If you are the saver, you probably have a lot of financial goals that you want to work towards… and it can feel like the biggest obstacle to achieving them is your partner and their spending habits.
If you are saving towards financial goals within your relationship, it’s going to be nearly impossible to achieve them unless both partners are working together. But how do you get a spending partner on board with your saving goals?
Talk About Life Goals, Not Financial Ones
When talking about saving money with your partner, you could tell them:
I want us to save $6,000 by the end of the year.
Or you could explain:
I’ve done some research, and I think we should have $6,000 saved for emergency expenses before we start trying to have a baby.
Which do you think is more powerful? Saving just to have a certain amount of money set aside might be too arbitrary for the non-saving partner — as if that money is just being taken away.
When you define your goals in concrete, real-life terms, you help your partner picture what you are saving for. Money is no longer being taken away from them; it is being put towards something else, something that you both want. By pairing each financial target with a life goal, you make saving about something you both want, rather than something just one of you wants to do.
Encourage Them to Set Goals
Are you only talking about your own savings goals? Or are you helping your partner make a plan for saving towards things they want too?
It’s great to get your partner on board with your own goals. And if you’re the pro-saving partner in a relationship, you probably have a lot of goals in mind. But it’s important to remember that you are in a partnership, and that both of you should have goals.
Encourage your partner to talk about personal goals that they want to save towards too. Once your partner feel like the two of you are working towards mutual goals, it will be easier for them to get in board with the idea of saving in general.
Do they want to create a travel fund? Be able to start an investment portfolio? Buy tickets to a concert? Even small goals are worth setting because they make give a sense of accomplishment, which can encourage the two of you to work towards bigger, long-term saving goals.
Make It Easy
Your systems for budgeting and saving may make sense to you — but how much sense do they make to your partner? And how easy are they to use?
It may seem like no big deal to you to go through your bank accounts and create a monthly spreadsheet for your income and expenses. You may not mind keeping and sorting through receipts to decide how much to put into savings. But to someone who doesn’t enjoy saving and budgeting, all that work can seem like a huge barrier to participation.
Instead, try to automate as much of the process as you can, and make the rest of it easy to collaborate on. Set up your bank account so that money goes into saving automatically; that way, neither of you has a chance to spend it. Make budgeting and tracking spending simple with an app that both of you can use, like You Need a Budget or Mint.
The less work is involved, the more likely your partner will be to participate.
Build in Rewards
If you are the goal-oriented, saving partner, it may feel natural to slash your budget, restrict your spending, and put all your money towards achieving the benchmarks you’ve set for yourself. In fact, it probably gives you a sense of accomplishment: every sweater or latte that you give up puts you one step closer towards you goal.
But for the spending partner, giving up all those little indulgences will feel draining and exhausting. It can leave them feeling like all the fun things in their life have been taken away, Saving becomes a punishment the saving partner inflicts on them, rather than something the two of you are working toward together.
That’s why it’s so important to build in rewards. These don’t have to be big — if you’re saving, they probably shouldn’t be! But budgeting a small amount towards fun things can go a long way. Whether that’s lunch out with friends, tickets to a movie, or that new pair of shoes they’ve been eyeing, a small indulgence every few weeks will feed that spending urge without letting it get out of control, while keeping the majority of your extra funds dedicated to saving.
Do you have a spending partner and a saving partner in your relationship?
How do you work together towards financial goals?