Marital finances are not an easy thing to manage especially after the whole world was thrust into a health crisis the past year. It was not easy especially for those who lost their jobs or made to put in fewer hours at work. This impacted their finances negatively putting a lot of people behind on payments. This makes it all the more important to work with your spouse so you can get back on track.
A lot of areas in your life could have been affected by the pandemic. Your health could be on top of the list. The virus did not choose and infected anyone it came into contact with. This is the main reason why stay-at-home orders were given down in almost every state in the country. The health facilities were overwhelmed which drastically reduced the quality of care that the sick were getting.
Relationships could also suffer especially when you cannot see people face to face for months. Your job could also suffer from the effects of the health crisis. This is the reason why your income could have gone down. CNBC shared that about 22 million people lost their jobs in the early months of the health crisis. As a result, you need to look at your marital finances to see how you can make it work despite the present challenges.
This is not to say that going through the pandemic on your own is easier compared to when you have a family to think about. The effects of the health crisis are different from one person to the other. What is constant is that most people need to make drastic changes in the way they manage their finances. If you are married, then here are a few things you and your spouse can look into.
Make a thorough review of your household budget
You need to sit down with your spouse to make sure that you both understand your current financial situation. And the best way to do that is to go over and make a thorough assessment of your household budget. There is no denying the fact that your budget is one of the most important financial tools you have at your disposal.
This is something you should be doing on a regular basis with your spouse. You need to always have a constant and open discussion when it comes to money. You should not put this type of conversation with your spouse. In fact, you need to be comfortable when it comes to money talks. When you begin to talk about your budget, there are two key areas you have to cover.
You need to make sure that you list down all your income sources as a couple. This helps you have a clear understanding of what amount you can work with when it comes to your expenses. It would be much easier if you both have a day job getting a fixed salary every month. But even then, you could receive extra money from overtime, bonuses, and others. You need to be sure that you put those in your budget.
You might also have some side hustles that you do in your spare time. Fortune shares that a lot of Americans had a side hustle even before the pandemic. The money you get from this should be added to your household budget. You need to stay on top of this amount since they are not fixed every month. Combining your pay should help you understand how much money you can apply towards your expenses.
Staying on top of your marital finances includes having an open discussion about your expenses. You need to have the same approach with your expenses as you do with your income. Be open and honest with them once. Once you begin to hide expenses from your spouse, it can ripple out to several areas in your relationship.
Expenses not in your budget can compromise your income. You might not be meeting your target and not have an idea why. More importantly, this can put a dent in your relationship when it comes to trust. If you are not upfront with your expenses, your spouse could also take this the wrong way. They will think that you are hiding something and begin to question your every move. Be sure to include all expenses when creating a budget.
Agree on spending limits
When you want to manage your marital finances better this year, spending limits can be a big help. This can be a lot of help when you each have allowances every month. You agree on a spending limit where you do not have to consult each other. This way, you still have the freedom to buy things you want. But anything over the limit needs to be discussed as a couple.
For one, this helps you stick to your budget as a couple. It also gives you the freedom to buy things you need and want even if it is just up to a certain amount. You learn the value of money also by having to choose your expenses wisely. On top of this, your communication with your spouse is improved as you talk about your finances more.
Scrutinize your debt obligations
One of the best strategies you and your spouse can consider to stay on top of marital finances this year is to look at your debt payments. List them all down and scrutinize each and every single one of them. Take a look at the amounts, the interest rates, due dates, and even how long you have until you finally get to pay them off.
This will help you pinpoint which ones you can try to lower down. You can try talking to your lenders and asking for a lower rate. There are also instances where consolidating your debt can give you the chance to streamline and stay on top of your debt accounts. You might even have deb accounts you can pay off quickly which can free up some of your income.
Create a repayment plan together
The important thing when you take on your finances as a couple is to do it together. That being said, you need to agree on any repayment plan you will use. It is important that you are both on board with the financial choices you make including repayment of your debt accounts. It is important that in managing your marital finances, you both agree on crucial steps to help you reach your goals.
The good thing is that you can actually identify and rely on each other’s strengths while doing this. If one of you can manage and stay on top of the payment schedule, then that person manages that spect of repayment. If the other one is great in finding extra income, then focus on that to help pay down debt much faster. The important thing is to work together so you can support each other.
Staying on top of marital finances this year can help you and your spouse bounce back from the challenges of the health crisis. The road ahead could be difficult but you will not go through it alone. Having your wife or husband with you can help make things a lot easier. It also increases your chance of successfully implementing your plans for the year. It is important to work with your spouse not only with your finances but in life to make the journey worthwhile.