Marriage 101- Money-Spending and Saving
Money and spending:
Before making big purchases or big changes, these things should be thoroughly discussed with your spouse before making said purchase or change. It isn’t enough to just talk about it, but you both have to be in 100% agreement before doing said purchase or change. Then, the purchase or change should be made together, unless you agree otherwise. Keep in mind I said BIG purchase or change! Decide together what $ amount is okay to spend up to and at what point there needs to be a discussion.
If you talk about it and the spouse goes and buys said purchase without the other one having a say in looking, researching and going over the pro’s and con’s then it becomes a unilateral decision. You may have discussed and decided on the basic idea, but your spouse usually wants and needs to be included in the final decision of the purchase. There’s no reason you have to rush into these purchases. Even when both decide on wanting to make a purchase; sometimes sleeping a night or two on it is the best thing. Why rush into it? If it is good today; it will be good tomorrow. It better be an unbelievable offer in order to rush into something really big, and you both better agree 100% before doing it! It takes self control and a marriage that lasts has both self control and respect.
Make decisions together
You should be looking at these things together and make the decision, together. Running off and making purchases and changes alone or without the agreement of your spouse is not healthy in a marriage. It creates trust issues. How is your spouse supposed to trust you when you aren’t trusting your spouse in helping to make the decision. This shows a disregard for their feelings, and is disrespectful. Why doesn’t it work the other way around? You need to trust me to make the decision? Because you are using the families money and being married means you make decisions together. You are partners. Business partners don’t last long if one is always spending money without the knowledge and agreement of the other.
A marriage that lasts is a partnership where the opinions of one another are respected and held in deep regard. Trust is built in discussing and making decisions together. Don’t discuss and then go do it yourself. Part of making the decision together is shopping together and researching together. That doesn’t mean you can’t research on your own and share that with your partner, but they may want time to do their own research too.
How is your spouse supposed to trust you when you don’t agree and you do what you want without them? They question and worry every time any mention of a new purchase or change comes up because they can’t be sure what you are doing behind their back.
Money problems in marriage can be from lack of funds or from lack of trust with money.
Rules for big purchases in marriage:
- Decide on an amount that you need to discuss before making a purchase
- Thoroughly discuss big purchases
- Both be 100% in agreement
- Check out purchases together
- Sleep on it
- Both be 100% in agreement before completing purchase
- Do NOT hide purchases or credit card balances from one another (Great way to ruin trust!)
Managing Money together:
Create. . .
a budget. You need to both agree on the budget and stick to it.
Get on the same page with your spending and savings plans. You can do this by reading books together or read separately and discuss. It’s important to be on the same page and time should be made to do so. A little less TV or Netflix watching and it can be fit in.
Decide. . .
on a dollar amount that you need to have the other’s okay before making. We have always set $100 because that is a large chunk of change that takes away from the rest of the budget. (Doesn’t necessarily have to be thoroughly discussed at that point, because it is still fairly small, but it is the consideration to our budget, goals and one another that we make sure the other is okay with that amount of money being spent on one item. However, if it is something the spouse will also be using and wants they may still want the consideration in making the decision together. Depending on the item, they also don’t have to be there, or check out the item when it is still a small amount and decide at what point and for what you both should look into and check things out.)
Make spending and savings goals.
We try to save before spending and staying out of debt. Being under the weight of debt is never a good place to be and so we often choose to wait or do without. We have driven each one of our cars for long periods of time (20 years, 16 years, etc.) because we really enjoy when we don’t have a car payment and can put that money towards other things. Not having a car payment gives us a buffer that can be saved to set aside for when we need car repairs, we like to have our insurance money set aside so we can pay it all one time a year, or save the money toward another savings goal. It has also helped to have a car paid off so we can put more towards the activities for the kids: gymnastics and piano lessons.
Make a list of the things you want. After going over your budget: what do you have to pay every month, what upcoming expenses do you have that you need to prepare for, and is there anything else you are committed to spending. Then make some goals for the purchases you would like to make as well as money to continue saving for the future.
Understand the difference between needs and wants. . .
especially when things are tight or you are really needing to meet your goal. Do you need to eat out often? Do you need the top of the line everything or are the less expensive alternatives? Do you need Steak or is it time to work hamburger recipes to save money? Do you need soda, coffee or other drinks? Check out this great blog post for more distinction on want and needs: http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference
We always like to have a buffer in the bank for unexpected things that come up: car repairs, home repairs, doctor’s bills, etc.
What are your family goals? Mom at home or children in day care? Schooling and career goals? Set those goals. It’s important to look down the road several years and decide, together, where you want your family to be. Also, apartment, renting, buying a home? How are you going to reach your goals? If you never set goals and work towards them you will always struggle along and be frustrated. Frustration isn’t a healthy component in a marriage and leads to other difficulties.
Staying on the same page
If one of you does all or the majority of the grocery shopping, it is important that the other one periodically go grocery shopping with you or alone. Why?! Because inflation happens! If one is only watching the spending go up, they think you are overspending and don’t realize how much everything costs. The one doing the grocery shopping thinks the other one is being unreasonable and now, you are no longer understanding the same page.
Set a time to meet together and go over how you are doing, where do adjustments need to be made, and are you staying on track. What can you do to improve? Is there something you need to give up in order to have financial health? Set some reward goals: go out for ice cream or a movie when you stay on track or make a certain goal, etc. Celebrate your successes.