A Simple Guide to Budgeting as a Couple
It is no secret that money is one of the most conflicting topics inside marriage.
Each individual in the marriage comes to the table with a different background and perspective on how to handle money, how to save money, and how to invest money. That can make it very challenging to come to an agreement on what to do with such a valuable and hard-earned resource.
The key to this is budgeting.
However, before I share how to budget I want to tell you why you should budget. Here it is:
Money can make or break the trust, connection, and intimacy in your marriage.
Think about it. If one spouse is using the household income in a manner the other doesn’t agree with, it’s sure to cause division, bitterness, and all sorts of negative effects. So, like all things in marriage, it is especially important for you to get on the same page about your household income and remain a united front at all costs. Like Dave Ramsey always says, “You have to tell your money where to go, or it will tell you.” You have to take control and you have to do it together.
How to Budget
Step 1: List all incoming monthly household income and total it up.
Step 2: List all outgoing monthly expenses and total it up (including a percentage to go toward savings, even if it’s just a small amount).
Step 3: If possible, do your best to spread out your bills evenly for the first half and second half of the month so that your bank account isn’t completely diminished right at the first of the month.
Step 4: Figure out how much you have left over to spend.
Step 5: From there, agree on how much you want to spend each paycheck from what is left after bills for food, gas, additional savings, entertainment etc.
Step 6: Decide together what to do with any income that’s left until the total is $0. Some ideas: save for a getaway, invest in your kids’ college fund, save to remodel the kitchen etc.
Step 7: Celebrate because you just gave a purpose to every single dollar in your account… together! 🎉
Here are some Connecting Questions to ask when it comes to your finances:
How can we best use our financial resources this month to set us up for a better future?
What can we say "no" to so that things aren't so tight?
On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think we are doing with our income? Why? What can we do better?
Do you believe we are modeling a healthy, realistic view of money and what it means to be a "responsible grown up" for our children? Why or why not?
What feelings do you get when you think about our debt? What can we do this month to get rid of debt so that we can feel more freedom?
Is there anything that I spend money on that you wish I wouldn't?
What is something "just for fun" that you would like to save up for?
If the conversation becomes heated, take a break and come back to it when you both are feeling ready to listen to each other’s perspective.
Budgeting isn’t sexy and it’s not always fun but if you work together, you’ll look back at all you were able to accomplish financially together.
Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.