Spouses. They make life so much more interesting don’t they? 🙂
If you’re married, or soon-to-be married, chances are you’ve had to deal with the sometimes fun but mostly stressful task of trying to learn to manage your money together.
Pat and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and we definitely don’t have this whole money management thing figured out. But since now we are a one-income, self-employed family of five, we’ve had to really get on the same page.
And it’s been hard.
In fact, since my husband and our daughter’s Godfather just started their business only a few months ago, we are facing some serious lean times. For the first time in over 4 years, we had to go without a “paycheck” for two weeks.
I’m not going to lie, that was hard. We’ve gotten so used to having money in the bank on Friday that we both didn’t realize how dependent we became on that assurance when it comes to our budget.
Our slush fund is our buffer account between our checking account and our emergency fund. Basically, it exists so it can handle those small – not really emergency-type things that come up. Those small but manageable budget mistakes and any “unexpected expenses”.
Our emergency fund is the largest account we have. It’s the one that we only plan to touch if things get real bad. Like “they’re coming to take the house” kind of bad.
We’ve had to have some tough conversations here lately, especially since our oldest is getting ready to head to Kindergarten. We were hoping to set aside enough money to pay for Catholic school next year, but unfortunately, here in the South, Catholic school is significantly more expensive than it is up North.
And as such, it’s looking like that hope isn’t going to turn into a reality. So we’re having to come up with a new plan.
So what does this have to do with you?
I’m sure you’re wondering, “okay great Jessi, thanks for sharing your drama but what the heck does it have to do with me?”
The reason for me sharing this little saga of ours is to showcase that managing money together, goes far beyond just creating a budget. It starts and ends with open and honest communication.
If you want your spouse to jump on board the budgeting and money management train, you’ll have to understand that communication is key – for both of you.
- You have stop using “me”, “I”, and “you”. You’ll have to start using “us”, “we”, and “our”. You have to get in the team mentality and stop using phrases like, “why did you spend this much on this.” And you’ll have to start saying things like, “okay, how can we make this work?”
- You have to stop focusing on what your spouse is doing wrong and start focusing on how the two of you can find a solution and work together. Trust me, this one was harrrrddddd for me (a typical type-A personality) to stop doing.
- You have to resonate with your spouse. Think about the things they respond positively to and the things they respond negatively to. Start the money talk in a manner that will resonate positively with them. After all, no one knows your spouse as well as you do – use that to your advantage. 🙂
Now, here’s the big thing…
You can’t control your spouse. I know that sounds obvious but I want you to really think about that for a moment. You can no more control your spouse than they can control you. The only thing that you can control is how you respond.
So no matter how the money talk turns out, the only thing you have that you can control is you and how you respond. The same goes for your spouse. This isn’t about manipulation, it’s about being a team and coming together for the greater good of your family.
I know that is easier said than done but if you start putting these things into practice now, over time they’ll become easier.
I hope this helps you if you’ve been struggling to get on the same page as your spouse. And if you need more help when it comes to communicating with your spouse, I highly recommend the book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference. It’s an amazing and very insightful read!
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