Are you struggling to get your spouse on a budget? Maybe your spouse doesn’t quite understand your debt situation. Maybe he or she routinely overspends. Maybe your spouse feels overwhelmed by a budget or simply doesn’t wish to live on one. Whatever the situation, here are 5 easy ways that you can get your spouse on board with your budget.
1. Review your total debt with him or her.
Sit down and open up all of the accounts where you have debt. Perhaps you have credit card debt or student loan debt. Show your spouse how much interest has accrued on all of your debt. View all of the details that you can under your account. Depending on your debt load, this ought to illicit enough panic to convince your spouse to never stray from the budget again. Explain to your spouse why living on a budget is important to you and why when you stray from your budget, it’s not good for your family.
2. Be prepared.
One of the most important things that will help your spouse on a budget is to prepare and plan your budget together even if he or she is not interested initially. You and your spouse should both understand your budget and your goals for paying off debt. Plan your budget together. Prepare grocery lists together. If you have kids, involve them. This will help keep you all accountable to each other and makes it more fun.
For us our biggest struggle is eating out. Its just too dang convenient when we are both working and have a little guy at home to take care of. If we prep our meals ahead of time (so all we have to do is heat it up when we get home) or even just write down what we are planning to eat for dinner each night, we are much more likely to stay on track. When spouse calls hangry on his/her way home from work, you can assure him/her that dinner is ready. Wallets and waist lines will thank you.
3. Have a realistic budget.
It would be really nice if we could NEVER buy gas, or clothes, or eat things besides Ramen noodles, but the truth is, its just not going to happen for us. Life happens. We have to drive to work, no one will let us walk around naked, and I think we’d die of malnutrition if all we ate was Ramen.
In my experience, setting and sticking to a budget takes a bit of work and we are constantly having to re-evaluate and reassess our expenses. Some months, we need more money for household/cleaning items,etc. Some months we need more baby things. If your spouse is an overspender, living on a ridiculously tight budget might be impossible for him or her. Tighten up your budget, but don’t make it too tight that your spouse resents your budget. There has to be a little wiggle room somewhere. If you don’t have a realistic budget, you are not going to stick to it. It’s as simple as that.
Which leads me to #4…
4. Have a budget that works for you.
To get your spouse on a budget, you have to have a budget that works for you– both of you. It might make more sense for you to have a total monthly budget to stay within, instead of allocating specific amounts to specific areas. So, instead of budgeting $200 for your electric bill, $1000 for rent, $200 for gas, etc etc then you might just stick to only spending a certain amount, ($3000, or whatever) each month. Some people might do better with a more strict budget that allocates money to specific categories. Some people are all or nothing– they’d rather live on a super tight budget than a budget with wiggle room, as discussed above. Do whatever works for you!
5. If all else fails, have them go to a collections agency hearing at your local courthouse.
Working as a judicial law clerk has really frightened me into sticking to a budget. I often have to sit through garnishment hearings or other collections hearings. They are awful. My least favorite one was a hearing where a couple in their mid 80s were the subjects of such a hearing. Everything was taken from them to pay off their bills, including their family home. Their faces were not only worn with years, they were clearly worn with the stress of their financial situation. Instead of being able to enjoy their golden years, they were burdened with mountains of debt. It really was horrifying. It made me realize how much I want to get out of debt. I want to be able to spoil my grandkiddies and spend time vacationing with my spouse. I do not want to be a burden to anyone. I’m just saying, it scared me straight and I’m sure it can scare you and or your spouse straight too. Simply google your local district court calendar and go pop in on a hearing with your spouse. 🙂
Your finances should be a family affair. Spouses should be on the same page so that you can achieve your financial goals together. You can do all the planning and money saving in the world but it won’t do you any good if you share money with someone who is simply not on the same page as you.
What have you done to help get your spouse on a budget? Are you the spouse who hates the budget? What do you wish your spouse would do to help make budgeting easier for you? Comment below!