Financial woes can cause serious problems in any relationship, especially when one partner doesn’t agree with how the other spends money. The best way to avoid this problem in the long run is to establish a couple’s budget early on in your marriage, so that you both go in with a clear understanding of what your individual financial and collective goals are.
People from various cultures have different values. When I was dating a Colombian girl, they like shiny objects for example, so they are high maintenance and it’s hard to save any money when you are in such a situation. At the end of the day, compromise and looking ahead makes more sense. Ultimately, setting up a budget as soon as you’re married will make the process smoother when you start building a family. Read on to find out more on why it’s so important for couples to set up a budget and how you can go about doing so yourself.
Importance of Budgeting
Here’s what setting up a budget can do for your marriage and later on, your family:
Helps to Build Trust
Sticking to an agreed upon budget plan takes discipline and strength and while you and your partner might get tempted to stray away from your plan along the way, it’s important to honor the promise you’ve made to one another to spend within a certain limit.
The more consistent you are in keeping to your budget, the more reliable and trustworthy you’ll be in each other’s eyes and as a result, this will fortify your relationship and promote trust.
Setting up a budget within a marriage requires that both parties be involved in the process, as the resulting plan will affect both of you. You’ll need to reach an agreement on what you’ll be spending your money on, saving up for and sacrificing. The process of budgeting usually starts with planning a wedding especially when you’re choosing a venue for your wedding reception.
Coming to an understanding on these matters usually requires a lot of compromise and communication is key in this regard. Because if you both understand the end goal, then it’ll be easier to implement the budget in the future.
That said, creating a joint budget does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t keep separate accounts or have individual financial goals apart from your goals as a couple. However, it is critical that you both have a say in what goes into your budget as a couple and that you have a healthy spending plan that works for both of you.
Promotes Healthy Spending
Planning your expenditure in advance through a monthly budget can help you to avoid superfluous spending as it gives you a bigger picture of your financial goals as a couple and puts your own goals into perspective, as well. Thus, budgeting can really help you to maximize the money you receive.
Eliminates Guilty Spending
Not having a budget often leads to guilty spending – where you spend money you don’t have on something ridiculous, or necessary but beyond your means. Needless to say, this leaves you feeling remorseful and can affect your self-esteem as well as your ability to trust yourself with money in the long run.
With a budget, safely plan for that shopping spree or elaborate spa session without feeling guilty because you know it’s within your budget and it won’t leave you broke. When both you and your partner honor your budget while fulfilling your desires, you’ll have better chances of maintaining a healthy state of affairs financially and within your relationship, as well.
Setting Up a Budget
Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to help you along in setting up your couple’s budget:
Declare Your Financial Positions
One of the most important steps to take before a couple gets married is to state their financial status to one another. This will both give you an idea of how the other manages their money and will make financial planning and budgeting together much easier.
From then on, decide whether to commit to joint accounts or keep your finances separate, while still pledging to collective financial goals.
Outline Your Everyday Needs
Clearly write down what your household needs are as a couple, including rent, utilities, groceries, car payments and debt repayments that any of you might have. However, some of these might change from month to month, depending on your needs.
For example, you can either choose to scale down by purchasing a less expensive car or rent a smaller apartment, or negotiate a lesser installment with your creditors. That said, prioritize the non-negotiable items on your budget before you start including any luxury items like recreational expenses and the like.
Cater to Individual Needs
Once your household needs have been taken care of, start planning on spending for your individual needs such as grooming (haircuts, manicures, treatments, etc.), gym memberships, wardrobe expenses and so on.
It is at this point that you’ll have to acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of your needs as a couple, e.g. video games versus shoe shopping. Be sure to compromise accordingly and arrange for each of you to have an allowance that you can spend on your own individual needs.
Honesty is Key
Honesty is the foundation of any successful relationship and is the basis of trust when it comes to all aspects of your union, including your finances. So, be transparent about each other’s finances even if it means revealing seemingly shameful and embarrassing details.
Place each other in a judgment-free zone each month when you compile your budget and admit to any mistakes you may have made during the month. Also, if one of the partners is unemployed, they should still be a part of the budgeting process, as they will most likely be contributing to the relationship in other valuable but non-monetary ways.
Develop Long-term Goals
As part of your broader financial plan, have long-term goals that you can work towards as a couple. This will expand the sense of purpose in your relationship and will help you to plan for long-term eventualities like having children, buying a house together, retirement or going on a dream vacation.
Working towards a goal also makes it more satisfying to stick to your monthly budget and easier to resist the temptation to spend outside of your budget plans.
It’s remarkably easy to set up a couple’s budget and once done, can set you and your partner on the road to financial security as well as strengthen your connection with each other. A couple can start budget planning before they get married. For example, saving money on the wedding by hiring less expensive cars, buying a cheap tungsten wedding band and having fewer people in the bridal party.
It’s not just about finances, but can help to improve your communication skills, strengthen your bond, it teaches you about compromise and can add a lot of value to your overall relationship. So, start budgeting with your partner today and watch your relationship flourish!