By Lauren Lovett, Certified Credit Counselor and Grant Writer for Navicore Solutions
I. Be honest and open about all sources of income, expenses, debts and assets.
You have selected one another to be partners in life, and therefore, partners in managing finances. Share with each other your individual financial situations, because now that you are working as a team, it becomes a joint financial situation.
You also want to take the time to understand your partner’s thoughts about money and spending habits. It is not uncommon to find that you and your partner have completely different views on money management. Perhaps you are a saver and your partner tends to overspend. It may take some time, but communication and honesty can help develop a mutual plan for spending and saving.
2. Budget together.
Some couples prefer putting all of their money into the same account, while others prefer managing their accounts separately. To say one way is better than the other is all a matter of opinion, preference and personal situations; however, no matter how you and your partner manage your money, budgeting together with all income and expenses is the best way to truly understand and manage your household finances.
Having a budget enables you to establish an effective spending plan so that you and your partner can make the best decisions with your money. For those that manage their money separately, devote time each month to sit down together and share your individual budgets. You may find that one partner is struggling monthly while the other has money left over. By budgeting together you can figure out how you can help each other out so you are both staying on track with the household finances.
3. Discuss short term and long term goals.
Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated and give you something to look forward to. Discuss with your partner what your priorities are as a couple and as an individual. You can plan for those goals in your budget by including categories for savings. For example, perhaps as a couple you have a short term goal of having a date night once a month. Include a certain amount of money you want to save each week so you can make that goal happen. Individually, you may have a certain hobby that costs money. Include that in your budget as well. Your long term goals might require building larger sums of money such as buying a home, starting a family, or taking a vacation. Set a plan for when you want to achieve those goals, and then you can determine how much you will need to save each month.