Waaaaay back in April of 2005, right before I started this blog, an event occurred which changed my financial life. My wife and I sat down and created a budget. Yes, we sat down, worked together, and formulated our spending plan. This single meeting lead to much of our “personal finance” success. We were, and are, on the same page. Here are five keys to our success:
1. Create goals
2. Be positive
3. Discuss the facts
4. Learn to adjust
5. Be realistic
I am clearly the “nerd” in our family, so my role is to create the overall budget plan. I print out a monthly calendar, list the bills that I know are going to be due, and note any debt or savings goals. My wife and I then sit down and talk about our monthly expenses, bills, plans, etc. We both get our cash envelopes for the month (or week). My wife if VERY good at remembering details, so she fills in the gaps where I forget. I was amazed at the changes in our spending habits after we had our first real budget talk. My wife is amazing! While she likes nice things, especially for our kids, she LOVES to end her week with cash remaining in her envelopes.
Quick note: I try not to be a psycho about things… If you are the “saver”, you have to give the “spender” some breathing room. If you are the “spender”, you have to help the “saver” enjoy life a little. That’s why we get married. Balance, balance, balance.