Combining your marriage and your finances may not sound so pleasant once it’s time to lay it all out on the table. Married couples face a lot of financial issues when they get together and sometimes it’s hard to stay on the same page. It doesn’t have to be super difficult to combine your finances once you’ve said “I do” if you follow a few simple steps.

Make Time to Talk About Money

You’ve both got ideas about how to manage your money because you’ve both been doing it on your own. You may do things completely different from your spouse, but once you’re married, you need to make sure you’re both in the know. Sitting down and talking about how you both manage money and making an agreement about how to handle future funds will help avoid hassle. Here are some tips on how to come up with a budget.

Rein in Spending and Debt

A survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants discovered that debt is one of the biggest stressors in marriage. Spending is one of the biggest financial disputes couples have, but a survey conducted by SmartMoney uncovered that although one member of the couple usually is labeled as the big spender, that when spending is calculated over a period of time, both partners usually spend equal amounts. However, spending on certain items may be different. Women may make daily purchase on things for the home while men tend to make larger purchases like plasma TVs and computers. It helps to make a list of necessities versus wants as a couple and put a stop to any excess spending by both parties. Evaluate whether you both can afford to make a purchase before starting on the “wants” list.

Set Up a Joint Account

It’s easy to avoid discussing finances together if you maintain separate bank accounts. When you set up a joint account, you’re forced to discuss financial issues and there’s accountability over purchases. This makes merging your financial lives easier in the long run. You’ll want to maintain separate accounts to pay for your separate expenditures, but pay for things like house payments and car payments from your joint account. Having a joint account is a great way to open up dialogue about spending and saving.

It’s hard to merge finances after marriage. Two people who once led separate lives are joined together to create a family. It takes time, but it’s not impossible. The biggest thing to remember throughout the process is to communicate and avoid impulse purchases. Staying accountable to your spouse is a great way to maintain financial health throughout your marriage.