Q: I’ve been married for 6 years and we had our first baby 2 years ago. My in-laws have started living with us now so that it becomes easier for us to take care of the baby, and we recently bought a new flat. So, our expenses have increased exponentially. We are both working, yet the money never seems enough. My in-laws are both retired teachers and their pensions do not contribute much to our household expenses. So the task of managing money and saving and investments remains with my husband and me. I’ve tried very hard in many ways to try and control what we spend on, but there are always those eleventh hour guests, the emergency travel plan, the in-laws’ health and medical expenses and many such requirements. At the end of the month, I am left with nothing to save but a big bill on the credit card. In the process of saving money and investing, we many times end up fighting. We have disagreements about where exactly to spend. I feel spending on movies and eating out is a waste and he thinks that spending on clothes and books is a waste. We cannot agree on what percent of our earning has to go in savings. Also, we are unable to share the expenses, as after the EMIs, my husband has hardly anything left to contribute to the household expenses. This leads to resentment and arguments and it’s affecting the healthy communication between us. How do we manage this?
A: What I gather out of your problem is that mismanaged finances at home are leading to resentment in your relationships. First of all, it is very important for you to prioritize each of your expenses every month. Sit together at the end of a month to get an idea of where most of your money is spent, after which you both can sit together and decide which expenses need more importance and which can be delayed for a while. Since recreational activities are also very important, set aside a separate budget for it and try and limit your movies and eating out to that only. Also it is very important for you to sit together and talk regarding your savings. Since you have a small child to take care of, it is very important for you to mutually decide how much to save. If you are still unable to deal with the financial issues, then I would suggest you take some professional help regarding these issues after discussing the matter with your family.