That’s the advice from Tracy Vallance, the manager of the Dumfries CAP Debt Centre, run by the River of Life Church in partnership with Christians Against Poverty (CAP).
She said: “Money is still the taboo subject; we talk about everything else, but nothing causes friction in relationships like money, or the lack of it. With the squeeze on family finances getting ever tighter, it’s important for the sake of your health, happiness and your family life to talk about money.”
Tracy revealed that eight in ten CAP clients in a relationship said debt had caused arguments, with almost a third saying that money problems caused a complete relationship break down. And the charity have produced ten top tips to help prompt a financial conversation:
1. Pick a time when things are quiet at home and no one is dealing with any immediate stresses
2. Avoid the conversation when the children are around, your mum-in-law is visiting or a big bill has just landed
3. Agree to make it a year when you get on top of the finances together and that the money conversation isn’t about blaming anyone
4. Acknowledge that money management can be hard. Mistakes may have been made but this is about looking forward
5. Remember your attitudes to money might be very different. Past experiences can shape these but you can play to each other’s strengths
6. Decide on a shared goal you want to aim for, like a day out, a holiday or a new car or just a “getting back in the black” celebration
7. Use one of the many online tools – or book into one of the hundreds of free CAP Money Courses – to begin to build your budget
8. Get help from a free debt counselling agency like Christians Against Poverty, Stepchange, National Debtline, Citizens Advice, Payplan, the Money Advice Service
9. Make payday the day you review how it’s all going and make adjustments to the budget where necessary
10. Avoid credit wherever possible and begin to save as soon as you can, even if it is a small regular amount.<
Home visits are available for local people affected by debt, along with ongoing support. CAP’s head office negotiates with creditors and creates a workable budget for each client. To find out more, visit capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.