6 Ways to Navigate a Couple’s Budget or Financial Meeting6 min read
This #TableTalkThursday event was held on the 25th of July 2020.
We asked our community how their couple’s budget or financial meetings work. A couple’s budget is central to managing smooth household finances as it allows you to pre-plan spending and helps you determine the course of your finances. Marriage begins a journey of partnership, and a couples’ budget ensures that everything is well sorted.
A couple’s budgeting can be difficult as you’ll have to consider many factors, including household needs, individual needs, financial priorities, and even bank account types. That is why we asked our community to share their insight and help the rest of us. I hope we can all benefit from it.
Start An Annual Couple’s Budget Meeting
“My husband and I usually do only one official budget meeting at the beginning of each year. There we discuss fun money/ dining out allowances, sinking funds that will be needed, and general debt or savings goals we have. Since we have separate finances, we constantly communicate with one another about any changes in the budget or unexpected income. For example, when my husband got a raise in March, we decided it should go to his 401k, and when I got a bonus in `March, it went to debt.
We started doing more formal budget / net worth review meetings when we discovered my husband had been investing his 401k in stable (cash – 0%) funds and I decided it was time we evaluated where our money was going and what it was doing for us.”@labcoatsandliabilities
A couple’s budgeting will only work if you maintain solid communication with your spouse throughout your financial year. It is essential to free-flow finances into regular conversations to keep each other updated. It is less likely to fall victim to any major financial losses if you maintain this form of communication with your significant other.
Address Couple’s Budgets One Category At A Time
“What works well is to review last month’s budget and see what happens. That way, you can make a few changes if necessary. Then, you go category by category and plan your next monthly budget.”@carreirafinance
How often you sit for a financial meeting with your spouse is a matter of personal preference, but whatever your routine may be – fortnightly, monthly, bimonthly, or annually – you must take notes from your previous budgets. It will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your financial models, determine your needs, and even the importance of couple’s budgeting. You can then breakdown your budget into small, digestible portions and prepare the next one accordingly.
Address Your Couple’s Budget Differences After Your Paycheck
“My husband and I meet the weekend after our paycheck and discuss any discrepancies in the spending and expenses. Since we’ve both been working from home and some expenses are paused, we’ve been spending and saving more intentionally and a little different from plan. I used to have budget meeting alone, so we’ve done them together since engagement ~3 years ago.”@letsgetfiiiscal
Couple’s budgets may need to be revisited time and again in order to update it in consistence with your changing needs. It will help you set new financial goals, short term or long term, and decide where each of you can cut back in order to contribute. You can also set a cap on your expenditure limit before you sit down and talk again. The more often you have these talks, the more likely it will be to accomplish your goals together.
A Couple’s Budget Meeting Doesn’t Need To Be Formal
“Finances are always a topic in our house, and while we sit down periodically to discuss, we haven’t personally made it a formal thing yet because this has been working. However, if I felt we were not on the same page about something or if there is something important that needs to be addressed, we definitely do it that way. I think it makes sense to try to have fun while you’re doing it (maybe have dinner or some wine), because finances don’t need to be scary or stressful – planning your lives and future can and should be fun.“@nobudgetbabe
Many of us might be under the misconception that formal financial meetings are the only way to solve financial issues, but that is not the case. The key is to communicate, and it is a fundamental factor in building the foundation of any relationship, including your romantic relationship. In fact, there are very few issues that cannot be solved through regular communication. The main goal of a couple’s budgeting is to bring spouses on the same page in terms of spending and savings, and if this can be done over a dinner with some wine, then why not!
Choose A Manager In Your Joint Couple’s Budget Strategy
“Hubby and I have joint finances, of which I am the designated manager. 😊I treat our finances as I would that of any other client, so I work on making sure there is open communication about everything. Our monthly budgets are fairly static, but we definitely do spend time discussing changes and ensure we have a consensus on the major items. For example, we have a kid going into college this September away from home. We are going to be supporting her monthly, which is an addition to the budget. So we meet, agree on an amount, and then make the necessary adjustment to the budget.”@moneyredefined
You want to budget as a couple, for your family, and accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself. To help you do that, you need to put budgeting in charge of your money, based on mutual agreement, and live by it; it is also important to discuss if there are any changes. Not only is answering but also agreeing on the answers to fundamental questions with “this is what we earn, and this will be the best way to spend it” the best way to create a successful couple’s budget.
Make Your Couple’s Budget Talk Casual
“Most of our conversations are casual, but I usually lead it. I think I talk too much about it sometimes, so I’m trying to be cognizant that there are other topics.”@whatthefiguy
Having discussed the importance of incorporating finance in your marriage, it is also necessary to remember that constantly and only talking about finances can do more harm than good. This is a relationship and not a financial firm. You might have to remind yourself every once in a while. We realize sometimes budgeting can prove to be difficult, especially when you lose a purchase memo and forget how much you’d spent, but the good news is technology is at your disposal today. You can get yourself a budgeting app that will make the whole process much easier and straightforward.
If you’d like to share your thoughts and experience with us, join in every #TableTalkThursday at 9 to 10 AM PST on our Instagram page. We raise important and relevant concerns every week so that our community can grow together.