One of the toughest things to do during this pandemic is to manage finances in marriage. The way this health crisis has affected millions of people have gone way more than just their finances. Businesses are trying to recover, people are hoping to get better, and even married people are trying hard to balance their finances and relationship during a difficult time.
A lot of people are struggling financially and this can ripple out to a lot of different things including relationships at home. The recent challenges can put your marriage in a difficult situation especially when it comes to your finances. With a lot of businesses trying to cut down on expenses, this meant employees are being put on furlough or being let go.
It will be difficult to manage finances in marriage when you suddenly find yourself with less income than before or if you are out of a job. This can be a very jarring experience for any person much more for it to happen when there is a pandemic on-going. Everything seems a little more challenging than they normally are.
Managing finances when you are already married is quite different from the time when you were still single. In fact, Business Insider shares that money is the top issue couples argue about. Before, you only had to think about yourself and your needs. But when you tie the knot, you have a household to look after. Every decision you make will affect not just you but other people you love. With that in mind, here are a few of the things you can do to help you manage your finances better with your spouse.
Create a budget together
As you try and manage finances in marriage, one thing you need to agree on is your household budget. This will be an efficient financial tool only if you put it together especially if both of you are still employed. But even if you have a one-income household, you both need to have inputs when creating your household budget.
If you are both employed, you need to consider two sets of income and expenses. It is also possible that if you are just starting out, you also have two sets of huge debt payments like student loans and even credit card debt. At this point, it is essential that you lay everything down so you can have a clear picture of your income and expenses.
Once you have a comprehensive budget, you now have a starting point in managing your finances. The goal is to keep your expenses less than your income so you can have some left for savings. If you are coming up short, you can use your budget to identify where you can make adjustments to cover your expenses. If you have some extra funds at the end of the month, your budget can give you an idea of which payments you can double down on.
Establish an emergency fund
If you want to manage finances in marriage during a pandemic, you need to agree on how you will establish your reserve fund. The health crisis underscored the sheer importance of having a strong and reliable back-up fund. For people who lost their jobs, it was tough to manage their daily expenses without a stable source of income.
This is the reason why you need to work on building up a strong emergency fund. The way you plan and save up for this is as a couple. The one thing you will need when you start saving for your rainy day fund is your budget. In particular, you have to look at what your expenses total to every month. This is the amount you need to save up for.
You can start saving for one month’s worth of expenses and then you move your way up. The more months you can cover with your emergency fund, the better. You have a longer time looking for a way to replace lost income. This is where you look for a job, work on side gigs to bring in money, or even start a business.
Share common long-term goals as a couple
When you start planning your finances as a couple, it is important that it is connected to a goal in the future. This helps you manage finances in marriage better. The reason for this is having direction. If you do not have any type of target you work on, you tend to just be reactive and passive in the way you manage your finances.
Without a goal in mind, every income becomes an opportunity to spend and buy what you want. But if you have a goal you need to achieve for the future, you understand why you need to save money. You are able to see the value of what you are doing now and connect it to a future goal. If not, you go into an endless cycle of earning and spending mindlessly.
As a couple, it is crucial to agree on your future goals as a couple. You do not need to have the same goals but you need to agree on some of the bigger ones. It can be about your retirement age or if you are going to do it at the same time. Are you going to put up a business in the next few months? Agree on these items as a couple so you are both heading in the same direction.
Manage finances in marriage with open communication
In your relationship, having an open line of communication is important. Marriage website shares that communication is the vehicle that drives all other important parts of the relationship. Trust is an essential foundation in your marriage. This is one of those things that takes a long time to build-up but one that can quickly crumble down when you start covering and lying to your partner. This is where the importance of open communication comes into the picture especially with your finances.
There is no reason why you should keep secrets from your spouse when it comes to your finances. Of course, if you are trying to plan a surprise gift for a special occasion, you might be trying to hide a few details but this more of an exception to the rule. You always need to make sure that your spouse knows everything so you can both make informed decisions when it comes to your finances.
Your budget needs to reflect both your income and expenses. It is also important that when you take on debt, you have to let your spouse know about it before you make a purchase. One tip is to set a minimum allowance for each of you. Any expense over that amount needs to be discussed as a couple before making a decision.
Complement each other’s weakness
It is tough to manage finances in marriage especially because you both have different strengths and weaknesses. One of you could be a saver and the other one could be a spender. One of you could be very good at identifying a side gig and the other has a talent in managing money. The first step is identifying where you excel and where you need help. Once you do, you strategize to take the lead on areas you are good at and accept help in your weak areas.
It is crucial that you manage finances in marriage especially at a time when the health crisis is still on-going. You need to work as a team when it comes to your finances so you get through the pandemic together.