According to a study we conducted, 60 percent of people either overspend or have a spouse or partner who overspends during the holiday season. Yet 78 percent say it is difficult to discuss holiday spending with their spouse or partner. The majority either put it off for months or avoid bringing up their concerns altogether.
To avoid going over budget this year, follow these six tips for discussing holiday spending with your spouse:
- Talk early. Don’t wait until your spouse springs for a Harley to talk about limits. Find a time to talk early about how you’ll deal with this year’s holiday spending.
- Solve the right problem. Many couples don’t reach resolution because they discuss the wrong problem. For example, if you discover your loved one has rented storage units in neighboring states stuffed with hidden binge gifts, the issue now is trust, not spending.
Communicate with love and respect. The most important key to solving problems with loved ones is to ensure they know you respect and love them. When they know you support and respect them, their defenses drop and they begin to listen.
- Be willing to be wrong. Approach the conversation with an open mind. For example, it could be that the source of your conflict is not a real budget limitation, but that you don’t value holiday gift-giving to the same degree as your partner.
- Hold each other accountable. Once you reach an agreement, find a way to routinely keep track of spending.