Financial matters are often a sore spot for couples. While it can be challenging to talk about money, having a realistic financial plan with your partner can help prevent arguments. Here are a few tips to help couples balance a budget together.
Communicate Consistent communication is key is you wish to maintain a budget as a couple. Having frequent, honest discussions about money can strengthen your relationship. Set aside time each month to work through your finances together and to track your progress on shared goals.
Calculate your income Before you can create an accurate budget, you need to know how much money each of you makes. Calculate the combined total of all your sources of income.
Determine your household needs Make a list of all your fixed bills. This should include your mortgage or rent, car payments, insurance, utilities, phone bills and other ongoing expenses. You should also account for groceries, gas, pet food, entertainment and personal items. Once you have a sense of what your shared expense are, you can gain an accurate picture of your spending as a couple.
Set financial goals Set individual and shared financial goals. Do you plan on buying a house or having a child soon? Do you want to a take yearly trips down south? How much money will you put aside each month to meet these targets? Don’t forget to also budget for long-term goals like retirement.
Create a budget Come up with a total monthly budget based on your income, needs and goals. Try to agree on an amount that you can set aside for individual spending. Make sure you’re in complete agreement and that you’re both 100 per cent satisfied with your financial plan.
Decide how to pay the bills Does one spouse make more than the other? Have an honest discussion about how you plan to pay the bills. Will you pool your resources and spend them together, or will you keep your finances separate? Decide how to break down the budget and who will be responsible for paying each of the bills on time.
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