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How to Plan Household Spending with Your Spouse

When we mix relationships and finances, it can either be a recipe for disaster or financial stability. It is really up to each couple. If you focus on the end result, and work together you can avoid many fights over finances and have a much more harmonious relationship.

For many couples it is not always bird’s singing and sunny skies when money matters are brought up. In the days of instant gratification and on-line shopping, our desires can be easily satisfied without thinking about the impact to our finances. These spontaneous purchases or any other impulse buy can cause momentary joy, but can pull us away from our long-term financial goals and cause fights about money.

Here are five actionable tips that will help you and your spouse align your spending appropriately and start to work together as a team.

Setting Goals Together

Together First sit down separately and write your own individual financial goals. This can be an excellent opportunity to connect with your spouse. When a person shares their financial dreams, they are opening up their heart to you. They are showing you what is most important to them. Sit down with your spouse, turn off your cell phone and ask them to share their goals. Truly listen.

Then turn your financial dreams into SMART goals. For example, let’s say you have $10,000 of credit card debt and you want it out of your life. Now you have a goal that backs up your desire to control your household spending.

Be sure to set SMART goals:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Actionable

  • Realistic

  • Time-Based

Here is a SMART goal - Pay off credit card debt of $10,000 within 18 months.

After you and your spouse assess your individual goals then you are ready to narrow down on some goals as a couple. Perhaps you’ll discover that your goals may align. You may even learn something you never knew. These are the conversations that allow your financial relationship to really grow.

Let’s say your spouse wants to be an entrepreneur, but always just considered it a pipe dream. This is your chance to get your significant other fired up about both goals. When both of you are working toward a common goal, your chance for success rises exponentially. In this scenario, decreasing your household spending can eliminate credit card debt and provide capital for a small business opportunity. Ask yourself and your spouse why you want to pursue these goals. Some answers could be:

  • Reducing your stress

  • Feeling proud of building a business

  • Using the extra money to have more fun

Your individual answers will help you both drive toward your goal together.

The Couple that Budgets Together Stays Together

If you are not aware of how much you are spending each month, then you will never know how to improve your finances. Start your journey of financial improvement by getting a gauge of your current expenses.

Utilize a budgeting system for couples which allows both you and your spouse to feel empowered. A system like this will automatically sync your bank and credit card accounts so you can see your spending. This way you can make improvements and move closer to your collective financial goals. If you’re not into finance apps, not a problem. Grab a copy of your last bank or credit card statement and start to analyze the expenses. Look for trends, patterns and start to add up your typical monthly expenses. Once you’re budgeting with your spouse, your financial future starts to become clearer.

Learn to Say “No”

It is never fun to miss out on fun experiences or buying the trendiest gear, but if we want to improve our financial future we need to learn to start saying “no.” It is not all doom and gloom though. When we say “no” to one thing today, we are saying “yes” to something in the future. For example, you may have to say “no” to impulse shopping a couple years, but you are saying “yes” to saving money for your future small business.

Will you feel happier owning your business or having the freedom to shop as you please? Only you can answer that.

Stay the Course and Focus on the End Results

As you are working on controlling your spending to hit your financial goals, there will be plenty of setbacks, obstacles and marital disagreements along the way. Do your best to focus on why you started down this path to begin with. If you want to eliminate the credit card in your life so your days are less stressful and more joyful, remind yourself of that when you feel like giving up.

Just think, “When I am credit card debt-free, I will feel less stressed and happier knowing that I do not owe Sallie Mae another dime!”

Or in your spouse’s case: “I will feel proud and confident when I am managing my own business. That is why I am sticking to this!”

Celebrate Your Successes

Some financial goals can take quite a bit of time. That is why it is important to celebrate your successes along the way. No accomplishment is too small.

· You have stayed in budget three months in a row. Congrats!

· The credit card debt is down to $5,000. You are a rock star!

· You have saved up $2,500 for your future small business savings account. Cheers!

Take time to do the activity you two love the most. Congratulate each other for your teamwork, partnership and love. Then when the big day comes and you have accomplished your biggest goal, Celebrate like crazy! Take a picture together, shoot a video, celebrate with family and shout it from the rooftops. The two of you are creating the lives you have always dreamed of and you are doing it together.

If you are looking for a Financial Coach that can guide you towards financial security. Contact Stephen Westurn at phone 214.240.0701 or Stephen@Westurnconsulting.com to schedule a complimentary financial assessment session.

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