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Is there anything more explosive in a relationship than finances?  Try as we might, finances can lead to some real humdinger fights.  We want to be on the same page with our spouse, but when they purchase something without us knowing or disagree with a purchase we made, the sparks can fly.  That is why we must learn new ways of spending together if anything is to change. 

We all know the definition of insanity: "do the same thing the same way and expecting different results."  That is why we must learn new techniques and put them into practice.  Below are three easy steps to improving your financial relationship.  Give them a try and make them your own.  You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Get on the same page:
Budgets - for some people they are a four letter word.  But budgets are the only way to have an agreement between two people as to how much you both are going to spend on each category each month. And budgets, if properly used, will be your biggest friend.  Why?  Because it will stop fights before they start.  If you both agree that you are going to spend $450 a month on groceries (for example), as long as both of you keep within that amount, the arguments stop.

So draw up a budget today.  Make sure you make a category for all expenses in a month and a year.  Don't be afraid to refine you budget over a few months to work out the kinks.  If you are diligent with this, you will see the arguments go down and the peace in your home rise.

Get real time tracking:
After you get your budget set up, you will need real time tracking to know how you are doing.  If you set up a budget but never track your expenses, you will not be any better off.  So get Mint or Quicken and start tracking what you spend and where.  That way, if you budgeted $450 on groceries and you have spent $250, you know that you have $200 left for the month.

Make the budget the bad guy:
The best reason to have a budget is so that neither of you are the financial dictator.  Without a budget, most couples revert to have one person saying "yes" or "no" for every financial decision. But with a budget, the decision is referred to the budget and the real time tracking.  And since the budget was agreed upon by both spouses, each person is just living up to their agreement when they honor the budget.

So make the budget the bad guy when a "no" decision has to be made.  This way one person does not feel like they have to defend/attack a decision.  The decision was made in advance by the both of you.

These are three easy steps, but they take a while to master.  It is not easy changing financial habits.  But it is worth it.  So stick with it and determine that your finances will be a place of peace and joy for both you and your spouse.