise. Most cities are now doing all they can to facilitate outdoor physical exercise, with so-called outdoor gyms in most council parks and next to playgrounds so that health-conscious people can do pull ups and other essential exercises for free in the great outdoors.
I picked these beauties up from Skechers, and am in love. Not only are they the perfect shade of pink, but they have memory foam cushioned custom-fit comfort insole, flexSole lightweight shock absorbing flexible midsole design,super flexible articulated traction outsole, BUT they also have a 1/2 inch built in heel. Needless to say it was a worthwhile investment as I’ve been running at the indoor 3-4 times a week now. Goes to show, that investing something simple is more than worth it.
Let me start off by saying that I have A LOT of money regrets, and I have documented most of them already. Things like spending money on cars that I couldn’t afford, trips that were outside of my budget, or not making a budget for that matter. This is particular story, however, really hits a nerve to this day. It’s also one that I’ve mentioned on the site quite a few times.
When I was younger, and possibly dumber, I spent a lot of money on clothes. I love clothes. I had a steady paycheck, was making way more than most of my friends, and had no regard for money or the concept of frugality. On one particular Thursday, a few friends and I drove an hour to one the biggest malls in Ontario. I was on a mission to buy jeans. But not just any type of jeans, I wanted these particular name brand ones. We wandered through various stores and finally found them.
How much were they, you ask? $475 plus tax. Yes, I know how ridiculous it is for a personal finance blogger to have spent $500 plus on a pair of jeans. Now imagine how much worse it is for that blogger to have bought two pairs and some overpriced tank tops.
My total invoice from that store was $1290. I can still remember it to this day.
The reason I remember is that when I got home, I decided to take the tags of all the items, just in case someone (my parents) saw the bill and had a heart attack.
A few days later, my mother decided to go through our closets to clean out and donate any neglected or worn out articles of clothing. Lo and behold she finds my brand new jeans, and after looking them over and noticing the various amounts of rips and holes, decides that they needed to be donated.
You read that right, she donated $1200+ worth of brand new jeans. I was extremely upset but I couldn’t say anything because she didn’t know how much they were worth. All she kept saying was that the jeans were ripped and she had never seen me wear them before.
I’m a generally lazy person, so anything that allows me to do work from home is a winner in my books. The internet, and mobile banking are 2 of my favourite things invented recently. If you’ve always paid your bills by check or in-person, mobile banking may be a foreign concept for you. Likewise, you may not fully trust mobile applications with your personal finances. This is perfectly understandable, as we tend to shy away from things that we do not understand. However, using a mobile application to better manage your personal finances can be a godsend – especially if you are busy and always rushing.
Rather than shrug off mobile banking as a fad or simply “not for you,” discover the benefits and perks.
1. More ways to access your bank accounts
Signing up for online banking is an excellent way to monitor your bank account and pay bills online. But with online banking, you need access to a computer or a laptop, plus a reliable Internet connection. This way of banking can work if you are home or at your place of employment. However, it limits how often you are able to check your account.
Truthfully speaking, you may need to monitor your accounts when you are away from a computer. This is one key benefit of downloading your bank’s mobile app. With the app on your smartphone or other mobile device, you can sign onto your account whenever, wherever. Whether you are out of town, at a retail store or sitting in your car, you can check your balance and transfer money.
I know, I know! We don’t really want to think about gift giving so soon. Heck, some of us may even have charges from this past Christmas sitting on our credit cards right now. And there is no way that we want to think about spending money on stuff for a holiday that’s 11 months away.
I know it goes against everything that most of us believe, but there are some REALLY valid reasons why you should start thinking about your holiday shopping. One of the best reasons is OFF SEASON SHOPPING.
Off season shopping allows you to stock on things at a fraction of the price. Essentially when retailers over project sales, and don’t meet the quota, then slap a sale sticker on it to get rid of the inventory. This is when you get to swoop in and save 50-80%.
It’s coming up to that time of year (yes Christmas) when I’ve previously thrown financial caution to the wind and spent too much money catching up with friends and family, enjoying good food and, dare I say it, having a few too many drinks.
The real problem though is that I should be looking to save money in the run up to Christmas and then again in the January aftermath – but I just love to party every weekend.
So the solution hit me; what I had to do was find some cheap ways to still have fun at the weekend. That way I can enjoy Christmas to the max. So I did – and here are my 5 favourite ways to still have fun at the weekends:
Cocktail & Karaoke Night
Who doesn’t like cocktails? And after drinking a few who doesn’t like pretending they’re their favourite pop-star? Judging from last weekend – certainly none of my friends. Fifteen of us chipped in to buy a cheap karaoke machine (which was cheaper than taxis into town) and now we’ve got it forever. Alternatively, check out your TV provider as some of them have a karaoke option or you can download loads of song lyrics online and sing along to your favourite CD’s. However, it’s probably best to lubricate the vocal chords with a few cocktails first, which also seem to make most people’s hearing more tolerant as well. There are loads of cocktail recipes online, so plan a menu and then get everyone to chip in for the ingredients. It’s a great cheap way to party cheaply.