Discussing a loan with a relative? How to spend the holiday budget? Or how to trim the household bills? 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 talk about the household budget:

  • Bring details of the last few months. Internet banking or a mobile app can help you have useful information at hand during your conversation.
  • Put some thought to where you think the issues are, and what changes you’d like to make.

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, if a relative asks for a loan: “I’d like to help but can’t right now” is less confrontational than “You’re asking too much”. 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 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

Not all money conversations can be resolved in one go. If you’re talking about large sums or budget changes:

  • Make sure no one feels rushed into a decision.
  • Give yourself time to look at your finances and consider how any changes might affect you. 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.