Discussing how to split bills fairly? How to spend the holiday budget? Or asking a relative for a loan? Talking about money can be tricky, but here are some ways to have easier, more informed conversations.

Plan ahead

The key to any money conversation is being clear on the what and when.

  • A regular look at your finances can keep you on top of things and reveal potential talking points. For example, you might spot that your outgoings have been creeping up.
  • Choose a time when you can sit down and talk things through without feeling rushed.

Not sure where to start? Viewing your transactions online can give you a really clear view of your money.

Be prepared

Go in knowing what your ideal outcome is, with the facts and figures ready to help you make your case. For example, if you want to borrow money from a friend or relative, bring details of what you need and how you’ll repay it. Internet banking or a mobile app can help you have useful information at hand during your conversation.

Think about ‘how’ as well as ‘what’

Don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind - consider your words. Try using ‘I statements’ instead of ‘You statements’. For example: “I think we can find ways to cut our bills” is less confrontational than “You spend too much on groceries”. Consider your tone, too. Staying positive and friendly makes even tough talks easier.

Be direct

Be clear about what you need or want. If you need that £20 you loaned to a friend returned, tell them. If you can’t or don’t want to spend money on something, say so. And be upfront if you think it’s best if one or both of you had a conversation with your bank.

Give it time

If you’re asking for something substantial or discussing a significant budget change:

  • Be patient and considerate.
  • Give the person you’re talking to time to look into their finances and make up their mind.
  • You might have some decisions to make too – a budget calculator could be helpful.

Be clear on the outcome

Once you’ve wrapped up the conversation, make sure that everyone knows what’s been decided and what the next steps are. That will help you avoid an even more awkward conversation in the future.