Three Tips To Keep The Recession From Depressing Your Relationship

Money can ruin relationships, but by talking honestly about finances with your significant other, you just might emerge from this depressing recession as a couple. Even if your finances are deteriorating, there are a few ways to keep your money problems from rotting your relationship.

  • 1. Talk!: Every couple should be able to honestly talk about their finances. If you are in trouble, your partner needs to know because it affects them too. Work together to set shared goals and make sure you’re sticking to them.
  • 2. No Secret Spending: Surprise your significant other with flowers, not debt. Agree to jointly discuss any spending over a certain limit, $200 maybe?
  • 3. Keep Giving Each Other Gifts: Just because finances are tight doesn’t mean you can’t spend a little to show your love. Think small meaningful gifts like homemade albums instead of flashy jewelry.

How are you and your partner handling finances during the recession?

Recession-Proofing Your Relationship [The Wallet]
(Photo: kimberlyfaye)

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  1. kwsventures says:

    I word it differently: 3 tips to keep the depression from recessing your relationship.

  2. rencsimilcsi says:

    Being in a relationship is expensive. In an effort to cut spending, my boyfriend and I joined the same gym. We decided to spend the $50/month x 2 at the gym to give us something to do together besides dining out and going to the bar, which can easily be $50 a crack…

  3. missdona says:

    DH and I are taking the recession on the road. We’ve planned two vacations, Vegas and an Alaska cruise. After we get back he can focus on the forced career change.

  4. Russell Miller says:

    Honest truth is I’m having a hard time being upset about the economic situation for just this reason. For too long we’ve worshpped at the feet of money.. allowing it to rule our lives. Screwed up? Buy an expensive trinket and all is forgiven.

    This is another way in which people are going to be forced to “get back to basics”, and will be better for it.

    I don’t think of this as a depression. Yes, it’s bad, and may get worse. I think of it as a massive correction. Everything is unwinding and going back to where it should have been before Reagan and his cronies started screwing everything up.

    • Andrew Farris says:

      @Russell Miller: I’m reminded there was once a ‘New Deal’ which is remarkably just like our ‘New Stimulus Plan’. It failed miserably then and will fail miserably again. The screwing up of our economy started long before Reagan was in office… it has been going on since big government and socialist agenda spending has been involved; if you are foggy on your history, that should read: ‘since George Washington left office’.

  5. sarahq says:

    Lesson learned from my grandparents, who survived both the Great Depression and 64 years of marriage: don’t budget to the point where you have to seek approval from each other for every single purchase.

    Even while living on a fixed income for the last 30+ years of their life together, my grandmother (who handled all their finances) portioned out monthly allowances to herself and to my grandfather. To prevent disagreements over frivolous purchases, neither was allowed to question the other over how the allowance money was spent.

    Once it was spent, though, that was it. No dipping into the joint account unless both of them agreed on the purchase.

    • wardawg says:

      @sarahq: I do it the other way around: My fiancee and I put a certain amount in a joint account which goes to bills and rent, the money we have left over is our own. This works only because we’re both in school and money is never “regular” so when we have a more lucrative month we have a bit more grocery money.

      It’s not the best way to live financialy, but we’ve gotten along so far.

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @wardawg: My wife and I use a modified version of your system:

        MONEYS -> Taxes -> Give -> Save -> Minus Bills/Expenses/Mortgage/Spending -> EXTRA

        The extra is divided in two, and that’s our individual budget money. This amount is calculated monthly, and it’s become a fun date to add up receipts and see what we get. Some months we get $0 in spending, others we get lots!

        The cool thing about this system is that important things are taken off the top rather than an afterthought. We can adjust the percentages if we need to (right now giving and saving are both 10%).

        Of course, to implement this you need to know exactly how much you spend each month. Keep track of ALL your expenses.

        My wife and I both like this system. It actually helps us spend less on stuff we don’t need, because at the end of the month it comes back to us!

    • mikala says:

      @sarahq: We learned this same method from our financial planner. I do the bills and husband and I each get our weekly spending money automatically transferred into a personal account. That’s what you get, spend it, save up for something big, it’s your money. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

  6. richcreamerybutter says:

    From my experience, a relationship is more economical than being single and wanting romantic company of some sort. I know we can have a nice evening with a home cooked meal, bottle of wine, and Netflix (and still get lucky!).

  7. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    We’ve always had that rule number two.

    But flowers? No thanks… especially in this economy please don’t surprise me with flowers unless it is inexpensive ones (fresh market has great bouquets for cheap), they just die. Bring me a bottle of wine, a movie, a book, a video game – or do me a favor and give me TIME. My husband got our kid to school today (snow makeup day) and let me sleep two extra hours. Kicked flowers ass any day!

