Managing Finance in Marriage.

Finances are a hot topic in every marriage/relationship. It can be insanely stressful, and if we’re not careful we can get caught up in the comparison game.

We certainly don’t know everything about this or have a sliver bullet to fix every financial woe in your marriage/relationship. However we have learned a few principles that help us stay focused on the main thing: God. Having right perspective on finances will serve three important purposes in your married life:

  1. Keep God at the center and in control of your life, not money
  2. Keep money in it’s rightful place – a few notches down the priority list
  3. Replace stress with trust and striving with faithfulness, thus adding to your overall marital joy

Fighting over money is one of the most draining experiences a couple can experience in their marriage.

I gained so much respect for my husband through our journey in talking money and I know he feels the same way about me. Working towards a common goal unified us in ways that I can’t describe.

Lets get into this.

1. Trust

This area is very important and deserves much attention and much practice. If you do not have trust in your marriage the trust of your money with each other will not the gained.

My husband completely trust me with our finances. Now let me say that I am not the best at saving and budgeting although my career choice is accounting, but somehow my man just simply trust me.

Because my husband has so much faith in me managing our finances I have learned to trust myself with doing the same. Do you see how that works?

Finding trust in each other leads to trust in oneself equaling fruitfulness for all!

Stephanierosita

2. Create a vision of your future life together

You’ll never stick to your financial plan without a shared vision of your future.  You need to create a vision that will get you through all of the times when you don’t want to live on your budget, when your spouses messes up, when the kids want/need stuff, when you want to keep up with the Joneses . . . . .  There is always something that gets in the way of your financial goals as a couple.

You must create a vision that is so strong you can literally see it every time you want to overspend.

A good thing to challenge yourself as a couple to do is to write down some very specific goals and treat yourself whenever you have obtained a milestone.

let’s say you plan to save $5,000 in the next 3 months I know that sounds quite bizarre but if you cut back on certain things you would be surprised how much you can save. If you achieve that goal treat yourself to a staycation, a fancy dinner, a night out on the town or a small trip.

Take a few minutes and write down some goals.  What would you love to be able to do in 1 year, 5 years,10 years if you could manage your money in your marriage?

Find the common ground in each of your dreams and then work backward.

Another trick that really helped us was talking about how our life would be when all of our debt was gone. We talked about the decreased stress, the ability to help others and spend our money on adventures, rather than interest.

As we talked about your plans for the future and really gave them a vision everything else started to fall into place.

3. Create a plan of attack

I’m assuming that most of you reading this post are like us and have/had a decent amount of debt.  If so, I’m so sorry!!!  Debt sucks – just remember that when you manage your finances in your marriage you can dump your debt!

The only way you will ever truly get ahead in your marriage is to begin managing your money.  This means you need to have a plan of attack.

I believe in a two-prong approach to money management.

Step 1 – Pay Yourself First!!!!

I can’t over emphasize this point enough, to be successful at managing your money in a marriage you have to prioritize yourself.  Start today and begin paying yourself first.  Every single time you get paid set aside a portion of your money into a savings account.  I recommend 10%.  I know it sounds like a lot, but once you get started you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to save when you see the money start to grow.

Digit App - How To Save Money
Digit

If you struggle to save money then begin simple by using a program like Digit!  Digit will literally do the work for you and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you begin to save money.  I love, love, love this app and can’t believe how much money it has helped me save.  As you can see from my screenshot, I’ve managed to save $7,303.79 in 8 months using Digit.

Step 2 – Manage your money

Okay, so this is super broad, what I mean by managing your money is that you need to create a budget, reduce your debt and begin saving for retirement.  I know that is a ton and you are probably checking out emotionally as you read this.

Here is the deal though, it doesn’t need to be a crazy elaborate plan.  If you struggle with budgeting then use a minimalist percentage-based budget.  The 50/30/20 budget is surprisingly simple and works for most people and honestly doesn’t take anywhere near as much work as people expect.

Getting out of debt is hard, but again, keep it simple.  Add up all your debts and then begin using the debt snowball method.  Pay off your smallest debt and then add the extra payment to your next debt and gradually work up your list.  Yes, it will most likely take you a few years (hopefully not as long as us), but when you are working towards a common goal in marriage anything is possible.

