What’s the most common thing you and your partner fight about? Chances are it’s money. Money can be a huge source of stress for people, so it’s understandable that sometimes couples are going to argue about it.
One way to help overcome those arguments is to be on the same page as your partner. Wouldn’t it be nice to agree with your partner about where your money should go and how it should be used? That’s where budgeting with a partner comes in.
If you’re new to budgeting, check out 8 steps to building a budget
If you’ve already got a budget, here are 7 ways you and your partner can budget together (without going crazy).
1. Make sure you both agree on the budget categories
When you’re making a list of everything you need to budget for, try to get your partners help. You and your partner should both agree on what needs to be budgeted for, what can be cut, and how much is a reasonable amount to spend each month.
The only way budgeting with a partner is going to work is if you compromise and work together. If you’re making a budget together, you’ve probably been together for a while. Compromise should not be a stranger to you.
3. Share the responsibility
I know it’s pretty common in relationships for one person to look after the bills, the budget, etc. But if you’re the only one watching the money, it can be easy for your partner to overspend, which can be frustrating for everyone.
However you want to budget (an app, the envelope system, with pen and paper) make sure that your partner is just as responsible for writing down expenses, keeping receipts, and tracking the money as you are. If you use an app make sure they have access to the same app you use!
4. Discuss non-essential purchases
Before either of you make any non-essential purchases, talk it out! If you both agree that it’s non-essential, but important, then get it. If you disagree, really look at your reasons for wanting to spend money on something you didn’t budget for. Do you really need it? Or is it simply something you want?
A good way to decided is to wait a few days. If you still want to make a purchase in a few days, talk with your partner again. Decide together what your options are, if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, etc.
5. Have separate fun money
It is so important that you add fun money to your budget! Both you and your partner should get a certain amount each month to spend on whatever, whenever you want. This gives you both financial freedoms, while still allowing you to budget and save. No more questioning how much that video game cost. No more telling them to stop buying clothing. You are free to spend your fun money however you like.
This is crucial because it allows you both to spend money on things that you like, without feeling guilt or regret. If your partner chooses to blow through their fun money in two days, that’s okay! It’s entirely their decision. Set an amount you both agree on, and stick to it.
My partner and I allow our fun money to roll over. So if at the end of the month we have leftover, it gets rolled into next month. That way we can each save up for bigger items we want, but our partner doesn’t necessarily agree to. Right now my partner wants a new TV, and I absolutely do not. For us, it’s categorized as a non-essential (we have a working TV still). So my partner is saving up a portion each month so he can get a new TV one day. Easy-peasy budgeting.
6. Budget for couple time
Another category to add to your budget is money for couple time. Date night is important. Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Put a little aside each month for date night. That way, it doesn’t need to come out of either fun money. It can be something like the movies, a picnic in the park, dinner at your favourite restaurant, ice cream and a home movie. The options are endless.
Let this amount roll over, too. That way if you stay home for a few months, you might have a decent chunk of change to do something special!
7. Reward yourselves
If you’ve been working really hard lately, pulling extra shifts, making cash from some side hustles, then reward yourselves. If you or you partner get a raise, reward yourself with something small. Maybe that means an extra $10 bucks a month to fun money or date night. Maybe that means a one-time special purchase. It can be anything you want.
Budgeting doesn’t have to feel like work. Yes, you want to save money and pay off debt. But don’t get so caught up in budgeting that you’re miserable. Life is all about being happy.
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