Talking to your spouse about money is a sure-fire way to ensure that you're on the same page and positively impact the quality of your relationship. Need convincing? Check out this article, where I share 4 reasons to talk to your partner about money. However, money is a sensitive subject and can easily evoke all sorts of feelings. Some (or all) of those feelings could make for a potentially explosive conversation. What do you do when a seemingly simple conversation about budgeting turns into a fight? In this article, I share 8 tips on how to budget as a married couple without fighting.
Goal Setting - Write Down Your Joint Goals
What are your goals in life? What do you see your life being like in 20 years? The important thing to remember is that goals need to be based on reality to work. If you have a lower-middle-class earning situation, you’re not going to live the upper-middle-class dream. That’s okay; you can still be happy if you work toward what you want together. If the upper-middle-class lifestyle is your dream. Set it as a goal, and work together to make it a reality.
Money Mission Statement - Create a Family Money Mission Statement
This can truly help your family develop a realistic budget that is based on your family values and priorities. Do you want to live happily on very little or do you want more? If so, you may need to set up a mission statement that values education and moving up the income ladder realistically.
Get Organized - Create a Spreadsheet for Income, Investments & Expenses
Don’t try to memorize what you see regarding your accounts. Put it all into a spreadsheet or any system you find that helps. You should be able to see your income, investments, and expenses, at a glance, including both the budgeted amount and the actual amount. In addition, you should see your pay down progress if you’re working toward paying off debt.
Prioritize Saving - Determine How Much You Need to Save
Using your future goals, you’ll want to determine how much you need to save. If you want to have a certain amount in your account by a certain year, what will that take, based on today’s numbers? You’ll adjust this each year to account for changes.
Review Your Budget as a Married Couple Regularly - Review Finances Together Regularly
Take the time together to review your finances and how you’re both doing on a regular basis. Some people like to do it every single month, and others do it quarterly. It will depend on your situation and how much control you both need to exert to ensure you stay on track.
Get Help - Consider Getting Professional Help
One way to cut down on fighting if you are having issues deciding things determined above is to get some professional help. If a financial counselor or coach helps you set up a budget that will help you reach your stated goals, there is no fighting.
Avoid Blaming Each Other - Be Considerate and Flexible
As you’re creating your budget avoid placing blame for anything from the past. Start fresh from today with what is your reality. If you’re in debt due to poor planning even if it’s just one of you at fault, let it go and work from now to change the future. After all, you really cannot change the past. It’s done and over, time to move on.
Be Realistic About Your Budget as a Married Couple - Ensure Each Party Has Their Own Spending Money
Regardless, the budget and the plan always work in a way that each of you gets some money that you can spend any way you want to. It may not be very much while you’re trying to pay down debt but try to make it fair and equitable.
Fighting over money can be eliminated if you get on the same page. The goals you have should be shared jointly. Each person should have a say in how things are handled. Even a non-income earner deserves to have a say in the family budget. After all, they contribute in other valuable ways. Helping to develop spending and saving priorities is just the cherry on top. If you both accept that this is a joint responsibility, fighting will be cut down tremendously.