I never thought I’d be one to have a budget. Until I realized a budget improves your life. I mean, I hardly spend money on things, and when I do it’s on important things (beer, bubble gum, vacations).
The thing is, once you get married, and have two opposing points of view fighting over discussing money matters, things tend to get a little hairy.
As a backstory, I hardly ever cared about our family budget. I let my wife make the decisions and pay the bills. She is, after all, quite annoying opinionated.
It worked well for a time.
A budget improves your life – Take a class
For me, money stresses me out. I hate talking about it and thinking about it. I prefer to earn the money, then “set-it and forget-it.” But for my wife, she wants to think, talk, and discuss at length money on a daily basis. Those types of discussions stress me out big time.
So when we decided to take a class and stick to a budget, I wasn’t interested. I mean, I’ll generally humor my wife if she puts up a fight about something, and this budget discussion wasn’t going away. So I bit the big husband bullet and went along.
The class, to me, was boring. I used to be a financial advisor and could have taught the class about the finer workings of all things finance. I knew all about 401k’s, IRA’s, and all that confusing junk.
My biggest takeaway, however, was how important a budget was from a psychological perspective. And not just in terms of saving money, but why a budget improves your life and to have a better marriage in general.
That was something I had never considered.
And to my wife’s point – why she was so adamant about joining a financial class – was so we could simply have these money talks and be on the same page. Our wives are a pain in the butt so smart sometimes.
A budget improves your life – follow through
The class forced us to seriously look at our bank accounts and figure where the money went. One horrifying fact we discovered was we had spent over $10,000 on dining out – not just food in general – but restaurants. Ouch!
That realization stung. We felt like such financial rookies, and here I was the super-smart-financial-wiz-kid blowing huge chunks of change at The Cheesecake Factory. (Which, by the way, is fantastically delicious, and even after setting a budget, we still eat there… but I digress.)
And that $10k, it’s not like we’re rich by any standard. We had normal jobs, a used Civic, and tiny condo. But we were seriously bleeding moola. We had absolutely no accountability or knowledge where our money was going.
Now, after establishing our new budget, we still make room for restaurants. Enjoying ourselves during the weekend is something we look forward too. But having an established dollar amount beforehand has made all the difference. Our lives have improved 10-fold, simply by spending cash every were we go, and once we run out, that’s it – it’s back to the refrigerator to scourge up some leftovers (ugh).
Honestly, the hardest part of the journey was all those difficult finance talks. It’s definitely a work in progress, but as the weeks progress and we work together as a team, slowly and surely we improve our own lives.
Is talking about money every week hard? You betcha. Do you feel like killing yourself and your significant other and setting fire to the entire world? Yep. Money is hard, and it’s a controlling device if you let it consume you.
But it’s never too late. Even if you think you’re a genius (like me) make sure you get on the same page with your spouse and set a budget – and stick to it.
It’ll be the best thing you ever do. For your life, marriage, health and general sanity, setting a budget is a must.
A budget improves your life – Action Steps:
- Talk to your spouse
- Start a budget
Do you think setting a budget is stupid? Why do you refuse to do it? Is your significant other being annoying about a budget?