It's a sad but common tune: debt threatens to divide or break up an otherwise strong couple that hadn't set up any financial ground rules. Love and money don't always go hand in hand, which means it's crucial to consider the long term repercussions of sharing your life and bank account with another person. There's no magical credit card or anti-debt potion, but here are some tips for keeping the communication lines open, piggy bank full, and both of you crazy in love.
Searching for gems at a flea market can feel pretty overwhelming, so why not enlist the help of your significant other and make a fun date of it? Set a spending limit — you can even start with $5 — and see what treasures you find at that price. Along the way, you'll have a great time talking about quirky items or meeting interesting vendors. If there aren't any flea markets in your area, then do the same with neighborhood yard sales. You can also bring a little friendly competition into the date by parting ways with the same amount of money and reuniting later to see who discovered the best finds.
Pick Any Filing Status — as Long as It's Married: "You are no longer eligible to file as a single, even if you didn't get married until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31. For tax purposes, the IRS determines your filing status as the last day of the year. A newly married couple has two filing status options, married filing jointly or married filing separately; however, a joint return often results in a lower federal tax. Some couples choose to keep their financial lives separate from their romantic ones, which means they would need to file a separate return from their spouse. Most couples filing separately have a higher tax liability than filing a joint return but may have an easier time attaining some tax benefits. For example, if you have one spouse with relatively high medical bills and lower income, it may be best to file separately. Medical expenses can be included in itemized deductions, but are only deductible to the extent they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (in tax year 2013 this increases to 10 percent of adjusted gross income for those under age 65). If one spouse has very high medical expenses and a low adjusted gross income, filing separately means that spouse could deduct more of these expenses. In contrast, if you filed jointly, your incomes would be combined, making it harder to deduct these expenses. Note: In some states, known as community property states, spouses generally split all income and deductions 50/50. In these states, it may not be as beneficial to file separately. Your tax professional can help you determine whether filing separately can be beneficial."
Even if you're not looking to move into a new place, spending a day visiting open houses can be an exciting date activity. How else can you tour strangers' homes, take on a house-hunting persona, and bond over awful furniture? Visit a mix of places that are practical and totally out of your budget to get the full, fun experience. The best part: it's absolutely free. And who knows? Even if you don't live together now, it might be good practice for the future.
We experience such a flurry of emotions on the first date — happiness, excitement, and maybe a little bit of nervousness. These reactions are all normal given that this probably is the first time you and your date are spending quality time with each other. I know many of my girlfriends play back the date in their minds, trying to analyze the guy’s actions, and some of you may start thinking about signs that reflect a person’s money habits. Here are some to watch out for:
If he pays for the date: If he asked you out and if he pays, he’s probably a traditionalist, which can be a good thing if you think men should pay for the first date. It’s also normal to go dutch so don’t panic about it and immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s stingy. If he's expecting you to pay, he might just be cheap, or maybe he thinks you ought to pay if you asked him out. He can also be low on cash or you might be misinterpreting things and you might actually not be on a date.
If he pulls out all the stops: If he's spoiling you with a one Michelin star dinner and some kind of extravagant entertainment after, you might have a cause for concern if he's a starving artist. He might be living beyond his means or living on daddy's paycheck. Alternatively, he could be saving up money for this one special occasion, but a first date might be a little too early for all of this pomp and circumstance. He could also be a successful high flier and have the deep pockets to afford to splash the cash on you.
If he uses a coupon: In the era of daily deals, using a Groupon is not anything out of the ordinary and it doesn't mean you need to start categorizing him as an extreme couponer. Using a coupon might carry a stigma though, and some girls might see it as being too cheap to pay full price for a date. But that's not always the case, so don't judge a man by his coupons!
- Cook each other's family recipes for each other.
- Nostalgia movie night. Watch your favorite movies from during your school years.
- Watch a free improv show.
- Go for a hike in a beautiful park.
- Picnic outdoors and prep delicious foods to feed each other with.
- Explore the farmers market together, and share some juicy fruits or tasty snacks to munch on.
- Take a tour around a museum the both of you haven't been to (preferable on free museum day!).
- Go to open mic night and sing your heart out.
- Visit a board game cafe and play games to your heart's content.
- Pal up with your partner for trivia nights in neighborhood bars.
- Create your own city tour, and visit historic landmarks.
- Pick a documentary, and discuss it after watching.
- Have a book club date night. Choose a book to read together, and hold an intimate book club meeting for two when you're both done with it.
