9 Simple Tips To Get Your Spouse On Board With Budgeting
Lesson 7 Chapter 3 Module 2
I know one of the more frustrating parts of budgeting is trying to get your spouse on the same page as you. So in this lesson, we're going to go over 9 tips to help you get your spouse on board with the budget.
1. Be Nice
The first thing you need to do when trying to get your spouse on board with budgeting is to be nice and speak to each other with respect. The goal is to manage your money, not your spouse; so don’t let this conversation turn into an argument.
You want to express your feelings, but you have to think about what you say and how you say it. After you say your part, listen to your spouse. You can’t work on making a budget together if you’re the one doing all the talking.
This isn’t a lecture—you’re trying to work together.
Also, don’t play the “blame game”. It doesn’t improve the situation if all you’re doing is placing the blame on your spouse. This approach will make your spouse feel defensive and more resistant to the budget.
You want your spouse to come to the table with a positive attitude and be open to your approach moving forward. So if you want your spouse to get on board with budgeting, stop placing blame and focusing on the past.
2. Talk About The Benefits Of A Budget
It’s so much easier to get your spouse on board with budgeting if you talk about all the benefits of budgeting—as opposed to saying “we need to stick to a budget.”
When people think about budgeting, they think of it being extremely restrictive—almost like a financial diet (and no one likes diets). So ask your spouse what are some of the things they love to do? What are they passionate about?
Maybe it’s traveling, being able to stay home with the children, or giving back to a specific cause. Whatever that passion is, explain to your spouse how being financially stable can help them pursue all those things and more.
3. Set Up Budget Meetings
I recommend you sit down with your spouse every week and talk about your budget. During this meeting, discuss your progress towards your financial goals. Are you still on track with your budget? If not, see where you fell short and how you can improve next time.
In order to analyze your progress towards your financial goals, it is important that you both take part in tracking your spending. Talk about how much you have left in each category and any upcoming expenses you have.
As you get better at working together and sticking to your budget, these meetings can be shorter and less frequent. If one spouse makes a mistake, remain calm and don’t dwell on it. Just find a solution, and move forward.
4. Create Goals Together
I think this is one of the most important things you can do to get your spouse on board with budgeting. It is so important to set goals that you can work on as a couple because it will keep your spouse motivated to stick to the budget.
So remember those goals you set in chapter 2 of this program? Let your spouse know about them, and ask him/her what goals they would also like to accomplish too. Then talk about what goals you would like to accomplish as a couple.
If you’re just limiting spending and sacrificing for no clear reason, your spouse will start to question what’s the benefit of budgeting. As a result, they will start to overspend again.
Some good goals you can work on together are:
- Buying a house
- Starting a family, or
- Planning for retirement (I say push even harder and plan for early retirement!)
Once you set your goals together, make it clear when you want to meet each of your financial milestones as a couple.
5. Determine Household Necessities
When setting up your budget as a couple, you have to start by determining your needs as a household. What are your household necessities?
Some examples of household necessities are things like:
- Mortgage or rent
- Transportation costs
- Utilities, and
This can be difficult to come to an agreement on because one spouse may want to live cheaply, while the other is more lavish. It’s important that you get on the same page here before moving on to other aspects of your budget.
6. Determine Individual Needs
Once you have come to an agreement regarding the household needs, start working on determining individual needs. What are some of the things you want included in the budget as individuals?
Some examples of individual needs (and wants) are:
- Entertainment, and
- Dining out
This is where things can get really tricky. Don’t give your spouse a hard time about how much they spend on fast food while you continue to spend what they think is too much on clothes.
It’s important to understand that your wants and needs will probably differ from each other. So that brings me to my next point—you’re going to have to compromise.
For a family budget to work, everyone has to be equal. Equality makes it easier for you and your spouse to stick to the plan. So for both parties to feel equal and positive about the budget, there will probably need to be some compromise.
Listen to your spouse and understand what’s important to them. Then make sure each person is allowed some money to spend on the things that are important to them.
If your spouse is a spender, I recommend you try the cash envelope method we will discuss later in this program.
Break down how much money your spouse can spend on the things that are important to them into weekly amounts. By using the cash envelope method, when the money is gone, both you and your spouse will have to stop spending.
As long as each person is sticking to the agreed amount of money they can spend on their individual needs, there’s no reason to fight about how that money is spent. You also don’t have to worry about nagging your partner to stick to the budget.
8. Lead By Example
Sometimes the best way to get your spouse on board with budgeting is to just lead by example. If your partner sees how much you’re benefiting from budgeting they may eventually start to show some interest and jump on board.
9. Speak To A Professional
Finally, if you’re still struggling with getting your spouse on board with budgeting at this point, you may need to seek help from a professional who’s an outside source.
Start by having joint sessions with me so we can all meet together to come up with a plan for your money. It is sometimes easier for a spouse to hear this kind of advice from a well-known expert rather than from their wife.
If all else fails, and you still can’t get your spouse on board with budgeting, you may need to speak to a counselor. There may be an underlying problem that’s even bigger than money that you’re not even aware of.
Counseling can uncover deeper issues that your spouse may be trying to cope with by overspending.
I know that budgeting as a couple can be much harder than budgeting on your own. You have to not only think about your wants and needs, but you also have to consider the needs of your spouse. Try some of these tips and get your spouse on board with your budget today!
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