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.
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.
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.
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.
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?