Let’s face it. Money is a tough topic of conversation, especially if that conversation is with your spouse. Before you utter the words “We need to talk about our money” with your significant other, take a deep breath and read our best tips for what to say in a budget meeting with your spouse. You can do this. It doesn’t have to be painful. We promise.
Set the Scene
Plan a time for this conversation that will not be interrupted by your life. It should be a time where jobs, kids, and other distractions are unlikely. Distractions will kill this conversation quickly.
For bonus points, try to make it a fun event. Order dinner in and grab a beer or a glass of wine. You can even begin the conversation by toasting to your financial happiness. If you walk into this process dreading it, it’s going to feel dreadful, so try to make it feel a little less daunting, a little more fun.
Start with a Quick Recap
And we do mean a QUICK recap of the overall budget. Where were you over budget? Where were you under budget? If you start with a run-down of each and every expense, you’ll be bored to tears and more likely to start bickering about small transactions before you get to the big picture.
Finger Pointing Will Get You Nowhere Fast
That brings us to the next tip: Don’t nitpick. Don’t think small. Stop the conversation about who put what on the debit card. Finger pointing never makes for a productive conversation. This is a talk about your budget, not who spent how much where.
Talk About Adjustments
There are usually areas for improvement, especially if you’re just starting out budgeting. Ask yourselves what can we do differently next month or week? Remember your budget is your own. If you’re consistently over on groceries, the solution could be as simple as increasing the budgeted amount. Just be careful not to rob from one category to pay for another. Increasing your grocery budget means taking funds from another category, so make sure you are on the same page about that adjustment.
Focus on the future. Rather than blaming each other for mistakes you already made, focus on what you should do with your money going forward. What financial goals do you have for this week, month, quarter, and year? When you have a plan for the future, the smaller decisions become even smaller, and you’re able to focus on the bigger picture.
This Is Not A One Time Thing
If this is your first budget conversation, make sure it’s not your last. Scheduling a regular time and place to have your budget talks will help you both get in the habit of talking about your finances. You need to communicate on a regular basis.
Be Patient with Each Other
Talking about money isn’t always an easy conversation, especially in the beginning. But trust me when I say it does get more fun. My husband and I regularly talk about our budget and future goals. Once we got in the habit, it became less of a chore and more fun to dream together. Our budget talks became less about expenses and more about the life we wanted to live. So don’t give up if your first budget talk doesn’t go as planned. There is all the reason in the world to stick with it.
Not sure how to talk to your spouse about money? Schedule a Power Planning Session for you and your spouse today and let us help you start the conversation. Need help budgeting? Check out our How to Budget Guide here. Happy budgeting!