Perhaps you have been married for quite some time and you are still figuring out where the money goes and why your savings remains zero.
No matter what stage you are in you have to open your eyes to the truth that finances will be one of the major things you have to handle as a couple.
How many times would you have to hear stories of married couples who fight because of money? Of course, all of us would want to steer clear away from this dilemma.
So let’s start with the basics: budgeting.
Importance of Budget
From what I can remember, high school teachers in economics used to teach their students the proper budgeting. You list your expenses, allocate a certain amount on each one and make sure that every need has been financed.
It was a practical lesson, but not everyone could grab its essence until they are already earning their own money. By the time you are already earning cash from work, you would appreciate budgeting. However, it is not an easy road.
Writing lists and numbers are easy, but following it to the last cent is another matter. Many people have failed a couple of times, but it is not an excuse to just stop. Rather, you have to motivate you and your spouse with these benefits.
- Spending wisely is only achieved with discipline. You would be fooling yourself if you say that you do budgeting to get easily rich or solve all your financial problems. The basic goal is actually to be a wise spender. If you know how to properly use your money, then you are on the right path towards a financial balance.
- Find out why it feels like your salary just passed by. Budgeting also helps you to be aware of your spending habits. Sometimes you really do not know your spending habits until you list them down in bullets. You might be surprised where your money goes.
- Reach the set financial goals by following your budget. It may either be long term or short term, but you will not get anywhere near it if you won’t start budgeting your finances.
How to Budget Your Money and Save as a Couple
List down all your finances together. There is no better time than now. Sit together and create a list. Write down whatever expenses cross your mind. Combine your list with your spouse.
Group expenses in categories and then write each category on an envelope. Do not forget to write “savings” in one of the envelopes. Set realistic amount for each one and put away your sayings first. In case that there are excess at the end of an exact month, you can put it into your savings.
Budgeting is a work in progress. Every expense has to be tracked up to the single cent. This too requires great discipline. One of you might feel discouraged or even lazy, so always encouraged each other to stay committed.
What if your spouse doesn't stick with the budget plan?
- Change your approach
Let’s say your spouse feels blamed every money talk. This could be tricky especially if you know that your partner is really at fault why your budget has not been followed. However, we all know that being blamed is not the best feeling since it puts guilt on your shoulders and hurt in your heart. Right?
How do you deal with this? Fix the issue by changing your approach on how to talk about money. Stop focusing on the past and start with focusing on what you can do. Ask your spouse to stick with the plan to change your financial situation.
- Avoid blaming your spouse and using hurtful words
Hurtful words will never solve an issue, it will just make it worst. And your spouse might keep the hurt for a long time. You are married, and whatever financial problems he or she has also applied to you.
Let’s say you found out that your spouse has a hidden debt. Of course, you need to pay for it together and settle it as soon as possible. The more you prolong the debt, the higher amount you have to pay. After paying off the debt, start your financial plans, recreate goals and redo your budget.
Encourage your spouse to be financially open. If your spouse wants to buy something out of the budget, set aside a part of the savings for it. you may be following a budget, but you can include in it some small personal purchases which could be a reward to each other.
- Make your budget into weekly and keep it simple
People have different budgeting approach. Some created a long-term budget, while others prefer the weekly. If your spouse is having a hard time sticking with the long-term budget, then you can try the weekly approach. Keep it simple and easy to follow. Make sure that there is still room to give each other simple rewards every once in a while.
If your spouse feels like he or she did not have enough involvement, take the time to start over again. This is a work from both of you and seeing each other dedicated to making it work gives you more motivation.
- Give your spouse the reality check
If you think your spouse does not see the need of budgeting and saving, give a reality check. Inflation will make things more expensive, you’ve got kids to send to college, you need to save for retirement, or perhaps you want to buy a home. These will be impossible without budgeting and saving.
- Be patient and do not be too emotional
There are times when you would have a financial argument with your spouse. Whatever the root cause, you must take a deep breath and calm down. It does not matter who is at fault. Face the financial issue with a level mind and not with emotions. Why?
There is a tendency that we say things when we are angry. If your spouse gets hurt, then it did not solve the problem but you just managed to make it worst. Deal with the facts, run through possible options and never forget to show affection.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment.
No matter what happens, you spouse is still your partner. Instead, encourage your spouse to keep on sticking with the budget. Set financial goals you have both agreed to. And reward each other every now and then.
Financial discipline is not acquired overnight. It requires practice and patience. Encouraging each other can make the process bearable.