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I have spent years trying to crack the code on how to create a budget with my spender husband. I have taken courses, read books, and I even became a Financial Planner. Yes, seriously. I went into the money biz and still couldn’t control my husband’s spending!
So if my husband won’t follow a budget then what do we do? Because a plan shared by two people only works if both are contributing right? So that means that I can’t follow a strict budget either…right? Yes! You are correct.
Let me share how we are finally digging our way out of debt and actually accomplishing our financial goals without getting crazy with zero-based budgeting or anything else, really. It all comes down to one simple, but
1. Talk About The Role Money Plays In Your Life
It’s an odd concept that money can mean something different to each person, but after years of living with my spender, I realized that it does.
I spent years trying to save every penny that I could, only to turn around and see that Chris had spent it! It was infuriating, and it seriously affected me because I was always telling myself, no, and he never did.
I resented the fact that he got every whim that he wanted and that I never got to spend anything except grocery money because there wasn’t anything left. Whenever we talked about money, it became the blame game and escalated quickly. I felt desperate. How can you fix the problem when you can’t even talk about it?
But then we hit a breaking point. I started speaking my mind, and it was amazing to see his responses. It didn’t take long before I knew that he wasn’t trying to affect me negatively. Chris didn’t even realize it was happening.
Instead of talking about the numbers, try sitting with your spouse and talking about how money makes you feel. Dig deep and talk about why it affects you the way that it does.
For example, to me, money is a physical representation of a piece of Chris’s life. I felt angry that he would give away pieces of his life so easily, wasting them, when I wanted nothing but his time. Money was the vehicle to bigger and better things for our family and he was squandering it on gas-station-priced soda and tools that we didn’t even need. Money is a long-term concept in my brain, but it works differently for Chris.
To Chris, money is just the thing that gets him what he wants. It’s instant gratification in a physical form. Working is just a part of life and always has been, so it has no significance to him how much time he spent earning that money. As long as whatever he buys with it is important to him
Regardless of the fact that we view money in completely different ways, we can understand the other’s perspective. By understanding why it affects each other so differently, we have been able to respect each
2. Start Budgeting Together
Now that we have an understanding of each other’s feelings, it has made delegating our money so much easier.
Before, I had always managed our finances by myself, and Chris would simply ask me how much money we had. If I told him things were tight, he would get frustrated and take it out on me because suddenly he felt out of control. He felt like he wasn’t doing enough. It totally sucked, and I would internalize it as being my fault. I wasn’t saving enough, or trying hard enough to bring in extra income.
Now that we have started to talk openly about what we want money to do for us, we have been able to avoid getting into
I am still the manager of the situation, and I do the bills every payday by myself. But then, once all of the bills are paid and expenses are set aside, I figure out what is left.
Then, we decide how to move forward together. We consider any extra expenses of the month and talk about what our priorities are. Rather than being afraid to spend anything(my side) and spending without a second thought(his
Do I wish that I could just take every extra cent and throw it at our debt? Heck yes! Does Chris wish he could take every extra cent and throw it at his projects? You bet!
However, we both discuss where we would like to see the money go, and we make a budget for what is left, together. We haven’t had any money fights since we started doing this every payday and it only takes about fifteen minutes most days. When it takes longer, it’s because we start dreaming. It is an amazing feeling to find yourself unapologetically dreaming about the life that you want with the man that you love, without money problems preventing the discussion.
If you want to get on the same page with your spouse, make it a priority to communicate with your husband about your money at least once a week. It will help your relationship, your finances, your family life, and your future. I swear it’s worth every uncomfortable moment you might incurr!
3. Create A Communication Center
Chris gets paid every two weeks, but that feels like a really long time when you are in the dark about your finances. In order to stay on track, I do a financial report every single Friday. It keeps both of us in the loop, but we don’t have to dig in and decide where the money should be going on the off weeks because we already did that on payday.
The beauty of creating financial reports on paper is that you don’t even have to talk about money on the off weeks if you don’t want to because everything is taken care of. It’s pretty passive as long as you both respect the system.
So how do I do this financial report? I list out our expenses for the month on a piece of paper, then our debt snowball, our prior agreement about where the money should go, and what we have left from our “spending expenses” such as gas and food. It’s mostly the spending expenses that matter, but I have noticed that by reminding Chris of our debt he is more willing to let me pay it off.
Choose a space that you both share, whether it’s your bedroom, laundry room, office, whatever. Put up a bulletin board or whiteboard and start sharing the numbers on a consistent basis!
It feels good to feel in control, and I have noticed a difference in our happiness level and compliance now that we both get to see the numbers consistently.
Start Crushing Your Goals and Enjoying Your Marriage
Money is a huge stressor but it only escalates when a married couple
These are such simple ways to make a difference, but they really do make an impact! What other problems do you face when it comes to money? Tell me in the comments!