If you do not have a monthly written budget where you account for every penny you spend, your money will not be working for you at its maximum potential. You can argue if you want, but I have yet to see someone NOT experience an improvement in their financial situation when they implemented a monthly budget.
Besides the monetary impact, it also improves communication for a married couple. Not only are you agreeing on your immediate expenditures, you are also agreeing on your long-term financial goals. By doing this, you will know each others expectations and desires better.
Since it is a proven fact that financial problems negatively impact marriages and that budgeting helps finances, why would you not be budgeting? I believe it comes down to a few things.
The know-how becomes quite simple after 3 or less budgets, but the first time you sit down and try to put together a budget, you will struggle. It is difficult for many people to even understand where all of their money is going each month let alone try to tell it what to do.
The want-to is a wildcard. If both partners in a marriage are not both advocating the budget, it will be tough to have the want-to. Want-to really develops when your financial situation hits a point that makes you both realize how important it is to have a written plan. It could be when you are nearing bankruptcy, or it could be when you have inherited a large amount of money. Either way and for everything in between, you need a plan. You may not think so right now, but on this subject it does not matter what you think. A written plan that is followed will always accomplish more than someone aiming at nothing.
Time is a big key. It takes time to think about where you are headed with your finances. It takes time to learn about your finances and the options that are available to you – 401(k), 403(b), SEP, Insurance, 529, Coverdell, mortgages, insurances, etc. News flash: Even if you don’t have a plan, VISA has a plan. So does Mastercard, Discover, American Express, the furniture store, your college, and the car lot.
So I ask you to resolve today to acquiring the know-how, to making it a priority and a want-to, and to make time to sit down with your spouse and put together a written plan. Put it on the refrigerator door. It does not matter what others think, they are still broke!
I was broke. Now, I’m not! It all happened because one day Jenn and I woke up and said, “We NEED a plan!”