Getting your spouse on board with a budget
There are few things tougher in life than managing your finances and your marriage WELL (I think kids maaaayyyyy be tougher, but this post is not about that ? ). With money issues being the big reason that a lot of marriages end, the perfect time to get in sync with your finances is today. Too bad it is not as easy as it was for me to write that out though, right? Matter of fact, getting your spouse on board with a budget can feel dang near impossible. But all is not lost, with a few steps and consistent habits, you will soon see a change in your not-so-easily-swayed spouse.
It’s a two way street
First, let me start off saying that this is indeed a joint thing. This is in no way a “I need to fix my spouse, but not me” kind of deal. It just doesn’t happen that way. I learned this the hard way in the very early years of my marriage with Mr. Hubster. While we spent a good deal of money together, we (or I) hardly spent anything alone. I would speak not-so-lovingly to my hubs about his money usage and he would in turn be angry. We went to counseling and he recommended us having a fun money allotment (not an allowance because, well, we aren’t children). While I still struggle with my control issues with money, having a fun money allotment has been really good for us.
This allotment can be anything that you want it to be (that fits in your budget, of course). Ours is as low as $50 during times of famine or as high as $150 during times of feast. This still may seem low to some people, but when you have envelopes for other expenses like clothing, decor, and gifts just to name a few, you don’t need fun money for much else. Fun money works to help each person feel like they are in control of “their” money. And it is wonderful! LivingWellSpendingLess wrote that it helps each person “be less judgmental of in budget purchases” and I couldn’t agree more.
The Spender and the Saver
You may have noticed in your own relationship that one of you is the saver while the other is a spender. If by some awesome chance you are both savers then you are in for big bank accounts and probably a fairly happy home (in the money department anyway). If you, however, are both spenders, well, that is going to mean double the work AND you probably need an accountability partner outside of your marriage. Just being real here, there is no shame in asking for help.
Do you like to set financial goals (and hit them)? Are you reluctant to do something expensive such as a big trip or a big life change because of the financial cost? Have you ever gotten really excited over a lump sum of money because you can watch your savings go up? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are probably a saver.
If you have never set a financial goal in your life, do fun and expensive things frequently, or are super excited over your tax returns because you have been planning that big purchase for months, then you are most likely a spender.
If you guessed that I am the saver in my own relationship, then you would be right. Hubs is definitely the spender. Over the years, we have balanced each other out and we have accomplished some really amazing things. We have also experienced the flip side of that coin where we didn’t do as well as we should have. I do recognize that I have to meet the needs of my husbands spender side so that we can be more in sync with our goals. This is definitely a big part of getting the reluctant one on board with the plan!
Communication at its finest
A good relationship really starts with talking and getting to know each other. What makes a relationship last is good communication. This is HARD, y’all, but it is so important. Be really intentional about talking to your other half about your money. Every month, my hubs and I talk about how our spending/saving went. Our chats are short, maybe an hour at most. We review our budget, look at what all we spent our money on, see where we succeeded and where we didn’t, and set our next months budget. This talk has to happen every month so that we are on the same page.
I have heard too many women say that they don’t talk “money” with their spouse. That is not healthy for a marriage. Finances are huge! We need to know what is going where so that we can plan for the future, right? The last thing I want for anyone is to see them unable to live the life they truly desire just because they never talked “money” with their life partner. You are in this together, so talk about it. If you try to bring it up and they just shut you down, try leading by example for a bit and hopefully they will get on board.
Lead by example
Let’s just say that your finances are in a “not-so-pretty” space. It doesn’t really take two to start steering your finances in the right direction. One person needs to take the wheel here, and that can be you! Get serious about setting a budget, writing down your expenses, sticking to a budget, and making changes when you need to. Openly say things like “it is not in the budget” or “we have a bit of spending money left in the eating out budget, why don’t we go out for lunch”. This will absolutely show your significant other that you are serious about your budget.
Now, can this go on for a long time without your spouse jumping on board? Yeah, sure it can. Be strong and be consistent in order to show that you are determined. Getting someone else in the mix may be what you need for an extremely
stubborn reluctant husband or wife. This could be in the form of a financial planner, a financial advisor, or a budget coach (like me). Sometimes hearing it from some other person is exactly what they need. Seek help instead of letting this be a strain in your marriage.
Like so many things in life, good things are worth waiting for (and fighting and waiting for some more). Getting your spouse on board with a budget is top priority in a marriage so treat it like one. It may take a lot of work and a lot of compromise, but it can be done. If you are interested in getting an accountability partner for your home budget, let me know. It is okay to ask for help! Just hit that email icon at the top right of the page and drop me a line:)
So let me ask, what is the one thing that you struggle with when it comes to finances? We all have our weaknesses.