Sharing financial strains can be crucial to strong relationships

Getting debt under control now will give families a ‘buffer’ to absorb the unknown but likely increa

Honest conversations about financial strains can be beneficial to relationships - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Honest and open conversations about financial strains are crucial to maintaining healthy relationships, according to Norfolk-based money coach Kim Uzzell. 

Money is one of the biggest potential stresses in any relationship, so it is a real benefit all round if you can minimise this stress. 

Whether you're in a long-established relationship, or setting up home with a new partner, the money talk often gets avoided. 

It's not just partners, either. If you are sharing your home with adult children, or in a house share, everyone should know what they are contributing and how. 

Who’s paying for the UberEats delivery this week? It's a simple thing, but if you don't talk about it, one party can end up feeling that it’s always down to them, or that there's an assumption that one can afford it more than the other - when in fact it might be a case of neither of you having the available funds. 

Sit down together early on and decide how the household finances are to be split. Whether you are planning on having a joint account or not, you should be clear on how your bills will be split and who is expecting to pay for what. 

If you're in a long-term relationship but haven't yet done this, do so! It's not too late to get clarity in the household finances. 

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Money is one of the biggest causes of arguments in a relationship so dealing with this early on and avoiding having a financial elephant in the room can make for a healthy, and wealthy home! 

A top tip of mine is to make a monthly money date, to allow you both to talk openly and calmly about your finances is also a good idea. You don’t necessarily need candles and fancy food for this one, but some allocated time rather than trying to squeeze the conversation in amongst everything else, is a sensible move. 

Money coach Kim Uzzell

Norfolk-based money coach Kim Uzzell of mymoneymovement.co.uk - Credit: @Valentinestudio

Sadly, we’ve often been brought up to believe that talking about money is something to be avoided, which means that we can end up with a feeling of awkwardness, but by starting that conversation and making it a healthy part of our relationship, we can ensure that not only is our home life happier, but that our children and beyond learn that it’s good to talk about it too. 

  • For more from Norfolk-based financial expert Kim Uzzell head to mymoneymovement.co.uk or follow her on Instagram @kimuzzellmoneycoach. 

LIFE HACKS

The best advice is often also simple advice. As many of us try to ease the squeeze on our finances amid rising costs, here are this week’s options to consider as part of our Your Money Matters campaign.

Energy saving tips 

As well as being good for the environment, better energy use can save some valuable cash. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) offer a guide of hints and tips on their website that they estimate can save households up to £375 per year. 

Simple measures such as draught-proofing windows and doors, switching electrical appliances off standby and turning off lights can all add up to helpful savings. 

The EST also estimate that using a washing machine more carefully can save around £28 annually, such as using a 30C cycle and reducing use by one cycle per month – with their calculations based on a typical three-bedroom gas-heated home, since the April rise in the energy price cap. 

Even avoiding over-filling the kettle is estimated to save around £11 a year on your electricity bill. 

Price of living on the rise. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Energy bills are on the rise after April's price cap change - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Retirement income 

Those over state pension age and on a low income could be due an extra £60 per week in Pension Credit, which according to Money Saving Expert can be worth £3000 a year on average. 

Applications can start up to four months before reaching state pension age but can also only be backdated by three months for those already past that point. 

Those earning less than £182.60 a week as a single person or less than £278.80 weekly as a couple, including savings and pensions, then Pension Credit can be used to top up to that amount. 

Find out full details at gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234. 

Know your options 

Norfolk County Council offers a range of help for those struggling with living costs, through the government’s Household Support Fund. 

Money support such as help and advice with benefits or utility bills, or access to the Norfolk Assistance Scheme, are all available in the ‘help with living costs’ section of the county council’s website. 

Advice on food support and free school meals, as well as help with retraining and courses to help get people back to work, and localised services, are all listed for those in need as well. For those without internet access, the county council’s main contact number is 0344 800 8020. 

EDP Your Money Matters

The EDP has launched the Your Money Matters campaign - Credit: Archant

YOUR TOWN

Each week we will bring you some of the best deals on offer from local towns. James Weeds brings us the best of Great Yarmouth. 

Mom's Cash and Carry, down Victoria Arcade, currently has a variety of products at very low prices. Special offers this week include multiple treats for pets for £1, cases of Espresso Monster for £2 and 24 tins of baked beans for £2.50. 

Over at the Mini Mart inside the old bank building on North Quay, they offer a food club membership for £10 per month. With the membership, shoppers can have a basket full of shopping each week. They also have special offers on gravy at two for £1.50 and four tins of soup without regular labels for £1. 

For entertainment, Merrivale Model Village offer an adult day pass for £8.50 and that includes free entry to mini golf. The price for children between the ages of three and 12 is £4.99 and under-threes go free. 

Merrivale Model Village. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Denise Bradley

TIP OF THE WEEK 

Check your property is in the correct council tax band. Money Saving Expert (MSE) report that over 400,000 homes in the UK are banded incorrectly and that many are in too high a band. This is due to the way properties were valued when the system was launched in 1981. Some have been able to claim back thousands, check MSE’s guide for how to check. 

BARGAIN DEALS 

Children under five travel free on the Bure Valley Railway, with a maximum of three per fare-paying adult. Adult tickets are £16 return between Aylsham and Wroxham, or £10 for a single, and children between five and 15 years old are £8, or £6 for a single. See bvrw.co.uk for full details.