Do you have healthy finances? How about your marriage? Also healthy, or also unhealthy? Is there a correlation there? Financial stress and burden is a top 3 cause of divorce! But we want you to know that finances in marriage don’t have to be a negative, taboo or stressful subject! We have navigated many different financial seasons in our 20 plus years of marriage. So you can trust us when we tell you that the financial lessons that we share with you are ones that we have learned and put into practice in our own lives. Here are 5 simple, but meaningful tips to help you and your spouse to be on the same page, financially!
1. Live on less than you make
This is the simplest concept to understand, and everyone claims to know it. But very few people practice it! This is the number one rule for healthy finances! You must must must live on less than you make. The end! That means paying off your credit cards right away. And if you can’t handle the responsibility that comes with having a credit card – then cut yours up!
You want to make sure that you are saving and giving, along with spending. Most people do this backwards – they spend more than they make, and so they never have any money left to put aside, and definitely, have no money to give to others. But you know that we are huge proponents of giving (check out this post)! So, if you attack this cycle from the giving and saving first standpoint – you are setting yourself up to succeed!
2. Automate savings
This is a great one that few people do properly. You want to automate saving for expenses and purchases you know you will have. Retirement is the most well-known one. But have you heard of a ‘Sinking Roof Fund’? Basically, if you know that in 10 years you will need a new roof, and that roof will cost $10,000 – then you should be saving $1000 every year for the next ten years. Because being hit with a $10,000 bill to save a roof is enough to stun anyone – but if you are prepared for it, then it’s just another Tuesday and you can proceed knowing that you are crushing life. So set up a seperate fund in your bank account for this.
If you want to read more about automating your savings, read this great article by Ramsey Solutions.
3. Blow account (start small! $10!)
This is one of the margin areas we mentioned in number 1. But it’s a really important one! You are obviously working so hard to make money and save moeny and build for your future. But it feels like a real drag when all you do is save and spend on bills and you feel like you have no room for anything for fun. So, add fun to your budget! If your budget is tight – start with a $10 allowance. You have no idea how delicious a latte tastes from your favorite cafe until you are only allowed to get it once a month, instead of splurging on them every day and paying for it via debt and a thicker waistline.
4. Respect the Saver and the Spender
There is usually one person in the relationship who is a saver, and one is a spender. Maybe you wish your spouse was just like you so that you would have less fights about finances. But trust us – that’s not the case! There is a place for each person in the relationship, so start respecting and enjoying what your spouse brings to the table.
Chances are that the Saver has a lot of goals and spreadsheets and hopes and dreams for the future. But it can often happen that the Saver is so focused on the future that they forget to have some fun in the present.
Sometimes Spenders are so excited about life that they just want to spend and enjoy all the good things NOW, Today, and tomorrow! But without healthy paramenters, the Spender is at risk of not having enough for tomorrow, and barely enough for today as well.
And that’s why it’s nice to have one of each in the relationship! And the more each person can respect and see why their spouse is dealing with the finances in the way that they are – the more enjoyable life will be for everyone, today, tomorrow, and years from now!
5. Quicken for Budgeting
Quicken is an amazing tool that will make being financially responsible very easy. Even if you feel like budgeting is too hard, we promise this will make it easier for you!
You can set up ‘Virtual Envelopes’ that are much akin to the envelope system that Dave Ramsey promotes. The idea with the envelope system is that you have money budgeted for certain categories, and once that money is gone – that category is done for the month. So, if you have $200 allotted for eating out and there’s no more money in that category by the 17th of the month – then it looks like you are eating at home for the rest of the month!
In Quicken, you can set up a cash account and just name the categories – eating out, stores, bills, etc. This is a great way to see how much you know you should be spending on a certain category and how much you actually do spend in that category! Self-control and knowledge are keys to building wealth, friends.
Money Matters, as Well as Your Relationship
Friends, at the end of the day, it’s great to have your finances in order – but even more so your relationships with your loved ones. So don’t let money, or other relationships, or disappointment, or anything else come between you and your spouse. If finances are something that is often a sore subject in your home – talk about it with a mediator or counselor. We believe everyone can experience financial freedom – it just takes work, discipline, and a plan!
If you are interested in reading some amazing books that have helped us on our financial journey – check out this blog post with our 5 favorite books.