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How To Sit Down With Your Spouse And Beat Out A Budget

How To Sit Down With Your Spouse And Beat Out A Budget

Step one: locate your spouse. Methods include yelling their name, calling their cell phone, ringing the cattle bell for dinner (be ready for their disappointment when there is no food), or gently tugging on their shirt to get their full attention.

Step two: locate two chairs, or other sitting devices that comply with two people, such as a couch or bench. These can be found grouped around tables, in living rooms, or outside with canvas backs and cup holders. Where you find a sitting device and what it is doesn’t really matter, just make sure it’s one that you can stay in for a while but isn’t so comfortable that you will fall asleep.

Step three: Lower your rear and bend your knees over the sitting device until it is holding you up. Your legs will be baring no weight and your knees will be at a roughly ninety-degree angle. Instruct your spouse to do the same, either next to you, in front of you or on another sitting device close by.

Step four: Now that you are sitting, BEAT OUT THAT BUDGET. This calls for an entirely new list of steps that are much more complicated and less fun. Be calm and do not fight if you can help it. No good ever came out of two people arguing about money while sitting simultaneously in chairs facing each other. Fighting usually leads to standing which usually leads to walking which is the opposite of writing a budget.

The unfortunate truth about writing budgets is that it is an activity that is interesting and/ or fun to very few people, but it is also an activity that has to be done to be fiscally responsible. When you and your partner decide that you have- or want- to sit down and write a budget for yourself, you must come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be all that fun (although you can make it fun if you try) and that you will most likely start to pull your hair out.

budgeting with your spouseWhat you also have to come to terms with, however, is that it has to be done and the quicker you get it done correctly, the sooner you can do something else that doesn’t make you want to cringe.

Before you even begin to think about money or numbers, allot a manageable amount of time to household budgeting, and stick to your schedule. If you want to get everything done at once, set an amount of time that you can work hard for and when that’s done, take a break and do something you like for at least fifteen minutes before going back. So, budget like it’s your job (because it really kind of is) for forty-five minutes, then take a fifteen-minute break. If you have more time, budget for thirty minutes every night for a week or so. Whatever your schedule is, make sure you work hard for the entire time you’ve allotted yourself. Be extremely productive when you’re working and do something you really enjoy doing when you’re not. Things get done surprisingly well when balance is used.  If you are new to budgeting, check out our advice on how to budget for beginners.

When you have your schedule planned out and you are ready to begin with the actual budget writing, look carefully at your income versus outcome for every month you have records or for which you can obtain records. Are you in debt? Are you making money to save? Maybe you are just breaking even. Whatever the case may be, you must know the actual factual numbers of what you make and what you spend each month before you can effectively budget.

Next, determine your priorities. What do you absolutely need to spend money on every month? Bills will (probably, hopefully) be the first thing on your list followed by groceries and other necessary living expenses (shampoo? Toilet paper? Don’t forget about the little things.) Keep track of receipts or look at your bank account if you use a debit/credit card and get spending statements and calculate how much these things cost. Then, make sure that at least that much money (and probably a little extra for cushioning just in case) goes into your checking account each month.

A side note; once you know your spending and have determined your priorities, you will most likely be able to find ways to save on everyday items. Maybe you find that you can buy generic brands, or that you end up throwing away a lot of food because it goes bad before you have time to eat it. Who knows what you may find; there is probably some way to cut down on your monthly spending, which is why making a budget isn’t just a one-time deal. It’s a constant, usually monthly, task to review and plan for the next month.

After the necessities are accounted for, if you have extra income, make some financial goals. Maybe you would like to pay off your house or car in five years, or you want to take a vacation at the end of the year. Even if you just want to get out of debt and start saving for a ‘rainy day,’ you must discuss these goals and write them into your budget. Having them be even as tangible as written down makes them a lot easier to stick to long term.

Next, go to the bank, or call the bank, or find your bank on the Internet. Use all the cool bank things that your bank does to your advantage. Separate your checking and savings account so your savings account is high interest. Get a debit/atm card and get rid of your credit cards. Open a ‘rainy day’ account if you want. Have your paychecks directly deposited to your bank and in your accounts in the correct amounts. Once you have all of this set up, the rest of your budget is a breeze given the fact most banks have budgetary systems in place specifically for you!

The final step is to launch your budget. Once you have figured out where all your money is going, stick to your spending plan. If you don’t over spend, you will start to see your goals take shape as you save money.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • redheadinlove August 23, 2012, 7:57 am

    My husband and I find it easiest for me to handle the budget, but I always go over it all with him so he knows where our money is going. What’s funny is “Step One: Locate your spouse” is sometimes the hardest! You are so right about it being a constant job. I have an excel sheet that has our budget and then our actual numbers. It’s always off, but it helps me track everything. I look at it every single day.

