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How to Take the Stress Out of Budgeting as a Couple

When you share your life with someone, you commit to
tackling all of the challenges that come your way as a team. This means agreeing to work in unison on
everything – including your budget. Whether you’ve recently gotten married, or
just moved in with someone, it’s difficult to move from the mindset of just
looking after yourself, to sharing your
finances.

However, learning how to budget as a couple isn’t just a
good thing for your financial health. If you can figure out how to budget effectively together, then you can also
improve your chances of a long and happy relationship too!

To help you get started, here’s how you can take the stress out of budgeting as a couple.

1.    
Determine Your Mutual Needs Together

The first step is figuring out what you both need to
dedicate money to each week or month. This means looking at the essential expenses
like car payments, groceries, utility payments, and mortgage expenses.
Crucially, even if only one of you
drives, if you sometimes get places in that person’s car, you should be playing
a part in maintaining it.

When you’re first dealing with your finances as a couple,
you might need to adjust some of your expectations so you can ensure you’re on
the same page. For instance, just because you want to save more doesn’t mean
your spouse or partner will want to. You’ll need to find a way to meet in the
middle. The initial aim is to prioritize
your needs
, then come back to your “wants” later.

2.    
Create Goals You Can Both Get Behind

When you know how much you have to spend each month, the next
step is to figure out some long-term goals. These are the targets that will
drive your saving decisions. Creating the right plan can help you to figure out
when you can next buy a house, or when you can start a family if that’s what you want. It will also help you to plan for
retirement or discuss your dream vacation.

It’s up to you what kind of goals you want to set for your
family. The key to success is ensuring that you’re both passionate about your
long-term target. Some good beginners goals include:

  • Paying off your debts as quickly as possible
  • Buying a new home or putting a deposit on a
    property
  • Building an emergency savings stash

3.    
Think About your Individual Needs

When you’re living as a couple, the needs that apply to both
of you need to come before individual expectations. However, once you’ve set a
goal for the two of you, you can begin to talk about individual wants. For instance, your partner might want to maintain
their gym relationship, while you’d like to spend more on clothing and
haircuts.

Ultimately, you’ll need to be willing to
compromise
here. Both of you won’t be able to afford everything that
you want each month in most cases. However, you should be able to find the cash
for something important to each of you. Don’t give your spouse a hard time when
they share what’s important to them. As long as your partner sticks to the
amount that they’re allocated for their
“wants,” there’s no need to
argue about how their cash is spent.

4.    
Track Your Spending Via Budget Meetings

Budgets are rarely something a couple can set up and then simply forget about.
You’ll both need to play a part in tracking the way that you spend cash. This could mean downloading a financial app
that watches your cash for you.
Alternatively, it could just mean coming together for weekly discussions about
how you’re getting along when it comes to achieving your financial goals.

Remember, there’s a chance that you or your spouse may make
a spending mistake on the road to success from time to time. Although you need
to show your disappointment during these moments, don’t go over the top. We all
make mistakes when changing our habits. Look for a way to recover from the
issue as quickly as possible and get back on track.

5.    
Always Make Decisions as a Team

Finally, when you’re living together as a couple, make sure
that every decision you make about your finances, is considered as a team. If
someone needs to take out a
loan
, compare your interest rate options together. If your partner
needs extra cash to pay for something important, discuss the impact that him
or her taking that money is going to make.

Simply discussing your
financial habits can go a long way towards improving them.

How to Take the Stress Out of Budgeting as a Couple is a post from: When Life Gives You Lemons. Did you like the post? Follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, or hop on over to my blog and leave me your feedback.

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