Don't Let the Children Dictate Your Finances!

The following guest post was submitted by Rachel. Rachel writes about personal and family money management for an Australian credit card comparison website offering a range of cost-cutting reward credit cards that help your hard earned cash go that little bit further.

Image via: eHow

Financial pressures are one of the top reasons for the breakdown of relationships. Faced with debts, mortgage payments, bills and keeping children fed and clothed, couples can become stressed and begin to take out their angst on each other. Worse, they can even blame each other for the pressure they’re under, or accuse the other of not pulling their weight. Before you start throwing plates at the walls and storming off to slam doors, check out our guide to getting through it together.

1. Work Together

If one of you is shouldering most of the financial pressure, eventually you’re going to blow your lid. Just because one of you might be the main breadwinner doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss your financial worries with your partner. Talking through financial problems will help share the burden, meaning that the breadwinner will feel less resentment towards the other partner. Equally, the other partner will not feel left in the dark about the family finances. Talking through issues together might also mean that you find a solution more quickly; after all, two heads are better than one.

2. Draw Up a Budget

It seems obvious, but often, a good solid budget is something that struggling couples overlook. Instead, many cut back randomly on this or that, without looking at the big picture to see where the biggest savings could be. So, it’s better to sit down and go over a whole month’s income and expenditure to figure out where the hole in your pocket is. Doing this together is vital for your relationship. One partner simply telling the other to stop buying brand-name baked beans or going to the pub is likely to breed resentment.

3. Make Sure You Both Treat the Kids the Same

If you are parents, it might be an idea to talk about what you both spend on the kids, and how. In most cases, parents pay for things for their children out of joint accounts with each other’s knowledge, but think about less formal spending. Does Daddy slip the kids extra pocket money? Has Mum been giving in to pleas for new toys before birthdays or Christmas in secret? This can be one of the toughest conversations of all, as nobody wants their children to go without anything, but you need to make sure you know how much you and your partner are both spending on them to keep it under control. It’s unhealthy for children when one parent says “no” to a new skateboard, whilst the other buys it for them. This will help your children appreciate the value of money much more in the long run, too.

4. Be Prepared for Career Changes

Different couples approach working and earning differently. In some relationships, one person is the main provider, in others, one person does not work at all, and sometimes both earn around the same. Be prepared for some tough conversations about work. One of you may have to find more or better-paid work. If one of you does not work, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about returning to the work force. This can be a delicate situation; if one partner has not been working for a long time period, returning to work can seem daunting. The partner in the relationship who has been the main provider might feel as though they have let the other down for not being able to keep the household afloat. It doesn’t need to be that hard, though; work through the conversation together with tact and without accusations, and you could find a way out of debt.

5. Get Some Help

Sometimes you can’t work out problems with your partner because you are both too close to the issues to see straight. If you’re struggling financially, see a financial advisor, and go together to hear advice and make decisions. Likewise with your relationship. If financial pressures are driving you apart, fixing the money issues might not fix your relationship, so seek guidance on that too. You’ll be relieved to know that hundreds of couples seek relationship guidance every day; and it can be done cheaply, too


  1. #1 is critically important. My husband and I talk about our goals which is a great tool. However, he has maintained that he doesn’t want to know the particulars of the money situation and only wants an allowance for the week. This worked fine, but I have come to the conclusion that it is grossly unfair for me to carry that burden by myself. We’ve talked about it, and he’s agreed to help with the monthly budget.

  2. Offering kids an allowance helps make them more responsible and gives them their own budget. But parents should draw the line on certain activities and requests so they don’t go over board.

  3. This title was very misleading. I probably wouldn’t have bothered reading it if I realized what it was really about – working together as a couple to handle finances.

    Let me just clarify something, though. The only reason I wouldn’t have read it is because we have always had an excellent plan in place (as a couple) to handle finances.

    I was looking to read about children and money.

  4. I find the toughest part is spending equally on both daughters. Giving them an allowance in exchange for household work teaches them many good habits that will serve them well for their adult lives. So very key.

  5. Children should not be making financial decisions in your home. My husband worked for a car dealership and no exageration, parents would bring in elementary aged children and ask, “What do you think of this one honey?” No child or possibly even teen has the knowledge to make these decisions or perhaps even have input on them. This also places a burden on the child that they should not bear. These children should have been eating cookies at Grandmas house while the parents chose the vehicle. A real estate agent acquaintance told me she saw the same thing in house shoppers.

  6. money is the most touchy subject in marriages that very few couple really don’t discuss before they get married thinking that “love conquers all” but later on they find out that money runs like 99.9% of everything. engaged couples should go for counseling on how to handle money before it ruins their lives in future

  7. Whenever I go open house hunting, I see adult children tell their parents “but I want the rain shower” and “I don’t like these type of countertops!”

    It’s pretty funny that these 28 year old people are omplaining to their parents about buying them a $1million property here in SF.

  8. Chris: I have to somewhat disagree. We took our son car shopping with us and we allowed him to share his opinion. Yes, we recognized that his opinion did not count for much as he wanted a window that fully rolled down and lots of cup holders. But in one car that we were slighly unhappy with, he nearly got car sick in the back seat. The car had a bouncier ride. As he is the only one who normally sits in the back seat, having an uncomfortable seat, or a seat belt he can’t get alone, would make a difference in our car choice. But one takes their kids comments/opinions into consideration, but understands where they are coming from and the possible value.