One Tip that Makes Budgeting Work in My Marriage

The word budgeting often stirs up negative feelings inside of me.

Have you had to deal with money issues in your marriage? You can work through these issues and have less conflict by simply doing one thing. It works for my marriage, and I'm sure it can work in yours.© alexkich / Dollar Photo Club

Money in Marriage

When I was a child, my parents argued the most when it was time to budget. “Mom! It’s time to do the budget!” My dad would yell across the house. I could almost hear my mom rolling her eyes.

It seemed like the budget was a time when all the problems they had (relating to money or not) would blow up and nothing would get accomplished. I saw at a very young age the difficulties that arise when there are disagreements about money.

I don’t want to delve into my parents’ budgeting problems. I have no place saying who was right and who was wrong. But I can tell you more about my own marriage and the issues we have faced with budgeting.

Our Budgeting Issues

Right after we got married and for several years into our marriage, I dreaded tracking our expenses because we were always going over budget. I didn’t know how to get out of that cycle. I felt like my husband wasn’t listening to me when I told him we could only spend X amount on car maintenance, for example.

Last year, we completely just stopped budgeting. Life got overwhelming with two kids, and I felt like we could easily stay on track without a budget. But that’s not what happened at all. I noticed that month after month we were struggling to make ends meet. Even with a raise (before my husband quit his then job) and renters in our basement, we still could not figure out what was going on with our money.

And more recently, we have been taking money from our savings more and more to pay for our basic necessities, which scares me more than anything. Of course, this time around, it’s due to a lack of steady income from our businesses rather than bad habits. Even so, I don’t enjoy budgeting when I know that I am going to see more money going out than there is money coming in.

I believe most couples will encounter money issues at some point in their marriage. These issues can naturally lead to marital problems. Not surprisingly, money problems in a marriage can lead to divorce, but it’s not an issue of having less money or too much money. The real problem here is different views on money.

One Tip that Makes Budgeting Work in My Marriage

It became very clear when I first got married that my husband was a spender and I was a saver. We’ve definitely had our fair share of arguments over money because of these differences.

I used to nag him constantly about his overspending.

He would wonder why he didn’t have some kind of allowance so he could buy parts for his truck.

What I believe our money issues came down to, and what I think can be the culprit of a lot of money problems in marriages, is that we were not on the same page about our money.

In order to finally make budgeting work in our marriage, we had to sit down together and figure out what we both really wanted from life and then we had to set concrete goals.

Before we did this, budgeting without him was futile. It wasn’t working.

After we sat down together and figured out our goals, it became a whole lot easier to budget without him by my side because I knew what we needed to budget in each category to reach our goals. And I knew that we were both going to do what we had to do to reach them.

I believe it is imperative that couples sit down together to come up with concrete goals in order to avoid a lot of conflict that may arise over money. You both need to know why you actually want money.

The spender in the marriage might want money to buy a new iPhone, while the saver in the marriage might want money to save for X goal. When they are on the same page, they will both have the same goals in mind, and it will be much easier to have money for both desires.

When you are both reaching for the same goals, you will be more likely to work toward them. One spouse doesn’t have to feel like nothing is being accomplished with the money. It will be easier to budget because both parties know what is expected.

The negative feelings I once had toward budgeting are not as prevalent anymore. I can breath easier knowing that a lot of the money issues in our marriage have vanished simply because we got on the same page with our money goals. I only hope that more couples can do the same thing for their marriages.

What kind of budgeting problems have you had in your marriage?

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  1. Money is such a tough subject for many couples! For me, my husband and I are on the same page, meaning we both don’t like to overspend, we both save, we both have the same values when it comes to money. The thing that makes us different though is that I am a tracker to the T and he isn’t. He relies on his checking balance to see if he has room to spend. Me, I write everything I spend and earn to the penny. So that drives us crazy, him that I would ask how much exactly such and such cost, and me, wondering how he can not know and track these things lol!
    Nina recently posted…How to Give Your Child a Sense of BelongingMy Profile

    • It seems like both our husbands can be so nonchalant about their money, but fortunately yours knows how to stay within the budget. I used to track all my spending, too, right out of high school and up until I got married. For some reason, marrying a spender made me a little lax with that! Ha!

  2. I wouldn’t say we’ve had budgeting problems, as we’re both on the same page with money, but we don’t budget. We’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for us. We do give ourselves a weekly cash allowance, which lets us spend money on whatever we want without guilt. The rest goes to necessities, bills, etc. This is all after we pay ourselves first – meaning we have money taken out of our checks for 401k, etc. We also stick half of our paychecks into savings each week. If we need to pull from savings, I do it without guilt. To me that’s key – not beating yourself up for mistakes. Just try to do better the next month.
    Chris Muller recently posted…5 Ways That Money Buys Happiness (Sort Of)My Profile

    • Hey, it sounds like what you are doing is really working for you as a couple, which is awesome. You can save, invest, pay for all your necessities, and have a little extra for yourselves. I think that is the ideal, because we all need a little money for ourselves, and if it is part of your spending plan then there’s no harm. For us, right now, we cannot have allowances, but I would love to do that in the future. I’m sure my husband would do well with a little money for himself so he wouldn’t feel guilty for overspending. And, you’re right, even if you fail this month, there is always next month!


  1. […] in the habit now of setting goals, both financially and for life, as a couple. When you do that, you’ll be way less likely to argue over money matters. Find out how each of you feel about money in general and why you want it. You will want to set […]

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