Money is one of the leading causes of stress in marriage, according to the Motley Fool website. Fights often revolve around the budget, and other spending habits. Often one spouse is budget-oriented and the other is more relaxed about money. The key to making a budget work is to come to an agreement together and to create a system where you can easily track expenses. A rewards system will help to make budgeting palatable for both of you.
Set specific financial goals with your spouse. This may not be a fun discussion, but having a big picture that you're both working towards will make the rest of the budgeting process easier. It will help in decision making, and should create areas where you can be more lenient to make the budgeting process fun.
If your spouse is balking at the entire budgeting process, you can put together a basic budget on your own, then take it to him to tweak the category amounts, and to see if it's in line with the goals you've set. If you do it this way be sure to include categories for the things that are important to him such as video games or sports tickets, if you can afford them in your budget.
Put a fun money or allowance category in the budget for each of you. Use cash for this money, so you don't need to be accountable to the other for the money spent in this category. The amount depends on how much extra cash you have in your budget after you've covered your basic expenses. The larger the amount, the more slowly you'll reach your goals. But a reluctant spouse can be brought on board easier if she doesn't feel deprived.
Plan a rewards system for sticking to the budget. Set aside extra money at the beginning of the month that can be used at the end of the month for fun items, if you manage to stick to your budget during that time.
Extend budget challenges. Give the remaining money from the budget category to the shopper who manages to come in under budget on grocery shopping or errands throughout the week. Another option is to put the extra money into a pot to be awarded at the end of the month to the best saver.
Make a chart of your financial goals and mark off your progress as you work toward them. Set milestones on the chart with rewards that you'll each receive once you reach the milestone. At the beginning of the process you may want the rewards closer together to help build enthusiasm and the habit of budgeting.
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