Budgeting for a couple is very trying and can be a hard process. It’s difficult to switch from the mindset of caring for self-financing to balancing the financial needs of your partner.
Teamwork is quintessential for a couple to build on the finances in the long run. The stress factor can set in if either of them refuses to discuss and foresee the future of managing money. Just like commitment plays a major role in relationships to work successfully the same applies to budget, working in unison. Here are a few things to start in the right direction.
‘B’ For Basics
Before you chalk out a plan of your budget with your partner, invest considerable time in identifying your financial goals, desires, and habits. The approach to every problem differs from individual to individual and that should be ideally the first step in moving forward. Understand your partner’s plan of action in money matters as this will help in providing a basis for being on the same page.
Keep this in your mind; stop rating your partner’s approach as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. This phase is to ascertain how much you know about a person and showing honesty. When the wavelength matches it becomes easier how to proceed with a common understanding.
If you detect any hesitancy in your partner, a change in your financial strategy is advisable. The idea is to have a feeling of positivity and experience to signal the best start together.
Look Over Your Household Needs
The union of each other’s financial styles must help you in determining each other’s household needs. This includes regular expenses like rent, groceries, utility bills, and debt payments.
By estimating how much money is spent on the above mentioned can set the platform to appreciate the wonders of your meticulous planning. A check on groceries solves a bigger chunk of the overall financial shortcoming. In today’s ever-changing economy, as a couple, budgeting must have a hierarchy, and together clear segregation between your ‘needs’ and your ‘wants’ is the key.
Debt can be a deal-breaker even if one of you has it; a plan in place to tackle debts creates a comfort zone for a couple. For example, we are going through a pandemic and the chance of either of you losing a job or both isn’t surprising. Never mind because there is a way out for every situation. Using payment apps that offer money at free interests is a smart decision where both of you can avail of this facility and keep the expenses at bay and it definitely brings a lot to the table especially with the current coronavirus crisis. Stop thinking about credit cards as they have a number of caveats to deal with and an added pressure for you!
Create Goals For The Long-Term
As a couple, setting goals becomes necessary and unavoidable. Long-term goals are inherent in any financial plan. The plan is a bird’s view on how soon you can build the funds and thereafter maintain them in tough times.
The specific goals that you will be working towards each month transform into an easy budget that you can stick to in the longer run. Limiting the spending and saving minus the goal indicates overspending regularly along with justification which is bad.
- Let’s list some good goals, to begin with.
- Paying off your debt both higher and lower, clear them one by one.
- Be crystal clear in your savings and the timeline of achieving the financial milestone to move closer to the next step.
- Listen to your partner and align the spending as individuals.
- Don’t relax after reaching the goal even if things are doing great because it might be the beginning.
Is It Right To Combine Finances?
This question must have been lingering in your mind on whether during budgeting should the finances be combined? Well, that is a personal choice. Nevertheless, here are a few approaches.
A combined force is effective and the same applies here as well. Literally, A to Z from both goes into one piggy bank. Almost all expenses and income are shared. Some exceptions though where partners might have personal spending, but, everything is shared.
A 50/50 approach, each person’s expenses are divided and maintain individual accounts. Bills can be split between each of you based on the incomes or available funds.
Couples can adopt the hybrid model and it makes sense. Joint account for expenses related to household and other shared goals. The contribution to the joint account happens from each partner but the rest of the accounts are separate. The contributed amount can either be the same or a percentage of one’s income and maybe other ways if you can figure it out so that the participation is complete and mutual.
You both need to actively conduct weekly meetings in tracking your spending. During these meetings find out if the progress is headed in the right direction which includes both individual and shared goals. Assess the category spending and the money that was untouched.
To get into the groove daily meeting is recommended, but eventually, let it be once a week, or maybe once a month. Smartphones are the best pals; make use of budgeting apps that help you breeze through the entire process. These activities will cease over a period of time when budgeting becomes a continuous and easy task.
Points to remember:
Things might not look that rosy if your spouse/partner is refusing to join hands with you. Never give up, fix the cracks in your relationship and try to sort out the issues. Relationships are all about bonding and compromising.
Your budget should include long-term financial goals at any cost. Saving money regularly should become a habit.
Spend enough time with your partner. Money is a part of life, and not life!
Shortage of funds is a prime cause for most relationships to derail and it always supersedes the love and feelings that you express for your partner. The added responsibility of running your lives along with the partner requires that you are financially stable. The pressure of making a relationship succeed lies in how good you are in managing the expenses. It is always safe to discuss money matters before actually committing with your partner and there is nothing wrong in doing it.
Stress is a culprit that applies the break during good times and it can be in the form of shortage of funds. Being prepared with your partner to face the future should begin by addressing the bigger concerns first because they can end your relationship abruptly in the later part of your lives.
By supporting each other emotionally as well as financially it creates a stronger bond between individuals and gives you the confidence in facing any economic crisis comfortably.
The foremost step towards a healthy financial relationship is to respect each other’s views, plans, and needs. There should be no room for criticism, instead, a practical approach increases the possibility of living together. Identify the good habits very early in the relationship so that disagreements in the future can be avoided and the focus can be diverted solely towards managing finances and building a strong and secure emergency fund.
By Karthick V.