7 Steps to Getting Your Spouse On Board: Step 4

If you’re just now jumping into our discussion, I’m sharing my husband’s strategy for getting me onboard with YNAB:

Okay, so you’ve been practicing letting go of control while your beloved practices operating a few categories – some long-term, some not. It’s going well, but you have bitten your tongue more times than you have cared to.

You’re probably ready for Step 4. Now, before I divulge Step 4, let me share an important word with you: FINESSE. You know, subtle, skillful, delicate. So here goes:

Step 4: Give options for success.

No anger, no pouting, no passive aggression, no giving up. Just…finesse – grace, skill, delicacy, subtlety, and artistry. 

Instead of:


Try this:

“Hey honey, groceries is dangerously close to zero, and it’s March 5. Are you sure we’re going to make it? The great thing about this budgeting program is that it doesn’t matter if you go over. You see they actually plan on you going over! Anyway, we have a few options:

1) we can just eat from the pantry as best we can the rest of the month (I don’t mind beans and cornbread),

2) we can take some money out of our trip category and do the trip later, or

3) we can have less next month to spend.

Which one do you think we should do?

Boom – Rule 3! See what we did there?

Options are a great way of creating a win-win situation. You’re not giving your spouse options that you can’t live with; that wouldn’t be fair. But you also haven’t communicated total disgust and disdain for her and her organic produce addiction. You’ve simply communicated, “Hey, let’s roll with the punches.

Sneaky, I know.

The beauty of Rule 3 in YNAB is that it lets you calm down. If you’re not calm about the unexpected, you don’t have your stuff together, so go back to Step 1! This alone will get your spouse on board with it. By this point you should be calm with yourself and bringing your spouse into the wonderful reality of options. Your spouse starts to think, ‘I should just pick an option before one picks me.’