Updated: Sep 5
The new year is a fresh start, a significant point in time that promote a break from the past and a sense of renewal moving forward. These points in time encourage a fresh start thus increasing people’s intentions to initiate goal pursuit.
Most people fail to fulfill their New Year's resolutions due to a lack of time or a loss of motivation. Strategies that lead to ongoing success rarely involve newfound discipline or sacrifice. What works best is to change your lifestyle and environment.
Do you want to spend less? Remove the Amazon app from your phone and clear the saved financial information in your cart to make spending inconvenient.
Do you want to save more? Make saving automatic by splitting your paycheck into a savings account at a different bank or credit union than your primary checking account.
Your savings account balance will be out of sight, out of mind, and less convenient to transfer to checking.
Regardless of your New Year's resolution, your best chance of sticking to it is to change your lifestyle and environment to make success easier.
1. No more money fights with your spouse
Every year survey results find that money is a leading cause of stress in a marriage and divorce. When experts dig deeper, they find that it is more complicated.
Our relationship with money is tied to our upbringing and values, and our spouses could have had a very different relationship with money than us. We can expect arguments to continue until couples understand from each other's perspective the role money should play in your marriage.
The Modern Husbands podcast released a conversation with national expert Dr. Michael Thomas on December 23rd of, 2022. Dr. Thomas is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Georgia, where he teaches Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics.
Dr. Thomas discusses how to approach money conversations with your spouse in this short clip.
Click here to listen to the full podcast: Closing the Behavioral Gaps of Managing Money with Your Spouse. At the 17:45 minute mark, Dr. Thomas shares examples of how couples' financial problems can go wrong and suggestions for handling such problems.
In our post How to Manage money in a Marriage, we shared the details of the following nine essential tips every couple should know:
Understand your relationship with money
Prepare for tough money conversations
Learn to hate the Joneses
Identify shared financial goals and values
Set a budget
Establish money management roles and expectations
Find the money management tools that work for you
The psychology of managing money with your spouse
Another helpful resource to turn to is Money Habitudes Online. It's a great way to understand what money behaviors motivate you and your spouse. The tool can help couples start productive, non-threatening conversations about money.
2. Save money together the smart way
According to research, saving makes us happier and enhances happiness in marriages. The concept of saving is easily understood, and saving money as a couple requires planning, shared savings goals, and creating an environment that makes saving effortless and automatic.
Tips for How to Save Money: For Couples is a previous post that dives into the details of five specific tips:
Save for emergencies first
Set your savings goals together
Change your environment
Make it automatic
Give yourself some grace
Some couples need much more than an article full of wisdom. That is why we created the course Money Marriage U Save, where you can spend a little time learning to save a lot of money. The course is engaging and delivered in tandem with the past president of the Financial Therapy Association.
3. Build a budget that sticks
Research has found that the best time to build a budget is at the beginning of something. For example, at the beginning of the year, the month, or a marriage. Here are four resources or articles that will help you and your spouse build out a budget that sticks:
Money Marriage U Budget: A self-paced online course for couples who want to budget together and need the resources to do it.
Everything you need to build your budget
Why budgets do not work (and what to do about it)
Our ten-part budgeting series:
4. Pay down your debts
Inflation ran rabid in 2022 and remains high. Many young adults cannot buy a home because their student loan debt is too high. And credit card debt is an ongoing problem in the United States. For whatever reason, you and your spouse are in debt, and there are two clear strategies you can use to get out of debt.
Couples who learn more, save more, and spend more on what is important to them.
For engaged and recently married couples who want to manage money and the home as a team.
Self paced online courses for couples designed by national financial therapy and financial planning experts
Winning ideas from experts to manage money and the home as a team. 2023 Plutus Award Finalist: Best Couples or Family Content
A course for students ages 13-22 to learn research-backed homework hacks and independent learning strategies.
Modern Husbands Bimonthly Newsletter (married couples)
Winning ideas to manage money and the home as a team delivered to your inbox every two weeks. You'll even receive a few free gifts!
Modern Husbands Monthly Newsletter (engaged and newlyweds)
Everything you need to know about transitioning to marriage. The first gift you will receive is a guide to tackle the seven most asked questions about budgeting as a couple.