  8. edwardso says:

    @sarahq: We put a portion of money in a joint account and the rest is for individual debts/desires. But, I have to admit that sometimes I get touchy when my husband buys himself something expensive when he could put more toward our joint account

  9. sicknick says:

    We stopped going out to eat more then once or twice a week, and that is usually at greasy spoon type places for breakfast where the bill is only 14 bucks with tip.

    The communication thing is huge. Finances or otherwise, I’ve never understood relationships where people keep things from each other. Open and Honest communication about everything is the only way to be in a relationship.

    Turned off the cable, got a cheap dryloop dsl line and a 640 gb external harddrive. I bit torrent everything and we watch whatever we want for around 40 bucks a month.

    We go dutch on bigger dates (like seeing watchmen tonight).

    We combined our cell phone bills, along with her mom and her sister, to cut about 20 bucks a month off our bills.

    We’ve agreed no gifts for birthdays/xmas/vday/etc unless it costs nothing. Case in point, I work at a retail place that has contests for gear, and got her a camelback she wanted for free last week.

    Planning 2 or 3 local, small camping/kayak trips and putting Burning Man off for another year.

  10. Jetgirly says:

    I’m single and I’m ALWAYS thinking, “I wish I had a boyfriend I could move in with to cut my rent in half.” That thought is pretty indicative of why I am still single.

  11. edwardso says:

    @jetgirly: I used to think “I wish I had a live-in boyfriend” every time it snowed and I had to clean off my car

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @edwardso: I’ve always said knocking the snow off my car was MY definition of romance. :)

      • missdona says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: That’s totally why I got married. Snow removal for life.

        I was lucky. I also got garbage-removing and retrieving-groceries-from-the-car in the deal.

  12. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    “How are you and your partner handling finances during the recession?”

    Divorce. Duh.

  13. darkrose says:

    Meh. I got laid off and can’t afford to do a damn thing for my GF..so I make her “gift certificates” for stuff like foot rubs and massages. You don’t have to spend money to show love.

  14. chatterboxwriting says:

    I’m not in a relationship right now, and I’m having a hard time finding one because of how I view money/spending money. I’ve been talking to one guy for a while, and he seems to think I’m weird because I’m not all that impressed by “fine dining” establishments. Sorry if that comes across as weird, but I don’t see why someone should spend $60+ for two entrees that consist of 3 oz. of meat on a plate full of parsley and 5 pieces of potato. I’m a good cook and I can get a decent steak for $10. I already have potatoes, spices, seasonings, vegetables, and dessert ingredients at home. I’d rather cook for myself and put the money I save toward a vacation or something else that I can’t replicate myself at home.

    • Russell Miller says:

      @chatterboxwriting:

      Sounds like you’ve been dating stupid guys.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @chatterboxwriting: OK, I used to be the same way, but I’ve learned better. A guy who thinks it’s appropriate to spend money on his lady is a guy who values his lady more than he values his money. This is not a terrible thing. Be careful or what you’ll wind up with is simply a deadbeat who never has the money for the rent and bills and lives off you, then whines “I thought it wasn’t about the money” when you get upset. Bitter experience talking here.

      Want a real keeper? Tell the guy that instead of taking you out somewhere fancy, you want him to buy the ingredients and cook a great meal for YOU.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @chatterboxwriting: You can split the difference, you know. My husband is very traditional about dating and romance and felt the man should pay for all the dates. I’m very modern and felt I should be paying half the time. (Not Dutch, but taking turns taking each other out.) So I’d let him take me out twice and then I’d take him out once. I took him on cheap dates at first until he decided that letting me pay wouldn’t make his boy parts fall off. :)

      You could probably trade off and let him take you out once, then cook for him once. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. :) (Also, on a first date, I’m not sure I want a strange man in my house.)

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @rexmus1: Congrats on 15 years! Almost eight here. I love spending time with my wife too in our 500 sq ft house or in the woods or wherever!

  15. chatterboxwriting says:

    I keep trying to reply to the responses to my original comment, but the comment button is not working. I think I may have been a little unclear in my previous comment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone wanting to take a woman to a nice place. I certainly wouldn’t say no if someone wanted to take me out. My gripe was with how he thinks I am weird or that there is something wrong with me because I would rather save my money and spend it on something more important. That’s how we got into this mess – thinking that we have to spend, spend, spend to impress others. If you want to impress me, be kind, honest, and trustworthy.

