There are plenty of couples out there that face friction when it comes to talking about the family budget. One of you might be excited about the idea of having more control over your finances, while the other hates the concept of constantly tracking your spending. The truth is that budgeting is one of the best ways to make sure that you don’t get into any financial trouble in the long-term. What’s more, a budget can help you to reach your savings goals faster.
The good news is that there are ways to approach budgeting with your partner, without accidentally causing an argument. The following tips will help you and your loved ones to achieve the financial harmony that you need.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to budgeting with their spouse, is that they play the “blame game.” If you know that you’re always careful with your money, it could be tempting to approach your other half and say something like “I think you need to stop spending so much on this.” However, this makes it seem as though your spouse has been doing something wrong, which they may not agree with.
The best way to approach budgeting on neutral terms is to ask your spouse what they would aim for if they had more money to put away into savings. Where do you both want to be in the next one year, five years, or ten years? If you can agree together on your short and long-term goals, then it will be much easier for both parties to make changes to their spending habits.
Once you’ve decided on a set of goals that you’re both passionate about, the next step is making sure that you know how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. To begin with, this means creating a budget that tells you everything you need to know about your incoming money and your outgoing expenses. Once you have a list of the different things you spend on each month, try organizing them into categories so you can see where you might be able to cut down.
If you’re a relatively frugal spender, then you might not be able to cut back much on expenses for things like entertainment and luxuries. With that in mind, you’ll need to look at how you can cut costs in the “essentials column instead.” For instance, a good option is to compare the prices for things like broadband and electricity online and see if you can get a better deal by switching to a new provider. The same strategy can apply to your insurance bills.
With your goals in mind and a strategy in place for how you’re going to achieve your targets, you may decide that you need a little extra help along the way. For instance, you might need to get a personal loan out so that you can make some changes to your house, or you might need a car loan to pay for a vehicle to take you to and from work.
Although the need for this help might seem obvious to you, make sure that you don’t do anything without discussing it with your partner first. The idea behind a joint budget is that you both play a part in achieving the same financial goals. Don’t remove your spouse from the decision-making process. Instead, ask them to help you online while you’re comparing your options and looking for the deal with the lowest interest rate.
Finally, remember that once you’ve agreed on a budget and it seems to be working, your financial strategizing isn’t necessarily over and done with. It’s important to keep checking up with your partner to make sure that you’re both progressing towards your goals. You might schedule a time at the end of each month where you can sit down together and take a look at how much you’ve saved, and how much you have to spend in the month ahead.
It’s also important to make time to talk about your budget whenever a major change happens in your household. For instance, if you decide to add a new member to your family, or someone’s work situation changes, make sure that you speak to each other about your options.