Finances can cause stress for any family, and it’s hard to sit down with your significant other to draft a budget. The process of combining both your incomes and your needs can take some adjustment. If you don’t talk about your financial situation, though, you’ll be more likely to experience stress about financial responsibility.
To create a life together and have a successful relationship, you’ll need to commit to budgeting together.
Budgeting might seem overwhelming, but you can start with the basics. Before even bringing numbers into the situation, talk to your partner about what each of you wants, buys, and aims to achieve. It’s important to understand the relationship that each of you has with money.
This part of the process isn’t about arguing or proving who’s “right.” It’s just about understanding the other person and respecting what they need.
After you’re comfortable with each other’s basic financial thoughts, the first part of budgeting is setting down the needs of the household. This covers month-to-month bills like rent and utilities, transportation costs like gas and car maintenance, food, and required debt payments.
You must cover all of these costs before you can begin spending money on extraneous items. However, you can reduce the costs by purchasing less expensive groceries, getting a used car, or moving to a smaller space. Needs must be given higher priority than desires.
Long-term goals are the next thing to set down. As a couple, you should have a long-term financial plan. This plan may help you determine when to meet milestones like having a baby or buying a house. Specific monthly goals make it easier to save. If you aren’t saving for anything specific, you’ll be more likely to spend the money instead.
Now you can talk about the desires and needs you each have outside of the home essentials. These might involve clothing costs, hairdresser appointments, gym memberships, and online subscriptions.
You will likely have different needs and priorities than your partner. You might also not understand all of your partner’s priorities. But budgeting is about finding compromises that allow both of you to have the things you want to live your ideal lifestyle.
Some couples use an allowance to use on their personal desires without needing to okay it with their partner.