There are more important things in life than money. The trouble is, they all cost money! – Milton Berle
When we fight over money, a large number of those disagreements usually occurs over what are referred to as a choke point. The choke point in a financial argument is when one partner or the other (or both) are spending money in amounts that the other thinks is unreasonable without consultation.
For example, a husband comes home from work and shows off his new cell phone. It has an embedded camera and blue tooth capability. He would have picked up the Blue Tooth, but they were out of stock at the time. The wife, who has waited for her husband to come home to discuss the fact that they need to pick up a few items at the store, is outraged to discover that the phone cost $150. The Blue Tooth itself will exceed a $100 and her husband never consulted her prior to buying the items.
Reasons and Bargains
The husband may have felt that he was getting a good deal so he needed to spend the money to get it. The wife is feeling outraged because while her husband may have needed the phone, he spent a large amount of money without discussing it beforehand – and this can be a huge choking point in a marriage.
It’s important to recognize that there are going to be times when you or your spouse are going to be spending money where consultation isn’t always an option. One way for the two of you to cope with these potential choke points is to establish a dollar amount that you are both comfortable with that each can spend without prior consultation.
For all other matters, a simple phone call or a touching of base to make sure there is nothing huge waiting – i.e. the plumber needs to be called for broken sink or the car needs a tire repair or maybe it’s time to pay for an extracurricular for the kids. These choke points can become flash points if you do not prepare for them ahead of time.
As a Rule
Financial arguments are not pretty. Establishing rules for how to communicate financial needs, desires and spending is important. Whether the need is covering general household expenses, necessities or impulse buys – knowing ahead of time that anything under $50 is acceptable, but the higher the amount – the better off you both are to touch base can help prevent troubling issues from flaring into arguments and problems.
How do you and your spouse avoid financial choke points?