After fourteen years of marriage, my husband and I still cannot agree on money. He usually spends what he wants, then I have to figure out the bills. It is hard not to be on the same page. It is even harder to always try to figure out finances on my own. Even talking to a financial planner does not seem to help. I wish there was some way to get through to him. But, as many of you know combat soldiers are always right and are very head strong.
We recently sat down with a financial advisor to discuss our financial goals which was like having a mediator. He gave us options based on ours goals and even projections for what to expect. With this in mind, my wife and I were able to see eye-to-eye since we had agreed on the goals. There are still some challenges adjusting to our new budget but without a goal to focus on we would be lost!
I agree with everyone who recommends the Dave Ramsey financial peace program! I know so many singles and couples who are succeeding on this program. Read the book, go to the classes, or access the website. Just do it I know it works from personal experience. I'll pray for your success. God bless.
Yes, this sounds very familiar. I think this is something a majority of married couples go through. Having a spouse who travels all other the world for extended periods of times makes it much harder. I recommend first coming up with a budget which both of you can agree on. You will want to include a fun money and savings allowance for each payday. Since bills can fluctuate from week to week, you can use a percentage instead of a specific dollar amount. For example, the money left over after the bills have been paid can be broken up to be 50% savings and 50% fun money or 60/40 etc. Sometimes, it is also helpful for the spender to have their own bank account. This allows them the ability to spend their allowance without having to feel guilty or dipping into savings. Hope this helps!
I have worked for a credit union for five years, and have seen the struggle between couples when one is a saver and the other a spender. Often times the saver gets very frustrated because they always end up paying the bills and coming up with the extra funds during a tough month. The best solution I have come up with for most members is as follows.
There should be a house hold checking. This is the account that would be used to pay all the bills ( auto loan, mortgage, utilities, day care, exct). A couple should review their pay checks and determine what percent of each persons income should go into the account. The dollar amount that goes in should cover the monthly bills. I also recommend that you round up when calculating how much the regular monthly bills are. For example a bill that is $268.00 per month should be rounded to $270.00 per month. As time passes there will be a surplus of funds that accumulates in this account. This will come in handy if a surprise bill pops up or if a regular monthly bill increases. Having a checking accounts that has a sole purpose to pay the bills prevents from feeling like you have to use an entire pay check to cover the bills then live off nothing until pay day. It also prevents from over spending and having no money left for the bills. Knowing that there is money in the account to pay the bills every month will provide peace of mind, and help reduce stress.
A couple should also establish a house hold savings account. This account will be used to save for family things such as; down payment on a house, emergency, new car, exct. Again, a couple should review their income and determine a specific percent of their pay check that should go into this account. This account should only be used on things that both people agree on. When creating the account be sure to have a discussion and agree that one person will not dip into the account with out the permission of the other.
Now to avoid argument of what savings should be used for I also recommend that each person have and individual saving. This savings should be used individually. Having and individual savings will help prevent argument. For example if your husband loves hunting and is always buying more weapons and hunting equipment he can dip into his personal savings to support his hobby.
Each person should have their own spending account, this is a checking account that each person would use for their day to day spending. This account can be used for what ever that individual wants.
Sitting down with your partner and figuring out how much you want to go into each account is an important step in making this system work. First write down the house hold monthly bills, divide the total dollar amount by the frequency of your pay checks, (for example if you get paid weekly you would divide the total monthly bills by 4) this will give you an idea of how much needs to go into the account per pay check to cover the bills. Next its time to look at savings. Talk about your savings goals, determine with your partner what you think is a reasonable percent to put into the account per pay period. With the funds left over a each individual can choose how much they want to put into their individual savings and checking. It is important for each person to remember that they should still watch how they spend their individual money. I always say if your husband or wife spend too much too quickly they have to wait until the next pay check before they get more spending money. Letting your partner squirm for a week or two wont hurt, if anything it will teach them to watch how they spend their personal spending and savings. Yes, they may not get to go out to lunch every day that week but, you know the bills will still be paid, and they will learn to watch how much they spend and what they spend it on.
Once you have agreed how much money should go to each account start using the system. Some banks and credit unions can set up automatic transfers that can transfer a specific dollar amount to specific account each time you get paid. If you prefer you can also do this yourself. Each time you get paid immediately transfer funds from your pay check into your household checking and savings and then move money into your individual savings and checking.
