You need to learn how to budget effectively if you want your relationship to work. Even if you had your own budget when you were single, that will no longer work for you if you are living with someone else. Being single does not mean budgeting is easy. It still has its own set of challenges. However, budgeting as a couple will take a lot of adjustments. If you want to keep your financial relationship smooth, you have to create a budget plan that suits both of your personal preferences. It should never be just about one person. It has to incorporate your needs as a couple and as an individual.
A budget plan is one of the best ways to maintain full control of your finances. When you are completely in control of your money, there will be less stress for you to feel. Sometimes, stress comes from the unknown. If you understand your financial position and capabilities, you will not feel this stress.
Reports reveal that one of the leading causes of stress between couples involve finances. 3 out of 10 couples said that money is a primary cause of fights. If you have a complete understanding of your financial situation, these fights do not have to happen. Mistakes are less likely to happen and that can effectively head off any argument.
Believe it or not, learning how to budget effectively has the power to save your relationship. It can also help lead you towards a more secure financial future.
The question is, how do you go about this?
How to budget effectively with your partner
Basically, the concepts involved in budgeting as a couple is the same as when you are single. It will show your income and expenses. It will also help you reach your goals. While the features are the same, the manner by which you will create the budget plan is a bit different. There will be two of you who will make a decision. Even if your partner (or maybe it is you) does not want to get involved, it is still important to consider both of your needs.
With that in mind, here are the steps that you need to follow so you can learn how to budget effectively as a couple.
Understand your household needs
If you want to take control of your household budget, you have to start by getting to know both of your needs. Even if you love each other, that does not mean you already have the same wants and needs. You still have different personalities and you need to consider that when you are creating a budget plan that you will use together. When one of you does not agree with the budget plan, it will be harder to follow it. If you want to take control of the household budget, you have to make sure it stays true to what the both of you really need.
There are needs that the both of you will have to deal with – like the rent or mortgage, utility bills, food and groceries, and other household needs. Focus on these first. This will be a priority in your household budget. You need to learn how to budget effectively through these expenses to get you started. Just remember to prioritize the needs before you go to your wants.
Set long-term goals
As you are creating the budget plan, you should talk about the long-term goals that you will try to reach together. This is a good exercise for your relationship because talking about your future will prompt you to grow as a couple. It will help align all your decisions because you are working on reaching a common goal. You can include this as a part of the financial plan that you will set for your future. It can be your dream house, a vacation, or something that will lead you towards a future that you both want to share. It can even be about getting yourselves debt free. Identify the details of the goals – specifically how much you need to save and how long you will save up for it. This has to be included in your budget plan.
Identify your individual needs
After you have set a budget for your common household needs and you have defined your long-term goals, it is now time to focus on your individuality. That means you need to talk about what each of you want. This is when you will realize just how similar you both are or how different. While it is ideal to have more similarities, being different is also a good thing. It will teach you how to appreciate and respect your differences. For instance, one may be more inclined to spend on clothing while the other would want a budget for their gym membership.
If you want to learn how to budget effectively as a couple, you need to be able to overcome this particular discussion. Just because you are a couple, that does not mean you have to pursue the same things. Your common financial goals should be enough for you. Pursuing individual hobbies should be healthy too. You just have to make sure your budget can afford it before you give in. If your budget plan cannot shoulder the expense, the both of you will have to compromise. Be understanding and respectful and you should be able to avoid any arguments about it.
Regularly talk about your budget
Learning how to budget effectively is not a one-time thing. It is actually a continuous process. For some couples, they create a budget together but only one manages it actively while the other just follows. While there is nothing wrong with having only one person manage your household budget, you still need to set a regular meeting to discuss your budget. According to one survey, 6 out of 10 couples talk about money on a weekly basis. It helps clear things or any misunderstanding.
If your budget is new, you need to make these meetings more regular so you can work on anything that either one of you are not comfortable with. For instance, maybe one of you wants to increase the food budget. You need to talk about that. Once you are both comfortable with the budget, you can set a monthly or even a quarterly meeting to check if the budget is still applicable to the lifestyle you are both living.
Tips to budget effectively as a couple
When you have learned how to budget effectively as a couple, it will be easier for you to work as a team as you try to reach your goals. It is not enough that you are contributing your income. You need to be equally responsible in your budgeting efforts. According to a report, only 3 out of 10 couples have both partners sharing an equal role in the financial decision-making process. This statistic has to go higher.
If you want to budget effectively, here are a couple of tips that might help you out.
Always listen to understand. Sometimes, we are so bent on getting what we want that we fail to respect our partner. During arguments, train yourself to listen so you will understand their point of view.
Have a household budget even if you are not married. A combined budget is not just for married couples. The moment you decided to live in the same house, you should start drafting a budget already.
Discuss how you will keep your money. Some couples combine everything while others choose to keep their money separate. There are those who keep their personal accounts but decide to open another one for joint payments for the household. Choose one that compliments your personalities as a couple.
Consider these tips to help you learn how to budget effectively. Do not be afraid to fight about money – as long as you keep on talking about it. That is one way to help couples overcome common money problems. If you are patient and respectful with each other, you should be able to get over any financial issue that you may have.