Five things you should never say to your partner about money

(and five you definitely should)

Ever argue with your partner about money? If so, you’re not alone. It’s long been one of the most common reasons for couples to row. And when it comes to our finances, it’s all too easy to say the wrong thing. You didn’t mean it like that, but suddenly someone’s got hurt feelings. And no one’s getting a foot rub tonight.

To help you keep the peace, we’ve rounded up five familiar phrases to avoid. And, even better, five things you definitely should say.

Uh-oh – don’t say…

“Don’t be so tight, it’s only a tenner.”

To some, £10 is a nice glass of wine. To others, it’s a whole basket of groceries. Whether you see it as penny-pinching or prudence, no one likes to be called stingy. If your partner isn’t exactly known for extravagance, it might be better to appreciate their incredible self-discipline and shrewdness. Plus, they’re perfect in other ways, right?

“But I bought the petrol and paid the window cleaner…”

Yeah, but they sorted the internet bill and restocked the loo roll. But before that, you bought, erm… something else. But you can’t remember what. Ah, it’s the eternal arms race of who paid for what and when. If you both want accountability, why not get a shared account for the household bills? That’s one way to swerve the squabbles.

“Ugh, we’ll never afford a holiday/a nice car/a puppy.”

Actually, it could be easier than you think. The key is to consider how you can trim down your monthly expenses in a way that suits you both. Could you switch to a cheaper phone tariff? Skip the Friday night takeaway? Ditch any subscriptions you’re no longer using? Get on it and you can start thinking of cute dog names. Or car names – no one’s judging here.

“More shoes?! You’ve only got two feet.”

It could be shoes, Xbox games, Warhammer figurines… you get the idea. Basically, it’s your partner’s payday Achilles’ heel – the one indulgence they just can’t resist when they’re feeling flush. And maybe you think they spend too much on it. But wait, don’t you have a few financial foibles of your own? Well, now you think about it, maybe you do have one or two…

“We’ll sort it out later…”

Hardly the worst thing to say, is it? Well, no. But don’t put off important money chats too often, or they could come back to bite you. It might be something as mundane as paying a parking fine – or as important as arranging life insurance. We know it might sound slightly offbeat but a monthly kitchen table ‘finances date’ could help you both stay organised.

But do say…

“Let’s talk about it.”

If you think your partner’s got money worries, big or small, the best thing you can do is make it easy for them to talk to you. People often find it very hard to be open about their finances, and you may not get to hear all the details straight away. So don’t push for precise figures. Instead, ask gentle questions, lend a sympathetic ear and avoid any hint of blame.

“What can I do to help?”

The next step after listening? Offering practical support. Whatever the problem, you can help your partner look up solutions or find guidance, give them a hand with drawing up a monthly budget or even go with them to get financial advice. You may not be able to solve the issue yourself, but your encouragement and backing can make a massive difference.

“In 10 years’ time, I’d like to be…”

Got big dreams? Don’t be shy to share them. The more you talk about your life goals, the more likely you are to reach them – especially if they come with big price tags attached. Hopefully, you and your partner are on the same page, and you can plan for the future together. Whether it’s making the odd sacrifice or building up your savings, it’s all easier with a joint goal in mind.

“Don’t worry, it’s my treat.”

Few things can feel as good as being generous. And it doesn’t even have to be a grand gesture. Little things like an ice cream, quick meal out or gig tickets can go far to make your partner feel special. Money’s not just for bills and groceries, after all. And why split everything 50/50 when you’ve got a chance to indulge in a little romance?

“Thank you.”

They’re not called the magic words for nothing. If you’re the one who’s getting spoiled – even if it’s only a tiny thing – your partner will love to have their generosity acknowledged. And while sorting out the council tax is hardly a treat, if your partner deals with all the tiresome life admin, they’ll definitely appreciate the gratitude.

This article isn’t providing financial advice – if you need help getting your overall household finances in shape, it could help to get in touch with an expert. The Financial Conduct Authority provides tips on how to find a qualified independent financial adviser.

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