One of the toughest challenges married people go through with their finances is trying to budget better as a couple. This is a lot tougher for recently married couples who are trying to go through life together. If you are at this stage, it is an exciting stage in your life and relationship where you get to wake up every morning with the person you love most.
It will be all romance, wine, and flowers the first few months but you will soon start to find the need to talk about money in detail. The idea is that even before you tied the knot, you should have talked about your individual finances. It should include your individual income and debt obligations and even your credit scores. This is important as the Harris Poll shares that money management is a chief concern for married couples.
Once you get married, your goal is to budget better as a couple. Of course, this goes without saying that this is just a small part of all the things you need to work on as a couple. However, your finances is an important backbone of your relationship. It will help you reach your goals and provide you the opportunity to enjoy life as a married couple.
Taking on a budget on your own is not an easy task to take on and doing it as a couple brings new challenges to an already demanding chore. Once you start to budget together as a couple, the dynamics become a lot more complex compared to doing it alone. If you are looking for ways to start budgeting together as a married couple, here are approaches to consider.
Lay your cards on the table
If you remember how you went on dates before you were an official couple, this was the “getting to know” stage. You needed to find out if your personalities clash or if you have similar goals in life. This is also the time where you learn about each other’s background and meet their family and friends. As you get to know your partner better, the more you can make a decision whether to pursue the relationship all the way to marriage.
You can take the same approach when it comes to trying to budget better as a couple. You need to be very transparent with each other when it comes to creating a budget. This means you need to lay down what your debt obligations are, how much income is coming into your household, and even the way you spend money.
The last part is important because income and debt payments are usually fixed amounts. Your spending pattern and behavior dictates how you use up discretionary funds and how you can strengthen your finances. Talk about a certain amount threshold where you need to talk about the cost as a couple so you do not get into fights for personal expense.
Go through your budget together
As you come into the marriage, you will be able to budget better as a couple if you start to compare notes and talk about individual budgets you used in the past. For one, this can help you understand each other’s financial approach and strategy better. The more you understand each other, the better you can move forward with your budget.
One key thing you have to understand when creating a budget as a couple is that you both need to be actively putting it together. One idea is to set aside a specific day in a month to go over your finances as a couple. It might sound to be a dragging schedule but you can make it into something you both can enjoy and actually look forward to.
On the days that you need to go over your budget, make it a special and unique day for the two of you. You can try having a staycation while going over your budget. If you both love the outdoors, look for a campsite near your area and budget under the moon and stars. Your imagination is the limit but do remember that at the end of the day, you both need to agree on the budget.
Agree on your goals
As you try and budget better as a couple, it is crucial that you both see eye to eye, especially when it comes to financial goals. This is a by-product of honest and constant communication. Before marriage when you were still single, you could have some goals you wanted to achieve in life and you feel that you have to give all of them up now that you are married.
This is not the case because if you get married, you do not have to set aside your goals in life. In fact, marriage should help and support each other in reaching your dreams. Although it cannot be denied that marriage really does shift your priorities around. This is true especially when you start having children of your own.
Whatever your goals are, you and your partner should agree on it together. It can be paying off both your student loan first, saving up for a house, or starting that business idea you two believe in. Whatever the goal, the important thing is that you are on the same page. This helps you push each other towards that common goal.
Budget better as a couple by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each other
You are unique in this world and even if you fall in love and get married to someone you believe is like you, differences will still arise. This can be anything from personality, character, or simply looking at the things you love to do. There is a good chance that you will see these differences when you compare yourself from your partner.
This is actually to be expected because no two people are alike, especially when it comes to your strengths and weaknesses. You will have differences when it comes to what you are good at and areas where you need help in your finances. When you are struggling with one aspect of your budget, your partner should help out just as you need to help out when they are having a tough time as well.
If you have an eye for looking out for discounts, you can help find less expensive price tags for items you need at home. A household budget is a numbers game and if your partner is better at keeping tabs on your income and expenses, leave that aspect of the budget to them. However, always make sure that you are supportive of each other’s task.
Address financial mistakes as a couple
One key learning you have to take into your financial life especially when you are trying to budget better as a couple is that no one is perfect. That being said, you or your partner will make mistakes sooner or later and that is to be expected. Mistakes can vary from small money lapses all the way to big and life-changing missteps.
The way forward is to be supportive and go through the problem together. This entails analyzing what went wrong, looking for a solution all while making sure it does not happen again in the future. In all these, make sure that you do not put the blame on the person that made the mistake. Go through the problem and learn from it as a couple.
There are a number of ways to budget better as a couple but the most important part of it is that you go through it together. There will be challenges along the way but the key thing is to face it as husband and wife