When love and money meet, it mostly ends in premium tears. It starts with small things like paying for their bill or helping them out of a jam and before you know it, you’ve become their financer. Think about it, how many dates have you paid for, gifts bought and so much more yet  still ended up single? Since most adults in the modern world have their own finances, it’s important to protect them when in a relationship.

While you can get a pre-nuptial agreement when you get married, protecting your finances during courtship is more complicated. Apart from the excitement of the “honeymoon phase”, most people simply don’t know how to protect their finances in a relationship.

Here are some tips to help you avoid making bad financial decisions in a relationship.

1.Set Boundaries

You should recognize that this is simply a relationship and not a marriage. Therefore, avoid giving out huge loans or co-signing for a loan with your partner lest you end up assuming their financial responsibility. If you decide to lend them money, ensure you have a written agreement on how they will pay you back. Otherwise, it may be deemed as a gift which they have no obligation to pay you back.

2. Discuss Lifestyle Choices

Your partner’s unhealthy spending habit may cause financial problems in the relationship sooner rather than later especially when your account can’t keep up. Try to explain your financial situation to your partner and reach a compromise in terms of spending. You can find cheaper alternatives to their preferences or limit the number of times they spend on your tab.

3. Have A Living Agreement

It’s common to move in with your partner before marriage. However, with the hard economy, the last thing you need is someone living in your house rent-free and isn’t paying any bills. If you’re sharing a home with your partner, ensure that you have a living agreement. It could be verbal or written but the most important thing is that you should be clear about what your partner is responsible for around the house.

4. Purchase Things Individually

Whether you’re living together or not, avoid buying things jointly. Having joint ownership in a relationship makes it difficult and awkward to decide who gets what in the event of a breakup. Instead, you can split any major purchases between yourselves. For instance, if you buy the TV, they can buy the couch. This way, it’s easier to take whatever belongs to you if things don’t work out.

5. Have A Shared Financial Goal

When both of you have a common financial goal, you’ll be more conscious of how you spend money. Additionally, this helps you know your partner’s mindset on the future and if they align with yours. If you share a common goal, you can start saving together for that thus limiting unnecessary spending.

6. Keep Your Finances Separate

Having a joint bank account in a relationship might seem like a romantic gesture and the ultimate sign of trust but it might bite you in the end. Sharing your finances means that you no longer have full control and that your partner’s debts are now yours. In the worst-case scenario, they could clean out the account and run for the hills. Either way, it’s a very bad idea to have a joint bank account with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

7. Have A Budget

There’s nothing romantic about setting a budget, especially in a relationship. However, just like everything in your life, you should have a budget of how much you’re willing to spend on your partner each month. This includes things like dates, gifts, and upkeep finances. It might seem like you’re placing a monetary value on your partner but this will help you keep your finances in control.