Talking openly and honestly with your spouse about money can feel a lot like going to the dentist with a toothache; you know it’s going to be painful, but you definitely can’t avoid it. One study even found the frequency of a couple’s financial conflicts could reliably predict their likelihood of getting the big D.
But luckily, a solution to all this dollar-related drama is forehead-slappingly simple: "People who study marriage,” writes a couples counselor in the The New York Times, “talk about the need for a 'we story,' a collaboration between partners about values and goals."
Enter a new crop of budget apps for couples that aim to get you and your S.O. on the same page financially, and help you work together toward shared objectives. (Bye-bye, mortgage. Hello, Bora Bora.) After all, teamwork makes the dream work.
Tapped as one of Forbes’s “best apps of the year,” this one (also free) offers radical transparency by allowing users to see what each partner is spending in real time, and to comment—with emojis—under each purchase, if desired (privacy is also possible and customizable). In the developer’s words, this allows couples to “engage in meaningful dialogue about your goals and habits.” In our words, it allows our husbands to sarcastically question our spending on organic produce and grande iced lattes. Hello, accountability! It also offers bill-pay reminders, wherein the app pings you both to pay the cable bill, so no one needs to nag during dinner.
Though they sound and function similarly, Honeyfi is actually an entirely different app from Honeydue. (We know. Stay with us.) What makes Honeyfi stand out? Once you sync all your bank and credit card accounts to the app, it automatically suggests a household budget, organized by category (Bills, Groceries, Fun, etc.)—something we’ve managed to avoid creating for, oh, a decade of marriage. And, for anyone fearing financial overexposure, here too you have the option to keep any accounts—or even individual transactions—private, simply by tapping an icon next to the item. To encourage saving, it highlights recurring bills (“When was the last time we watched Hulu?” you can message your partner) so you can weed out any extraneous charges. And, since it shows you both every individual bank and credit card account on one screen, you can truly get an overview of your shared financial situation at a glance. Clarity and communication FTW.
This freebie (courtesy of the John Hancock personal finance company) allows couples to save together for goals both essential (pay down credit card debt) and extra (Paris trip). You choose the goal, the investment portfolio and the recurring deposit amount; the app tracks your shared progress with satisfying visuals. Plus, it offers motivating prompts like “You could get there two months sooner by increasing your deposit to $124 per month” with options to click “Let’s Do It” or “No Thanks.” Your move, guys.