- Volunteer together at the pound, homeless shelter, or your favorite nonprofit.
- Go swimming together.
- Stargaze and try to name the constellations you're staring at with the help of an app or book.
Winter weather offers a great opportunity for cozy, creative dates, so we've come up with fun, inexpensive options to keep your social life humming no matter how low the temperature dips. Take a break from the classic dinner-and-a-movie routine with one of these original ideas.
Ever wonder how money is affecting your relationship? OnSugar blogger Beauty and the Budget explores the issue.
I am well aware that women make less than men, even when they have the exact same job title, but I just can't seem to get used to it. My fiancé and I don't have the same job title nor do we work in the same industry, so I understand that there will be some differences in our salaries. But our salary difference has become one of the most difficult aspects of our relationship. I make five times less than my fiancé, and as a wannabe independent woman with high ambitions, it drives me absolutely nuts.
He's not a millionaire, so it's not like I'm trying to match his salary with unrealistic expectations. I'm not even trying to match his salary at all — I'd just like to make somewhere close to it. He doesn't mind paying for things, but when we get into a spat about finances, pride overcomes me, and I don't want him to pay for anything anymore. I'll start to feel guilty about accepting gifts or dinners, so I'll refuse them for a few days or weeks or until I forget about the argument we had about finances, whichever is first. It's not that I'm unappreciative of everything he does for me. Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed to be blessed with such an outstanding man. But I feel like I should be able to pay for everything myself and I feel guilty that I can't.
We all make mistakes — we're all human after all. LearnVest shares some of the common money mistakes that women often make so readers will learn not to make them, too.Some of us handle our money flawlessly, perfectly, brilliantly, all of the time.
But most of us don't.
Most of us make mistakes here and there. We make some mistakes more than others, because of our personalities, or our upbringing . . . or sometimes even our gender.
It's ridiculous, but true.
We've heard it firsthand — from our readers. In fact, we went through hundreds of reader submissions and found examples of the most common stories that cross our desks every day.
Let's be clear: Not all women make these mistakes. Not all men avoid them. But in our experience, these are a few female financial problem areas that can lead to major debt and lots of stress.
Ever bailed out an ex? Indulged in a little more retail therapy than you meant to? Or woken up one day and realized you didn't know as much as you thought you did about managing your money? You just might recognize yourself.
Of course, if you don't, good for you. We're just saying, bad money snafus happen to good people. But read on: We'll show you the top seven mistakes women make — and what to do instead.
"When we were together, I let my ex stay with me rent-free until he found an apartment, lent him my furniture and paid for every date because I had a job and he didn't. When I lost my job, he paid for my rent for a few months and bills, etc. Now that we're broken up, he wants me to pay him back for the rent he insisted on covering. I am still on unemployment and barely getting by. I feel so guilty because we didn't end up as the forever couple and while I can't (nor would I . . . ) calculate all of my assistance getting him settled in NYC, he can quite easily."
A 2011 study from Eversave.com found that 67% of women have felt guilt about a purchase. But that's not the only opportunity for guilt: There's also staying in a job you feel guilty about abandoning, giving someone money because you feel guilty about their situation and, oh, doing the opposite of what you want when it comes to working after having children because you feel guilty about being a good mom (more on that here).
This guilt effect might not be limited to finances, either. Some studies suggest that women are more inclined than men to feel any kind of guilt. And we'd argue, more likely to bail out their exes, too.
For us modern women, it's hard to believe that only a few decades ago, women struggled for equality in the workplace, and it was common for women to marry young and become stay-at-home mothers. However, in today's society, women are often placing their careers first and finding it hard to find lasting relationships. If you think your career is what makes you a catch, think again! We recently spoke to April Beyer about her career as an expert relationship coach and matchmaker. She offers us this savvy relationship advice for career-oriented women, so we can avoid the many pitfalls that are keeping modern women from having successful relationships.
SavvySugar: Could you tell me some of the key mistakes savvy, business women are making in relationships? Do you consider splitting the bill or being financially independent things that are unattractive to men?
April Beyer: I think we have to look at not just splitting the bill or the term "independent." I think we have to look at the "why." Why are you splitting the bill? Are you doing it because you are fearful that there might be strings attached? Are you doing it because you want to stand toe-to-toe to assert your independence? Are you doing it so that he knows that you aren't there for free meals? None of these are a good idea to reach for the check. You should only reach for the check because you want to treat someone, and it feels good to do so. So when women call me and ask if it's OK to do this, I say, "I don't know. Why are you doing it?"