Annie here. If you’re just now jumping into our discussion, I’m sharing my husband’s strategy for getting me onboard with YNAB:
- Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together
- Step 2: Your Spouse Owns a Category
- Step 3: Your Spouse Owns a Long-term Category
- Step 4: Give Options for Success
- Step 5: Your spouse edits an already entered budget.
So if you couldn’t tell, we’re basically just baby-stepping it along, right? A little more responsibility here, a little more letting go there.
It really takes a lot of patience. If your spouse is particularly nonplussed by YNAB and budgeting in general, then you really have to sell it strategically, not like a pushy salesman but like one who is empathetic, self-aware, and optimistic. You will hopefully have a very long time with your spouse, so there’s not need to rush this deal. If it takes years, so be it.
The next baby step that you’ll be moving toward is Step 6:
Your spouse creates a budget and assigns downloaded transactions.
“Hey honey, I’m kind of swamped right now, but since you’ve been editing the budget would you mind just creating a new one for next month from scratch? Most of the amounts stay the same anyway, so it’s not too hard. I can look over it when you’re done. Oh, and while you’re in there, could you assign categories to all those downloaded transactions? They were from your card, and I don’t know what they were for. I’ll owe you big-time!”
This is a pretty big step. It’s asking for a large task; I’d say it’s equivalent to asking for someone to cook dinner and clean up afterward!
Through this step, you’re trying to demystify the whole system for your spouse so that they’re not scared or intimidated by it anymore. It’s a confidence-builder.
As long as you do the budget and your spouse doesn’t, you will have a hint of a parent-child relationship instead of a marriage, and that is obviously not what you want. You want to be on the same page, as equals.
Also, please know that I’m not a marriage counselor, just a wife who’s been to a marriage counselor quite a bit. So if you’re having issues that cannot be resolved with these steps, time, patience, and love, then I highly recommend finding a good marriage counselor with whom to sort these issues out. We have used one several times, even just for a tune up, and it is definitely money well spent. It might even save you money in the long run if it gets your spouse on board with YNAB!! 🙂