You Don't Have To Fight About Money


From Podcast #160: This One’s For The Lovers, the one in which Jesse says not to talk about money when you are budgeting with a partner…


Hello YNABers. My name is Jesse Mecham with You Need A Budget, where we teach you four rules to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money, faster. Today, and for the next little while, we’re going to talk about budgeting with a partner, with a spouse, with a significant other, with your true love, with the one and only — this one’s for the lovers.

Now, there’s really only one thing to talk about so this will be fairly short. When it comes down to it, you avoid, for the first little bit, talking about money and you just talk about priorities, passions, habits, things that get you excited, what you want to do, where you want to be in five years/ten years/twenty years.

You drop things like, “I can’t wait to pay off my mortgage in seven years.” “What? What? What mortgage? Seven years? Is that possible?” You bring up things about how you were raised, talk about where you’re coming from with money, and you just try and have open, frank conversations.

I’m no marriage counselor. I’ve only been married once, only plan on being married once, so I only have one experience — and it’s been awesome. So, I don’t have a ton of tactical advice that a relationship counselor might have when it comes to the communication of things like that. I remember reading a good book called Crucial Conversations and that would probably applybut again, it’s just book learning, it’s nothing that I’ve studied and I’ve no doctorate or anything in the matter. I do know that, at the end of the day, when you want to do YNAB and you want to do it well, it sure puts fuel on the fire when you’re doing it together.

And the best way to get started is to not talk about the money. You just talk about the intangibleswell, and sometimes the tangibles. “Hey, I wonder, where should we go on vacation? Where do you want to go?” “I want to go to Europe for a month,” or, “I want to go camping for three days” those are very different things monetarily and the kind of thing that you could be discussing. “Are you okay with debt? Not okay with it? How do you feel about having credit card debt?”

My word — my wife keeps texting me. She probably knows I was talking about her so she texted me. Anyway, the key is to discuss the priorities. Keep it open. Remember, don’t talk about money. When they say, “Oh, I just love a thing you don’t care about,” don’t say, “Oh my gosh, that sounds so expensive.” Just let it be, you know. Everyone’s individual and you’ve got to respect the priorities of the person with whom you are sharing your finances, your obligations and everything that’s wrapped up in it.

So, have open, frank discussions. Avoid money, but talk about all those things that money toucheswhich is everything. Establish some priorities, some goalsmake them happy ones. And I think you’ll find that communication is not so bad and that it maybe is… maybe pretty fun. Not adversarial, just conversational.

Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You have not budgeted like this.


This episode aired February 23, 2015. For more about how to stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster — subscribe to the You Need A Budget podcast today!