I recently had a friend ask me to come over and help her get a budget figured out. We got out paper and a pen, I had my best advice right at the tip of my tongue and then she started telling me her problems. What I didn’t expect was that all of her problems had more to do with not managing money well with her husband instead of money itself is the problem. I felt helpless. It’s nearly impossible to give financial advice when a couple is not working together as a team. You can read every budgeting book under the sun, but you won’t fully succeed with a budget until you have open communication with your spouse or partner. That’s why instead of dishing out money tips, I want to talk about how to discuss and execute a budget with your spouse or partner.
*This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission but all recommendations are my own.
My absolute best advice for creating an open and healthy communication with your spouse when it comes to finances is to attend one of your local Financial Peace University courses. Not only is it a course that is designed to help couples and families work together, but you get to interact and meet other couples who are going through similar financial difficulties.
You can purchase your own at home kit, but I highly suggest hitting Google to find local courses being held near you.
Start communicating with your spouse
Hands down, this was the hardest part for me.
Often times spouses are spending, digging debt and not breathing a word of it to their significant other. If you are married, it is absolutely crucial that you start getting honest with one another about the financial situation you are in. For better or for worse. While this step may be the hardest, there are actually online courses to help you through it because it is so important.
If you are sharing your life with someone, it’s super important that you share your finances as well because money will be a key element in your life. It’s when you don’t communicate that serious problems can start presenting themselves.
Now it’s time to push your comfort zone and let the vulnerability happen. This is the ONLY way you will be able to tackle your budget together.
Tom and I were together for over 10 years before I started doing our budget with him. That meant for over a decade I was carrying all of our financial burdens on my shoulders. It also meant that for years Tom felt like he had no say in his own financial situation because I was “in charge.” He didn’t understand when I would tell him we didn’t have money for something. At the same time, I grew more and more frustrated with him wanting to buy things that weren’t in the budget. –Even though he actually had no idea what was in the budget.
Those reasons and so many more are why it’s crucial you talk to your spouse about your finances.
Other top budgeting posts:
- The Best Savings Accounts to Earn Money and Save Big
- How We Paid Off Over $1,200 in One Week
- 38 Things You’re Not Budgeting for But Should Be
- Setting Your Teen up for Financial Success in Adulthood
What happens when you talk about money with your spouse
- You (might) fight. It’s inevitable.
- People get mad
- Compromises will be made
- Patience will be tested
- You start working as a team
Sitting down for the first time to actually go through our budget together, I felt like I was standing naked in the middle of the street. That’s how nervous I was. I had butterflies in my stomach. Isn’t that so strange? Something like money, that our lives literally revolve around was one thing I hadn’t been sharing with my husband. The person I vowed to share everything with.
It’s so important to remember you are a team against money and not the other way around.
Rules for talking about money with your spouse
Since money can be a very sensitive subject and talking about it with your spouse can be a very vulnerable situation, there are some general guidelines that need to be followed:
- Don’t judge your spouse.
- Listen to each other.
- Work together.
- Set a plan you both agree on.
- Compromise. — You both have to give a little.
- Take a break if you need it.
- Set goals together.
Having general respect for one another when it comes to discussing your financial situation is crucial to the survival of your money and your marriage.
If you are a single person, HIGH FIVE!! You get to skip the toughest step and you’ll be that much more attractive to every potential suitor from here on out.
What happens when you communicate with your spouse
Do you know what happened once we started budgeting? Tom saw some things that I didn’t. He noticed different ways we could improve our monthly budget. He also saw for the first time, the raw, hard numbers that dictate our lives. This made him more accepting of the things we “can’t buy” and made me more understanding of the things he wanted to buy. More than ever before in our marriage, we were a team.
Here are some other great things you can expect:
- More intimate connection
- Two people working toward one goal
- Less unnecessary spending
- You learn to work together better
- There are two minds, two opinions which means more ideas
- You start making smarter choices.
- No one feels left out of their own financial situation
Basic steps to execute your budget
So once you’ve opened the communication lines, how do you start building a solid budget?
- Start with a simple budget of monthly expenses
- Follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps
- Build an emergency fund
- Get a debt payoff strategy using The Debt Snowball
- Find ways to cut monthly expenses
To help you along, you can take advantage of my Fun Sized Budget Bundle filled with printouts to help start a budget, build savings, pay off debt and even grocery shop for less.
Pin this for later!