NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Budgeting as a Couple

Budgeting As a Couple

 

                It’s not news that most fights in a relationship have something to do with money.  At least 70% of couples fight about their finances – topping even the number of fights about household chores  -according to a Time, Inc. study.

                Talking about money early and often in a relationship can help you make sure you’re working together, rather than against one another, and prevent future fights.  And creating a shared budget can help ensure you’re working toward the same goals and bring you closer as a couple.

Below are a few steps to take as a couple when planning your finances.

                Determine Your Household Needs - First, you need to determine the household needs. This would include things such as rent, utility payments, groceries, car payments, and debt payments.

                Agree on Long-Term Goals -It is important to set goals that you can work on as a couple. These long-term goals should be part of your financial plan. The plan can help you determine how soon you can buy a house or when to start a family. It can also help you plan for retirement or your dream vacation. When you have specific goals that you are working toward each month, it can make sticking to a budget easier.

                Allow for Individual Needs - These can include items such as gym memberships, clothing costs, haircuts, and other items you may spend different amounts on. It is important to recognize that your needs and wants are different from each other. It is important to compromise. You may want to set up an allowance for each of you to spend on your wants without being accountable to the other person.

                Tracking Expenses- You both need to take part in tracking your spending. A regular budget meeting usually works for this. During this meeting, you can discuss where you are in working towards your goals. Additionally, you can talk about the how much you have left in each category and any planned expenses you may have. You can adjust your categories as needed. As you get better at following your budget, these meetings can be shorter and just as effective.

                Avoid stress triggers – Just like the adage, “Never grocery shop when hungry”, avoid talking about money when you are tired, rushed or hungry.  Which can be few and far between when you add in jobs and children!

                And finally, be sure to plan time together too. Cheap dates ideas can help you build your relationship and stay on budget. 

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