What do you and your spouse fight about?
Experts say that couples fight about three things: money, kids & sex. We fight about all 3 at times, but our budget is definitely the point of most contention. He wants gas to go places during the day in our SUV, but I want him to only go places 2x per week to save gas. He wants to grab subway on the way home, and because I’m hungry, I agree.
But even though I’m the saver and he’s the spender, It’s not his fault.
It would be so easy to place the blame all on him. After all, during this month’s budget update we were over in groceries, gas, and gifts! I see that negative cash flow number at the bottom of our budget and know that we had to pull money out of savings to cover it, and I’m disappointed. But not in my husband.
See, when I told him how over-budget we were, he was shocked. And then quiet. And it was in that moment that I realized I had left him out of the loop. The loop that we fight about the most. The loop that will ensure our success or failure in the future.
It’s my fault.
I was mad, disappointed, and frustrated. But then I put a stop to those feelings. Now that I’m done feeling disappointed in myself, I’m taking action. I am determined to make keeping my husband in the financial loop a habit.
So I’m implementing weekly budget check-ins, for October. I’m going to check in on the blog, and with my husband each week regarding where out budget is at, what expenses we have coming up, and how much we can spend for the rest of the month.
And it think it’s going to work.
In the midst of all this, I’ve learned 3 things. These 3 things will not be easy to keep in mind, or to carry out. But when I do them, they will make my marriage and our finances stronger. Read on and see if you agree:
Communication is so important
Communication is the foundation of any relationship. Without communication there is no relationship, and shouldn’t marriage be the best of relationships? It is so unfair of me to blindside my husband with our budget failures when I kept him out of the loop. However, with the implementation of weekly budget check-ins, I hope to revive the communication about our finances.
We are teammates, not rivals
So often, couples get caught up in the day-to-day work and pettiness that exists in a marriage. Rather than looking at the big picture, we can only see the annoyances. By taking a moment, stepping back, and realizing that we are in this together, we are made stronger. We have the same goals, and (many) of the same dreams. We need to work together!
Our marriage is more important than our budget
If it came down to it, I would choose our marriage over our budget every day. However, I believe that if I’m communicating adequately with my teammate, my husband, a budget can only strengthen our relationship, get us even more on the same page. I am guilty of letting the budget overshadow our marriage, and that ends now.
Have you ever felt like you communication was lacking in your marriage?
Like you were on opposite teams, not the same?
Like the budget is the only thing that matters?
Well you’re not alone.
Sometimes failure is a good thing. In this case, it was a budget failure – or rather, 3 months of budget failure. Failure can cause you to take a moment and reflect, gain some perspective and then go at it again with renewed vigor, like it did in my case.
And that’s never a bad thing.
*This post may contain affiliate links
Gary @ Super Saving Tips says
This is a great post, and it applies not just to money, but to lots of aspects of marriage. There was a time early on when my wife and I weren’t exactly on the same page about money. She was all about the tracking and I was all about the saving/cutting back. It sounds funny now, because they’re related and it takes both to make our budget work. Sometimes it just requires taking a step back, like you did, to see where the problem really lies and how to make it better.
You are absolutely right. When we first started budgeting, we were both hyper aware of the budget, but it was still hard to communicate about it without strong emotion. We did learn a couple cool tricks that helped us a lot. First, the budget was a contract between the two of us. If we broke it, we broke a promise to each other. It helped that typically when one of us felt like spending the other didn’t and vice versa. The second was that we would contact each other before overspending in a category. A quick phone call or text was enough to help us see if what we were going to spend money on was a want or a need. Plus, if we did make the purchase, then the other was already in the loop and had a part in the decision.
