Have you ever seen someone stomp on a sand castle after a child spent hours building it? You can feel the frustration, disappointment, anger, and sadness building before the crying starts. Although it may not have been a sand castle, most of us have felt the crushing disappointment that comes from seeing a lot of hard work going to waste.
Budgeting takes time, effort, planning, and good communication. Some families believe only one person should handle the finances, and I strongly disagree.
He/She is Going to Waste Money Anyway
One of the reasons a couple doesn’t start budgeting is because one of them assumes the other is going to waste money anyway. Why bother doing all that work if he’s going to buy a new toy without asking? Why bother if she’s going to go on a shopping spree? I agree. It’s too much work for not enough gain, but that’s why you must work together.
Being married or a serious couple doesn’t mean the work has to be 50/50. I obviously enjoy working with the budget, and I do most of the work to make sure everything with our finances are in order. So I might do the grunt work, but my wife and I make decisions together. I create and print the budget, but we sit down together—every month—to review, edit, and approve next month’s budget.
When this happens, it makes you think twice about going out to eat or spending money on a new toy or hobby without permission. It starts to create harmony in the relationship.
We’re Not Good with Talking about Money
If you are not good talking together about money, it might be a communication problem. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a marriage counselor. I can answer questions all day about money and finances, but if I meet a couple and can tell they don’t communicate together well, I don’t sign them up as clients. Arguments and disagreements will happen when you start budgeting together.
If you don’t do well talking about money as a family, I suggest you start talking about goals and fears. You will be amazed at how quickly a boat becomes trivial when you talk about how your small retirement fund keeps you up at night. Or how paying for dance lessons become important when your wife describes how much joy it brings her.
If those suggestions don’t work, I suggest seeking out a marriage counselor. If you can’t communicate as a couple, money might not be your biggest problem.
My Spouse is Too Controlling/Stubborn
A controlling or stubborn spouse is tough to get over. There are situations where the husband or wife wants to work together but is being shut out. When I see this, it seems to be a case of too much pride, control, or stubbornness.
Again, I am not a marriage counselor, and being shut out of the budgeting process or being controlled by it is a bad situation as well.