Can you count how many times you and your man have disagreed about money? I bet if you’ve been married for even a year the count is higher than one hand can count! A recent survey conducted by Ramsey Solutions showed money is the second leading cause of divorce behind infidelity. Soak that in for a second – money is the second leading marriage killer only surpassed by one of you having an affair. That’s heart wrenching! And if we’re honest, it’s downright scary! Why? Because I know and trust that my husband isn’t going to have an affair but I can’t guarantee that we won’t disagree about money.
Money can be a touchy subject and one that carries a lot of emotions with it. I think that’s because money represents security for a woman and there’s a lot of fear when a couple is financially unstable. There’s a study that showed almost half of married couples with over $50,000 of consumer debt said money is a top reason for arguments. I imagine money arguments over $50K are a bit more extreme than money arguments over a hundred bucks. What do you think?
I’ve covered the technical side of how my Mr. and I budget. See also Dave Ramsey’s site. This post, however, is more about the emotional side of budgeting as a couple.
Maybe it’s because I’m listening to The 12 Week Year right now but I feel vision is a vital part of avoiding money issues. If you’ve had any kind of budget meeting with your husband you probably already agree with this! Sitting down together and creating a vision means a quality conversation about wants, dreams, and goals. Are you and your husband on the same page when it comes to where you want to be in five years, ten years, twenty years?
Of course I tend to combat my want for lifetime vision with this scripture. Don’t let that one word “but” keep you from creating a vision though! It’s not sinful to have wants, dreams, and goals.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Being on the same page with your man emotionally is going to help you be on the same page financially. Literally…the numbers on the page are easier when you’re on the same page mentally.
So set a fancy date night for the two of you at a restaurant or coffee shop and have that conversation as a special budget meeting to lay a united financial foundation.
Show Me the Money
Bring in some money honey! It doesn’t have to be a major amount. We don’t realize how heavy a load our husbands carry on their shoulders as the breadwinner in the family. I can sometimes see the stress in my Mr.’s face. He does such a good job providing but I know he appreciates some help.
Even if your Mr. insists that you don’t need to bring in an income and wants to provide it all, plan a yard sale. You’ll get rid of crap you don’t need, burn some calories, and bring in some extra cash. 😉 I bet he’ll appreciate it.
Once you’re on the same page with your tentative vision, you’re ready to tackle the budget meeting! Here are a few suggestions to lower the emotional budgeting stress for you as a couple.
Block out an hour for your monthly budget meetings. At least – we’ve had them take longer. These are the budget meetings where you are figuring numbers and filling out all your forms. Remember, here’s the practical breakdown of that. You might be tempted to get through it in a hurry but don’t rush. Rushing means you’re probably going to make mistakes because you’re trying to finish up quickly. Believe me, there’s nothing that can turn the emotions sour faster than getting the math wrong because you were in a hurry and having to erase all the numbers and redo and recheck it. Bleh!
Blocking out enough time also allows time for discussion should one of you not remember a certain decision. Maybe you need to re-discuss a budget line. Blocking out enough time lowers budgeting stress by allowing enough time to work something out through calm communication.
Food & Emotions
Make sure your man is not hangry!! Hungry people are angry people. Angry people can be mean. It’s not their fault. Feed them. This really needs to be done before the budget meeting. We’ve tried to have a snack at the table while doing the budget meeting but it doesn’t really work. Imagine having strawberry juice on your hands when you’re trying to write numbers or chewing on cheese when you are trying to discuss money. It’s just aggravating.
Make sure you understand his points. When we don’t see eye to eye on an expenditure many times it’s simply because of a misunderstanding. I’ve misunderstood his opinion or the heart of the matter or even the math in general (math isn’t really my strong suit. plus sometimes I misread my own handwriting. anyhoo…). Take the time to understand his point of view. Listen to him without interrupting, ask questions to make sure you understand how it’ll all work out in his plan. Also, definitely understand the math.
I like to have a glass of wine before or during the budget meetings. It relaxes me where I don’t get so defensive and uptight because that’s something that I honestly really struggle with. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and get fuzzy headed. Budget meetings don’t work then…so I’ve heard.
Show Him Some Love
Everybody likes to be prioritized. Prioritize his wants. There’s a section on the month form for each spouse to have some pocket money. Ask him if he’s doing ok with that amount or if he’d like to adjust that number. He’s not gonna break the bank. If it’s really not enough and he ends up using the debit card or scrounging for more pocket money, agree on a new number. He’ll appreciate that you’ve got his interests in mind.
Respect Your Teammate
See how I just said agree?? This is teamwork. You are tackling the budget TOGETHER. Managing a household’s money TOGETHER. Making the finances work TOGETHER. Ok, you get it. But sometimes we really feel like we’re on opposite teams, don’t we? Budgeting as a couple can be stressful! You might have to remind yourself a few times that you’re on the same team during a budget meeting, especially when you have different numbers in mind for a budget line.
As always, be respectful. Within their wiring, that’s really important to them. Make it clear that you respect his hard work, his money management skills, and his heart. This is the man you love. 😉 You can do this!! You can do it together! Use these tips to lower budgeting stress and manage the emotions that are involved in budgeting together as a couple.
Frugality includes all the other virtues. –Cicero
😉 Much love!
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