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Love & Money

I have heard that the most common marital fights are over intimacy and money. While I am not a relationship expert, I do think that one way to improve your love life is to tackle your money problems!

Many newlyweds make exciting plans to save for this and that because they will have so much extra money once they combine households. However, when the honeymoon is over, many couples find themselves arguing over where all the money is going each month. Husbands question the “need” for a new pair of heels and wives quickly counter with the “need” for another round of golf. What is the answer to this age-old problem? Why not try setting up a realistic, easy-to-manage budget and then kick off those high heels and golf cleats and spend some quality time together.

Envision 3 buckets of money – red, yellow and green.

Red Bucket is your household account where you deposit your paychecks and pay your fixed monthly bills. You know these expenses are coming each month. Whatever is leftover will determine how much you have for your other buckets! See if you can cut some of these expenses - refinance, pay off your credit cards, cancel that gym membership you never use now that you are married!

Yellow Bucket is your weekly allowance! You each get a weekly allowance to spend however you want. The key is that neither of you have a right to question what the other spends that money on; your allowances are within your budget, so it doesn’t matter. This is a fantastic way to manage those weekly expenses that are hard to monitor such as dining out, groceries, wine, manicures, etc. Make sure it is enough so you don’t feel deprived, but not more than you need.

Green Bucket is for future spending needs. You probably already set aside money for retirement in your 401k or IRA because you would spend it if it were readily available in your checking account. Designated accounts make it easy to save and easy to spend within the parameters you set. Want to go on a lavish vacation each year? Autodraft a monthly amount into a vacation savings account and watch it grow. Do you tend to go overboard on Christmas gifts? Set up a separate gift account with a monthly autodraft to limit the amount you want to spend. House and car repairs are never expected, so set up a separate emergency account with 3-6 months living expenses - be sure to replenish it if you dip into it for AC repair.

This budget is very user-friendly. It takes a little tweaking in the beginning, but then it works automatically without much thought. Just remember, when you increase one bucket, you decrease another -typically your future fun accounts.

So, did this give you some ideas for improving your love life?

Thanks to Marty Kurtz with First Step Cash Management for developing this innovative cash flow system.

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