Talking money with your spouse
Ok, you have been reading this blog for a while and know you need to make a budget.
You want to change your family's future and are excited about tightening down the hatches on your money so you can pay off debt (how great would that feel), gain control of your finances and save money.
You know that if you can just cut your expenses to the bare minimum you will be able to accomplish your money goals in 6 months or less. You are on a mission to eliminate any frivolous spending.
However, you need to make time to talk to your spouse.
You need to remember that your spouse may not have all the information you have now learned about budgeting and controlling your expenses.
S/he probably grew up with a different perspective about money than you did.
Most likely the two of you handle money in opposite ways, one may be inclined to save and the other likes to spend. Maybe, your spouse does not have the desire to pay off debt like you do.
When you barge in and inform your spouse that your family is now on a budget which needs to be followed or else, I am guessing that will not go over well. In fact, it will probably lead to a big fight.
[Tweet "Don't tell your spouse, 'We are now on a budget' without first sharing why it is important."]
Changing your family's future
Before you talk to your spouse about the need to change how you will handle money, think about the things you could do if you did not have the limitations of having all these payments going out every month.
Credit cards. Student loans. Medical debts/bills. Home equity loans. Car payments. What if you could get rid of all of them and change your family's future?
What would you and your family be able to do with the extra money? What are some of the dreams you have talked about as a family?
Do you want to make a special trip? Move into a nicer house? Build up savings? Be more generous?
[Tweet "How would your family look different if you were debt free?"]
You need to share with your spouse the reasons you want to get out of debt and get him/her on board with the dream. Get your spouse excited about changing your family's future.
The specifics and the numbers can be worked out later, now is the time to share the ways you can change your family's future.
Honey, what could we do if we did not have any payments and debts? Where could we go? I know you have always wanted to do/buy_____ and if we did not have student loans we could do that.
How would it feel if we had this much extra money a month (add up your total debt payments)? You would not have to work so hard, you would be able to switch jobs to one you really liked. Maybe you could retire early or stay home with the kids?
What if we did not have a car payment? What if we had a big ol' pile of cash in savings? What if we had more money at the end of the month than we had bills?
What if we didn't need to fight about money because we both know what is going on with our finances and we have a plan. Our bills do not need to control us anymore, we can control our money.
I think we can get to that place where we do not have any payments and we actually have money in savings. I would love to become debt free. What do you think? Is that something you would like too?
We can clean up all our debts and build our savings. We can get rid of this money mess by getting on a plan and sticking to it. We can get rid of this huge weight of all these payments and we can breath again, able to have fun and enjoy life. We can do it!
Would you be willing to work on cleaning up our mess together? I would love your help and support in getting our finances back in order.[Tweet "For just a few minutes, think about not having any payments at all, what could you do?"]
Here is a basic list of all the bills and payments we have going out each month along with our income. Can we look at it together and see where we can cut our expenses in order to reach our financial goals and change our family's future?
You may need to have several conversations along these lines opening up the possibility of a future which is free from the burden of debt and lighting a spark of hope, before your spouse gets truly on board with your plan to pay off debt and get on a budget.
Talk about your reasons why you want to clean up your finances, how different your family's life could look like if you had zero payments going out and you had control of your money.
Taking the time now to share why this change is important to you and how it will help your family is a non threatening way to approach this often tense subject with your spouse and will help you get on the same page.
Once you have made some headway with talking to your spouse about what you would want to do to change your family's future, you can start talking about specific steps to take to achieve your goals. This is when you bring up the budget, start looking at specific numbers, and setting a plan to clean up any money mess. [Tweet "How can you change your family's future?"]
Guidelines for talking money
Set up some guidelines for talking about money. One reader shared that she and her husband have agreed to just talk about the facts and the numbers without bringing any emotion into the conversation. Another possible guideline is acknowledging that both get a say in setting up the budget and we will not fight about money.
You may also decided who is going to do the data entry part of tracking your expenditures and who is in charge of looking at the next month to revise any numbers if needed. Timing is good to talk about too, when can we have our monthly budget meetings so that you can have input on next month's budget.
Now is not the time to accuse or throw blame onto your spouse about how much debt s/he has or their poor financial decisions. When you said 'I do', the two of you became one; including your finances. The two of you have a financial mess and the two of you need to clean it up so the two of you can change your family's future.
When couples come together as a team and can focus on reaching financial freedom, amazing things will happen. Getting your spouse on the same page, may take some time, but do not give up because you are able to do so much more together than you could do alone. You can change your family's future.
A couple of resources are Financial Peace University, which is Dave Ramsey's 9 week money class and would be great to go together as a couple. Do you need more ideas on how to talk money with your spouse? Here is a great article.
How are you changing your family's future?
Hi! I’m Charissa. I’m on a mission to help hardworking women overcome money struggles and gain financial peace with a Biblical perspective so they can have the freedom to impact their families and communities. Ready to make some changes that will impact your finances in 2020? Click here to get a free worksheet to help you make it happen!