The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time meant to bring people closer together. However, the stress and anxiety caused by the holidays can also have the tendency to bring out the worst in people. Because of that, holiday breakups do happen, and they happen quite a bit. In fact, according to a new study, one in five couples will consider breaking up over the holidays due to this one very common relationship killer — money.
Online reselling site Ziffit, conducted a survey on Christmas spending and found that one in four people say they’re struggling with money problems during this time of the year. Apparently, it’s not only the time of year where people are four times more likely to go in debt, they’re also blowing their December earnings early and using credit cards in order to make ends meet.
When it comes to relationships, the survey also found that the average couple will have at least four arguments a day during December. One in five will consider breaking up. Previous studies have found that your finances can impact your love life for better or for worse. It all depends on how you handle it. So, how do you prevent holiday spending from hurting your relationship?
According to New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini these are three essential tips you may want to follow:
“The fights couples have about money over the holidays usually have to do with surprises — and not the good kind,” Masini tells Bustle. Typically one person will find out that their S.O. spent a lot more money than expected. So, the amount of money spent is problem one. But the “surprise factor” is actually the much bigger problem here.
"When couples don’t communicate about money and spending at the holidays, they’re going to get into arguments," she says. "By talking about spending before it happens and being respectful about what the other might feel over money behavior, fights will diminish.”
2 . Make A Plan
Share your shopping lists and brainstorm who you’re going to buy gifts for and how much you’re going to spend. Decide on how much to spend on your kids if you have them, the relatives, the neighbors, people at work, and make a rough plan. That way, “you’re going to feel like a team and hedge against rogue overspending,” Masini says. “This is a great way get organized and behave like a team on money issues.”
3. Consider Giving To Charities
If you and your partner are struggling to find gifts for the people in your life who have everything, consider giving to charity as a gift for people who would appreciate donations in their honor.
“When you put your heads together on the charity gift list as well as which charities to donate to, you’re expanding your gift giving beyond what’s material and helping others at the same time,” Masini says. “This type of spending gets you off the fight mode and into the true spirit of the holidays.” As a bonus, you should also check in with your accountant or business manager to find out which of the charities and how much you can use as a tax deduction.
Money issues happen year-round and the holidays can be particularly hard on finances. But if you’re in a relationship, just remember that you’re on a team. If you’re open and honest with how you’re spending, the holidays shouldn’t be too hard on your relationship — at least when it comes to money.