Finances are one of those things that most couples would rather have a root canal than talk about and it’s a shame. I have to be honest, one of the best things that Michelle and I did before getting married was take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course. I can not emphasize how important that course was for us and for our marriage. If you are not on the same financial page with your husband or wife put down that doughnut and make today the day.
Statistics show that one of major reasons for arguments and divorces are financial problems. According to a CNBC article money is the leading cause of stress in a relationship. Here are some common examples:
- Husband A is extremely frugal and enjoys saving. He is an excel ninja and has thousands of budgets on his desktop and may run a dad blog. You know the type. His wife on the other hand loves shopping. He gets frustrated every time she comes home with a new shirt or shoes she just needed. Rather than trying to understand why she is buying the items, he can’t stop focusing on how much she is spending.
- Husband B has a buying problem. Regardless of how often his wife tries to build a budget, he ignores her. He believes “I worked for this money, it’s mine and I can buy as many doughnuts as I want”. He doesn’t see any problem with what he is doing and refuses to see how it is impacting his relationship.
- Husband C has decided to hide his debt from his wife. He has secretly racked up thousands of dollars in debt and hasn’t shared it with his wife.
Honestly these are just some of scenarios that I have heard about recently. In every example there is a clear lack of communication and trust. Even worse are the scenarios where the spouse is hiding debt and spending from the other.
Here are 3 ideas to get on the same financial page as your spouse:
1: Budget Together
In every scenario described above the biggest culprit was a lack of communication.
“Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?!?”
Probably not the best way to check for understanding…
As a couple don’t ignore the dreaded budget word. Building a budget together helps facilitate the conversation and communication. Budgeting is the most effective way to keep track of your money. Building a budget together allows you to discuss how your money will be spent and saved. Agreeing ahead of time on how the money will be spent helps eliminates arguments throughout the month. I am not naive in believing this will eliminate all money arguments. Michelle and I have had multiple disagreements when we first starting budgeting but they occurred before we spent the money. This allowed us to work through the issues and come to a compromise.
Budgeting may seem tedious, but having one comes with a ton of benefits such as preventing the marital stress for one…
Like Nike says:
Even better is that technology has made budgeting a whole lot easier. One of the most popular programs is Mint. Mint is a program that let’s you create a budget and automatically track your accounts and transactions and is owned by the same company that does Quickbooks. The best part of Mint is that it is FREE!!! Regardless of how you create your budget, do it together.
2: Learn to compromise
I am a budget ninja! I love numbers, I love excel charts, I love saving. Yup I am Husband A… I am honestly blessed because Michelle really isn’t a super spender, but…. she definitely doesn’t have my love of budgeting. For example, the average age of my work shirts are between 3-4 years. The t-shirts that I wear outside of work are more like 5-6 years old. I honestly have no desire to buy new clothes.
Michelle advised against including any real pictures…
Michelle on the other hand wants to get new clothes each year…
Who does that?!?
When we first got married, I just could not understand why she needed to do this each year. I honestly got a bit frustrated because it was killing my excel budget! But after talking with her and listening to why she wanted new clothes I began to understand her better. In the end I finally realized that it wasn’t that big of deal and we just needed to budget appropriately.
Besides, you know the motto “Happy wife… Happy life…” 🙂
3: Set your eyes on the prize
If you have no financial goals, stop reading now and go set some.
I am serious!
I want you to think about where you want to be financially in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years.
Go ahead… I’ll wait.
First and foremost if you do not have any finical goals it makes it so much harder to say “No” when it comes to spending and buying. Do the same 1 Year, 5 Year, 10 Year exercise with your husband or wife. Talk about what you would love to have or do as a family. When you do, you will realize that you need to change the way you spend your money. Dream together, plan together and set those goals together.
Getting on the same financial page does not have to be something that tears the two of you apart. It could ultimately be something that brings the two of you together because you will have communicated honestly, comprised and set goals as a team. Make today the day.