You. Your Spouse. Your Budget.
7 strategies for marital and financial bliss
Anyone married for any length of time has likely noticed that marital bliss doesn’t always equal financial bliss. Experts will tell you that money –– what to spend it on and how much –– is a top source of contention for married couples, especially newlyweds.
What happens after the walk down the aisle? In a nutshell, sharing, not only of income and other monies, but also your philosophical view when it comes to budgeting, saving and spending.
Simply put, the financial priorities and money habits you had as singles may have been quite different of one another. It wasn’t a big deal when you were managing your own money, but now that you’re married and planning your financial future as a couple, getting on the same page in terms of saving, spending and budgeting can get a bit dicey at times.
Here are 7 strategies for more blissful budgeting and a happier financial marriage.
1. Together, you and your spouse make one list of your monthly financial obligations.
These are the expenses you have to pay every month, such as your mortgage/rent payment, food, utilities, condo or other fees, car payments, insurance, taxes, healthcare, emergency monies, and savings. Write them down to the exact dollar amount or as close to it as possible. These take priority. Budget for these first and what’s left can be used toward #2 and #3 below.
2. Make a shared financial priority list.
Here’s where you write down all of the things you’d like to have as a couple, both in the near and long term. Included here might be your first or a larger home, new furniture, starting a family and associated costs (baby gear to college savings and everything in between), a dream trip, a second car, home improvements, etc. To make these things become a reality, you’ll want to set aside at least some money each month and not touch it for anything non-essential.
3. Individually, you and your spouse make separate lists of your personal wants.
Your lists might include anything from clothing and shoes, to artwork, hobbies, dining out, tickets to concerts or sporting events, travel, gifts, etc. After covering your monthly financial obligations, consider putting aside a set amount of money for each of you to spend in any way you desire for items on your own lists. Think of it as an adult allowance. No questions asked.
4. Outsmart your own budget.
If you’re not already a savvy shopper, become one. It can be fun. If you’ve always bought the name or luxury brand, consider trying the less costly version. This applies to everything from wine to groceries, T-shirts to socks, bedding to towels, makeup to shoes, cleaning products to lawn gear, etc. Most people are surprised at what they can save without sacrificing quality. The old saying is true, “a penny saved is a penny earned”.
5. Play the “what if” game.
Some young couples can get very creative when it comes to trimming costs and stretching their budget. It usually involves a simple change of habit. One couple we know plays the “what if” game. For example, “what if instead of eating out the next month or two, we eat at home and not only save money but also make it fun by each of us taking turns preparing a new dish.” Another example, “what if instead of buying any new, non-essential clothing items for the next three months, we shop our closets and push our fashion sense with what we already own.” (This latter example also led to a great closet purge and the sharing of items with people in need.)
6. Be a bit crazy now and then.
Without blowing your budget, allow yourselves to spend money now and then on something you don’t need but would love to have. A little “retail therapy” can go a long way, especially in celebration of a birthday, anniversary, special achievement, new job, etc.
7. Ask us about our Lenox MONEY MIND™ Analyzer.
All of us have a Money Mind®. It’s determined by how we think and feel about money which, in turn, affects every financial decision we make in both our personal and work life. There’s no getting around these inherent feelings we hold inside. Instead, it’s critical that we understand and acknowledge them. Doing so couldn’t be easier or more engaging thanks to our unique Money Mind® Analyzer tool. In just minutes, you’ll gain insights you and your spouse can use for a lifetime.
Bottom line, the most important benefits of budgeting are learning what matters to each of you when it comes to money, and being aware of where your money is going each month. This understanding alone can help you and your spouse to avoid making impulse purchases and have a happier financial marriage.
At Lenox, we work closely with people of all ages to help guide you in every aspect of your financial life –– from wealth creation, wealth building and wealth management, to budgeting and money management, career planning and coaching, funds for education, retirement planning, working through financial hurdles, and more. In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.
If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk. It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review. Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.
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This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.