Spenders and Savers: Building Financial Harmony as a Couple

Money can be a major source of stress, especially for couples with different spending habits. But fear not, spenders and savers can achieve financial harmony with open communication, compromise, and a team approach!

Communication is Key:

  • Talk openly about your goals: Dream vacations, a new house, or a comfortable retirement – discuss your individual goals and find common ground. These shared dreams will be the foundation of your financial plan. Remember, you’re a team, so work together! This builds a stronger foundation for your future.
  • Understand each other’s “why”: Instead of labels like “spender” or “saver,” have honest conversations about the reasons behind your financial behaviors. Explore any anxieties, hopes, or past experiences that shape your views on money. Sharing these creates context and fosters empathy.

Planning for Your Future:

  • Budgeting Together: Create a realistic budget that reflects your income, expenses, savings goals, and some fun money! Budgeting apps can simplify this process. Take time to find one that works for both of you – it’s an investment in your future, together.
  • Saving and Spending: Allocate specific amounts for both short- and long-term goals, like an emergency fund or retirement. Don’t forget to include fun – a vacation fund or a “splurge” category – ensuring both security and enjoyment. Consider separate accounts for different purposes if that helps with organization.
  • Set Spending Limits: If impulse buying is a concern, agree on spending limits for specific categories. Consider using cash for non-essential purchases – we tend to spend less with cash than cards!

Compromise and Flexibility:

  • Be Flexible: There will be times when adjustments are needed. Be open to compromise, finding solutions that work for both. Recognize that needs may differ, and adjustments might be temporary. After all, delayed gratification helps achieve bigger goals!
  • Celebrate Your Wins!: Acknowledge and celebrate progress towards your goals together. This keeps you motivated and strengthens your commitment to building a secure financial future.

Additional Tips:

  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular reviews of your budget and goals. Treat it like an important meeting – even 20 minutes a week can make a difference!
  • Seek Help if Needed: If managing finances feels overwhelming, consider seeking guidance from a financial advisor or counselor (like Parachute!) They can provide personalized advice and help you create a sustainable plan.
  • Communication is Key: Throughout the process, maintain open and honest communication about finances. Remember, building a healthy financial relationship requires teamwork and understanding.

By following these tips and fostering a supportive environment, spender-saver couples can navigate financial challenges, achieve their goals, and build a bright future together.

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/dmp-calculator/

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching  or call 716-712-2060.

Money and Relationships

Money can be a major source of stress and conflict in any relationship and often is quoted as the top reason for break-ups and divorces. Therefore, it is especially important to manage it carefully in romantic partnerships. Here are a few tips for managing money and relationships.

Communicate openly and honestly about your finances. This includes sharing your income, debts, and spending habits. It’s important to be upfront with each other about your spending habits and financial situation so that you can make decisions together and find ways to strengthen your financial future as a team. It can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing to share some aspects of our financial lives, but it will ultimately help empower you both to establish good money habits.   

Create a monthly spending plan (budget) and stick to it. This will help you track your income and expenses so that you can make sure you’re living within your means. There are many different budgeting methods available, so find one that works for you and your partner. You could even try a blend of methods to help you reach those goals! Sound spending plans are the foundation for establishing financial stability and wealth building.

Set financial goals together as a united front. Do you want to buy a house? Save for retirement? Pay off debt? Once you know what your goals are, you can start working towards them together and potentially reach them faster. Place the goals in writing somewhere you will both see them regularly (e.g., on a mirror or refrigerator, on your cell phones).

Don’t make major financial decisions without consulting your partner. This includes things like buying a car, taking out a loan, or making a large purchase. Talking about these decisions before you make them can help to avoid conflict later. Think about if your partner made a major financial decision without consulting you and how you might feel. Remember the team approach.

Be respectful of each other’s spending habits. Even if you don’t agree with how your partner spends their money, it’s important to be respectful of their choices. If you’re concerned about their spending, talk to them about it in a calm and constructive way that stays centered on your shared goals.   

Couple discussing money

Don’t let money problems come between you. If you’re having financial problems, it’s important to work together to solve them. Don’t blame each other or let your problems fester over time. Take action to address the issue before it gets bigger.

Seek professional help if you need it. If you’re struggling to manage your finances or communicate about money with your partner, a financial advisor, financial social worker, or a therapist can help.

Money can be a difficult and emotional topic to talk about as people most often feel a range of emotions such as fear and shame, but it’s important to have open and honest communication about your finances in order to maintain a healthy relationship. By following these tips, you can help to avoid conflict and build a strong financial foundation for your future together and also serve as an effective financial role model for your children.

