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College 101: Love and Money

I’m very much in love with my girlfriend, but there’s one issue that keeps coming between us: we are very, very broke.

I’m not too worried about money, but I recognize that we need to be better about it. We’re having trouble making ends meet, and right now our career prospects aren’t looking like they’ll help us make big bucks anytime real soon. My girlfriend worries more about it, but also wants a nice engagement ring — we’re both on-board with an engagement, but I have to admit that I’m not sure I can afford the ring.

Experts, what should I do? I’m so happy with most parts of my life, but the money thing is stressing me out.

When you’re truly in love, it can feel like nothing else matters — but things still do, and there’s no denying that financial concerns can make even the most loving relationship a bit more stressful. Studies show that when couples fight, money tends to be at the center of the disagreement. And it’s not hard to see why: Americans are increasingly finding themselves in dire financial straits, and many of us don’t have enough cash on hand to absorb even 500 dollars’ worth of sudden expenses.

While financial inequality is partly to blame here, it’s also true that each of us can take basic steps to try to create better financial futures for ourselves and our partners. It starts with basic financial literacy: as much as possible, you need to budget and save.

A good budget prioritizes your essential expenses. Paying bills is important, and you need to make sure that you get them covered in order to protect your credit score. In a pinch, you can take out a loan — experts in online payday loans in Canada point out that short-term credit is readily available even to those in rough financial situations.

Of course, creating more debt can be dangerous, so pay off that short-term debt fast — use it to get back on your feet, and then try to budget more carefully going forward. Pay off loans and credit cards, prioritize essential expenses, and exercise financial austerity in your personal life and free time.

Does this mean you can’t get an engagement ring? Not necessarily, say pros who create custom engagement rings in Brisbane. There are options at all income levels in the engagement ring market. And have you considered an heirloom ring? Some young couples save money by proposing with rings that are already in the family.

Of course, all of this financial advice is practical, but there’s another concern here: your relationship. When you’re in a rough financial situation with a partner, communication is key. You need to be able to discuss these issues openly and address concerns head-on. Your girlfriend is concerned about money, so talk to her about these strategies and how you plan to help both of you create a more secure financial future. She will no doubt appreciate that you have her comfort and concerns in mind. You should also speak frankly about the engagement ring situation; with her concerns about money (and your assurances that you are taking those concerns seriously), it seems natural that you two should talk about the realities of engagement ring shopping at this particular point in your financial lives. Going into debt for a ring is probably not a wise financial move, but perhaps you can find the right ring for less or develop a plan for your finances that makes a ring purchase more feasible in the near future. If you’re having trouble discussing these issues in a serious and productive way, consider working with a therapist to improve communication in your relationship.

Couples feud about money all of the time, but that doesn’t mean that this is something that you should ignore. Tackle this issue head-on with clear communication, and build a future that is stable for your relationship as well as for your personal finances. We wish you both all the best.

“There is only one happiness in this life: to love and be loved.” — George Sand

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