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When you're single, you can make your own decisions and succeed or fail on your own terms.
It's very different when you have a partner. They can catapult you forward or hold you back. Usually, it's a bit of both, and usually, it's a two-way street.
If you're the budget-conscious one in your unit, it may be your responsibility to push your mate in the right direction. However, that's rarely an easy thing to do!
Budgeting is boring and paying attention to nasty things like debt and interest payments are all too easy to ignore. If your partnership is suffering due to bad finances, here are some tips to help you get your spouse to budget.
Before you look at a single bill, or paycheck, way before you begin to draw up a monthly budget together, get really excited.
Get excited about anything that saves money. Show that it's an interest to you.
Excitement is contagious! It will go a long way to convincing your spouse to budget without ever having to point a finger.
Don't worry so much about creating conflict or unpleasantness. When you focus on those things, they tend to happen. Instead, be positive and show genuine enthusiasm for a more budget-friendly lifestyle.
Another approach that helps get your spouse to budget is the use of alternatives when it comes to spending.
If your spouse frequently spends money without discussing it with you, that is a separate issue! But when the topic of spending does come up, use the opportunity to promote your alternative agenda of not spending.
Rather than pointing out that you can't afford an expense, suggest something else that won't cost as much. For example, instead of getting food delivered, raid the pantry, and come up with dinner with what you have.
When the time does come to have a serious discussion about budgeting, make sure there isn't anything in the way.
If you have kids, wait until the kids are in bed. Try to get them to bed early if you can. If not, at least try to keep them from going too late. You don't want to go into this tired, and it can't wait until tomorrow.
Make sure to express how important the conversation is to you so that you both can be invested. Turn off the tv and sit together on a couch or at the kitchen table.
By eliminating distractions, you help ensure that the discussion can be productive and you can have an understanding of each other.
Set the Tone
Part of making productive conversation is in how you approach your discussion. Make sure that your tone isn't condescending or demoralizing when you attempt to get your spouse to budget.
If your spouse is not on board with budgeting, they may be aware of personal failings that they are ashamed of and might be unwilling to discuss. Take a compassionate approach and be encouraging and affectionate.
Maintain your enthusiasm and be ready to address any misgivings about committing to a monthly budget.
Talk About the Future
The best approach to a productive discussion about budgeting is to establish goals.
Talk about what excites you! Ask where your spouse sees things going over the next five or ten years. Talk about the things you want to be able to do.
It's a really good idea to crunch some numbers on your own so you can point to the potential of saving and investing money for your future.
Talk about what’s possible and come up with a timeline for paying off debt, or investing that will make budgeting seem (at the very least) worthwhile.
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