At first this may seem a bit cumbersome but, once you start it will be easy. There is nothing better than knowing that you will have enough money to pay the bills each month and additional savings to help you reach your goals or help in an emergency. I hope this helps if you have any questions feel free to ask.
I definitely agree with a previous comment, that you both need to agree on the budget. If both of you don't agree on the budget then one of you is bound to break it. You have to come to a happy medium. This is not the time to be passive aggressive. If one of you has a major issue with what the other suggest, make it known up front so that you can rework the plan. Once you have a budget, make sure that your allowances (fun money) is taken out of your account up front. Once the bills are paid and the fun money is gone, neither of you should be allowed to withdraw money without discussing it first. I am a spender and my husband is a saver, so when it came time to decide on a budget for allowances, he thought $10 a week was enough. Of course, this wasn't realistic for me. We settled on $20 each (this is money spent only for you, not kids, not bills) After paying all bills, we budgeted for the following:
SHOW: $50 clothing
GO: $ $80 vehicle gas (2 cars)
GROW: $125 groceries
BLOW: $50 family fun (family of 4)
We put our money in envelopes and don't use the debit cards so that we're not tempted to make impulsive purchases.
I only have my allowance money in my wallet when I go to work. I take my lunch instead of buying my lunch.
At the end of the week if you have money left over in the envelopes, it gets added to the next weeks budget.
As for the money left in our bank account at the end of the month, we just deposit it to our savings.
It's tough, as with any situation in marriage, but having a set plan ahead of time certainly helps... along with communication about it. Almost every paycheck I say "hey, honey... we have about two hundred extra for two weeks" so he has a general idea. I take it upon myself to keep an eye on it maybe a few days a week and when it gets close to the next payday, I say again "hey, honey, we have about fifty bucks left. try not to use it." That seems to work for us.
Also, when I gear up for the pay period, I have a complete Excel file with multiple spreadsheets within it that have an overall outline of budget, where our loans, credit cards, and student loans are, and even a tab for account login information like usernames and passwords. It works wonders to keep it all organized, and as for the extra paper stuff that isn't on the computer, I file it away in a binder. Anything to keep organized and to visually see it in front of you helps.
But always remember that communication is the best advice. If you talk about where your financial goals are, you can formulate a plan together to get there. Marriage takes teamwork and finances is another factor that is proven by that.
The number one problem I've found is that the spender doesn't want to give up control! They hate to not have a "say" in how money is spent. It's hard to even recognize that's a problem, and even harder to change that thinking! Here is how we have handled it so that the spender (in our case spenders, we both like to buy!) Can meet the obligations and still have freedom to spend a little!
First thing to do is track your spending. Its amazing what a simple spreadsheet that shows month over month how much you are spending does to highlight where your bad habits are. Knowing how you spend money is the first challenge.
Then create a budget based on your current spending habits so you can plan and track. Figure out how much of your paychecks are needed in order to meet those bills and obligations. DO NOT INCLUDE EXTRAS IN THIS BUDGET. Then, put that percentage of your income into a seperate account. Only use it for paying those items that you have agreed are bills. That way you get out of the cycle of wondering if you have enough in the account to cover it. DO NOT PULL FROM THIS ACCOUNT FOR ANY OTHER REASON!
Keep another account where the balance goes into. This is the money that can be used for non-bill items. This is where our spending money lives. If there isn't money in this account we don't do it.
We keep 3 seperate accounts. His, Hers and Ours.
Ours: This is a billpay account. We have agreed that we both contribute about 70% of our post tax income to this account. All bills are paid out of this account.
His and Hers: The balance of our paychecks go in our personal accounts. This is where we each can feel "not guilty" about how we spend it. We don't really question each others expenditures and that money is not expected to support the household. We can spend as we choose, and we aren't pulling from the same account, which gets most people in trouble if you aren't religious about documentation of expenditures.
One exception: We do tend to both put gas in the vehicles and do our grocery shopping with this money as well, the costs are just to volatile for either of us to feel comfortable including in our regular budget. But we know this is part of our responsiblity. I it doesn't work for you , include it in your budget.