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Budgeting as a couple works
Budgeting as a couple is so important in a relationship. Living direct deposit to direct deposit is the absolute worst feeling. Not knowing if you are going to have enough money at the end of the week to get gas into the car, or what if something unexpected happens and you need something out of the blue? Your kid gets sick and you need a fever reducer. Or your oldest gets invited to the movies, and you just don’t want to say no to that smile.
Living this way never feels good, and the vicious cycle is overwhelming and emotional. Let’s face it, we all know that feeling of talking about money with your significant other(from one time in our life or another). Emotions are high and the blame game is vicious. No one walks away a winner, that is for sure.
We have had money issues in our house for as long as I can remember. Honestly, we never even really had a savings account with money in it, just a savings account with maybe five or ten dollars in it. For our entire married life, we have literally lived two ways financially, paycheck to paycheck and direct deposit to direct deposit. Now, finally looking at a bigger picture, I see that we lived that way because we thought that way. We thought, lets get through this week and deal with next week when it gets here. Sure we knew we had bills due all throughout the month but we where a disaster about it. No plan is a real quick way to fail.
So how do you end that cycle?
How do you put a stop to just plain avoiding the money talks? How do you get some money into a savings account? This is our journey and hopefully you will get some inspiration from it. Always remember teamwork works! If you are a couple then you are a team. No matter how you divide the bills, who has what for a checking account or if there is a secret savings account; you have to play as a team.
We have taken a long time as a couple to really start to understand our finances. I think this is mainly because we never could talk about them. It would always turn to a fight. One of us would feel attacked and the other would feel wasteful. How can that ever feel good? We needed to make a change on this if we wanted a different life. Do you know this feeling? I feel like so many of us do.
Make a plan
We loosely started making a plan a while back and things started to get better. We were not in a great situation but it was better. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was being paid on time. Endless phone calls to pay this or that to make sure everything at least stayed turned on. We always felt in over our heads. Yet we knew, deep down that we could get it right.
A few months ago we sat together and got all of our accounts going to the same email address, one we opened together. That was quite a chore and it took a long while to accomplish. We use that email address for all things that involve our finances now though and it has made our lives so much easier. Having all our accounts going to one place makes things a whole lot more organized, which makes everything easier.
I will say this was really our first giant step towards improving our financial situation. We had a wonderful night together and shared a lot of good laughs and wrote a pretty awesome list of things we want to do and see. Best of all though, we didn’t fight. There was nothing to fight about. We where just enjoying each others company and planning our future together and with our kids.
We sat down again on September 28th after the kids went to bed. Yes, on a Friday night… Date Night, we did our finances together. We started a new notebook that would be just for bills and we made a list, a list of every bill that was due and when for the entire month. We went through our online accounts and through our bank statement and wrote down when any EFT’s where happening, We made a list of all the monthly amounts and we added it up. We made a list of our incomes and we added it up.
The income was a bigger number than the outgo… Phew. If it had been the opposite we would be getting rid of something or finding time for another job. Thankfully, it did not come to that. We had money left over after our bills to go for groceries, gas and other things. Not as much as we would like, but we can make this work.
Things seem to have shifted after this. We are talking about money in ways I never thought were possible. We are making our finances a priority and we are making our money work for us. We are really paying attention to where our money is going. So October 1st, we where on a real budget. We wrote down all the pay periods and our income for each week. We divided our bills up between all the pay weeks for the month. And honestly, that felt so good we did November and December too! We Are In Control. We Have A Plan.
We looked at our bill due dates and we decided what we would pay that first week. We would be paid on October 5th and we knew where our money was going. We had pulled together our spending amount for food, gas and random purchases and on our first week, we had money left over. We had a plan for the week, now we needed to put it into action. We were actually excited to talk to each other about our list and who we would be paying. We ran the numbers over again and it all seemed to check out so we went for it. We paid all the bills, we grocery shopped and we stayed on our budget, we filled up the gas in our truck and we did it, we had money left over… just as we suspected.
Now we needed to get through the work week without spending what we had left. That was a true test, and we did pretty well. We spent a little but we still did great and were able to transfer a small amount to our savings. And, we still have not fought!
Week 2 just happened as we were paid on Oct. 12th. We had our list of bills to pay for the week and on Friday when we got our money, we paid those bills. We had our set amount for groceries and gas and we got all our supplies over the weekend. Our bills are paid again this week and I honestly can’t wait until payday on the 19th to see what we have left in the bank. There is still some week left but we are looking pretty good at being able to transfer some money to our savings account again this week.
We have two more pay periods in October that are all planned out, the 19th and the 26th. I am hoping we can make it through the entire month, without fighting, and paying our bills. When all is said and done, if we can transfer some money each week into our savings account, I think we will be very excited to head into November, with a plan!
We would love to hear other budgeting as couples stories, so feel free to share yours with us! Maybe we can learn from each other! We have quite a journey ahead but it seems like it will be a good one! Budgeting Dates are all the rage!
For more thoughts about how to work together, check out our post Teamwork Works!
Dave Ramsey has some great ideas. Check out his post about 40 Date Night Ideas for Your Budget