When you’re in a committed relationship, you and your partner have to manage your money together. This is true even if you keep your finances largely separate. After all, if one of you has a ton of credit card debt, it could impact joint financial goals and purchases, such as a home.
Unfortunately, learning how to make money decisions with someone else is easier said than done. That’s especially true if your beloved isn’t great with handling cash or doesn’t have the same priorities as you. This can be a difficult issue when you’re setting a household budget, which can shape every aspect of your financial lives.
If coming to a consensus is hard, these tips for getting your partner on board with your budget could help. Use them to find a compromise and finally stop fighting about money.
Start by setting joint financial goals
Most people are better at sticking to a budget if doing so will help them accomplish something great. After all, it’s much easier to make sacrifices to retire early or buy a house than to cut spending for no reason at all.
So start by sitting down with your partner and talking about what you hope to do with your money. If you can set a few specific goals, you can figure out how much money you need to put towards those goals each month. You might aim to put a down payment on a house in five years. Or retire in 30.
Whatever your objectives are, build your budget around them by saving for goals first. Then make the rest of the numbers work so your spending and savings match your income.
If your partner sees that saving a certain amount of money is necessary for something that’s important to both of you, he or she is more likely to live by the budget you’ve set up.
Involve your partner in every aspect of the budgeting process
No one wants to be told what to do with their money by a romantic partner. After all, your significant other is an adult with his or her own opinions on your joint financial life.
So rather than making a budget on your own and presenting it to your beloved, you and your partner should work together to make a budget that you both agree to. If you decide in unison where to make cuts and set spending limits, your partner won’t feel controlled. Instead, he or she will be more committed to living within spending caps that you’ve agreed to.
Provide some fun money in your budget for each partner to spend
One big reason that people blow budgets is that they’re too constraining. It’s like trying to live on an overly strict diet all the time — cheating is inevitable.
Having a little bit of money for both of you to buy things that you want can make all the difference. There will be far less reason for your partner to blow the budget and make an illicit purchase because cash will be allocated to buy things he or she desires.
Have regular accountability meetings
One of the great things about managing money together is that most people are more responsible if they know they’d be letting someone else down if they fail. You can use this to your advantage by setting up a time where you can go over your monthly spending and see how it compares to your budget.
Set up a specific time to sit down and talk about how well you stuck to your spending limits. Don’t blame or accuse your spouse of going over — just talk through where you both succeeded and fell short.
Be willing to make changes and adjustments
Budgets are living documents that need to evolve with your needs. Being overly strict just sets up both of you for failure.
If you consistently overspend in certain categories or if you just can’t make your current budget work, be ready to go back to the drawing board. Look for cuts in other areas or other changes you can make so the budget is more livable for both of you.
Make a budget that works for both of you
In a relationship, both partners have to be responsible with managing money — but the motivation for this responsibility needs to come from within. By following these tips, both you and your partner can create and live on a budget that works for both of you.