Groceries were a lot harder, because I’m not going to check in if I’m considering whether or not to purchase cereal that week. That one took a while longer for me to get under control. Thankfully, my husband was patient and supportive. Over the past year, I’ve decreased our grocery spending by 40% and we’ve decreased our eating out by 90%. I finally feel accomplished at it!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
This is so true: “Without communication there is no relationship.” It seems so simple, but it can be challenging to implement on a daily basis. We have “check-in” conversations about all manner of things (including our finances) just to make sure we’re on the same page about everything.
Love it! It seems like you and Mr. Frugalwoods are more on the same page than most couples – good for you!
Colleen Pastoor says
It sucks that you went over your budget this month, but I’m so glad this post came out of it. It’s such a dose of reality for me. We go over most months right now (in the middle of renovations and starting a new job) and I totally blame myself. But we don’t communicate about our budget near what we should. Somewhere along the way we got too busy and stopped doing this.
Thanks for the reminder! Can’t wait to see how it works out this month.
Failure sucks, but as long as I (and hopefully others!) can learn from it, then it was all worth it! Thanks for stopping by!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
Great advice, especially #2 and #3. I love the humility you displayed. It is so easy for us to get frustrated with our situations and then want to blame someone else as though that would solve the problem. Great reminders here – thank you!
Mum of One says
This rings very true! Thanks again for sharing with the Monday #pinitparty
Laura at Mommy Maleta says
My husband and I recently decided to do weekly check-ins too. Thx for the tips & for linking them up at the Thoughtful Spot!
Hopefully they keep you on track like they do us – thanks for stopping by!
Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader says
You are so correct. Communication is to me one of the most important ways to make or break a relationship. And although sometimes it is difficult to remember you are in this together. Thanks for the great reminder, and for the suggestion to check in weekly instead of monthly.
Glad I could help – we could all use a reminder sometimes!
My husband and I have a weekly budget meeting. We enter in all our expenses into a spreadsheet and talk about where we are for the month, where we’re getting off budget and how to fix it. It’s great. We’re partners on budgeting for sure!
Communication is key. Thanks for linking up at the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party.
Herchel S says
My husband and I are constantly working on improving our budgeting communication. These tips are wonderful. Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party!
Thanks for stopping by – hopefully this helps you!
I’ve also been guilty of keeping my guy out of the loop on finances, I guess I just assumed it was obvious what was happening. But I’m the one with the spreadsheet! Thanks for the reminder to be more proactive in communicating.
Justine Y says
This is such a great post. It’s so true about communication being key!
Amen to all of the above. I know my husband and I not only have to be on the same page, but at the same time in order for us to be successful in marriage and money.
I really love reading your posts. This is very applicable to everyone. Thank you for getting personal and sharing!
What a great post! Thank you for sharing :)
Emily Ardoin says
Great tips! My fiance and I are what I like to call grad-school-broke at the moment, so money talks are always on our brain. I figure the more we talk, the better of we will be.
Tricia Wehner says
Budgets work only if every one agrees to use it every day. Very true and these are great tips you shared with us
Alisha Kostiuk says
These are great tips. Money is the one issue we have had with in out marriage because while we agree bills need paid, college money needs saved, retirement what about any extra? He likes to spend and I like to save. One thing I have learned with our marriage and budgeting failures is to allow leeway.
Of definitely. We sometimes lack in the communication department. I eventually let it out, lol.
These are all excellent tips.
Gathering Grain says
This is so good. Sometimes it really does taking failing and being able to look back at what you did wrong, to realize how to do it right. It’s not easy and you feel defeated, but once you figure it all out you’re in a better position and can make better choices! I love that you said in a marriage you’re a team. SO true. So many try to make it a battle and it only works when you’re working together!
You’re so right! Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
Uplifting Families says
This post is packed with useful tips. I know in our house a newborn was pretty stressful for us.
I only worry about money when bills get super tight and we have to watch it very closely.
Oh yea, babies do crazy things to budgets!
We need to be better about checking in with our budget. Sometimes we get so comfortable with the last number we saw that we just spend without a second thought, then don’t look to see how much we have left.