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Tracking expenses is one way you can have control of your money. A budget is one of the most efficient tools for money management – controlling your money, allocating it efficiently and reaching your financial goals more quickly.

However, when your partner tracks your expenses and demands that you provide receipts for everything, this is a sign that you might be in a financially abusive relationship and the partner is using this tactic to exert control. This can trap someone in an abusive relationship, because her free choice to leave is challenged due to a lack of financial resources.

Two other signs of financial abuse are blocking a partner’s access to money and not allowing a partner to work outside the home. If only one partner has access to such assets as savings accounts, paychecks and credit cards, that partner will make financial decisions and disregard the opinions of the other partner.

Not allowing a partner to work outside of the home makes the person vulnerable and dependent. In this situation, abusive partners constantly remind the partner at home that she needs a breadwinner and will not survive on her own. The employed partner may also threaten the at-home partner with the possibility of gaining full custody of the children because she lacks financial resources. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 94% to 99% of domestic violence situations include financial abuse. Financial abuse is one of the main reasons partners stay in a violent relationship.

Couples always have disagreements about money but at the end, through peaceful negotiation and compromise, both partners should benefit from financial decisions.

It is important that a request for receipts and expenses be a part of creating a budget for well-being and a solid, mutually beneficial financial future

Ms. Alfonso is a financial education specialist at YWCA Evanston/North Shore.