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/dmp-calculator/

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching  or call 716-712-2060

15 Universal Truths About Money

Here are 15 universal truths about money. Recognizing them will help you better understand the role that money plays in your life and how to best handle money to achieve your financial goals and attain financial security.

  1. Money is a tool; a means to achieve your goals.
  2. You can’t outspend your income. No matter how much money you make, if you spend more than you earn, you will eventually go into debt.
  3. Saving money is important. It gives you a financial cushion in case of unexpected expenses, and it helps you reach your long-term goals.
  4. Investing your money is a smart way to grow your wealth over time. But it’s important to do your research, understand the risks involved and seek guidance from a professional you trust.
  5. Debt can be a burden. But it can also be a tool to help you achieve your goals. Just make sure you borrow responsibly and pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
  6. Your spending habits matter. The way you spend your money (your own money habits) can have a big impact on your financial future. Small amounts of savings grow to big amounts just like small expenses over time add up to large expenses.
  7. Comparing yourself to others is not helpful to your financial health. Everyone’s financial situation is different. Focus on your goals and make sure you are on track. Stay in your own lane!
  8. It’s never too late to start saving and investing. Even if you are starting late, it is never too late to make a difference.
  9. Get help if you need it. There are plenty of resources available to help you with your finances. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from agencies like Parachute!
  10. Money is not everything. It is important to have financial security, but it is also important to enjoy your life and live within your means.
  11. There will always be things that you want in the short term and cannot afford. It’s true for everyone!
  12. Financial success is influenced heavily by your behavior with money. Consistent patterns are powerful.
  13. Appearances are very deceiving. Just because someone looks like they have a lot of money, simply may mean they spent a lot of money and they be may be in significant debt.
  14. Having a lot of material possessions (stuff) is not the same as having financial security.
  15. Financial success involves what you earn, what you keep, what you grow (i.e., investments) and what you preserve.

These are just a few of the many truths about money. The most important thing is to learn about your finances and make smart decisions with your money. By doing so, you can achieve your financial goals!

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/dmp-calculator/

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching  or call 716-712-2060.

Budgeting for the Holidays – Part One

The holidays will be here soon and they are a “season”, not just a singular day or event; and, there can be several events! There may be parties and celebrations where you are expected to bring a dish, and/or provide a gift(s) and also meet family and friends out for lunches and dinners. The costs add up!

The holiday season can also include other celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries or even weddings. Finally, winter is the time where added expenses can come into play such as higher utility (e.g., heat, electric) bills, and unexpected car expenses like batteries and tires that need replacing.

How do you cover these expenses without completely exhausting your budget and getting yourself in post-holiday debt?

Consider several of the suggestions below to help reduce the expense and stress of the holiday season. Ideally, an early and clear plan communicated to your family and friends can help a lot!

  1. Have the list of WHO you will shop for and stick to it! Make agreements with your family and friends as to WHO you will buy for and HOW MUCH you will each spend. It’s very tempting to want to buy “a little something” for others, especially items under $20, but it adds up fast!
  2. If you have large extended family or circle of friends, pick ONE name for each group.
  3. Discuss possible family gifts that you all will enjoy. Start collecting change as a family starting each early each year (January) to help reduce the cost of bigger family gifts. If your children have part-time jobs, ask them for $2-5 a paycheck to help support a significant family gift.
  4. Shopping for items (e.g., at a spring craft show, summer fairs) throughout the year makes a BIG difference! There are sales all year round! It is just a little pre-planning to build your gift inventory throughout the year.
  5. Buy items for your food pantry early, ideally when they are on sale or when you have more spare funds. If your extended family knows you bring a signature dish every year, consider buying non-perishable ingredients early on and then place them in a separate storage area for the holidays. 
  6. Buy food staples at discount stores such as Aldi, Save-A-Lot and Price Rite.
  7. Buy food items in bulk, if possible.
  8. Don’t feel obligated to attend EVERY holiday invite you receive.
  9. Open a separate bank account to systematically save for the holidays. Set aside a manageable amount of money for a bank or credit union account that is offering a high interest rate such as a money market account or a short-term (e.g., 3-6 months) Certificate of Deposit so you have your money in time to shop without incurring any penalties.
  10. Consider making or even baking some of your gifts. Personalized gifts are very memorable. Add a small ($5-$10) gift card if you like.
  11. Shop at small businesses in your area that may have unique and reasonably priced gifts.
  12. Try not to get too caught up in Black Friday deals. Many times, people spend far more on other items than they actually save by battling the crowds and spending a lot of time and gas.

Keep a look out for Budgeting for the Holidays Part Two coming soon!

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/dmp-calculator/

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching  or call 716-712-2060.

