Money Dates: What Are They? How Can They Help Your Relationship?
If you’ve overspent in December, don’t fancy going out when it’s cold and dark and are toying with a dry January, then it’s the perfect time of year for a money date. Have you and your partner ever had one of those? If not, you’ve come to the right place as we’re going to be exploring what a money date is and how it could transform your relationship. Yes, really!
A money date is essentially time taken out of your schedule to sit down and talk about money with your partner. While that might not seem as romantic as a candlelit dinner for two in a restaurant, it should bring you closer together. According to research by Aviva, 26% of couples argue about money at least once a week, with mis-communication being the main reason for conflict. Even worse, 5% of couples argue about money every single day.
Initially, it might feel awkward as conversations about finance can trigger conflict, but if you’re both open and honest about where you are and where you want to be then you can work as a team and make your relationship stronger.
HyperJar’s goal is to help families, couples and individuals manage their money better. That’s why the HyperJar app makes it easy for people to check in on their finances frequently, and use that to plan for their future. We quizzed HyperJar Chief Commercial Officer Nicola Longfield about money dates, how couples can benefit from them and what to do during a money date (taking things back to basics for the newbies out there!)
What is a money date?
A money date is a dedicated time to check in on your finances, like a romantic date for your budget. Solo or with a partner, it's a chance to review income, spending, and goals, making adjustments and feeling empowered about your financial future. Think: coffee and clarity, not spreadsheets and stress!
How to layout a money date
If you want to get the most out of your money date, it’s a good idea to schedule it for a time of day when you and your partner are the most productive. This could vary between couples - you might be morning people and another couple might be night owls. One couple might like to squeeze in a date after work, while others might enjoy doing it over brunch at the weekend.
“There is no one-size-fits-all way to have a money date, but you’ll get more out of it if there’s a vague structure,” says our expert, Nicola Longfield. “If you go into it with a few questions to ask each other, it’s easier to make resolutions. If there are no discussion points, you risk going round in circles or leaving out financial issues that need to be addressed. To plan a productive money date, I recommend taking the following five steps.”
1. Set the date:
Agree on a date, place, and time for your money date so you can both come to the money date prepared for the conversation. It needs to be a time when you are both free from other commitments and feeling productive so you can discuss finances without being distracted or interrupted.
2. Choose a few finance topics to discuss:
Choosing the right finance topics for your money date will help keep it productive and engaging. It’s best to choose one to two topics rather than to overwhelm yourself by trying to solve all of your problems in one session. One topic could be something you’d like to aim for, such as saving money for a wedding or buying a house. Another could be tackling issues that are currently getting you down, such as existing debt, so you can work out a solution for how to move forward together, as a team.
3. Raise any money management problems:
Talking about finances can often feel uncomfortable, but if you’ve both agreed to have a money date then it’s a huge step forward in your relationship as you’re both committing to being open and honest with each other about the situation you’re in. If you’re unhappy with something in the budget or with the spending activity of a partner, then now is the time to bring it up.
However, try to be as tactful as possible, if you want to avoid talking about money without fighting. And if your partner is saying things that feel a little raw, it’s ok to take a break. It’s better to tell them that the conversation is making you stressed and you’d like to come back to it when you’ve calmed down than to fly off the handle and end the date abruptly.
4. Keep it short and sweet:
Think of it like a financial power nap: 30 - 60 minutes of focused discussion can leave you feeling refreshed and energised rather. A concise, focused session helps avoid information overload and keeps the conversation engaging, making it more likely you'll stick to recurring money dates. ️
5. Review the monthly budget:
Don’t forget to have a spending plan check-in. What big expenses are coming up? For example, are you going on holiday or planning a big birthday? Do you need to cut back on anything next month so that you can save up for these? Also, look at what you did well over the past 30 days and if there was any avoidable spending that you need to watch for next month.
How often should couples have a money date?
“It’s important to check in with each other frequently, so you can hold each other accountable.” adds HyperJar CCO, Nicola Longfield. “If you’ve worked out some goals and a plan of action needed to reach those goals, make sure that you find time to review your financial behaviour to ensure you stay on course."
“If you’re new to money dates, it’s a good idea to aim for once a month, You could schedule a mutually convenient time in the last week of the month to plan ahead financially.”
What’re some valuable topics to discuss?
Most of us find that our minds go blank when we’re put on the spot. Luckily, our expert has created a list of subjects that are always worth discussing. “Pick one or two from this list that are most important to your financial situation right now,” says Nicola.
The topics are:
- Household budgeting
- Agreeing on short-term and long-term financial goals such as mortgage
- Deciding on an emergency fund amount and how to save up for the emergency fund
- Getting life insurance
- Discussing care options for elderly parents
- Plan for maternity / paternity leave
- Check your credit scores and credit reports
- Understand current debt obligations and create a debt repayment plan
- Childcare costs
Is there anything you should avoid talking about?
Don’t aim to cover the entire scope of your financial health during your first money date! You wouldn’t dive into everything during a first date, either, would you? Nicola advises to “start small, be consistent, and be gentle with yourself,” during your initial money dates. “The more we push ourselves into an emotional red zone, the more likely we are to abandon our efforts down the road,” he said.
During a money date, it's crucial to avoid accusatory language, blaming, or bringing up past financial mistakes. Focus on the future you're building together, and keep the tone positive and solution-oriented. Remember, it's a team effort, not a blame game!
Should you bring anything to a money date?
The first time that you have a money date, it should be a bigger, broader conversation about goals and values and priorities. The big picture. The next time, you can look at more specific things that are causing you stress or confusion. For instance, you may want to look at a bank statement, a money app or a spreadsheet that covers the monthly household budget.
“One of the most useful things you can bring to a money date is the HyperJar app,” adds HyperJar CCO, Nicola Longfield. “It’s on your phone, so you don’t need to print anything out or do hours of research. You can use it to track spending, using the analytics tab to see what categories you spend money on (such as health and beauty or eating out) and what shops you use most often (from eBay to Sainsbury’s). Then you can create shared jars to split expenses for grocery shopping and bills, as well as opening jars for your goals such as holidays, wedding planning or Christmas. You can set up scheduled payments to automate how much is paid into each and then review the amounts at each date, increasing or decreasing the figure as you need.”
Learning how to talk about money as a couple
It’s worth making time to have frequent money dates as they provide a dedicated time for open communication and collaboration on household budgeting. You and your partner can discuss financial goals, track expenses, and allocate resources effectively, planning what jars you need to open in the HyperJar app and how much to pay in each month. Money dates build trust, allowing you to bring up any financial concerns or disparities early on at a time when you’re both in the mood. By regularly reviewing your budget, you can make informed decisions, identify areas for savings or investment, and ensure that you’re both on the same page with financial priorities.
“Communication is key in any relationship, and that needs to include money matters too,” concludes our expert, Nicola Longfield. “If you schedule time for a money date, there’s likely to be less conflict than if you started talking about money when one person isn’t in the mood or stressed about something else. During the date, actively lesson to the other person and try to understand their perspective. This will help you collaboratively create a budget that aligns with your shared priorities.”
If you haven’t yet downloaded the HyperJar app, you can download it here. Track joint expenses with ease, split bills like champs, and set shared saving goals. It’s completely free to download, there are no credit scores and you can keep your individual bank accounts, to allow you some financial independence once the joint expenses are paid for.
Continue your couple's money management journey
Managing money in a relationship isn’t easy, whether you’ve just started dating or you’ve been married for years. For this reason, we’ve collaborated with other experts to bring you more blog posts to help you communicate better and make the most of your budget.