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Pay Down Your Debt Challenge

Why People Shop on the Sly

Here are 5 ways to solve financial infidelity

"Through the act of secret spending, or financial infidelity, debt is incurred that spouses can be legally responsible for, although the specifics vary from state to state," says Neil Ellington, executive vice president of CESI.

"This inherited debt can be quite problematic on the health of a relationship," Ellington adds. "That's why honesty and open communication about money has to be a priority in the relationship."

Address Compulsive Spending Problems
Do you regularly buy items on impulse or spring for lavish gifts for the kids or grandkids? Or does your significant other indulge in expensive shopping sprees?

If compulsive spending habits are draining your bank accounts, consider what is driving the urge to shop. If you're unhappy, depressed or unable to express emotions in a healthy way, you need to find better ways to manage your moods. You and your spouse need to work on this issue together so you don't end up developing an overspending and hoarding habit. You can also bring along a buddy with you if you feel prone to "retail therapy" so he or she can keep you on your budget.

Delegate and Designate Tasks
In planning your household budget, one of you can be in charge of handling the household bills, while the other person can be in charge of developing a preliminary budget or spending plan. Separate money management tasks mean your financial philosophy is a joint effort.

Working together toward a shared goal can put you both on the same page and make it much easier to achieve financial harmony.

Next: What to do when you can't agree >>

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