Budgeting with your spouse
The wife bought a $100 watch for a special occasion, not knowing that her husband intended same $100 for the electric bill. The start of an argument.
The husband brings home an apple laptop that he purchased for $1500 and finds out that his child was admitted to the hospital and they need the same amount of the hospital bill. Another argument.
It is always advised that married couples should discuss their budget before getting married to have the same set of goals that they will be working towards. However, there are times when the two of you might not be in agreement when it comes to your finances. You need to work to resolve these differences quickly.
Here are steps you should take when budgeting with your spouse:
- Calculate your monthly net income first. Include take-home pay for each spouse, along with any additional income.
- Compute all your shared monthly expenses. Include rent/mortgage, utilities, car payments, car maintenance, insurance, average monthly grocery expenses, and so on.
Bear in mind that your total monthly expenses should be less than your monthly net income, if it’s not, then you have to think of possible ways you can trim your monthly expenses to make ends meet. How can you increase your income through a second job, freelance or other legal means?
- Allocate a reasonable monthly allowance for each spouse. This includes daily expenses for meals, snack, transportation allowance, salon, gasoline, car maintenance, etc. Be sure to include money that you each can spend on what you want each month that is for you to spend however you see fit like a new pair of shoes, etc.
Make sure that the combined allowances and monthly expenses are less than the net monthly income. If not, then again, think of possible ways you can trim your monthly expenses to make ends meet.
- Decide what to do with the “remaining money”. Cover your options and determine the best ways to allocate your remaining money. For example, you may want to put some amount for the emergency fund, start saving for a new house, etc.
- Agree on who will manage the bills. It is recommended that the one who is better in computation/ math be the one to do this. The task includes checking bank accounts if there is enough money left, paying the bills, allotting money for the monthly expenses, etc.
If you and your wife have financial issues take the time to talk. Sit down and have a discussion with your spouse where you simply listen to her concerns about the budget. Set your goals together. Some people are not planners, but once they realize that the budget will help them reach their goals they are more willing to work on a budget. Remember, open communication is the secret to a happy and a smooth-sailing relationship.