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We should regularly review our family income, savings, and spending plan in family council meetings.
-Robert D. Hales
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning out your monthly finances before the month begins. You have to have a plan. You have to know how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and where where it is going– this is the purpose of the monthly family budget meeting.
If you’re married, you and your spouse should sit down together at least once a month and talk about your family finances for the upcoming month. Money fights and money problems are a major factor in divorce today. Having this meeting regularly can help prevent that and build unity in your marriage.
If you’re single, you should still sit down and make a plan for the upcoming month. It might be wise to share your plan with someone close to you; have an accountability partner. It could be a parent, a sibling, or a close friend– someone that will help hold you to your commitments.
If you need to argue some and have a little heated discussion about the family finances, this is your forum to do so. This is where you can share your feelings, talk about what is important, and make compromises together. Be willing to give up a few things that you want in order for your spouse to get a few things that she wants. This is called compromise. Welcome to marriage.
In this meeting you should allocate every single dollar of your household income– from income to zero. Write the checks, pay the bills, and fill your envelopes; put everything in writing. Have the mindset that the money is already spent when the budget is set and agreed on, and the meeting is over.
Do not place the burden to handle the budget entirely on your spouse. You are a couple. You are a team– work together. Together you are a family– it is our money and our family and our house and our dreams and our life.
One of you might be more inclined to make spreadsheets and budget sheets or understand money better. That is okay. You don’t both have to be budget nazis and math whizzes. But you do both need to look at the budget, know what is on it, agree with what is on it, and be willing to follow it.
If you are not being honest about your spending habits or you’ve been hiding something financially from your partner, this meeting would be a good time to get it out there. It’s time to be transparent. Be sympathetic of the faults your spouse might have brought to the table. Appreciate the honesty, be willing to forgive, and be willing to change together going forward. You are no longer going to hold things back financially from each other.
Don’t be mad at her because she wasn’t doing the budget correctly or because she was running up credit card debt that you didn’t know about, when you never sat down with her to make the budget or never had a in depth discussion about the family finances. You’re both at fault. Nobody is perfect. Commit to handle the finances together.
Financial infidelity is a problem; I am not undermining that issue. If you are lying to your spouse and hiding something from him or her, you need to come clean. If this has been a long standing issue in your marriage, you might need to see a marriage counselor to help you learn how to best approach your spouse about it. Not being transparent and honest about your household finances will destroy your marriage.
The family budget meeting is where you discuss your lives. It’s where you talk about your dreams, your desires, and the things that matter. What you decide to do with your money will reflect your values and the things that you want. Your budget is a direct reflection of the things that are most important to your family.
Sitting down together regularly to discuss your household finances will keep you on the same page with your spouse, enable transparency and honesty, empower your relationship, increase your wealth building power, and improve the unity in your marriage.
A family that budgets together, stays together.