“Stretching Your Budget When Money is Tight” – Part 1: Tips for food, groceries and dining out expenses

The majority of individuals will likely go through periods where money is tight due to unexpected expenses, a significant life or job changes, medical hardships, inflation/increased prices, and much more!  Here are some simple, but not insignificant ways, of stretching your dollars further. Small amounts of savings do add up! Part 1 will focus on food, groceries and dining out.

Groceries

  • Plan your meals for one week ahead, if possible. Be sure to inventory what you already have at home to avoid buying items that you do not need.   
  • Make a grocery list to cover meals and stick to it!  Plan the aisles you will go down when shopping, and try and avoid the others. You can get a store directory ahead of time to plan your route.  
  • Avoid multiple trips to the grocery store. This counts down on gas and the temptation to buy more than you can afford.
  • Comparison shop by cost per ounce/pound, etc.
  • Avoid shopping when you are hungry, tired, or in a hurry. Also, try to avoid bringing a number of other people with you.
  • Calculate your costs with your phone, or using an app while shopping so there are no surprises at the register.
  • Consider ordering groceries online and utilizing curbside pick up to avoid going into the store to prevent buying items you don’t need.
  • Buy in bulk the items that you are sure you will use; such as paper products, hygiene products, etc.
  • Buy store or generic brands.
  • Only use coupons for those items you are sure you will use. Many times, food and groceries are purchased because we have a coupon, but then they are thrown out.
  • Plan some meatless meals that are still high in protein (e.g., cheese, peanut butter, legumes).
  • Meals do not have to be “standardized”.  Kids may love pancakes for dinner!
  • Involve the family! Making dishes such as a casserole, lasagna, enchiladas, etc. together on a weekend can produce leftovers for part of the next week.
  • Consider growing a family garden of fruits and vegetables. If neighbors grow fruits and vegetables, trade or exchange with them.
  • Go to a farmers’ markets.
  • Consider discount grocery stores.
  • Check out your local dollar stores for items like toothpaste, shampoo, etc.  
  • Ask for grocery store gift cards for holidays gifts and birthdays.

Dining Out

  • Make dining out a treat, and limit to special days.
  • Look for establishments that offer specific days when kids can eat free.
  • Share meals
  • Ask if you can order from the kid’s menu.
  • Ask for senior citizen or retiree discounts, if applicable.
  • Cut in ½ (or less) the number of times you go out to eat per week (e.g., grabbing coffee, fast food, lunches).
  • Don’t order beverages or alcohol when dining out. Eat dessert at home, or just go out for dessert.

Would you like to work on your individual budget plan with one of our knowledgable counselors? Contact Parachute today to schedule a one on one appointment! 716-712-2060 https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching

April is Financial Literacy Month!

Financial Literacy Month is a national observance held every April to promote financial education and responsibility. Financial Literacy Month is a great time to learn more about financial literacy and to start taking steps to improve your financial well-being.

Financial literacy is the ability to understand and manage personal finances, and includes the awareness and knowledge to make informed financial decisions. Financial literacy can be improved by seeking to understand basic financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, and investing.

Financial Literacy Month is a great time to start taking steps to improve your own financial well-being. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Set financial goals.

What do you want to achieve financially? Do you want to buy a house, save for retirement, or start your own business? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start making a plan to reach your goals.

  • Create a budget.

(…and stick to it!). A budget is a plan for how you will spend your money. It can help you track your spending and make sure you are not spending more than you earn. You can’t make progress toward your financial goals if you don’t know where your money is going each month.

  • Save money.

Start by setting aside a small amount of money each month and gradually increase the amount you save as you get more comfortable with it. Set up auto pay to direct deposit a realistic amount to a savings account out of each paycheck.

  • Start thinking about investing.

Investing money is a way to grow your money over time. There are many different ways to invest, so it is important to do your research and choose an investment strategy that is right for you. Contact a financial planner or advisor for specific advice and guidance.

  • Get help.

If you are struggling with financial literacy, there are many resources available to help you, both online and in your community. You can take a financial literacy class, read books or articles about financial literacy, follow reputable financial sources on social media, subscribe to financial newsletters, or listen to personal finance podcasts. Meeting with a financial professional is a great way to assess your own situation, and work together to create a plan on how to achieve your personal financial goals and stay on track moving forward.

Parachute Credit Counseling is dedicated to promoting financial literacy and well-being, and to help minimize the stigma associated with debt.  We offer many different services to assist individuals and families achieve their personal financial goals, and to provide financial education.

  • More information on Parachute’s Workshops and Events to promote financial literacy:
  • Essential information compiled by Parachute to promote making wise budgeting choices and maintaining good financial health:

Contact us at (716) 712-2060 to speak with a certified financial counselor and review your personal situation and create a plan to take specific steps to improve your own financial literacy.  We are offering appointments all through the month of April, and beyond!