Budgeting as a couple can be a difficult process. It is hard to move from the mindset of caring for your own financial needs to balancing the needs of your spouse with your own. As you sit down to plan out your budget with your spouse spend time together talking. If your spouse won't do this you need to look at and address any underlying issues and causes and change your financial approach. Here are the three steps that you should take, as you set up your budget as a couple.
First, you need to determine the household needs. This would include things such as rent, utility payments, groceries, car payments, and debt payments. There is wiggle room on how much you spend on these items. You can save money by buying a less expensive car, cutting back on groceries, renting a smaller place. These obligations need to be met before either or you begin to budget in your luxury items.
Second, once you have determined your household needs, you can begin to talk about individual needs and wants. These can include items such as gym memberships, clothing costs, haircuts, and other items you may spend different amounts on. You may be inclined to give your spouse a hard time about not cutting back on the amount he spends on video games, while you continue to spend what he may feel is an exorbitant amount on your hair or vice versa. It is important to recognize that your needs and wants are different from each other. It is important to compromise. You may want to set up an allowance for each of you to spend on your wants without being accountable to the other person.
Third, once you have set up your budget you both need to take part in tracking your spending. A weekly meeting usually works for this. During this meeting you can discuss where you are in working towards your goals. Additionally you can talk about the how much you have left in each category and any planned expenses you may have. You can adjust your categories as needed. At the beginning, you may need to go over this every night, but eventually you can do it just once a week. It can help to choose good financial software that you can sync on your phones.
- If your spouse refuses to combine finances, you need to set up a household budget to handle the household expenses. You may want to seek counseling to address the underlying issues behind choosing not to combine finances.
- Your budget should always include financial goals that you are working toward, and you should be regularly saving money. Remember to work up to saving a year's worth of expenses in your emergency fund.