Don’t Let Money Be the Third Wheel: Tips for Building Stronger Financial Relationships

April 14, 2023

Do you remember the last time you and your partner went out for a romantic dinner, caught a movie or went on an adventurous trip together?

The excitement of planning everything and being able to share those experiences with your significant other is truly priceless. You’re in the grocery store shopping for a cute picnic, you’re going aisle to aisle grabbing grapes, wine, cheese, all the things your heart desires. But as soon as you reach the cashier, you're faced with the awkward question "who's paying?". And let's be honest, nobody wants to bring up money when you're in the middle of a great time. So, you agree to split it later, but then comes the added stress of keeping track of who owes what. 

Let's be honest, nothing kills the mood faster than asking your partner for €20 back. And even after the expenses are settled, it's not uncommon for both partners to feel like they paid more than the other, whether that’s true or not.

As a Zillenial (too old to be gen Z, too young to be a millennial) (and yes, Zillenial is a thing), I can tell you that splitting money nowadays is so not what it used to be. So, what has changed? 

Tips for Building Stronger Financial Relationships

At Cino, we've analyzed the financial habits of countless couples and discovered that the younger the couple, the quicker they tend to address the elephant in the room: money. Gen Z couples, in particular, like to jump right into finance talk about 2-3 months into the relationship. I mean, this makes sense when you and your partner want to share as many experiences together as you can, especially after going through a whole pandemic. Here are a couple of tips, inspired by the one and only generation Z, to ensure money doesn’t ruin the harmony of your relationship:

  1. Start talking about finances early on: As I mentioned earlier, Gen Z couples tend to start talking about finances relatively earlier than millennials do. By having these conversations early, you can avoid any awkwardness or misunderstandings down the line. While it can still be awkward to initiate that conversation, having these honest conversations will help build trust and respect. Besides, being financially responsible and proactive is a desirable trait to have in a partner. So, don't be afraid to rip off the band-aid and talk about money early on in your relationship. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of grief in the long run. Unless you're into slow torture, of course.

Here's an easy and light-hearted way to start that conversation: 

“Hi babe! I was just thinking about our plans for the weekend, and I realized I’m not sure what our budget is like. I don’t want to make any assumptions, so do you mind if we have a chat about what we’re both comfortable spending on dates and activities? It’ll be fun way to plan things that work for both of us!” 

  1. Be honest and transparent: Honesty is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. And that applies to your finances, too. It's not just about deciding who pays for what, it's also about being transparent with your partner about your financial situation. Let's face it, we're all feeling the squeeze of this political economy. So, if you're still pretending that you're rolling in dough, it's time to come clean. Your partner will appreciate your honesty, and it will allow you both to make better decisions about your shared expenses. Plus, if you're going to be broke together, you might as well be broke and honest about it. After all, isn't there a saying that goes, "A couple that's honest about their financial struggles together, stays together"? Okay, maybe that's not a saying, but it should be.
  2. Forget about budgeting apps and try Cino instead: Let's be real, budgeting apps can be a drag. Who wants to manually input every transaction and constantly keep track of who owes what? That's not exactly the kind of romance we're looking for in our relationships. Instead, why not give Cino a try? The app simplifies sharing costs and paying together with your partner (or group). You'll have a virtual card linked to each person's bank account, so when you pay, everything is automatically split between everyone according to the ratio you choose! No more awkward calculations or feeling like you paid more than your fair share. With Cino, you can focus on enjoying your time together and leave the financial stress behind.

Money might not buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of stress and arguments. By following these tips and being open and honest with your partner, you can avoid letting money be the third wheel in your relationship. And who knows, you might even have enough leftover cash to splurge on some really fancy cheese for that cute picnic.

Elena Churilova

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