You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out a budget. In fact, most of the budgeting tips out there seem pretty common sensical. Putting that common sense into practice is where many people stumble.
Money fights are big predictors for divorce and it’s not hard to understand why. Two independent people with different goals and habits get together and have to stop thinking “me” and start thinking “we”. And they also have to agree on a type of popcorn maker. Compromise is never easy.
Talk to Each Other
If I had a walnut for every time I thought my husband and I were thinking the same thing but he was actually wondering about what time the ball game was on, well then I’d have a ton of nuts.
Set goals together. Budget to meet those goals together. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you know what the other person’s goals are because you talked about them once when you were dating. And if you disagree about what your goals should be, for crying out loud hash it out. You’ll get a lot farther a lot faster if you work together.
Set dates to revisit your goals and your progress in meeting them.
Keep Things Fair
The score won’t be even all of the time. Some months one person will spend more than the other. But in general try to keep it fair. Because it’s just no fun to be exercising self-control when the person next to you is snarfing down the entire chocolate cake.
This is where I like to advocate for separate allowance accounts. Yes like the allowances children get from their parents. These accounts/budget items ensure that generally both people get to have the same amount of “fun” spending money each month.
Hold Each Other Accountable
How lucky is it to have a partner to help you work towards your goals, who helps keep you on track and who always refills the Brita water pitcher because they know how much you hate doing it? Super lucky, that’s how lucky.
Set up monthly or quarterly meetings to review your spending. Call each other out. Say, “hey man, you spent way too much on lunches and that’s really freaking annoying.” Don’t sweat too much of the small stuff (or do, if it blows your dress up) because you’ll get better and better every time because you have someone else who’s expecting it from you.