How to manage finances as a married couple
Are you struggling to manage money as a married couple?
For years, my husband and I did not really talk about money. We went through this cycle of earning money, spending money, paying our bills, and sort of saving money.
But we never really had a plan for how our money should be used..
It is sad, but money fights are one of the leading causes of divorce in our society. And, unfortunately, it makes sense. Because money is often a taboo subject within our society. Honestly, I grew up in a home where money wasn’t really discussed and there were money struggles.
I’m not here to judge if you should keep your finances together, or make them separate from each other. Or anything like that.
But I do want to give you some tips on how to manage your money successfully as a married couple.
When my husband and I finally took the time to sit down and talk about our finances; when we really started to communicate, and set some specific goals–that is when we saw progress with our finances. And then we really started to gain traction with our goals as well.
So, without further ado, here are my best tips for managing money as a couple.
Best Tips for Managing Money as a Married Couple
I cannot stress enough how important communication is within a marriage, and especially when dealing with finances as a couple.
I get it. Talking about money can be hard. It can be uncomfortable. It can stir up feelings of frustration, and you may not even know how to do it. But the important thing is to try and to start.
This means that, yes, you are going to have to sit down together, look each other face-to-face, and start talking about money.
You can start small. You can talk about how much your paycheck is every pay period. And how much you’re spending on groceries (that is if you’re keeping track), even how much is currently in your bank account right now.
The point is to start talking about money, because the more you do it, the easier it will be. The more that you and your spouse communicate with each other, the more you’re going to be able to work together to achieve common goals and find success with your finances.
Create a Budget Together
The next tip to managing money as a couple is to create a working budget together.
This means that you’re going to need to go through and figure out how much you have actually have coming in, what money you have going out, and what you want to be saving for.
Creating a working budget does take time. Give yourself a couple of months to really find a budgeting system, and a budget, that really works for you and your house.
Everybody’s budget is going to be different. Every couple’s budget is going to be different. That is the way it should be. Put in the time and effort to find the budget that is going to work for you.
If you are working together to create the budget, then you both are going to be on the same page with your money. As I said before, when you were working together, you’re going to have more success with your goals and with your finances.
Set Financial Goals
When working together to manage your money as a couple, you want to have a plan for your money. This goes beyond your budget.
Yes, your budget is a plan for your money. But what you really want to do is set goals for what you want your money to do, and what you want to accomplish with your money, together as a couple.
Your financial goals can be big or they can be small. You can start by setting some small financial goals, like setting aside $50 a month for Christmas. Or you can be working towards a large goal, like saving for down payment for a house. The beauty is that you get to decide on your goals and work towards them together!
We could have a whole blog post about setting goals. But the important thing is to write them down, set a timeline for when you want to achieve them, and then check in with them frequently.
When you set financial goals together, as a couple, then you are both working towards a bigger picture. A bigger picture for your life, for your money and for your marriage.
This really helps you to grow together as a couple. It helps you to work together as a couple, and it helps you to achieve more overall. You can really achieve more working together than you can on your own.
Have regular check-ins
It doesn’t matter if you’re managing money by yourself. or managing money as a couple. you need to check in with your finances regularly.
“Regularly” is open for interpretation. You could check in weekly, or monthly, or bi-weekly. The point is to set a schedule for when you’re going to check in, together, on your finances and keep to that schedule.
If you’re just starting out, I would recommend no less than once a month.
In fact, as you are really starting to work on your budget, I recommend to meet more frequently–like once a week or once every other week. The more that you can check in, and keep on top of your goals and how your budget is doing, the easier it will be to hold yourselves, and each other, accountable for what you’re trying to accomplish.
These regular check-in meetings could be as fun or elaborate as you want, or as simple as you want. It can last a few minutes, just to look and see what you spent on groceries this week. Or to make sure you get a certain bill paid–things like that.
You can also make a full date out of it and really go in-depth on your budget and your finances and what your money is doing right now.
You may also decide to do a mixture of both. Once a month you can do an in depth check in to see how everything went for the month, and plan for the next month.
Then other times during the month, do quick check ins on what’s going on financially that week.
Whatever is going to work for you, your life and your marriage is what you should do. And it can take some time to figure out what will work for you, and what doesn’t.
When you check in together, you are becoming each other’s accountability partners in this goal to better your finances in your marriage. Again the goal is to manage your money together, as a couple, and that requires time, effort, and dedication.
Divide and conquer
When managing finances as a couple, it can be very helpful to give each person different responsibilities to take care of.
The whole phrase about “too many cooks in the kitchen” can also apply to your finances.
If you have both people trying to make sure that all the bills are paid, all the groceries are purchased, and everything is done just so, you might end up with double the groceries and double the bill payments.
So decide how you want to divide up the responsibilities. Make one person in charge of the grocery shopping and make another person in charge of your term investments.
Or divide up the bills that will be paid by each person and they are then responsible for. For example, when we set up our new cell phone account, my husband took care of making sure the bill was paid automatically. I have made sure that our utility bills are paid automatically.
Whatever you choose to do, make the decision together as a couple. Then when you have your routine check-ins, you can report back what was done and what still needs to be done, in terms of each of your responsibilities list.
Giving each person responsibilities helps you both to feel a part of the financial journey in your marriage. This also prevents one person from being responsible for all the money.
Only having one person always responsible for the money can cause extra stress for that individual. Plus it can make the other partner in the marriage feel like they are not contributing to the financial journey of your marriage.
So divide and conquer the responsibilities and continue working together as a team to accomplish your financial goals.
Final Thoughts on Managing Money as a Couple
I know from personal experience that figuring out money, as a couple, ca be a challenge.
But I also know that when you do work together, your marriage becomes stronger and you are better able to achieve your financial goals
I hope these tips have given you some inspiration for managing money with your spouse. I can tell you they work and they can change the way you and your spouse handle money.
Do you have any great tips for managing money as couple? I would love to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments below!