We’ve already made a case for budgeting with your partner. But just in case you are new around these parts, quick review:
Talking honestly and openly with your partner about money—expectations, habits, history, dreams—will help you understand each other better and expose the assumptions that create conflict.
It’s important to articulate and determine what’s most important to you as a couple, but you’ll also have individual priorities. Allowing for some freedom makes budgeting sustainable for the long-term.It’s important to budget money every month but also put money aside every month that you and your partner can spend on your own priorities without judgment, guilt, or sarcastic commentary of any kind.
So, this is great. You’re dreaming together. You’re talking about money and both invested in decision-making. You are on the same page and it feels great. To maintain this awesomeness, you need a regularly scheduled Budget Meeting. And, here’s why:
Your Future Deserves Your Full Attention
Maybe budgeting is new to you right now, but soon it will become routine, just something you do on auto-pilot. Or maybe your enthusiasm will wane, and it will be tempting to quit. Either way, the answer is the Budget Meeting.
You don’t need to talk about money every day, but at least once a month, you and your partner should set aside time to give your budget your full, undivided attention.
Sit down together and evaluate where you stand, what is changing and where you are going.
“Sit down together and evaluate where you stand.”
An Important Gut Check
Ultimately, you want to be sure your money is still aligned with your priorities. Circumstances change, opportunities pop-up, priorities shift—sometimes slowly over time, and sometimes in a flash. Regularly, reviewing what’s most important and being sure your money is being spent accordingly will result in better decisions and less stress.
A good budget meeting will include questions and discussion focused on practical realities and future goals:
- How is our spending trending compared to our budget? Do we need to cut back or are we not being realistic?
- Is there overspending we need to deal with using Rule Three? Where should that money come from?
- What surprised us this month? Are there things we should consider moving forward? Do we need to add or adjust any categories to be better prepared next month or next year?
- What do we have coming up next month? Any events or expenses we need to prepare for?
- Are we on track with our long-term goals? If not, why is that? Is it not as important to us as we thought it was? Do we need to cut back somewhere else? Should we adjust the goal to make it more realistic?
- Last chance—have any of our priorities changed? Yours, mine, or ours? How can or should we adjust?
Make It A Date
Just because you will be talking about your budget doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Go someplace different, order take-out, pour a glass of wine or play a game—whatever will help make it something special. This is sacred time—an investment in your future.
Remember this isn’t about paying your electric bill (although it will ensure that happens on time). This is your hopes and dreams. This is building the life you want. This is staying on the path toward achieving big goals. This is fun stuff—that is much more likely to come true if you are intentional.
So, schedule a monthly budget date night that you never miss. A win for your relationship and your bank account—and if that’s not something to sing about, I don’t know what is.