Managing a household budget is hard enough as it is – the last thing you need is a spouse who doesn’t seem to be on board with the idea. Whether your spouse prefers to dodge discussions about money or is simply a bit of an impulse spender, keeping the checkbook balanced is going to come with some challenges. Even if it can be a bit trying at times, it certainly isn’t impossible.
1. Learn as Much as You Possibly Can
When people are trying to create budgets for their households and save up for their goals, they can go one of two routes: they can either read as much as possible, or research financial advisors to seek out specialty services. If you’re feeling very uncomfortable about making all of the financial decisions on your own, a pro might be able to help. If your goals are modest, you’ll likely be able to handle things on your own, whether or not your spouse is willing to help.
2. Take on More Responsibility
If you’re the one that does the shopping, you’re the one that does the spending. If your spouse has a tendency to come home with expensive junk food or impulse purchases following every routine shopping trip, you can eliminate a lot of that impulse spending by running to the store yourself. If scheduling is an issue, see if any of your local retail outlets offer online shopping or grocery delivery. You can place an order on your lunch break at work and no one will be tempted by a sale. It’s even easier to do when you work from home, because you’ll be there to greet the delivery driver.
3. Create Goals Through Compromise
What does your spouse want more than anything? Is it a trip to Italy? Is it a new car? Is it a bigger house? If the end goal is to achieve something your spouse wants, he or she may be more willing to actively participate in the budgeting process. Your spouse will have a stake in the outcome of your budgeting and stand to lose something they really want if they misappropriate household funds. Compromising on an end goal will help to keep your spouse honest and active in the budget.
4. Keep Everything Out in the Open
Hang up a list of your monthly bills, grocery expenses, savings goals, and income in a place where your spouse can see it. Write out your working budget. You can always take it down when you’re going to have company. By leaving a constant visual reminder, your spouse will become accustomed to seeing and understanding the budget, whether or not it’s being openly discussed. Your spouse may think twice before making a big purchase, especially with easy access to the numbers that keep your household afloat.
5. Research Your Alternatives
One of the easiest ways to make a budget work, even with an unwilling participant, is to simply reduce the amount you’re spending on the same things you’re buying. This means looking at coupons and rebates for the things you currently use, or switching to a cheaper brand or comparable product. If you’re barely getting by on your current budget, making switches to alternatives whenever possible will free up a little more cash than you had before – or a lot when it all accumulates. These shortcuts are an effective way to begin taking small steps.
The last thing you want to do is constantly fight with your spouse about money – that kind of stress can put a tremendous strain on a relationship. Make sure all of your discussions about money are poised honestly and compassionately.
Audrey Robinson is a traveler, a self-improvement fan and a blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and thoughts online. Audrey' favorite way of spending time is listening to motivational speeches on YouTube and reading self-growth books. Feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson.