6 Simple Tips to Get Your Spouse Onboard with a Budget
Free Beginners Guide: https://www.budgetsmadeeasy.com/budgeting-beginners-guide/
Trying to figure our how to manage your money on your own is hard enough but getting someone else on board with the plan can make it even harder.
Especially if they don’t want to do the work or aren’t as motivated as you.
If you are like me, you are super excited and ready to run all in but having your partner not quite as excited as you can damper your mood.
It’s even harder if they don’t see the need for it at all and don’t want to budget, save, or pay off debt.
Both partners need to really see how managing your money better will benefit them. If they think you are just trying to control them or they don’t see the point, its not going to work.
This is why it’s so important to work together and at times compromise so that you can reach your bigger goals as a team.
Today I will be discussing a couple of tips that can help you work together as well. It’s important to try different things to find what works for both of you.
I have found that typically one partner is all into the budget and wanting to save and the other may have to be dragged along.
One of the biggest issues in my free facebook group, budgeting for beginners, is “how do I get my spouse on board” or something to that effect. I get this question constantly.
Now keep in mind that your partner may not be as excited about this as you. You also need to be mindful of how you talk to them and know that it may take them longer to see the benefit.
Do not talk down to them or talk to them in such a way that they are going to get defensive. Try not to blame them for all your money problems.
This will only make it worse and can cause them to completely shut down and dig in their heels.
Think of it from their perspective, how would you like it if someone told you were doing something wrong or causing all the money problems. It would make you shut down and get defensive.
Ok before we dive into the tips, go grab your free budgeting beginners guide and worksheet at https://www.budgetsmadeeasy.com/budgeting-beginners-guide/ I will also link to it in the show notes.
Ok, now onto the tips to get your spouse on board.
(#1) The best tip I have heard about this issue actually came from Adam Kol on episode #3 of this podcast.
He suggests sitting down separately and writing out what you want out of life. What are you bigger goals?
Now you should both do this separately and then come together to see what is the same, what you can do together, and what may not be possible.
It’s important that you both compromise on somethings when doing this exercise. The point of this exercise is to agree on your bigger goals together.
What do you both want to work towards?
It’s important to figure out what you both want to work towards that will motivate both of you.
Once you figure out the why then you can more easily figure out the how and it will make it easter to stay motivated.
(#2) The next tip that I always suggest to people is once you figure out what you both want to work towards, make a visual that will inspire you to keep going and stay focused.
This could be a savings tracker on your fridge, or a debt payoff tracker, whatever it is, keep a visual of your progress somewhere you can see it at least once a day.
You could also do a type of dream or vision board with pictures of your “why” or things that will inspire you to stay focused. So it could be pictures of your kids along with pictures of the beach or Disney World, college, your dream home, whatever it may be.
It’s important to keep visuals around that will help you stay motivated. Because there will be times that you feel like you’re not making any progress and want to give up.
If your spouse is not fully on board the visual may help them see the progress you are actually making. Especially if they aren’t dealing with the numbers like you. It will potentially help bring them around to being more motivated to make your dream really happen.
I spoke with a lady this week that was having a hard time with spending too much on food for her small family and issues with her husband staying focused on their long-term goal of building a house. They made around $150,000 a year together and yet are living paycheck to paycheck with nothing saved for their house or anything else for that matter.
This is the main suggestion that I made to her to hopefully get her husband to see, visually, that they needed to save for their dream house.
(#3) The third tip I have is to keep chugging along on your plan even if they aren’t fully on board and maybe once they see your progress, they will get more motivated to go along with it. Now, the issue that comes up with this is that the other spouse overspends, wrecking the budget and making more work for you.
This is an issue that you will need to work on finding a solution. There are a couple things you can try and it will depend on the person if it helps.
Be sure to share the wins, even if they are small. So if you paid an extra $50 towards debt or savings, let them know how much closer you are to your goal.
You can try a separate bank account that they spend from for whatever they want or cash for the same purpose. BUT once that money is gone, it’s gone. They need to be a grown up and not overdraft that account or expect more money once the cash is gone. They may need to suffer through the consequences of not having any more money until it’s in the budget again.
If they overdraft that account, then the fees need to come from their spending money. It should not come from the household budget.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this or lie to you, this will likely happen, and you need to have a plan for when it does.
When doing a zero-based budget like I teach, there is not room for screw ups like this. So, they have to understand that once the money is gone, it’s gone. They will likely try to guilt you and say things like “I work hard, I should be able to spend money on whatever I want”.
If they start saying things like this, gently remind them about the budget and your long-term goals.
Show them and explain to them that if they spend more money that what is budgeted, you won’t have that money for savings or debt or whatever you were planning on doing with it.
That mentality of I work hard is what is keeping you in debt and overspending in the first place. This money mindset is what is holding back a lot of people from their big goals.
It’s short sighted and immature.
They are right though, they do work hard but your family doesn’t deserve to be in debt and stressed forever and not be able to do the things that you want, like stay at home with your kids, or go to Disney World, go on a paid for vacation, whatever it maybe.
You do work hard and you do deserve to be happy and live the life you want, not be stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle just because you want to go the gas station everyday or Starbucks everyday and spend money here and there that adds up at the end of the month.
4 Listen to podcasts with them around. This worked for my husband to get him fully onboard with the mindset of saving money, paying cash for things, paying off debt, things like that.
Some podcasts that I recommend include: Marriage, Kids & Money, The Equal Partners Podcast with Adam Kol, & Popcorn Finance.
5 Be mindful of how you approach them with the subject of budgeting and managing your money. Some people hate the word budgeting. If “budget” is a 4 letter word to them, think of another word to call it.
It could be cashflow plan, financial blueprint, whatever you want.
Be mindful of your tone and timing. Pick a good time to approach the subject.
As I mentioned earlier, try not to get accusatory and make them defensive. We all make mistakes and we aren’t all going to jump right into a budget and be a total nerd like me.
6 Have Budget Meetings, meet with them once a month and make it fun. Have drinks, snacks, whatever so you can relax and talk about the numbers. Try to have the kids in bed or have someone watch them so they aren't running around everywhere distracting you.
Do the work and show it to them and show them the numbers. Explain to them how much you saved and how much you spend. You can even to calculations to determine when you will reach your goal. Run the numbers to show them if you cut back x amount, you can reach it so much faster.
Remember that this may take some time and patience but they may eventually come around.
Go grab your free budgeting beginners guide and worksheet at https://www.budgetsmadeeasy.com/budgeting-beginners-guide/ I will also link to it in the show notes.