My husband and I have been married for 28 years, and my son is getting married in September.
My financial advice for him is to be honest about all of his expenses and debt. The No. 1 reason for couples arguing is money. I have always been in charge of the finances, but we have had disagreements over purchases. I will say that as a couple, I am the saver and he is the spender.
Opposites attract. During the first year of marriage, you will have to learn each other’s views on money.
If you have debt, just lay it on the table. You have to remember that it’s not just your debt. Now it will be your shared responsibility.
Some people have trust issues when it comes to their money. Money isn’t just a dollar figure to many people. It is tied to emotions: power, guilt, comfort, fear, love. Learning to communicate with each other without involving emotion or starting a fight can be a struggle, but trying will make every day easier.
Here are some money life lessons that I have learned.
Pay bills together. In most situations, one person pays the bills, and the other is not involved and is more carefree about spending. One spouse’s free-spending habits aren’t fair to the other spouse if he or she doesn’t know what bills need to be paid. Remember, both of you are legally responsible for your debt. This also means that you should know what you are saving or investing for retirement.
Have a joint account to pay expenses, and contribute to it in equal percentages. Everyone has their own views on individual accounts and joint accounts. During the first year, start an account together, with both of you depositing money in that account to cover your expenses. This is a great way not to have one person feel at a disadvantage of not making as much as the other person.
Don’t keep financial secrets. Credit card bills and debt are easy to hide, but it will come back to haunt you. Just be honest with your partner about your bills. A supportive partner can help you rein in your debt in a positive environment, taking away any source of shame. Make a plan together on how you’re going to fix it. Sometimes you won’t like that someone is watching your spending, but remember: It’s not just you anymore.
Don’t make major purchases without consulting your partner. I am not saying you have to ask permission to go to dinner with friends, but agree on an amount — maybe $100 or more — that you will consult each other for.
The person who earns the most money doesn’t have more power in the relationship. Money equals power in business, but in relationships, that doesn’t work as well. Your relationship is an equal partnership.
▪ If you have a Target RedCard credit card, show it at the Target Café for a free small popcorn offer, valid July 22-31.
Target also is offering a store coupon good for a free $25 gift card with a $150 purchase in the baby department. Clip the coupon in the Target weekly ad or text COZY to 827438 to have it sent to your smartphone. The coupon is valid through July 9.
▪ Chick-fil-A is celebrating Cow Appreciation Day by giving away free food. Dress in any cow attire to get a free entree. Go to Bit.ly/1idcP6L for information and a printable cow costume. This freebie is valid only on July 12.
▪ Each week, eligible AT&T customers can buy one movie ticket for any Tuesday showing of a standard 2D movie at select theaters and receive a second movie ticket of equal or lesser value for the same movie free, while supplies last. To see if you are eligible, go to Tickettwosdays.att.com and click “Get tickets now,” then enter your phone number. A validation code will be sent to your device. Once it’s validated, you will be directed to the redemption website to buy tickets. The discount code will automatically be applied at checkout and will be valid for six days from the validation of your account. So don’t get a code until you have a Tuesday when you are ready to go.
▪ Papa John’s is offering a free $5 movie code with every $25 eGift card purchase at Papajohns.cashstar.com. The movie code is good toward one ticket to see Ghostbusters or any other movie at participating theaters. Your rewards code must be activated by Sept. 30.
▪ Get a free Fandango $10 movie code, valid to see The Legend of Tarzan in theaters when you buy a $25 limited edition movie-themed Red Robin gift card at a Red Robin Restaurant or at Redrobin.com/giftcards.html.
▪ Celebrate Ice Cream Cone Day, July 7, at Sonic with half-price cones. Add-ins cost extra. Sonicdrivein.com.
▪ On Saturday, Kmart is giving free cotton candy to kids 12 and younger. There’s a limit of one per child, while supplies last. No coupon is required.
▪ Request a free baby sample from Sam’s Club. This offer is open to everyone. The offer doesn’tstate what freebies you will receive, so it will be a surprise when it’s delivered. Fill out a short form at Bit.ly/29lOGLL.
▪ Sam’s Club members, stop by the Freeosk sample booth in-store to get a free Keebler club crackers sample, while supplies last. You must scan your membership card and enter your email address to get this freebie.
▪ Calling all homeschoolers: Educents is offering a free back-to-homeschool preK-3rd Bundle, a $20 value. This bundle includes 12 products that cover all subject areas and grades Pre-K to third grade. It’s bundle is available for anyone, not just homeschoolers, through Sept. 9 at Bit.ly/29kalFF.
▪ Looking for a fun and free activity for the kids? Register at Lowesbuildandgrow.com/clinics and bring them into Lowe’s to build their own free Marvel Falcon toy. If interested, register now, because spots are limited. The clinic is at 10 a.m. Saturday.
▪ Toys R Us is offering a freelunch kit ($9.99 value) with any backpack purchase of $12.99 or more. No promo code is required, and the discount will be applied at checkout. Also, receive free shipping on an order of $19 or more. Go to Bit.ly/29lMYKd.
▪ Get a free 20-ounce Coca-Cola from My Coke Rewards when you download Apple Pay or Android Pay on your mobile device and add your MCR account to your mobile wallet. When completed, you’ll receive 30 free points to your wallet to redeem a free Coca-Cola at a Coke vending machine. This freebie is valid for a limited time at Mycokerewards.com/reward-card/wallet.
▪ Dairy Queen is offering happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays. You can snag a small iced coffee for $1. Also, you can pick up a small premium fruit smoothie or Ultimate Frappe for just $2 each. No coupon is required.
▪ All Toyota owners can get a free personalized badge from Toyota. Fill out a short form and upload a photo with your Toyota. Masqueunauto.com/en. Note: Toyota can’t deliver badges containing profanity, brands or sports team names.
Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.