Usually one person in the relationship tends to be the “money person.” And that’s okay! Opposites attract and all that – it’s easier to divide and conquer in many cases, and if one of you has a natural strength or affinity to handling the finances, so be it.
As Erin has shared with us though, it’s vital that both spouses know what’s going on financially. If one of you does handle the money, the other person should be kept in the loop from time to time. I suggest having at least a monthly family budget meeting, so everyone can get on the same page.
You can also (as a team) make necessary changes to stay on track for your various financial goals. Here are three tips to ensure your meetings take place and do so without the aid of a referee!
1. Set a Non-negotiable Date on the Calendar
It’s important to be consistent and make sure these meetings happen. Treat this time like any other important appointment or scheduled activity that you would make sure to keep.
Since it doesn’t feel vital, it’s easy to be tempted to put it off or reschedule, but don’t let that happen! It is important and you’ll be happy in the long run that you made it a priority.
2. Make It Fun
A good way to make sure that these dates are kept, is to make them something that you look forward to. Maybe you hire a sitter (if you have young kids) and go out for coffee, dinner or ice cream to have you budget meeting. Or just sit at home, open a bottle of wine, turn the television off and the radio on and dig into the numbers together.
Get business out of the way first and then have the second part of your night be an actual date night. Connect with your spouse, let your hair down and have a little fun!
3. Celebrate Hitting Your Goals
Let’s say that you’re trying to pay down debt or save up for a big purchase to be paid for in cash. It’s likely to happen faster, if you’re both working towards said goal together. Keep it top of mind by creating a goal progress chart and taping it to the fridge.
When you are making the last payment or reached the funds needed for your purchase, make the next step together. Sit on the couch together, fire up your laptop and hit “submit payment” together to pay off that credit card or auto note. Go to the car dealership or furniture store to buy that new love seat together. Notice a theme?
It’s What You Make of It
Like anything in life, a family budget meeting can be as exciting, fun, dull or boring as you want it to be. Be creative, be consistent and treat this time talking about your money as sacred, because it really is.
It doesn’t have to take long, it doesn’t have to be full of conflict or blame. Make some rules (including one for no arguing or sarcasm if that’s what you’re prone to) and remember to respect each other. Most of all, work together as a team!
In your family who usually handles the finances?
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