Now comes the fun stuff, remember the money you’ve been paying yourself, start putting it to work for your retirement.  There is nothing better than watching your retirement savings grow while you watch your debt load decrease!!!

Creating a plan is easy, sticking to it take a bit more work.

My husband and I made a ton of plans and we constantly reworked our plan more times than I can remember.  What mattered though was that we had a plan, made goals and did our best to stick with them.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t instantly succeed at your budget.  Most people need at least 3 month’s before the budget starts working for them.  Some months are going to be hard and you are going to mess up.  Who cares – suck it up and get back on track today.  Don’t wait until next month or tomorrow.  Start making good financial decisions today.

4. Don’t Tell your spouse what to do.

This a common mistake I see with many couples. One spouse gets gung ho about reducing debt and goes full force into money saving mode. They tell the other spouse that they will be living on a budget and all kind of other crazy things that the spouse doesn’t understand or want to do.

If this is you, you need to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. How would you feel if they came home and suddenly started to dictate to you how much money would be spending and how you would be spending it.

Needless to say, it doesn’t go over well.

It kind of goes back to the Golden Rule, but in this case, don’t expect someone to do something they haven’t bought into.

This is one of the reasons that I recommend creating a shared vision as your first step.

Marriage is hard and managing money in a marriage is even harder.  Your spouse isn’t always going to want the same things in life as you do.  It is okay, your job is to ask them open-ended questions that will hopefully help them get on the same page.

Just remember in the process that telling them what to do isn’t right or fair.

On a total random side note, if you are struggling to communicate with your spouse one of my all time favorite marriage books is Men are Mars and Woman are from Venus. You can never go wrong with Dr. Gray’s advice.

5. Make sure your partner has an equal say

To be an effective team, each spouse has to have an equal say in the budgeting and planning process.

For example, I create the budget, but Bae and I review the budget together before making a final decision on our spending. There are times when he doesn’t agree with how I’ve allocated our money and we have to go back to the drawing board.

Both of us have to agree with the final budget and our spending goals.

This is so hard for both of us at times.  We have different priorities and sometimes meshing our priorities just doesn’t always work.  We’ve had to go back to the drawing board many times to make financial planning within our marriage work for us.

What I’m trying to say, is don’t give up just because you aren’t on exactly the same page.  Keep working towards the areas you have in common.

What matter is that all the major decision are done together.

Each Partner Needs Fun Money

One thing you don’t have a say in, is the other person’s discretionary fun money.  When you are creating your financial plan always make sure you incorporate some discretionary fun money.  It may only be $50 -$100 a month when you first start but give yourself some fun money.

Your fun money is what will save your marriage and help you stay on track.

Bae can spend his fun money however he wants and I can do the same.

I don’t always agree with how he spends his money, but I know he feels the same about my spending as well. (and I love plants)

All of this is well and good, but how do you actually make it happen?

MANAGING YOUR FINANCES TOGETHER IN MARRIAGE IS 100% POSSIBLE

I wish that I had all of the answers, but every couple is different. I do personally believe that by following the four steps above you have a much better chance of succeeding as you work towards your financial goals as a couple.

I’ve found that for Bae and I it is all about our shared vision of our financial future. When we agree about your vision it is so much easier to respect one another opinions and find workable compromises as we make our financial decisions.

I’m not going to say managing your finances in marriage is easy.

Honestly, there were times when I really don’t agree with how my husband wants to spend money.  We are two different people.  There were times when we were trying to get out of debt that all I wanted to do was make the minimum payments and not worry about getting out of debt so quickly. There were times when I was frustrated with Bae and annoyed with him and I can guarantee he felt the same.

What we didn’t do was play the blame game. If one of us messed up, we talked about it and moved on. When you start to play the blame game everything changes in your marriage.

The best advice I can give is to love your spouse enough to give them some grace. Help them pick themselves back up and move on.

Stephanierosita

All you can do is continually move forward. Every month that you make an extra debt payment is one month sooner to getting your financial freedom.

You can do this!

I believe in you love birds now go make some money together!!!

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