Being able to convince your spouse you need a budget can be challenging. You know it is important that you have a budget, but how to you get your partner on board?
You might be the saver in your relationship and your partner is a spender. Your situation could be that your spouse just does not care or have enough understanding of the topic of money.
Whatever the case, the place to start to resolve any differences in money begins with one word – BUDGET. This is not optional. It is required if you plan on gaining control of your finances.
Where do you start and what do you do? Let me start by saying the things you should not do when it comes to money and your partner:
- Do not nag or annoy your partner.
- Never manipulate or act like a parent.
- Don’t try to talk about it when he or she is doing something else.
- Do not say that they have to do this “or else” (ultimatums rarely work).
Now that you know what you should not do, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what you can so you and your spouse or partner are truly on the same page.
- How to Talk To Your Spouse About Getting Out of Debt
- How to Set Financial Goals
- How to Overcome a Money Saving Obsession
TALKING TO YOUR SPOUSE ABOUT YOUR BUDGET
Set a Budget Date
This may sound strange, but it works. When you set aside time for a financial meeting, you both can work together without distractions.
Make sure that the kids are entertained or even away at a friend’s or grandma’s house. It may mean setting up time after they are in bed. Turn off the television. Put the phone on silent (or even in the other room).
Allow yourself no more than one hour for your meeting. If you go longer than that, you both my lose focus. If you find that one hour is not enough time, set up another meeting.
Then, once your budget is working, continue to have regular meetings with your spouse or partner to go over your finances. As your budget begins to take hold, these sessions will be shorter and shorter (and also much less stressful).
Play the Budget Game
Many times, people do not want a budget because they really don’t know what their finances look like. A good way to see if you both agree is to do your own “dummy budget.”
To do this, you both will get a sheet of paper. Set the timer for 10 minutes. During that time, write down all of the bills you pay each month – as well as the mount. Make sure to also include the total income you bring in as a family.
Once the timer is up, go over your lists together. You may find that you both are well aware of your finances, which makes it easier to move into the next step.
However, you might also find that one of you has no idea what your financial situation looks like. Allow time to go over both lists and figure out why there is such a disconnect between what you really pay vs. what you think you pay.
Have a heart to heart talk
During your meeting, make sure you talk about more than just the amount of bills and income. You need to really understand one another and how you feel about money. These topics could include:
- If you love to save or spend and why
- Your financial fears
- What money means to you
- What your goals are with your finances
Once you better understand money for your partner, the easier it will be to work together towards achieving financial goals.
Set goals as a couple
As I shared above, you need to talk about your goals as individuals. Once you learn that about one another, see what you can do to create set goals as a couple.
Your goals could include to pay for college for the kids, buy a new car in 15 months or even take that dream vacation with the kids. Your individual goals then morph themselves into family or couple goals.
Now, you can create a plan to actually move forward together to reaching your financial goals.
Use the right tools
Once you have completed the above, you are now ready to get started creating a budget — together.
There are many types of budgets you can use. You might find you are old school and want to use a paper and pencil. However, a spreadsheet may work better. Or, you and your spouse might be the couple who loves to use an app. The thing is that none is better than the other. One is not right nor wrong.
Find out the type of budget that works best for you as a couple. Then, sit down to tackle the creation of your budget. Using something such as our free budget calculator can help you work together to make your budget work.
Being on the same page financially lays the ground work to helping improve your relationship. Your budget is the first step into turing this dream into a reality.