Budget Tips for Every Couple
Budgeting as a couple doesn’t have to be a battle… as long as you both agree that you need a budget — and you need a budget!
Not every couple wants to make a budget. They feel that things are going just fine, “I have my money, she has her money, we put money in the money jar for household bills, and everything is great”.
Some people find it hard to move from worrying about your own financial needs to matching the needs of your spouse. Make a date to sit down and discuss and draw up your budget. The following are some budget tips for every couple, steps to take in order to set up your budget.
- First-Things-First. The first thing you should do is to determine your household needs. This would include things such as your mortgage or rent, groceries, utility payments, car payments, and any other debt payments. There is always room to save on these items… you can buy a less expensive car, rent or buy a smaller place or cut back on your groceries. These are the responsibilities that must be met before you start to budget for luxury items.
- The Money Jar. If you have decided not to put all of your respective money into one joint account, and prefer to keep separate accounts, it’s a good idea to open an account to pay your “joint” expenses. One way that works for many couples is to agree on a percentage of their income to contribute to the joint account. Granted, it is likely that the dollar amount that each partner contributes will be different, but being able to keep a percentage of your earnings works for many as there is no conversation or negotiating required when it comes to buying items that you desire.
- The White Board. This is to some of you I’m sure, a strange idea, but bear with me… Communication is the key to a successful relationship and money, or more importantly arguing over money, is at the top of reasons relationships fail. A White Board will serve as an important tool to illustrate exactly how much is coming in and how much money is going out. You will be able to see exactly how your budget is working, with no hidden surprises. You will have a section for your income and a section, typically much larger, for your regular monthly expenses.Another section on your White Board should be Non-Monthly Expenses. This Non-Monthly Expenses section will be sectioned by month, for the entire year. The non-monthly expenses are expenses that you anticipate but don’t occur on a regular or monthly basis. For example: Holidays / Birthdays, auto tag renewals, property taxes (if you are not escrowed), quarterly payments for car insurance, life insurance, etc. or any other expense that doesn’t occur monthly. Leaving out this category will dramatically change your budget.
Image: Montana State University
- Goals. There’s no doubt that everyone has a financial goal. Whether it is buying a new house, paying off a credit card or loan or purchasing a new car. No matter what your personal goal is, you can achieve it by following these budget tips for every couple and sticking to it.
- A Year’s Worth. This should probably be in the “Goals” section but I think it is so important that I wanted it to be by itself. If you can budget your money properly by following these budget tips for every couple, and adjust your savings, you should have a goal to have in reserve one year’s worth of your household expenses. Should an unforeseen financial tragedy strike, like the loss of a job, you will have the money in savings to pay your bills without incurring any additional debt. As you start to save for your “years’ worth” you will begin to feel a sense of security knowing that should something come up, you’ll be okay.
Budget Tips for Every Couple
It is important to implement these budget tips for every couple early on in your relationship. It will take some time to get your budget running smoothly. Don’t be afraid to adjust things where needed. Once you get your budget working efficiently you will be relieved to know that you are in control of your finances and that you are becoming more and more financially responsible as time goes on.
There will always be that unexpected financial speed bump but take solace in the fact that you are ready to face any financial obstacle.