  • Southwest Direct Mortgage August 23, 2012, 8:51 pm

    I love the intro to this post. It made me giggle. In all seriousness though, these are awesome tips on how to get a budget figured out with your spouse. I think one of the biggest problems with budgets between two people is the commitment to the budget once it’s launched. Many people start out well, but then one person goes outside of the budget, and then it’s a downhill spiral. It’s important to stay on track as much as possible, and if someone veers off, it’s important for the other person to guide that person back on path. It’s worth it in the end.

  • arajoo August 26, 2012, 2:06 am

    Talking about budgeting should be taken of seriously. Savings is money for the future. You will never know when you will need the money that you might be wasting right now. Your spouse of course should also be your partner in taking care of the bills. As long as possible prevent yourself from using your credit card. Credit card just maximizes the chance that you will spend more than what you really need.

  • FirstBaby2011 August 26, 2012, 10:34 pm

    Thank you for this informative article! When my husband and I finally sat down to create a budget, it was very difficult. Now that we have created a concrete plan together, the sacrifice is a bit more tolerable. Every month, we are able to see exactly where our money is going and further evaluate and improve our spending habits. Honestly, finding new and creative ways to cut costs has turned into a fun challenge for me.

  • englerja August 29, 2012, 5:18 pm

    This is a great little article on setting up a budget. You are right, it is not fun to sit down with your spouse and do a budget. My husband would rather I call him to plunge the toilet than ask him to work on a budget with me. But we sit down and we do it. I found it really helps to use a google spreadsheet, it’s something we both can access from our phones and it helps us keep track of our spending.

  • stu September 2, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I’ve been trying to get my girl to sit with me and do a budget for a few months now. It’s not gonna happen. She isn’t too comfortable with the whole idea of limiting her spending money per month. She realizes is a problem, but tends to throw a fit every time we have a conversation about it. She’s such a child at times. The same reason I love this woman is the same reason I wanna shaker her at times.

  • vida_llevares September 3, 2012, 10:01 pm

    I think setting a budgeting goal should be taken as the first step. You should peg a certain amount for you to save up. Then, you identify specific steps on how you will be able to achieve that expenditure percentage. You can also proceed to identifying your most important expenditures. Make sure you keep an open mind since it is very probable that you and your spouse may have different opinions on how to manage your money.

  • KennyK September 4, 2012, 6:29 pm

    Interesting article with a great sense of humor. I really enjoyed reading it. When you live together I think it’s important to take time for making the budget, and getting agreement over some important decisions. It’s not always that easy but it’s worth the time invested in it.

  • muelan September 4, 2012, 9:46 pm

    LOL have you been to my house? It can be so hard to get this done! What a good reminder to hunt my spouse down and get going on that budget! thanks so much!

  • simmedia September 5, 2012, 5:36 pm

    I’m not married yet, but my mate and I are working on finding a way to talk about finances in a calm manner. It’s so important to the health of a relationship, even though of course it doesn’t rule it. As this article states, all you need is to be adamant about setting aside a time to talk about finances. It’s important that no one goes into spending more than what their budget can afford, assuming that you have created a budget in the first place 😉

  • deannatroupe September 5, 2012, 7:26 pm

    I LOVE the intro to this article. I especially like the part about being prepared for disappointment when there is no food. I do agree that this is an activity that should be done together, even if one spouse usually makes the final decision. It’s good for each spouse to know the plan so it can actually be followed.

  • Julie September 6, 2012, 8:25 am

    An interesting exercise is for a couple to think about budgetting and to list what they consider are a priority. I did this years ago when we had a new baby – nappies didn’t even figure on his list, but an allocated amount for a new music album (the old, 33 rpm’s) once a month did !

    Buying generic brands is a great saver – and often, the sourse of the product is the same, it’s just the packaging that’s different.

  • cmarten September 6, 2012, 9:54 am

    You’re hilarious. Locate your spouse. Since people don’t often like to site down and talk seriously about money, this might be the trickiest step!

    I agree with all the steps in your budget-making method, but I would add one. Allow some money, if at all possible, for each of you to play with. And do not nag at the other person about how they spend the money, unless it’s unethical of course. Each person should have a bit of fun money they can do whatever they want with: shopping for fun things, nights out with friends, or special treats.

  • Matie September 6, 2012, 5:22 pm

    The beginning of this article is hysterical, it was literally describing the typical argument of the day between my parents hahahahaahah

    As for me, I love to plan budgets alone.

  • ChristiQ October 7, 2012, 9:55 pm

    Thanks for your funny, yet useful, advice on creating a budget with your spouse. That’s the attitude couples need when working on a budget. Too often, when couples talk about money, it turns into arguing about money. Input is need from both people in order to create a complete and accurate budget. It’s too easy to overlook things that you don’t deal with yourself. A husband may overlook diapers or baby supplies because he doesn’t handle that. Just like a wife may overlook car maintenance because she doesn’t handle that. Working together is the best way to create a workable and useful budget.


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