Budgeting helps your family take control of money and strengthen the relationships with your spouse, kids, and family. Below are six ways that budgeting helps to strengthen your marriage.
1. The Common Enemy (Hint: It’s not your mother-in-law.)
Debt and bad money habits become common enemies that you will share. Budgeting forces you to become responsible and take charge of your life. Rather than fighting each other about where the money goes, you will start to team up against those student loans you both hate and saving up for the vacation you both want.
What to do next: Ask your spouse what it is about your money situation they want to change the most?
2. Accountability Partners (Like Weight Watchers, but for your money.)
How many times have you bought something for yourself and hid it from your spouse? It happens, and your spouse has probably done it, too. Holding each other accountable will help end bad spending habits (e.g., going to Starbucks every day) and stop those secret purchases (“I really needed a new putter”). Your monthly budget meetings will keep those habits from developing and your finances will let sunshine be the best disinfectant.
What to do next: Start budgeting together every month.
3. Improved Trust (Practice “trust falls” at your own risk.)
Each monthly budget will give your family the chance to build trust with each other. The amount of money you plan to spend on food for this month is a promise, and if you go to the store and spend too much, you have broken a promise to yourself, your spouse, and your family. That never feels good, but with patience and forgiveness, you will prosper.
What to do next: Ask your spouse how they felt the last time you went over budget on something?
4. Practicing Forgiveness (It’s not a matter of if–but when–you screw up.)
You will make mistakes as individuals and as a couple as your learning to budget. The best thing to do is to forgive each other and learn from your mistakes. It will take time and practice, but you’ll be better off for it. In fact, you will eventually laugh over how much you fought on some very little things.
What to do next: If you have done something wrong and apologize, talk about how you can do better next time.
5. Setting Priorities (Upgrade to HBO or pay off debt? Choose wisely.)
The public votes with their wallets, and how you allocate money in your budget defines what is important to you. I had a client that put all of her credit card payments at the top of the budget and bought food with what was left. Having her buy food first and then work on the rest of her life made a world of difference.
What to do next: On your budget, put these items at the top: food, clothing, shelter, transportation. Everything else is secondary.
6. Defining Dreams (It’s never too late to become a dolphin trainer.)
The absolute best part of budgeting is talking with your spouse about your goals in life. Saving for a down payment on a house opens the door (pun intended) to conversations about careers, kids, and dreams. It is those deep conversations that will bring you closer to your spouse more than anything else.
What to do next: Talk to your spouse about your dream house, job, or vacation.