Money… one of the biggest reasons couples get divorced. As newlyweds, you have to adjust to another person’s spending habits. If the other person has debt, loves to go on shopping binges, or is a tightwad with money, this can be a difficult adjustment to make. My husband and I discussed money issues before we got married and made sure we were on the same page with wanting to save…for a rainy day…for a house…and for vacations.
Coming up with a budget
My husband a.k.a. “The Spreadsheet King” was already using a budget spreadsheet for his one person income, so he decided to change it to accommodate both of our incomes. He got it all together and then we sat down and discussed it line by line. We talked about how much we wanted to go into retirement, how much we wanted to save, how much we wanted for miscellaneous personal items (clothing, gifts, entertainment, etc.) and how much was needed for all of our bills. It wasn’t the most fun thing we have ever done (okay, it may have been fun for The Spreadsheet King), but it really laid out what money we had coming in and where we felt the money should go.
In order for you to get started with a budget, you need to list all sources of income per month and then all of your monthly expenses. Here are some suggestions for your expense categories:
- Utilities – electric, gas, water, sewer, home phone, cell phones, cable/satellite, internet
- Home – mortgage/rent, taxes, insurance, association fees, repairs
- Car – car payment, gas, insurance, repairs, maintenance, tolls
- Insurance – life, health, dental, disability
- Debt – credit cards, student loans, other loans
- Food – groceries, eating out
- Personal – prescriptions, haircuts, doctor visits, makeup, clothing
- Pets – food, vet, grooming
- Entertainment – movies, music, books, magazines, hobbies
Do you have any other expenses to add?
Keeping track of your budget
Now, you may not be a wizard with a spreadsheet like my husband, but there are many budgeting worksheets out on the web that you can use, or you can sign up for a free service like Mint. If you haven’t heard of this before, according to their website, “Mint brings all your financial accounts together online or on your mobile device, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets and helps you achieve your savings goals.” I tried Mint for a few months because although we had a budget, we weren’t checking to make sure we were sticking to it. Mint lets you do just that…and it will notify you if you have gone over your budget in a certain area. This pointed out to me that we spent way too much on groceries and eating out. So we had to strategize how to decrease this spending…I will discuss this in another post soon.
If you aren’t sure if a budget conversation would go well with your spouse, it can be helpful to follow a workbook. That way it is the book pointing out the issues, and not you or your spouse. I recommend One Bed One Bank Account Workbook. It is easy to follow and has a ton of worksheets to use. Finish the book and you will not only have a budget, but you will have a plan for saving in the future. Purchase the accompanying book to get the full benefits from the workbook.
Is money an issue in your marriage? Have you and your spouse created a budget? Do you keep track of how well you are sticking to that budget? Is your husband a spreadsheet king too? Let me know in the comments.