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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Importance of Doing It Together: Part 2

Dani is a saver. I'm a spender. And we're both at the extreme end of those polar opposites. I can't hold onto money to save my life; it flows through my fingers like water over rocks, whereas money stops with Dani like a skydiver with no parachute.

So when we started budgeting we found that our dramatically opposing financial skill sets did not like each other. It was tempting for me to just let her do the budgeting—she's better at math. She enjoys the organization—but Dave Ramsey stresses repeatedly that there is value in managing your money as one.

No matter how you choose to do your budgeting process, if you and your partner don't talk about the spending plan, there's no telling how many miscommunication issues you'll experience.

Such as:

  • Your husband is happy because the money for "home expenses" has accumulated enough to replace the broken window, but you thought you were going to use that money to finish the kitchen countertop.

  • Your wife takes the kids to the water park thinking there's plenty of money in the entertainment budget to cover the trip, not knowing that you wanted to go out with the guys on Friday.

  • If your husband moves money from the grocery budget to cover an unexpectedly high bill and you don't know about it, when you swipe your debit card at the market you'll see that embarrassing DECLINED light up.

  • Your wife isn't keeping track of how much money you've budgeted for restaurants, and after eating out three times already this month she makes dinner plans with her mom at Olive Garden. Uh-oh! DECLINED.

It cannot be stressed enough: for a budget to be successful you and your spouse must have a shared vision for your finances. And, trust me, this may take time. It took about eight months before Dani and I really felt like we were on the same page with our financial priorities. And once we were, our budget became even more focused, we became more determined, and our debt started going down faster while we started saving more money.

I said it once, but I'll say it again: if you want to create a successful financial plan that will work for you, you and your spouse have got to work together.

Keep pinchin' :-)

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