Oh the joys of marriage. You think you will have the best of everything: the companionship of your BFF everyday (your spouse), someone to talk to and more income! Oh yeah, more money coming into the house with the combined incomes.
Now you must admit, you thought about the money your spouse made before you got married. You also thought about all that you guys will be able to do with the combined income. Well, I know I did. I was super excited to have “extra” money coming into my house.
See, I was an independent single mom who was already taking care of myself, the kids, and my bills so of course I assumed by getting married it will be a gravy train once his income was included with mines.
REALITY QUICKLY SETS IN!
Image of couple courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Oh don’t get me wrong, the income definitely came into the house. I enjoyed seeing the extra money in the bank account but what I didn’t, nor did he, do was PLAN how our money would be spent. Yes, I must admit we had different views about money: me (pay bills & shop) him (pay bills and save).
Well, you can just imagine how the first year or two (or 5) went in our house. I love to shop so I would justify my spending based on the savings I received. I would always show him the savings on the receipt LOL (yes I did that and would pump out my chest when I showed him)
Well, my husband is a saver. He don’t like spending money for nothing unnecessary things especially needless shopping. It became apparent quickly that we needed to stop and talk about finances and how we will budget our money.
Oh, did I tell you, I have always worked from a budget but my budget rarely had a space for the “what ifs” the rainy day fund.
So we quickly had to have that dreaded money budget talk. Yep, it was definitely needed. After having several heated talks about spending & bills, it was best if we wanted to stay married that we got on the same page about “our” money.
5 Reasons a budget can help your marriage:
1. Budgets forces teamwork
Both spouses bring to the marriage a financial history that includes strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. Creating a budget as a couple forces you to learn how to operate as a team instead of an individual. You will learn how to incorporate the strengths from both spouses to build a secure financial security. Compromise must take place to achieve a well-balanced equal voiced budget. To really achieve success with creating a budget & sticking to it, you guys must work as a team.
2. Be accountability partners
Creating the budget as a team, will help you guys to be accountability partners. You both know what the financial health of the marriage is and can motivate the other to adhere to the money goals set.
3. Offers transparency (no secrets)
Oh, yeah there will be true transparency when you open and share the status of your income and your bills with your spouse. When you create the budget together, you are opening up to your spouse on how you have and do spend money. This can be a painful truth for some spouses & for the spouse that is sharing. This transparency allows for you guys to grow and support each other better. You will be better equipped to support your spouse by speaking their money language. This activity will definitely humble you and make you vulnerable but the trust, love, and support you vowed to give will come into play NOW.
4. Provides a true view of income
Once you begin to work on creating a budget, you will get a birds eye view of what money comes into the house and the total amount of money that goes out. This will help you guys decide on how to cut costs and what expenditures need to be cut completely. Most of the time, we are not really sure where our money is going. We have an idea but until you write it down & see it in black and white, you have no real idea that you are spending X amount of money eating out or buying shoes (oh wait this isn’t about me, lol).
5. Plan regular dates
Ahhh, you had to know I would go there! Yep, I’m here. Date night take the back seat in many marriages because of the aged old excuse “There is no money available.” Well while you guys are working on your budget, you will budget for date nights. Remember in reason #4 a budget will provide a view of where your money is going, those “extra” coffee stops or shoes will stop so that you can have the discretionary income to have regular date nights. Regular dates with your spouse will help the flames and the connection to stay in your marriage. Communication will definitely improve. So don’t skimp on putting a line item in your budget for dates.
There are many more reasons why it is important to have a budget & how the budget can save your marriage. I challenge you to add one or two more reasons to the list above. Most importantly, I want you guys to take control over your finances & eliminate the “where is the money” talks.
Money Image (only) courtesy of sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Steps to take to start on a budget:
- Decide on a date that you will discuss your finances
- .Gather all your bills and bank statements
- Get a pen and paper or even a poster board to write on
- Be realistic about your income, the current bills due, and your spending habits
- Work as a team (keep “I” out of it and think more of a “we”)
- Always discuss major financial purchases (before you actually purchase the item)
Change isn’t easy. Well hell marriage isn’t either but I will choose to work in and for my marriage before I allow the love of money (or the disrespect for money) to destroy my marriage. I know you feel the same way. So have the finance talk with your spouse. If a budget is needed create one. If you need to curb the over the top spending, then curb it!
Remember: Financial decisions that impact the success of the family are jointly shared by the husband and the wife.
If you need help with getting your finances in order, read these books: The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness and Matri-Money, 150+ Tips about Money and Marriage. I actually have the kindle version of Marti-Money so I can refer to it at anytime and anywhere!
How are your decisions impacting your marriage? Share in the comments below.