Budgeting by yourself can be challenging, but if you are budgeting as a couple…life can get a little rough at times. When you merge two different opinions into one budget you can hit some friction in some places, but when you get it right, that’s when the magic happens.
It is vitally important to operate as a team. If you don’t, you are going to really struggle to reach your financial goals. You have to be on the same page so you both are invested in the process, follow through to stick with the budget every month and work to achieve your common goals.
If only one of you is on board for this, you will just be dragging the other one along. They won’t abide by the budget, this will frustrate you and then they will get mad at your for resenting them. It just doesn’t work.
If you haven’t gotten your spouse on board to budget yet. You need to make that happen. Once your spouse is on the same page as you, you will be unstoppable!
When you agree on the budget:
- you both contribute,
- you both are responsible for the outcome so there is no blame,
- you become a team which strengthens your marriage,
- you become each other’s cheerleaders and
- you both are on fire to accomplish your goals which will happen twice as fast!
How to Make a Budget as a Couple:
Making a budget as a couple is a 4 step process with exactly one rule.
Step 1. Put the budget together
One person should be responsible for putting the budget together. In relationships, there is usually one person either more naturally inclined or more motivated to actually do the work of putting the budget together.
This budget should be written so both of you can see what is happening instead of scrolling on an app. Write your budget in pencil….it will very likely be changing.
When you are making the budget, you need to do so with the understanding that your other half will be revising the budget. This is not set in stone. This is the starting place to work from.
Once you have your budget written out in pencil, move on to step 2.
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Step 2. Revise
Whichever one of you did not write the budget, then gets to revise it. Again in pencil, go through and revise the numbers for what you believe to be ideal. This is your time to essentially voice your opinion on where you want to spend your money.
Your budget is just a plan for your money. It is a reflection of what your priorities are right now. If you are focused on going to Florida for vacation, you will likely be prioritizing saving for vacation over having increased pocket money for the month.
Once you have gone through the budget and revised it (in pencil). Move on to step 3.
Step 3. Review together.
This is the fun part as well as the dangerous part. You will each go through “your” budget and compare your plans. This is not a time to argue or insult. This time is just to speak the logic behind your decisions for how your money will be allocated over the next 30 days.
Do not start fighting about who is right or wrong in how you want to spend your money. You are two individuals who are going to have different goals and priorities. This means where you want to spend your money will be different too.
Just listen to the other person as they go through their budget decisions. Do not make comments. Then explain yourself to them. Absolutely no fighting.
Step 4. Compromise.
This is the most challenging part when you are just starting. The more you budget together, the more your goals and priorities will start to align. Eventually, you will be on the same page and it won’t be such a compromise all the time.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are wanting to focus on debt payoff, but your spouse doesn’t want to as intensely as you do, that’s okay. You do not both have to be all in at the beginning. We want to celebrate little wins when we are first starting.
If your husband is not all about cutting expenses to pay off debt, the last thing you want to do is cut out his Dish Network, gym membership or pocket money. If you go in there trying to cut everything good out of his life to pay off debt, he is going to dig in his heels BIG TIME. Trust me, I’ve been there.
You are trying to win the war. Do not try to win every battle.
This is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. Do not nitpick every little thing your husband wants to do with your budget. You give up on some of the battles to win the war.
If you want him to get excited about budgeting and stick with it, you need to give him some leeway on your spending. If he wants to keep his Dish Network, but he will give up eating out once a month, take it! Do not fight over the Dish Network. It is not worth it.
If you push too hard, he may just back out completely. Then you are accomplishing nothing.
This brings me to the one rule for budgeting as a couple.
The Golden Rule of Budgeting as a Couple:
Neither one of you is in charge. You are a team.
Did you hear that?
You are not in charge. Your husband is not in charge.
You are a team. You are equal partners.
The reason you need to remember this is because at some point you are going to feel like you are right, your priorities are more important than his and you are just going tell him what to do (or vice versa…I know there can be bossy husbands too!).
I have been here so many times. My way is right, I know what’s best if you just do it my way we will pay off debt so much faster. Sacrifice what I tell you to because it is for your own good.
Do you know what makes people feel like crap? When you tell them their opinion doesn’t matter.
You have to function as a team. Otherwise, you just become a bully. I’ve been there. It really hurts your marriage and doesn’t get you any closer to your financial goals.
Follow the rule. You are a team.
If you follow these steps to budget as a couple, you are going to find success and strengthen your marriage. There is something magical about conquering the world together. You become so bonded on the warpath to destroy debt (or whatever your financial goal is).
You chose this partner for life so make sure you continue to treat them as your partner. Your financial life is just a little part of your whole life so make sure the budget is not causing strife within your marriage.
Budgeting as a couple will be fun, motivating, encouraging and very productive if you both have equal input in the budget.
Now, go get started!
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Do you have any rules you follow when budgeting as a couple?
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