When you think about tackling finances together as a couple, images of candlelit dinners and lazy mornings in bed probably don’t spring to mind. Budgeting might not be romantic, but it’s necessary to avoid financial problems down the road.
There are ways to spice up your budget and make it more fun for both of you. Here are our favorites:
Go on Budget Dates
Budgeting isn’t sexy, but budget dates can spice up your normal money routine.
Go to a coffee shop or local bistro, order a couple drinks and go over your goals. Try to schedule them every month or every week if you’re just starting to redo your finances. You can also do them at home if you’re trying to cut back on eating out. Crack open a bottle of wine and start working on your budget.
Save for Goals Together
When budgeting with your partner, it’s easy for goals to become one person’s domain. But it’s better to create at least some goals as a couple and work as a team to achieve them.
For example, you can save for a vacation you both want to take or a dinner at a Michelin-rated restaurant. Changing the conversation from “how much I can spend” to “how close are we to a goal” will make it easier to see budgeting as a team sport.
Also, you can each set your own goals. If your wife wants to save up for a trip with her girlfriends and you have a bachelor party in Vegas, you can each set aside your own funds and encourage each other to stay on track. Setting similar goals will help drive home the power of budgeting to you both.
Create a Visual Reminder
Whether you’re trying to pay down debt or earn extra money on the side, a visual reminder can help both of you remember the why, not just the how.
You can use a chalkboard in the kitchen, a spreadsheet in the bathroom, or even a post-it in the bedroom to keep track of the goals you’re trying to reach. Just remember to pick a place where you’ll see it often.
Set Rewards and Incentives
If you’re trying to cut back on certain things like eating out or going to bars, give yourself small rewards and incentives for reaching your goals. Small treats will keep you motivated to stay the course, even when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
For example, if you’re aiming to spend less on restaurants, allow yourself to order a pizza if you reach your goal at the end of the month. Or if you successfully cut back on clothes or video games for a couple of months, let yourself buy the shirt on the clearance rack or the used game you really want.
Find Other Ways to Learn About Finance
If you and your partner are just starting to learn about money, try to incorporate it into other facets of your life. For example, try reading more books about personal finance, listening to money-related podcasts, or perusing blogs devoted to the topic.
You don’t have to make money the center of your life, but you can find easy ways to learn more about it. For example, if your husband has a long commute to work, suggest he listen to a financial podcast for part of it. Or if you love to read during your lunch break, find a book about budgeting at the library. Then, you can blow your partner’s mind when you drop some serious financial knowledge on him during your budget dates.