Money & Marriage!! Did you know that the number one thing people consistently fight about is money? Today, I’m going to let you in on a secret that has saved my marriage from a countless number of arguments! When Matt and I got married, we made the decision to join our finances. Before you get married in the Catholic Church, they make you (literally make you) take classes and one of these was a marriage retreat weekend. Oh the fun that we had that weekend (insert sarcasm). One thing we both got out of it was a talk about joint finances. Now, this isn’t a post to tell you that you should have joint finances. It doesn’t work for everyone but it certainly works for us.
After getting married and joining our finances, we both decided that a budget system would help us get our finances in order. We tried Mint for a couple month and while it’s nice, it just wasn’t helping us. Within a few months of using that, Matt found the holy grail to our money arguments. YOU NEED A BUDGET was it!! It is a learning curve and it takes a couple months to get everything sorted out and in a good routine. We’ve now been using it for almost 4 years. I’m going to try to explain it below. Comment at the bottom if you have any questions!!
Let’s Break it Down!
I’ve taken screenshots from the app to give you an idea of how we have our budgets broken down and how the system works. See where I have the arrows pointed to? You create a total budget based on what you have available and then break it down into categories. Available is everything that hasn’t been spent yet. Also, budgets can roll over if you don’t reset them but I’ll get into that later on. I left one of our budgets available to see to show that $116.94 is budgeted to our cell phone plan each month. If they gave us a credit, for some reason, the highlighted green area when paid out would still show an amount there instead of zero!
I’ve got more examples of items that we budget but I wanted to show you this example to show that last month, we didn’t spend all of our dining out budget (thank you COVID-19, just kidding. We get food to go all the time now…we just eat cheap lol) so $91.10 rolled over from last month giving us $291.10 to spend. Some months you might not eat out as much (or insert other category); these can be rolled over to the next month or reset and that money can be budgeted towards savings. Also, to give you an example of what some of these are that aren’t so transparent. Health and personal is for one when one of us is sick and needs medicine or if I run out of hygiene products
Home maintenance is for any home improvements but it’s also for toilet paper or dishwasher tablets. Auto and transport is for gas or if our car needs an oil change. Stuff I forgot to budget for is a big one! If we have any unexpected expenses, that max out another budget, it goes here. Let’s say my car needs new tires, they would go here and it either comes out of our savings to cover it or extra budget that’s left over.
Quality of Life & Fun
Now we’ve got our quality of life and fun categories!! You’ll see a few different options. Like I mentioned earlier, these are just some ideas of things you can budget with your income. I left Murph’s open (yes, our dog has a budget for food, meds, toys, etc) at the bottom to show you a little bit more about how mine and Matt’s budget works. Murph doesn’t have a personal savings account but each of us do that is separate from our normal savings account. Let’s say I’m budget $50 for this month but I only buy a book worth $10.
I can either let it roll over to the next month because I know I have a big purchase coming or I can move it to my savings account to save up for something bigger or something I don’t know I want yet. Let’s say I want to spend $70 when I’m only allotted $50 for a month. I can do that if I have money in my personal savings to cover it. If not, I have to save for it.
Is this right for you?
The honest answer? I don’t know. The best thing to do is sit down with your spouse/future spouse and discuss your options. Communicate openly about money. Don’t let it be a taboo subject. If you look this over and have any questions, comment below. If you decide you want to try it, check out this link! It will get you a free month of YNAB.