Doing It Together
Money is one of the biggest triggers for an argument in a marriage. That’s even when your budget is stable. If you’re running to the pawn shops to keep the utilities on then your budget is non-existent and your stress levels are out of the roof. I can guarantee you’ve fought with your husband over money.
My husband and I budget as a couple. This means several things:
- We are both aware of where we stand financially. When we started out I did all the budgeting. After 7 years of marriage and 3 children, that flipped. I stayed at home full time and didn’t make any money so I didn’t know anything about our finances. We finally got on the same page and are both aware and involved in the budget.
- Our income is combined. We don’t have our own accounts or split our bills to pay. All the income is treated as one. The expenses are the same. One couple, one household, one budget.
- We don’t hide or secretly spend money. This has its exceptions when purchasing a surprise gift for each other but for the most part, like I said in #1, we both know where every dollar of our income is spent.
Did I just say “every dollar”?! Yep! And that’s the app we use to track our budget when out. So we both have that app downloaded on our smartphones using one login, a notebook that stays at home with our monthly budgets in it, and cash envelopes that provide and track expenditures that we separate from Every Dollar.
EveryDollar is a part of Dave Ramsey’s system and we pretty much stay on his program. Financial Peace University really changed the way we dealt with money. First and foremost, we started doing it together! I never realized how important that was but since making that commitment to be a team it’s strengthened our marriage.
We do the next month’s budget between the 20-25th of the previous month. Since I’m hourly part time I estimate my hours based on our family’s schedule/ any special days I need to take off. His check is almost always the same.
Before we started budgeting as a couple I was completely clueless how much our bills were. It took some time and some averaging out but here’s how we budget those expenses. Start writing down everything you spend. Toward the end of the month, estimate the next month’s expenses in similar amounts. The more months you do it, the better you’ll get at estimating and knowing the general amount of your bills.
You’re going to spend money three different ways. First, you’ll pay your bills with your debit card. Then you’ll transfer money to special savings accounts that you create and name for budget lines that you don’t spend regularly but you know are coming. Examples of ours include vehicle tags, home repairs, our Amazon Prime, doctor bills, holidays, vacation, our life insurance, and vehicle repairs. Yes, the people at the bank probably cringe when they look at how many accounts we have and we are perfectly fine with that! The third way you’re going to spend money is through cash. It’s scientifically proven that your brain and body process spending cash differently than using a debit card. You’re more sensitive to what you’re spending this way. So for budget lines like entertainment, eating out, clothing, gas, cosmetics, etc. you’ll withdraw cash. We just ask for extra envelopes from the bank and divvy them up and label them. When you’re out of money in a particular category, you stop spending money on that!
EveryDollar is a free app created by Ramsey Solutions that is used to track income and expenses. Take the income and budget line numbers off the budget sheets (we’ll talk about those in just a bit) and plug them into EveryDollar. Super easy!! Then on the expense line items, you’ll either track debit card transactions in each of these categories or leave notes that X amount was pulled out for the cash envelopes or transferred to a sinking fund. EveryDollar makes it super easy to keep track of what was planned and what was spent in each category, specifically when you’re using a debit card and especially when you don’t have the notebook handy.
The Budget Notebook
Financial Peace University budgeting sheets include a Monthly Cash Flow sheet, Allocated Spending sheet, and Irregular Income sheet. First we tackle the Monthly Cash Flow.
Estimate the month’s income. Then go through the bills that are set in stone and write their amounts down on the budgeted line. After that prioritize the budget lines, make estimates based on past spending habits and future events (a calendar is very helpful) and write those amounts down in the assigned space. Keep track of it on a second calculator because at some point the money runs out. This is why prioritizing is necessary. Honestly, we’ve yet to fill every budget line on the cash flow sheet yet. But that’s ok! The main thing is that you estimate the income and tell every single dollar of that where to go. Income minus expenses needs to equal zero.
Then the Allocated Spending sheet works like this. The month’s income is broken down into each paycheck. Then the bills that are due before the next pay period need to be paid out of that check. Start jotting them down. The goal is to get every dollar of that paycheck spent using the budget lines from the Monthly Cash Flow sheet. Some lines will need to come from two paychecks. That’s ok! For example, part of our mortgage is taken out of my first paycheck for the month. The rest is taken out of the hub’s second paycheck of the month. If there’s an odd amount left in my paycheck that doesn’t match a line item, then it goes toward a line item and the difference is taken from a different check. For example, if I have $32.35 left in a paycheck after bills and main budget lines, that will be allocated to something like gifts, vacation, or holidays. Since the Monthly Cash Flow is done first, the totals for the month are already known and it’s easy to know how much more you need for the month. Since the same numbers are used, you shouldn’t end up short on any budget lines. The math should equal out to zero again.
What if Your Paychecks Aren’t the Same?
We use the Irregular Income form because we’re both paid hourly and our paychecks aren’t the same amount every time. The budget lines that didn’t get anything in the Monthly Cash Flow sheet get prioritized. Amounts are written in priority order and when a paycheck is over what you estimated you spend that by simply going down the irregular income form until you run out of money.
The purpose to it all is to control your money together. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Money in itself isn’t good or evil. You can be a godly person and still make money and be profitable. Budgeting as a couple can strengthen your marriage for the glory of God! Sure it may be hard at first, but isn’t everything when you first start out? 😉 You can do it!
Up next…the emotional side to budgeting as a couple 😉
Ciao for now!
Money, sex, parenting…there are soooo many aspects of living life together as husband and wife. Want to seriously prioritize your marriage? Ready to make some improvements in your wifing (yep, it’s a verb!) game? Join the “Wife for the Win” marriage challenge now! Give your marriage a quality boost this week!!
- Marriage & Money; Budget Sinking Funds That Relieve Budget Stress
- Lower Budgeting Stress With Your Husband; The Emotional Side of Managing Money Together As A Couple
- Couples Tips to Reduce Vacation Stress
- Balancing Being a Wife with All the Rest of Life; How to Prioritize Your Husband Within Your Other Responsibilities and Stay Sane
- 13 Effective Communication Strategies – Ways to Better Communicate with Your Husband