guest post: budgeting for married couples.

by Janetha on October 25, 2013

in guest posts

hey, guys! thanks for listening to my rambles yesterday! today i am taking a break and my friend, jason, has offered up a helpful guest post. he is discussing something i definitely appreciate: BUDGETING. as a married couple (with kiddos in mind–thanks for the words on yesterday’s post BTW), marshall and i are very concerned about our future with budgeting.

Funny Baby Ecard: Congratulations on your biological clock overriding your common sense and budget.

haha.

we have been pretty relaxed in the past since we are DINKs (dual income, no kids) but that definitely needs to change. here are some wise words regarding the matter.. take it away, jason!

How to Stay On Budget as a Married Couple

As you might remember from planning your wedding, figuring out finances together as a couple can be challenging! Money is a sensitive and often stressful topic. Although you might be tempted to avoid the issue and hope things work out for the best, it’s better not to hide things—financial or otherwise. Marriage is all about acceptance; accepting each other for where you are and how you can help each other achieve your goals. So if you’re feeling stressed out by money matters, take a look at the five tips below for how to stay on budget as a married couple.


source

­1) Determine if you want to combine your incomes into a shared account or retain individual accounts. Having a joint account works very well for
couples that can trust each other completely when it comes to being financially responsible, but can cause stress for others. Separate accounts offer more independence but do not require as much open communication, which can lead to secretive spending. One option is to keep your own separate accounts for personal spending and use a joint account for necessary expenses. Research your options, talk with your partner and find out which plan will work best for your marriage.

2) If you’re newly wedded or struggling financially, you might not have that much cash to start out with for big expenses like a house or car. Fortunately, there are more options available to save. Instead of buying a car upfront you can find a car loan from sites like Auto Credit Express that will help you budget with low monthly payments. For parents, the Gerber Life College Plan offers an option that helps you save from infancy, and in this economy, it’s wise to start saving early.

3) Sit down with your spouse and create a monthly budget of income and necessary expenditures, such as household bills and mortgage or credit card payments. As these expenses must be paid regularly, both of you will be jointly responsible for making payments on time. In addition, if one of you is more of a ‘breadwinner’ than the other, talk with him or her about how both of you can work together to reduce financial burden felt by any one particular person.

4) Chances are, you and your spouse won’t agree on every expense. He might think your $60 haircuts at your favorite salon are a waste of money while you might criticize his fantasy football habit. Don’t waste time arguing on these small things—just set a monthly or weekly discretionary budget for yourselves.

5) Set goals for saving and retirement funds. If one of you is more of a spendthrift and the other is a saver, overestimate how much you might need to cover some expenses so you can have funds to fall back on just in case. The good news is that there’s a lot of info online to help you save nowadays. Free budgeting software like Mint.com makes keeping track of your income and expenses easy. Don’t forget to set up an emergency fund in case of an injury, sickness, or unexpected job loss! Using cash instead of credit cards can also help you spend less and save more.

While it might seem like a troubling task, setting a budget together can actually enhance your marriage.

source

Meeting your budgeting goals every month builds your financial accounts and your trust in each other. Above all, talk openly and frequently with each other! Communicating clearly is key to maintaining a budget and having a successful marriage. Whether you decide to keep your accounts separate or open a joint account, facing financial issues as a team will help your marriage thrive even when funds are tight.

Qs~

1. Do you have any budgeting tips to share?

2. Married folks: how do you and your spouse share budgeting responsibilities? Or does just one of you wear the pants?

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Pam October 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Interesting post! I’m not married but am in a long-term relationship and we live together, but we keep all of our money separate which works well now, but of course when you have kids is totally different!

My best tip is to live below your means. Just because you can afford to buy a new car doesn’t mean you should, etc. and try not to upgrade your lifestyle every time you get a raise so that you can save that money instead.

Ashlee October 26, 2013 at 6:30 am

Great post! I would recommend a crown financial class early in your marriage or better yet before you tie the knot. My dad wouldn’t allow us to get married until we took it. At the time I was annoyed that he would do that ( he teaches the classes so I just thought he wanted to annoy us) but now I am so thankful! I am even certified to teach the classes now. I handle our budget but we make decisions together about any purchases. We have a joint checking account for bills, groceries, going out to eat as a family and a joint savings account to save for our families future. We also have our own retirement plans through work. We both have our own checking accounts and get the same amount of fun money each pay check deposited into those accounts. Our son who is almost one has a grow with me account that money is put into each time we are paid and on his first birthday I will use what is in it to open him a mutual fund. I was just waiting until he had at least $1,000 to open one. I would also suggest looking into any college programs your state offers. He has a plan set up with set with MET that allows us to pay for his college credits at today’s rates. We are in MI but I think most states if not all have them. Sorry for the long post but as you can tell budgeting is something I am passionate about.. I work in accounting so it’s a big part of my day to day life.

Lauren October 26, 2013 at 7:46 am

I’m a SAHW, and I handle all of our budgeting and finances. I figured out that what works best for us is keeping meticulous records. I have a notebook that I sit down with a few days before payday every week and write down all the bills we have to pay and anything we need to pay for that’s not a fixed expense. My husband and I talk about anything we personally need/want to spend money on, be it clothes or entertainment type stuff and decide if that’s something we can do in the next couple weeks or if it’s something we need to save some money for and wait. We discuss almost every purchase and that works for us because we are a one income family. I understand that talking about every single purchase can make some people feel infantilized or micromanaged, but it works for us.

Michelle @ 3cheaprunners October 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

We have 1 shared bank account, and my husband takes care of the finances (we as well as dual income…but 2 kids)

Colleen October 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

One thing that worked well for us is giving any major financial shifts a trial run. For example, when we were going to buy a house, we calculated how much more than our rent a mortgage would be, and then took out that amount of money each month and put it in a savings account. That way, you can see what your cash flow would look like before committing, AND you’re giving yourself a nice little nest egg to start off with!

LG October 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm

My husband and I got married at 25 and 26, so we were used to having our own money. So…we’ve been using the joint account plus separate accounts thing and we LOVE it. Our paycheques go into the joint account, and then we each “pay” ourselves $275 twice per month to our separate accounts that we use for discretionary-type spending like clothes, music, sports, books and eating out. (We’re DINKS right now too.) It has been so great to be able to save my “own” money and buy the boots or haircut I want without worrying about everything being “equal” or kind of going on spending wars (“she bought some clothes so I’m going to buy a new guitar!”). My husband probably wouldn’t bother me about it anyway, but I’m a tightwad and would start a conflict if I thought he was spending too much on, clothes or something expensive at a restaurant. As it is, I know that it comes out of his monthly cash, so it’s all good. And I feel a little independent AND part of a team.

I think we’ll continue this when we have kids, but the amount may be lowered quite a bit… :0)

Also! I pay the bills online but he researches and gives recommendations about investing. We each play to our strengths that way, because when someone mentions “retirement savings”, I fall asleep immediately. And he might forget to pay the bills. I LOVE our system. I think basically we’re both pretty responsible and honest and not impulsive spenders though…for some people the issues can be bigger than just finding a system that works, but for us, it’s great.

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