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Family Budgeting

How to get your spouse on board

Family budgeting

Budgeting works best when both spouses are working together. Often, though, one spouse will realize the importance of budgeting before the other. If you're in this boat—you've been reading about budgeting and have decided it's something you want to do—then you may be struggling to get your spouse on board. The following are some budgeting tips to help get your spouse more involved and open to the idea of planning your monthly finances.

Have a discussion about your financial goals.

When you present the idea of budgeting to your spouse, they may be focusing on the nitty-gritty details like how they have to log every transaction or keep track of how much they spend on takeout. It's no wonder budgeting doesn't seem appealing when you look at it this way!

A better way to get your spouse on board is to focus on what budgeting will help you achieve: your financial goals. Sit down and talk about what your financial goals are. Maybe you want to afford a big vacation in two years, or perhaps you want to be able to retire by the time you're both 50. Once you've agreed on some goals, then you can bring up the idea of budgeting as the way to achieve those goals. Your spouse will be more excited about budgeting when they have a clear idea of the reward you're working towards.

Watch videos together.

Chances are, in learning about budgeting yourself, you watched a few videos that you found informative and helpful. Instead of trying to relay that information to your spouse yourself, just ask them to sit down and watch those videos with you. If they are presented with the same information about budgeting as you were, then they'll have an easier time seeing where you're coming from and understanding why budgeting is so important to you now.

Make the budget together.

In speaking to your spouse about budgeting, be sure you make it clear that this is something you want to do together. If you sit down and make the budget, and then you expect your spouse to stick to that budget, it will feel like something being imposed on them—not something you're doing together. 

For many couples, having a monthly budget meeting works well. You can even sip some wine together as you review the past month's spending and set the next month's budget. In the first month or two, you might take the lead, but make sure you still give your spouse time to offer input. As the months go on, they'll become more involved, and you'll develop more of an even partnership.

Leave room in the budget for fun and flexibility.

Since you're the one who is most excited about budgeting, it's probably safe to assume you're the more financially strict partner, and your spouse is more of a financial free-spirit. To more free-spirited spenders, a budget can feel really restrictive. So, if you can make room in the budget for fun and flexibility, your spouse is more likely to get on board.

Allocate a certain amount of individual "fun money" for each of you. Don't cut back too drastically on spending all at once. Once your spouse learns, from experience, that budgeting does not have to take away all of their fun, they'll be more willing to keep budgeting and get a little more strict over time.

With the tips above, you should be able to get your spouse on board with budgeting. Start slow, work together, and be willing to roll with the punches as you navigate finances as a team. 

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