The word budgeting often stirs up negative feelings inside of me.
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Money in Marriage
When I was a child, my parents argued the most when it was time to budget. “Mom! It’s time to do the budget!” My dad would yell across the house. I could almost hear my mom rolling her eyes.
It seemed like the budget was a time when all the problems they had (relating to money or not) would blow up and nothing would get accomplished. I saw at a very young age the difficulties that arise when there are disagreements about money.
I don’t want to delve into my parents’ budgeting problems. I have no place saying who was right and who was wrong. But I can tell you more about my own marriage and the issues we have faced with budgeting.
Our Budgeting Issues
Right after we got married and for several years into our marriage, I dreaded tracking our expenses because we were always going over budget. I didn’t know how to get out of that cycle. I felt like my husband wasn’t listening to me when I told him we could only spend X amount on car maintenance, for example.
Last year, we completely just stopped budgeting. Life got overwhelming with two kids, and I felt like we could easily stay on track without a budget. But that’s not what happened at all. I noticed that month after month we were struggling to make ends meet. Even with a raise (before my husband quit his then job) and renters in our basement, we still could not figure out what was going on with our money.
And more recently, we have been taking money from our savings more and more to pay for our basic necessities, which scares me more than anything. Of course, this time around, it’s due to a lack of steady income from our businesses rather than bad habits. Even so, I don’t enjoy budgeting when I know that I am going to see more money going out than there is money coming in.
I believe most couples will encounter money issues at some point in their marriage. These issues can naturally lead to marital problems. Not surprisingly, money problems in a marriage can lead to divorce, but it’s not an issue of having less money or too much money. The real problem here is different views on money.
One Tip that Makes Budgeting Work in My Marriage
It became very clear when I first got married that my husband was a spender and I was a saver. We’ve definitely had our fair share of arguments over money because of these differences.
I used to nag him constantly about his overspending.
He would wonder why he didn’t have some kind of allowance so he could buy parts for his truck.
What I believe our money issues came down to, and what I think can be the culprit of a lot of money problems in marriages, is that we were not on the same page about our money.
In order to finally make budgeting work in our marriage, we had to sit down together and figure out what we both really wanted from life and then we had to set concrete goals.
Before we did this, budgeting without him was futile. It wasn’t working.
After we sat down together and figured out our goals, it became a whole lot easier to budget without him by my side because I knew what we needed to budget in each category to reach our goals. And I knew that we were both going to do what we had to do to reach them.
I believe it is imperative that couples sit down together to come up with concrete goals in order to avoid a lot of conflict that may arise over money. You both need to know why you actually want money.
The spender in the marriage might want money to buy a new iPhone, while the saver in the marriage might want money to save for X goal. When they are on the same page, they will both have the same goals in mind, and it will be much easier to have money for both desires.
When you are both reaching for the same goals, you will be more likely to work toward them. One spouse doesn’t have to feel like nothing is being accomplished with the money. It will be easier to budget because both parties know what is expected.
The negative feelings I once had toward budgeting are not as prevalent anymore. I can breath easier knowing that a lot of the money issues in our marriage have vanished simply because we got on the same page with our money goals. I only hope that more couples can do the same thing for their marriages.
What kind of budgeting problems have you had in your marriage?