How to Manage Your Money & Budget with a Partner

Money Management Tips for Couples

How My Husband and I Have Worked Over the Past Two Decades to Get On The Same Page About Our Money And Our Goals

Mr. Fiscal Fitness, AKA Michael, and I have been together since college. We went for coffee one Sunday morning during our junior year, and the rest, they say, is history.

I love my husband dearly, but I noticed one thing very early on in our relationship.

He didn’t budget.

I’ve always had systems in place to track and manage my money (no surprise there), and when we first met, Michael did not. He routinely overdrafted his checking account. He never balanced his checkbook. And none of this bothered him, but you better believe it bothered me.

That’s why he likes to say that he was my first financial coaching client.

He’s not wrong.

Shortly after we officially started dating, I made sure he had a system in place to stop overdrafting his accounts. I got him to balance his checkbook regularly. And more than two decades later, we have accomplished a lot with our finances TOGETHER.

I may be steering this ship, but I’m not sailing it alone. 

It wouldn’t have helped him any if I had simply assumed control of our finances because I was “good at it.” It wouldn’t have helped me any if I just steamrolled my way through and budgeted how I thought we should budget.

Yes, budgeting and planning naturally falls to me (because I love it), but Michael can still tell you how we spend our money, exactly what our goals are, and what we’re working toward. These things are mutually agreed upon.

It’s a common misunderstanding that couples need to have both people actively involved in the day to day management of their money. 

That’s not true. I often say you don’t need to both be that involved in all the nitty gritty details. It’s actually a waste of time. But you do need to be on the same page.

That looks like:

  • Both partners in agreement on financial goals.
  • Both partners having a say in how money is spent and what it’s going toward.
  • Both partners knowing when great or not-so-great things are happening with their money.

That does not look like:

  • One person doing all of the budgeting and only telling the other person what’s going on when something bad happens.
  • One person shouldering all of the financial decisions while the other assumes it’s all taken care of.
  • One person deciding how much to save, spend, and pay toward debt without any input from the other.

For Michael and I today, having a plan for our money looks like me running the numbers every Friday, first thing in the morning while sipping my coffee. It’s my favorite time of the week. Most weeks, this is just a quick update where I make sure everything is going as planned, e.g. our revenue targets/deposits are happening as planned and expenses are clearing for expected amounts. Easy-peesy.

Then once per month probably, usually when I’m wrapping up the month, I tell Michael how we did, the status of our goals, how much was put to them, etc.  We only have a bigger financial discussion once a quarter when evaluating our goals and priorities.

But that doesn’t have to be your process. The key is finding a system that works for you and your partner. 

Budgeting with your spouse can be as easy as checking in once a week or month to talk goals, updates, projections, and wins. You’ve got to celebrate those wins. If you’re just getting into this practice, you’ll probably want to meet once a week. From there you can move to monthly and eventually quarterly as you begin to get on the same page.

If you need help navigating budgeting and planning money conversations with your spouse, we have plenty of ideas.

Later this month, Coach Jill and Coach Jaclyn are going to host the Fiscal Fitness Plan Ahead Party. And this month’s topic is everything you need to know about couples and money. Jill and Jaclyn will cover:

You can join them live on Facebook in our Money Strategies group on February 17th. Don’t forget to register so you can get the reminder! The replay will be available later in the group as well. Check it out and get on the same page about your money with your partner.

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