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Money Management: How to Agree on a Budget

Getting family finances in shape does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
Getting family finances in shape does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
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Let's face it,  money is one of the topics that most couples argue about most.  There is usually never enough, especially in this economic climate.  How is the best way to approach the subject without the conversation turning into a heated argument? 

First, discuss the issue of money when you are both well-rested.  Having a serious discussion after a long day at work and dealing with children is not the time.  Both spouses should agree on a time that they can be rested and focused to calmly discuss the issue.   

Secondly, make a budget and agree on it.  This involves a lot of give and take.  Generally, as Dave Ramsey puts it, one spouse is the free spirit with money and one is the nerd.  Budget discussions do not hacve to be as long as the Geneva Convention.  Ten minutes is more than sufficient.  Most likely the budget will have to be adjusted somewhat during the month.  Spouses should agree to any adjustments that have to be made.  A great budgeting tool is located on Dave Ramsey's website, www.daveramsey.com.  There is a yearly fee to join but it is well worth it. Also, you can get advice about budgeting and talk to others who are on the same path as you. 

Another great resource to learn how to budget and agree on money issues is the Financial Peace Class that was created by and is led by Dave Ramsey via dvd.  It is encouraging to be in a class with others who are learning and facing the same issues.  Currently, there are thirty-eight classes that have started or will be starting soon in the Knoxville and Maryville areas.  There are thirteen sessions and all have concrete steps to help you take control of your money.  .  One of the best benefits of this class is that once you pay for it, you are a lifetime member and can go to as many classes as you want.   If you cannot find a class that fits your schedule, you can take the class online.  If you don't budget your money, you will have no idea where it goes.  Once you are on track with a budget, you will find ways to save money and pay down debt.  Lowering debt will reduce stress in your household.    Remember, every dollar spent adds up over time, so it is essential to know where your money is going. 

Also, remember that you and your spouse are both adults.  One spouse should not treat the other as a child.  Both spouses contribute to the household, even if one is a stay at home parent. Therefore, both spouses should have a voice in the budgeting of household income. 

Finally, remember to budget some money in for each spouse to spend however they choose.  Both will feel rewarded and not pressured.  After all, everyone needs a litte fun in our lives. When money is under control, it will be a lot more fun to celebrate the holidays and special occasions, because there will be no worries about spending money that you don't have to spend. Furthermore, you will be able to spend more money since you will budget to put money aside for the celebrations.   

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