Abagail and I combined our finances not long after getting married. It made sense on emotional and mathematical levels. We’re working together as partners, and it’s our money. Not my money and her money. Our money. Also, if we combine our investments, chances are they’ll grow even faster.
As part of combining our finances, we started budgeting together. We call the time we intentionally sit down and talk about our money a budget date. We have one each week. Usually on Friday nights because every other Friday is payday. We pull up good ole YNAB after dinner and review where we’re at.
If it’s a payday, we allocate that income accordingly. Usually it goes toward budgeting for the next month’s expenses or toward investing (since we save and invest 50% or more of our income and get paid twice a month, it flips between each). As part of allocating those funds to each category, we talk about any upcoming expenses on our mind. Maybe we know we need to buy some clothes or have an upcoming trip. We can budget for these expenses accordingly. If we think we can spend less, we try budgeting less. Reducing and stabilizing our grocery spending has been our focus for the last few months.
After we allocate new funds, we review the state of the budget. How much money is left in Dining Out? Can we make it the rest of the month? Oh, there’s $20 still in Entertainment, are there any books we have been wanting to purchase? That sort of thing. This lets us know how we’re doing.
Then comes the fun part – reviewing our spending from the week. We don’t shame each other or get frustrated. We walk through each transaction in YNAB and discuss what we spent our money on. We make sure our spending is aligning with our goals and values. There’s no secret spending or just one person who manages it all. We have equal say in our budget and both understand where our money is going.
By having visibility into how we’re both spending money, we have more insight into how we’re both doing in ways that aren’t financial. Are we spending more money dining out than usual? Are we too busy to cook or stressed out? Can we better support one another to prioritize our health and finances?
I truly look forward to our budget dates. Finances can be a cause of stress or a source of empowerment whether you’re an individual or in a partnership. It’s important to talk about money with your partner and be on the same page. We’ve found that talking about it at least weekly has been positive for the health of our finances and relationship.