They say opposites attract, but opposite views on finances can lead to dangerous territory in a marriage.
Many couples run into issues when they realize that one is a saver and the other is a spender.
One of the best ways to help lower financial stress in your marriage is to create a household budget.
Examine All Your Spending Habits
The first step to creating a household budget is to figure out exactly where you and your family are spending money.
When you’re writing down the categories you spend money on, don’t forget to include regular necessities that occur every month, such as groceries, mortgage or rent, utilities, credit card bills, and other loans.
Next, count in variable expenses such as emergency savings, vacations, and money for dining out. Once you’ve accounted for every expense you can think of, subtract the expenses from your household income.
It’s very possible that you’ll end up with a negative number at this point.
Find Categories Where You Can Cut Spending
If you do come up with a negative number, that means you’re spending more than you’re making. While it’s hard to do, you have to go back through your categories and figure out where you can cut spending.
The first categories you need to work with are the recreational ones.
While it’s not enjoyable, cutting back on money spent for vacations and meals out during the short term will help you reach stability in your budget for the long term.
Create a Weekly Budget
After you’ve decided where you can cut expenses, it’s time to create a weekly budget. Weekly budgets are better than monthly ones because they’re easier to create and they leave less room for error.
While you’re creating your weekly budget, don’t forget to plan for emergencies and put aside money for special occasions such as holidays and birthdays.
Make a Plan for Leftover Money
As your budget starts to become firmer, you should start to have some money remaining every month.
While you can certainly spend this money on the recreation categories that you had to cut from earlier, you should plan to save some of that money as well. After all, while one reason for setting a budget is to help you stay in the black, it’s also supposed to help you create a healthy savings.
Whether you invest this money in a mutual fund, add to your savings account, or make an additional contribution to your retirement fund, it’s important to create a plan and stick with it.
If you just let this money sit around, you’re less likely to save it and more likely to spend it.
Pay With Cash
One great way to stick with a budget is to prevent small expenses from adding up.
To do so, figure out how much you spend every week and take out just enough cash to cover those expenses. When you use cash to cover discretionary expenses, it’s easier to prevent overspending than with a debit card or credit card, where small expenses can add up before you even realize it.
When you see that you won’t have much cash left if you get that extra cup of coffee in the morning, you’re more likely to skip buying items that you don’t really need.
Sign Up With a Budget Website
If you’d like an online tool to help you create and balance your household budget, consider signing up for a website like Mint.com or You Need A Budget.
To begin on this free money-management website, simply use a device like one of the best 2-in-1 laptops from Lenovo to link all your financial accounts. Since these PCs can convert into a laptop, tent, stand, or tablet, it’s easy to use these powerful tools to help you manage your money, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.
Simply add your expenses in typical categories, including gas, groceries, and credit card payments and create a budget around your spending patterns.
To help prevent financial issues from entering your marriage and causing stress, it’s important to work together to create and follow a budget.
Use these tips to make your own household budget and see how you can change your spending and saving habits.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.