Recently we talked about combining finances with a spouse after marriage. Today, we look at the day to day handling of money in a relationship. We all know that doing things as a couple can be more challenging than doing them as a single person. But they can be more rewarding as well. Finances is one of those things.
Communicating as a couple on money is a challenge because money is like this big equation. You’ve got your input of income, your output of expenses, and that equals what you’ve got left over to save or invest. When you’re married, you add in another income and other expenses. And I hate to say it but some spouses bring in less income than their expense! Which is why working together on handling your money will put you in a better place in the future.
Let’s get into some specific ways you can work with your spouse today on the topic of finance.
1. Have conversations about the future
One of the major things I want you to take away from this is the importance of finding common ground as a couple in terms of your goals. Bailey and I don’t have much problem with this. However, I don’t deny that many couples have very different perspectives and visions of what their future finances might look like.
Common ground is where you can come to when there are financial disagreements. If you both have a goal of living on a 38 acre farm with a private air strip so you can fly anywhere you want when you get a pilot’s license (real dream!), then you can always look at your financial decisions in terms of how it will affect your goals together.
Last year, we knew we wanted to buy a house. Because of that, we sacrificed together for two years previously to save enough for a down payment. And we did!
Going into this year, Bailey and I talked about our financial goals. Given we want to open an Airbnb, this means a lot of property improvements.
- We want to put in a driveway
- We want to build our own camper
- We want to replace our shed
These were the big three (in addition to other smaller home projects) that would require the most money. And we agreed that our future in that regard is important enough that we’ll sacrifice replacing a vehicle or something like that in order to accomplish that goal.
Make sure you talk about your goals together frequently! It will serve as a constant reminder of why you sacrifice financially in the ways you do.
2. Budget every month together!
I’ve mentioned this in the past but budgeting as a couple means you’re on the same page as each other.
“This month, we are putting this much to giving, this much to putting gutters on the house, this much to buying chocolate milk.”
When you agree on the month’s budget together, it will make money disagreements much less frequent for the rest of the month. You may have to compromise on some categories. This also means tracking expenses together. Budgeting is only as good as the tracking of the money budgeted.
3. Acknowledge your strengths and tendencies
As we learned in Financial Peace University, in a couple’s relationship, one tends to be more of the “nerd” and the other is more of the “free spirit”. The nerd doesn’t necessarily like numbers but is the one that does more of the heavy lifting behind the money. The free spirit tends to be less planned in their handling of money.
I am most definitely the nerd in our relationship. I very much nerd out on the numbers and generally set up the initial budget every month. Bailey is very much a free spirit. She’s interested in what money can accomplish in terms of her dreams but isn’t interested by any of the details behind it.
Neither the nerd nor the free spirit are better. They both need each other. As they teach in FPU, the nerd helps reign in the free spirit and helps them stay focused. And the free spirit helps the nerd live life without stressing out as much.
One super interesting thing to note is that a free spirit doesn’t mean they are the spender. Likewise, being the nerd doesn’t mean you’re good at saving. Bailey and I both tend to be spenders in our own unique ways. So working together is especially important for us to control our finances.
What did I miss?
And so we’ll pass this question onto you: What are some points you’d like to add about how to handle finances with your spouse successfully?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments down below!
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