Is money a sensitive topic between you and your spouse?
Are you tired of feeling like a slave when your partner says, "Don't spend any money this week" or being accused, "Why did you spend so much last month?"
Would you like to find a way to make that stop?
Having been married for nearly 11 years myself, I've used all of those lines on my wife...and then some. Don't worry, she smacked me for it...and rightfully so!
I was one of those guys where I wouldn't allow the air conditioner to go on until it was nearly 80 degrees or turned the heater down to the point where my wife and kids could almost see their own breath.
Okay, so maybe I wasn't THAT bad. However, I wasn't helping to make the conversation about money very good during tough times. Eventually, I would just take over the bills and finances to avoid having arguments in our marriage.
Does this sound familiar to you too?
Here are 3 easy things you can do to get on the same page with your spouse, and be more financially organized.
- Set up an account at mint.com to track your income and expenses regularly
- Set a consistent time with your spouse for only 15-30 minutes per week to discuss your money
- During your weekly meeting, talk about your finances without getting emotional
1. Set up an account on Mint.com - This one will take some time, but shouldn't take you more than an hour or so to get rolling in an awesome way. The benefit of using this free (yes, I said "free") account is because...well, it's free for one, and two, because it can electronically link to your checking, savings, loans, and some investments so you can see all of your money in one place!
What this means is you can not only see it, but you can categorize your transactions, create a budget (or Spending Plan, as I like to call it), and monitor your progress month after month in real time! It even remembers how you categorized transactions so you don't always have to do it yourself!
When I update this each week, I spend no more than 5 minutes to know EXACTLY where I am with my money! Cool, huh?
2. Set a consistent time with your spouse each week for only 15-30 minutes - This one shocks people that you can be organized in 15 minutes. The answer is "100% correct, if you're consistent." Find a day and time each week where you'll discuss the previous week's spending, upcoming expenses or paydays, etc. Make it a date night. Make it a weekend. Or make it after the kids left for school or in bed so you can have some time alone to discuss one of the most important parts of your marriage - your money.
15 minutes or so is all you need to commit to per week. How incredible would it be if you could get a physically trim, sculpted, and fit body in only 15 minutes per week? Amazing, right? So why not invest only 15 minutes to become financially fit?
3. Talk about your finances without getting overly emotional - I know - easier said than done. After 11 years and 5 kids, my wife and I have had our fair share of disagreements regarding money. Especially in our earlier married years, I wouldn't always see what was needed at home like she would. I would wonder why we spent nearly $200 in diapers that month (5 kids in diapers are killer!).
Remember this! When emotions go up, intelligence goes down!
The best way I've found to do this is decide up front that you are looking at this situation like you would a friend's. Separate your personal attachment from the situation, and you'll find that even when things look bleak, you can find a solution together.
As you and your spouse practice this week after week, you'll find that it is easy to remain calm, plan together, and have more money and time together as a family.
Imagine how amazing your life would look if you could invest just a few minutes each week for each other to achieve ALL of your financial goals and dreams. How great would that feel?
Now, go make it a reality!