So one of the questions I get asked the most is how in the world do you manage a budget with your spouse? Of course I mostly get asked this question from women, but there is no doubt in my mind that there are men out there who struggle as well. It can be so hard to talk to our spouses about money especially when they are not interested. Never fear, I have the proven method that works to manage money as a married couple. It might not be easy, but I promise it works.
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Step one: You have got to communicate and listen
For some reason talking about finances with your spouse can be scarier than talking about sex. I mean, not for everyone, of course, but for a good percentage of people…yeah. Yeah it is.
For me, it was because I know one of the top causes of divorce is financial stress. My solution: don’t talk about it. That will solve everything. If we don’t talk, we can’t fight. If we can’t fight, then we can’t get divorced. Problem solved. Right?
Not talking to avoid conflict only leads to more conflict.
Not talking about something in your marriage, especially the hard stuff, can only lead to problems.
Tips for bringing up finances:
- Let your partner know that you need their help.
- Admit the areas where you can make better financial choices.
- Do not present this to them like they are a child.
- Remember this is a team effort.
- Listen to their concerns. Actually, listen.
- Do not shame them for their faults or mistakes.
When talking about anything that is difficult, it’s so important to remind your spouse that you are on their team.
You might feel passionate about your finances or your budget, but often times passion can come across as bossy. Not like I would know. ?
Remember, this is all about managing money as a married couple which means you are not in this alone. So don’t act like you are.
Step two: Make a game plan based on your unique situation
Every single couple has a different financial situation.
- One working. One home with kids.
- Two working.
- One laid off. One working.
- Student loan debt with kids.
- Debt with no kids.
The options are basically endless. So what you have to do with your spouse is sit down, and work together to figure out a strategy and a budget that is going to work for both of you.
If you are brand new to budgeting, grab my budget bundle. It’s super easy to use and will help get you started on creating an easy to follow
Join the Budget Hacking course to get trainings designed to help you create more money in your budget and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Solutions to top financial struggles:
Doing the Debt Snowball while using my Debt Snowball Tracker can be a really encouraging way to help you both visually see your debt payoff in progress.
Saving more money: If you are struggling to gain and maintain savings, my top suggestion is getting an “offshore” savings account. Meaning one that is not tied to your current bank.
Quitting credit cards: If you struggle with over-use of credit cards my first suggestion is
Retirement and investing: It’s common for people to put off saving for retirement or to start investing because they feel like they have a ton of time. In reality, the sooner you can start these things the better. Putting 15% of your take-home pay toward retirement/investments is the best way to ensure that you are taken care of in your golden years. Here are two great resources to get you started if you haven’t already begun.
If you are still crazy intimidated by the idea of investing, see my super simple investment strategy to turn $50 into $150,000.
Crucial budget tips to remember
Although everyone’s financial situation is different, there are crucial things to remember no matter who you are.
- Each person needs to have a say in the budget
- Giving each person an allowance to spend is a great way to give yourself freedom in your budget and not feel like you have to “ask” for permission.
- You both should see the numbers and understand where your money is going.
- Have a safe location where you keep important documents and account information.
Step three: Get help if you need it
As much as I love to give advice and help where I can, some situations require more help. If you are feeling lost in your finances or that your situation is beyond repair, a good idea would be to speak to a financial advisor. Find a financial advisor near you.
Maybe you just need a little step by step guidance? In that case, I recommend you enroll in a course like Financial Peace University. Find one near you.
Financial Peace focuses on helping people manage money as a married couple and while it is based of Biblical principals, the lessons are useful for anyone.
Another great way is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You can follow me on Instagram to get tips and inspiration as well as the hashtag #debtfreecommunity.
Step four: Keep talking
You can’t just sit down once and expect all your financial troubles to disappear.
It’s so important to carve out time once a week or so to sit down and go over the budget together. See where you may have over-spent, how you can tweak the budget and remind each other of why are you doing the things you are doing.
With Tom getting paid once a month, we found our budget only works if we keep talking about it.
Talking once every 30 days about a budget won’t help you improve. You wouldn’t expect a sports team to practice once a month. Would you?
Just remember, failures will happen, here’s how to combat them. Learning to manage money as a married couple, (especially if you never have), will definitely take some time. Be patient with yourself and your partner.
Keeping each other in the loop and continuing to be honest and