How to avoid financial fireworks at home

Couple arguingMost of us enjoy oohing and ahhing at bangers, rockets and catherine wheels on bonfire night, but few people like the emotional fireworks that can blight relationships with friends, family - and especially lovers.

As money is one of the most common causes of disagreements of this kind, here are our five top tips for keeping the peace.

Open a joint account
Couples who live together generally have a number of shared expenses. And if one person feels that he or she pays more than their fair share, that can quickly lead to feelings of resentment and - eventually - relationship problems.

It therefore makes sense to open a joint account into which you both pay a certain amount each month.

It doesn't have to be the same amount each month, and if one person earns considerably more than the other, it may make sense for him or her to pay in a larger sum as a general rule.

The important thing is that both individuals contribute to a joint account that can then be used to pay for household bills, food and your rent or mortgage payments, for example.

Share the financial responsibility
It is not unusual for one person in a couple to be more organised and finically minded than the other. But leave all the financial administration necessary for modern life up to one half of a couple, and you also run the risk of sparks quickly starting to fly.

For this reason, it is sensible to split the household bills equally - at least at first - and to put rental agreements, for example, in both names so that both parties are responsible for keeping up to date with the rent.

If you buy a property with a partner, it is also a good idea to own it as tenants in common, rather than joint tenants - especially if one of you has put more cash towards a deposit.

Don't lend or borrow
Never a lender or a borrower be. If I had £1 for every time my father told me that, I'd be a rich woman.

Annoyingly, however, he was right - as anyone who has ever been let down by a "friend" they have lent money to knows only too well.

And the trouble caused is 100 times worse if that person happens to be your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.

While it can be difficult to refuse someone you love, avoiding lending to - or borrowing from - your partner is therefore a good rule to at least try to stick to - especially if you are in the early stages of a relationship.

Stick to your budget
In most homes, financial arguments are prompted by a lack of cash, rather than an excess of it. And the first rule of good money management is setting a budget - and sticking to it.

After all, overspending will not only land you in hot water with your bank manager, it could also put your relationship in jeopardy.

So the next time you are tempted to overstep the financial line, just think about how you will feel as a debt-ridden singleton and put your card back in your pocket!

Be honest
While it can be hard to admit that you have debts weighing you down - particularly at the beginning of a relationship - the worst thing you can do is to hide money problems from your partner.

If he or she is the right one for you, it will not be a problem anyway. And lies will never go unnoticed for long.
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