  16. rexmus1 says:

    As someone who has been married for 15 years (as of yesterday, yeah!) and in that time been through multiple illnesses, surgeries, a business failure and two bankruptcies (one medical when we were young and un-insured,one for the business)I’d like to agree with Russell Miller: This is merely a correction we’re going through.
    Suddenly, because a more conspicuous group of people are going through “hard times” instead of just us blue-collar-types, it’s a calamity. We nearer the bottom salary-rungs haven’t had a decent raise since Clinton was in office; welcome to our world, formerly affluent.
    We’ve (husband and I) made it back from all the personal catastrophes I’ve listed and more, because we live frugally, and have more fun spending time together than buying crap apart. We didn’t start out this way, but we figured it out quick enough that we were able to buy a business at 35 in the first place. Learning about and actively talking together about how to save and spend money is the happiest way to live…(which is also why I love Consumerist…)

  17. Transuranic says:

    One way to save money in your relationship would be by living in a country that doesn’t have a Tax on Gays, where we could get the tax benefits that all straight couples automatically get. Health benefits. Inheritance rights. …etc.

    Just reminding everyone with marriage privilege how much you’re already saving, day in day out.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Transuranic: Don’t be silly. There is an existing tax on marriages. It’s the cost of a divorce.

      My guy and I are not married. We live in Texas, where the cost of a divorce is higher and the process is more complicated than it is anywhere else, because the laws are so strange. We also don’t see why we have to purchase a license, which is just like asking permission to live together. We don’t need permission to live together and we don’t need permission to separate, if we ever do. We’ve been together eleven years now. We take care of the legal stuff with contracts and powers of attorney.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @Transuranic: Both of you fail :) My marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to me, tax benefits or not. And there’s no divorce costs for us…

      If there ARE tax benefits for us, I sure haven’t seen much of them. I get slammed every year.

  18. Jessica Schwartz says:

    We have joint checking and savings accounts. I pay the bills and manage the money. Everything gets deposited into the accounts and we each get a weekly allowance, which we can use on anything we want.

  19. N.RobertMoses says:

    Why did you chose to illustrate this post with a photo of a metal object created by notorious dog murder Tom Otterness?

  20. TEW says:

    One of the problems that I noticed is that men can’t read females. For example when the female says that she does not want anything for Christmas the man still feels like he needs to get a gift for her or else the relationship is over. One other thing that I have experience in is that it is hard for a man to get a girl if he looks anywhere close to being poor.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @TEW: You’re not going to get very far, either, referring to men as “men” and women as “females” and “girls.”

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @TEW: “it is hard for a man to get a girl if he looks anywhere close to being poor.”

      hard for a man to get a girl if he has a poor personality.

      Fixed it for you.

      • RandomHookup says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: That explains sooooo much. But why is it that the ladies always seem to be dating pricks?

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          @RandomHookup: Because the women aren’t dating you, and by definition, any other guy who gets the company of the woman you want is a “prick.”

          Be glad, incidentally, that the women who like pricks don’t like you. What do you think it would say about you if they did?

  21. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Talking is especially important if one person tends to handle more financial details than the other. My husband has payments for the mortgage, his student loan, and our auto loan taken out of his account every month, but I handle everything else and do all the shopping. He works and I don’t, so all the money comes from him, and every few months I make sure to give him a heads-up on where it’s going.

    Just a few days ago he was wondering about it and I was able to show him why I’d had a high-spending month (couple of quarterly bills fell due, plus new tires). If I didn’t keep track of things, that could’ve been a fight instead of a two-minute discussion.

  22. etho says:

    My wife and I don’t really have enough money to get weekly or monthly allowances for each of us, and we can really only afford one luxury purchase per month, so we make it something we will both enjoy, something that will keep us entertained while we eat our rice and beans, and drink our tap water. If you can play a game together with someone you love, it seems less significant that you can only afford two meals a day.

  23. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    My boyfriend and I have never combined our finances; we keep separate checking accounts and settle up at the end of the month for who paid what bills. It doesn’t work for all couples, but for us it’s very comfortable.
    We had to scale down our outings. No more trips to the aquarium store, fewer sit-down dinners, and less recreational drinking. It means we spend more time at home, but it also means that when we do go out it’s more special.

  24. stenk says:

    We share everything we have!

    I go to work, she looks after the children…everything 50/50. No secret funds of any kind, if she want something she gets it might take some time depending on the price but will get it in the end! This also goes for me and more importantly my children.

    We have a shared rainy day account that we can draw on if ever we need to.

    Would love to have more time to spend with my boys but unfortunately this is one thing the current credit crunch has made very difficult, in the coming future anyway.